Click vinyl panels - a bridge between a wooden floor and a ceramic tile
Vinyl panels are very popular. The practicality of vinyl floors makes them a natural choice and they have successfully replaced stoneware and natural wood in our homes. Before choosing a vinyl floor, it is worth taking a closer look, considering that there are many types of vinyl floors. At this point, we will learn more about panels installed in a floating system, i.e. click vinyl panels.
CLICK, CLICK and CLICK – sound of vinyl panels in a floating system
The possibility of laying the floor without having to permanently attach it to the floor, called a floating system, was a great revolution on the market. It allowed for faster and much easier installation, but also significantly reduced the cost of the new floor. The floating system is possible thanks to the locks specially profiled in the core of the panel. They are responsible for the mechanical connection of adjacent panels. Correct connection of the lock elements is often accompanied by a characteristic sound - click. This is where the common name for this type of flooring comes from. The durability of the entire floor depends to a large extent on the quality of the locks. Poor-quality locks may suffer numerous damages already at the assembly stage, causing considerable loss of materials and frustration of the installer. Among all panel and floor manufacturers, locks patented by three companies - Vallinge, Unilin and i4F - dominate.
Types of locking systems in click panels
We can distinguish three basic types of joints and locks:
- angle-angle - the most common type of connection for click panels. Installation is done by inserting the panel at an angle of about 30-45 degrees lower it. First you do it for the panels on short edge in the same row and next step is to connect prepared row with a previous one. Such a lock is, for example, 2G from Vallinge. A correctly secured lock does not require hammering, but some manufacturers allow for such adjustment. Remember that you never hit the panel directly with a hammer, always use a block to protect the locks. The connection in this type of locks is mechanical, the contoured elements interlock to create a durable, secure connection that protects against forces acting in all directions.
- fall-down - most often occur only on the short sides of the panels, but sometimes can be met also on the long side. The connection in this type of locks is based on forcibly punching in the matching parts of the panels. The click is performed by lowering vertically so that the two parts of the panels meet with the milled lock and tapping with a hammer to obtain an even surface. In this case, the lock protects the panels from forces only in horizontal directions. Therefore, special attention should be paid to any unevenness of the ground that may cause the lock to detach in the vertical plane. An additional disadvantage of this type of locks is the inability to unfasten and reassemble them. Forced connection is usually one-time, and the next attempt to fasten the panels carries a high risk of damage.
- 5G locks - the most modern type of locks, quick and easy to install. The longer edge is joined in a conventional manner, as in the case of angle-angle locks. Then, when the panel is lowered, the shorter edge enters the lock, sliding the plastic latch. When it reaches the correct position, you hear a characteristic click, which means that the lock has been properly closed. The fastening does not require the use of special force, and the connections should not be hammered. If the lock resists, it is advisable to check that there are no unevenness under the panel or that the lock tongue is not damaged or there are some dirt.
Advantages of click vinyl panels
When it comes to vinyl panels with a mineral core, we do not need to prepare the subfloor in any particularly different way than for example laminate flooring installation. Of course, it must be free from major unevenness, but most often a normal surface provided by developer will be suitable for laying the panels. This is important because it is a frequently repeated myth that vinyl panels require a floor that is smooth as the table, which will be provided only by a special self-leveling screed. However, such requirements are imposed on glued panels and old-style vinyls - which are very flexible and can emphasise unevenness.
Another undoubted advantage of this method of assembly is its ease even for novice installers. If you have dealt with renovated housework, you can easily handle the installation after watching the instructional video. This is because the panels are stiff and it is very easy to fit them over the locks. An additional advantage of such panels is that we do not have to use unwanted expansion joints between the rooms. We can even achieve a perfectly smooth floor on 200 m2. The mineral core in the click panels also allows a very clean assembly, free of dust and dirt. This significantly speeds up the work, but is also very important in the case of renovation of already inhabited houses.
Vinyl panels on tiles - click and it's done
Renovation is associated with high costs and even greater effort. Usually the old floor has to be hammered down first, which means noise and dirt throughout the house. You have to take away heavy waste somewhere, you have to vacuum constantly, you have to accept the fact that dust is everywhere - in shoes, hair, in a breakfast sandwich. If you remove tiles in the kitchen, forget about warm dinners, if in the bathroom - you take a bath in a bowl for some time. And all of this usually takes twice as long as originally assumed. Sounds daunting, right?
Fortunately, there is also another, easier solution. You can quickly renovate your floors by laying vinyl planks over the tiles. It is a simple and effective way to refresh all rooms in the house. Such panels are very durable, resistant to moisture and mechanical damage, so they are even suitable for the kitchen and bathroom! Additionally, thanks to the floating installation with click connection of the panels, their installation is very simple.
