When I first started in the landlording business I used a decent amount of sheet vinyl. I hired people to do my flooring and that was what they recommended and I said Yes to. They procured the material and it looked good when the install was complete. Later, I saw that sheet vinyl curl at the edges, and sometimes tear in the middle when poorly rolling things like fridges were dragged across it. “Oh Sheet!” It’s only 3 years old, sometimes less, rarely more, and it’s not holding up that well.
My adaptation: buy the best vinyl possible, the nicely cushioned, 10 mil wear layer vinyl that maybe didn’t have the perfect pattern that I wanted but that I couldn’t seem to damage with my truck key while pretending to be a tenant attacking the vinyl floor sample at Lowe’s.
The last couple weeks I’ve been in two units where I had laid that exact, what I thought to be virtually indestructible vinyl myself. Both had tears in the middle of the kitchen, that v-shaped tongue where a little part must have caught on something and kept pulling back, wider and wider.
Now I’m facing trying to find my receipts from a 3 yr ago install and pursue a warranty claim, and having to deal with the labor costs of getting that floor redone. Kitchens are probably the highest trafficked rooms of the house, and both fridges and stoves get dragged around during cleaning/reorganizing/etc. A recipe for needing a good floor!
My lesson: install Allure Trafficmaster. It’s not sheet vinyl but comes in pieces. That’s good and bad. The product is expensive, relative to the best sheet vinyl (about 50% more for the nice colors, similar for colors that are on clearance/less popular at Home Depot) but for irregular rooms, the smaller pieces avoid the large cuts and wasted components when dealing with 12 foot wide sheet vinyl.
Allure is double thickness vinyl flooring with a very good wear layer I have never seen damaged. I have had some problems in wetter locations with Allure curling and the edges catching with foot traffic and that causing the demise of this flooring (in partially addressable smaller areas like bathrooms).
My solution. Glue down Allure with regular flooring glue, I use whatever flooring glue is cheapest, typically the Carpet/VCT glue sold for about $25 for a 3.5 gallon bucket. That keeps the Allure down where it’s been set and minimizes the effects of moisture that would otherwise negatively impact it.
The bad part: it takes some work to install. You have to handle dozens of pieces rather than unrolling a pieces of sheet vinyl and just cutting the edges. You have to do all the edge cuts, align the new piece to the previous piece, and most importantly, get the first row exactly straight, otherwise the rest of the install becomes a mess with little misalignments everywhere.
However, it’s doable by a savvy homeowner (although uncaring handimen can screw this up badly). However, I have Allure in a basement I installed in 2010, and it’s still there and looking fantastic. I can’t say that for a single piece of carpet, most sheet vinyl, any laminate, or even most wood flooring I’ve had tenants on.
Long term landlording is about cutting through the clutter of crap building materials that are designed to be remodeled every few years. Let’s get some real solutions out there. Allure Trafficmaster in my mind is one of them.