The vinyl flooring, also called “resilient flooring” are available as tiles or sheets for commercial and residential use.
New technologies in recent years have improved vinyl performance, especially against scratches, stains, and wear.
The vinyl floors are durable, easy to maintain, and more moisture-resistant than many alternative materials.
Rugged vinyl flooring, both sheet, and tile have become a valuable design tool for many interior designers and architects.
Vinyl Flooring History
The following historical points help show how vinyl became popular for flooring use.
The first rubber tiles debuted sometime between the 12th and 13th centuries, but their popularity waned towards the end of the 17th century. The use of plain, square, and undecorated red clay tiles became common throughout Europe during the 18th century.
The linoleum was invented and patented in 1845. It was first manufactured in Scotland in the 1860s, and the first US plant was built in 1872. Linoleum remained popular until after World War II when an easy-to-maintain and durable vinyl floor was introduced.
In 1894, the Philadelphia architect Frank Furness patented a system for rubber tiles. Colors were limited, but the tiles could be laid in geometric patterns to produce a striking design.
At the turn of the century, recessed tabs allowed rubber tiles to dig into the subfloor, and soon the tabs were completely removed. These tiles were durable, soundproof, easy to clean, and to install. However, they also stained easily and deteriorated over time from exposure to oxygen, ozone, and solvents, and were not suitable for use in basements where alkaline moisture was present.
The first cork tile flooring was introduced in 1904 and became the most popular type of flexible flooring in the 1920s. It was available in a limited range of colors and designs but was expensive and porous.
The asphalt tile arrived on the scene in the 1920s In the 1950s, it was the tile floors used in the market with a low initial cost and easy installation. These tiles were strong, durable, highly resistant to abrasion and moisture, and fire-resistant, but the styles and patterns were limited.
Then, in 1933, vinyl made a big splash when a piece of vinyl composition was shown at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. Due to vinyl shortages during the war years, vinyl flooring was not widely marketed until the late 1940s, but then quickly challenged its competitors. Originally used only in high-traffic areas, vinyl flooring eventually became the most popular flooring choice in almost any hard surface application.