April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22
By Jerry Lee
Commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods were once one of the most popular commercial flooring options on the market. These goods have been regarded for decades as functional, durable, decorative and relatively easy for contractors to install. These flooring products have been used in a wide variety of commercial applications in which the color, pattern and size could be customized to fit specific project needs.
However, over the past 10 years, commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods have lost some market share due to the introduction and rising popularity of vinyl composition tile (VCT), luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl planks (LVP). These new flooring options offer a wider range of sizes, colors and patterns as well as ease of installation for the end consumer. While these products certainly have many of the same benefits as vinyl sheet goods, it is unclear if they possess the durability needed in high-traffic and demanding areas. For those applications, vinyl sheet goods are still the best choice for consumers.
There is little question surrounding the durability of commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods. These products have been used in the most demanding environments, including commercial kitchens in restaurants, schools, stadiums, elder care facilities, walk-in coolers and freezers, animal and pet care facilities and even in garages and oil change areas. And the number of applications in which vinyl sheet goods are used continues to grow as consumers look for flooring with improved durability and longevity but minimal maintenance. What some consumers fail to realize are the additional benefits of choosing commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods for their facility.
When considering a new commercial floor, many consumers today are unaware that there is a new standard of commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods. There are many manufacturers in the United States that have made a number of improvements to these products and thereby increased the benefits of installing them. Some of these added benefits include: comfort underfoot (eliminating the need for anti-fatigue mats), noise reduction and a new rolled cove base accessory product.
In addition to the above benefits, some manufacturers have made significant advancements in the installation process of vinyl sheets goods, leading to increased efficiency and decreased required installation time. One of these advancements is the use of a liquid welding system in place of traditional heat welding. This system can decrease installation time by up to 70% and reduce the opportunity for installer error that can often occur when using heat welds.
These new advancements, combined with the durability of commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods, are why these products are slowly gaining back part of the market that was lost to VCT, LVT and vinyl planks. As consumers become more aware of these improvements and their current commercial flooring begins to show wear due to demanding environments, commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods will emerge once again as the prominent choice in commercial flooring.
Jerry Lee is national sales manager at Oscoda Plastics: Protect-All and Proflex. In this position, he has developed various teams in regional sales, technical sales and business development, and created a national distribution model for Protect-All, which has received two patents under his name.