Large panel format - it is possible with click panels
In the case of laying panels in a floating system, we can afford the installation of various panel formats, practically without sacrificing speed or ease of laying. Of course, standard panels with a length of 120 cm can be arranged just as quickly, regardless of whether it is a flexible or rigid panel with a mineral core, but large formats such as Arbiton Amaron Wood - 150 cm in length or Arbiton Amaron Superiore - 180 cm, are much easier to assemble as panel with a mineral core than any other. The easy manoeuvring of the rigid panel and the friendly 5G lock allow for quick and easy installation.
Vinyl panels you recommend. A new generation of vinyl flooring - RIGID / SPC panels
The most modern vinyl panels on the market have a rigid, extremely durable core that conducts heat well. The name comes from the English RIGID - rigid or SPC (solid polymer core), which can be translated as rigid core panels. They have all the advantages of LVT panels, but the main disadvantage has been eliminated. SPC panels are dimensionally stable - they do not change dimensions under the influence of temperature changes. An example of this type of core is the HD Mineral Core, a solid core made of natural rock minerals and modern polymers. It provides exceptional impact resistance and conducts heat very well. Arbiton panels made in this technology are as beautiful as wood and as practical as ceramic tiles. In appearance, they are indistinguishable from real wood and in use they resemble ceramic tiles. The dimensional stability allows them to be placed on an area of up to 200 m2 without the need for additional expansion joints. So there is no need to use thresholds or profiles in the door. Panels of this type have gained many supporters, and the users, apart from the appearance and practical aspects, praise, above all, the ease of cleaning and nice structure.
The most important features of vinyl panels
Moisture resistance is one of the factors that most often determine the choice of floor finishing material. The floor is very exposed to frequent contact with water. For this reason, in the bathroom or in the kitchen, we usually give up beautiful real wood, which cannot cope with the specific microclimate in these rooms. It is different with vinyl panels! It is a floor that can be installed both in a large living area and even in a bathroom. They are fully waterproof, so there is no risk that the panels will deform after just a few months. If we use the appropriate insulation foil, the vinyl planks can even be placed in the shower. Their properties cannot be overestimated.
Resistance to dirt and dust
No matter what material we choose, in order for the floor to be beautiful, it must be clean. Unfortunately, not every material guarantees a perfect look and some types of flooring take a lot of effort to keep them in perfect condition. Vinyl panels are extremely easy to clean, they are resistant to everyday use and stains. Their surface is usually coated with a special layer, which facilitates cleaning. They do not stick to dirt and stains can be removed with a mild intensity care product dedicated for vinyl floor. Vinyl panels are a great solution for allergy sufferers or people suffering from asthma. They are perfect when we have a dog at home, because vinyl floors are antistatic, which means they will not attract dust and dog hair. What's more, they can be easily disinfected, and the air quality in rooms with vinyl floors is definitely better than where we have other types of floors.
Durability - one of the main characteristics of vinyl panels
Floor - an element of fixed equipment that is most intensively used. Therefore, we should think of it as an investment. The floors in our homes are exposed to intensive use, scratches caused by the application of sand or fading, therefore an important parameter, in addition to water resistance, is durability. Vinyl panels - unlike ordinary alternatives, e.g. laminated panels or wood - are highly resistant to mechanical damage and do not lose their color under the influence of UV light. Vinyl panels are classified into utility classes that determine their durability. The classes are divided depending on whether we are dealing with domestic or commercial use. There are 6 classes: 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33. The first digit indicates the type of rooms (2 for domestic, and 3 for commercials), while the second number of traffic intensity (1 means low, 2 medium, 3 high).
Therefore, vinyl planks in class 23 are the best product for domestic use. Good vinyl planks, despite their small thickness, have very high utility classes, respectively 23 (intensive domestic use, e.g. corridors, staircases, kitchen) and 32 (commercial use areas, e.g. kindergartens, offices, waiting rooms, hotel lobbies). Class 23 vinyl planks are ideal for rented flats. If we rent commercial spaces, choose vinyl planks with abrasion class 32 or 33. This is a guarantee of a perfect floor for many years.
Vinyl panels are safe
For many people, especially parents, the safety of using the floor is important. A good floor should pass the test for the release of volatile organic compounds harmful to humans. The best floors receive a VOC A + rating, which means very low, even trace emissions. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the determination of the VOC standard, the scale of which ranges from the mentioned A + (the best result) to C (the worst result). If we have underfloor heating in the children's room, vinyl panels with a mineral core will be a very good choice. They are characterized by a very low coefficient of thermal resistance, and at the same time are much more durable than ordinary panels. And this cannot be overestimated in the case of a space intended for children. So they are not afraid of throwing heavy blocks, shuffling chairs or even painting. Whoever has a child knows, and who expects it will soon find out that keeping a child's room clean is a real challenge. Painting with paints or felt-tip pens on the floor is only a foretaste of the attractions provided by the branches. Hectolitres of poured drinks, mud in winter, and sand straight from the surrounding sandbox in summer. These are things that will surely be found in every child's room sooner or later. It is therefore very important that the floor we choose is easy to clean. Vinyl floors with a mineral core do not require any special measures. The easiest way to keep the floor is clean.
Click vinyl panels love underfloor heating
Popular vinyls means also comfort and pleasure for those who like to walk barefoot. The vinyl floor itself, unlike ceramic tiles, is pleasant to the touch and warm, and this impression can be further intensified by using the recently popular underfloor heating system. The materials of this type of floor covering work perfectly with underfloor heating systems. In practice, this means that vinyl panels conduct heat very well and withstand temperature changes perfectly. And this is a guarantee of the correct and effective operation of the entire heating system.
Vinyls are an alternative to stone and wood
Natural raw materials are beautiful and noble, but unfortunately far from functional. They are expensive, require impregnation and are often associated with cumbersome maintenance, which is why, not surprisingly, alternative floor coverings, including vinyl panels, are gaining more popularity. Preferably those that resemble real materials such as stone or wood. Good vinyl planks will perfectly match natural materials.
Underlay - the key to the durability of the floor system with click panels
Choosing the right underlay is extremely important. Although we will not see it, it has a huge impact on the comfort of using our floor. Therefore, we advise against choosing the cheapest solution. Choose an underlay that will guarantee a warm and quiet floor and will provide sound insulation. When laying vinyl panels on your own, we recommend Arbiton Multiprotec Vinyl underlays. It will not only ensure trouble-free installation of the floor panels, but also meet the warranty conditions. Thanks to the technology used, it increases the durability of the floor panels to be laid, protects precise locks and extends the life of the floor. Low thermal resistance allows for effective use of underfloor heating and considerable savings in the heating period.
How to lay vinyl planks? - start in the right place
Even and correctly laid first row of panels makes further work easier, so pay special attention to care at the beginning. This will save you problems when laying the next rows of panels. We start laying vinyl panels from the left side along the wall, in the direction of light in a given room. So, traditionally, the boards are placed perpendicular to the windows. At the same time, we should remember to leave an expansion distance of 5 mm from the walls (if the laying surface exceeds 200 m2, the expansion distance should be increased to 10 mm). Each material under the influence of certain factors is subject to expansion and such laminated floor panels change their shape under the influence of moisture, and LVT floor panels (those made of 100% PVC) under the influence of temperature. Due to the combination of minerals and polymers, panels with a mineral core are several times more stable and have a low coefficient of dimensional variation at the level of 0.05% of their dimensions (this means expansion, for example, a maximum of 2.5 mm over a length of 5 m).
How are vinyl planks placed? - remember about dilatations.
The dilatation gap is simply the free space between the panel and the wall. To make dilatation, small wedges should be placed between the board and the wall. We can buy them at any DIY store. When laying laminate flooring, an expansion joint of 15 mm or even more is most often left. When installing vinyl panels with a mineral core, there is no need for such a large gap, because they are much more dimensionally stable. Before we lay the first row, the panels should be carefully measured and planned to be installed. Especially paying attention to the last row, so that it is not too narrow.
Click vinyl floors are installed in a floating system, so we do not need glue or nails. Laying the panels in a floating system means that the entire surface of the floor panels is not permanently attached to the ground.
Is it worth betting on vinyl panels?
Definitely yes! Vinyl panels perfectly reflect the appearance of natural materials, they are easy to install, pleasant to the touch, resistant to damage, abrasion, UV light, water and moisture. In office spaces, they will perfectly reduce the sound of heels, in the kitchen they will not be scared by stains and a failure of the dishwasher, in the bathroom they will guarantee a pleasantly warm base for the feet immediately after leaving the bathtub, and thanks to the pleasant surface layer they will give an additional sense of comfort. These are materials that resemble stone or wood, but what distinguishes them from them is their practicality! It is a floor for special tasks. Vinyl panels, thanks to their water resistance, are an excellent material for floors throughout the house - also in the bathroom or kitchen. If we buy panels with a rigid core, we will not have to create dilatation between different types of floors (ceramic, wood) and we can create a coherent, uniform floor throughout the house. This is a great help.