Vinyl flooring is an extremely popular choice for flooring due to how affordable it is and the different styles it comes in, but is vinyl heat resistant?
Vinyl flooring is unfortunately highly sensitive to changes in temperature, and it is recommended to maintain a room temperature between 65-85 degrees for optimal performance.
Let’s take a look at why vinyl is so sensitive to heat, and the most common heat sources that can be problematic for it.
Why Is Vinyl Sensitive To Heat?
Vinyl flooring is comprised primarily of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the most produced synthetic polymer of plastic in the world.
PVC can be highly sensitive to temperature changes, and under extreme circumstances, it can begin to change shape or even melt.
This is the main reason why you should always try to maintain a constant environment for any vinyl floor after it has been installed. This is no different to hardwood flooring, which can experience cupping and warping due to changes in temperature, and also needs to acclimatize to its surroundings.
Problems Heat Can Cause For Vinyl Flooring
So, what are some of the key problems that heat can cause for vinyl floorings in day to day life?
When vinyl is installed it should be given enough space to acclimatize and expand into its surroundings.
When incorrectly installed, buckling can occur as the vinyl expands with no room to go. This can also happen due to sudden changes in temperature, or those that are accompanied by the changing of seasons.
A good rule of thumb is to have a small gap around the perimeter of the vinyl flooring to allow for expansion, otherwise, you may run into some issues.
Discolored Surface/Damaged finish
The surface of vinyl flooring contains a finish that can be damaged if direct heat is applied.
This can result in a few different problems:
- Discolored Floor – Vinyl floors are susceptible to changing color under extreme temperature changes. This happens because of chemical reactions between the vinyl itself and the coating that can cause effects such as yellowing.
- Melted Surface – If the temperature change is extreme another thing that can occur is melting. This happens when the melting point of the floor is exceeded, which tends to usually be around 185 degrees but it can vary depending on the type of PVC used and what additives it contains.
- Bubbling – Bubbling can occur as the vinyl reaches its melting point.
Let’s take a look at some of the main heat sources that actually cause these problems, in order to learn how to prevent them.
What Heat Sources Can Affect Vinyl?
There are a few heat sources that can create problems for vinyl flooring, some of which you probably have never considered.
General Changes In Room Temperature
General changes to room temperature can affect vinyl flooring over time.
The main reason for this is usually seasonality – during the summer the average room temperature will increase and during the winter it will decline.
This is more of an issue in climates where the temperature changes drastically throughout the year, but it is worth monitoring. Other types of flooring like hardwood are also susceptible to seasonal temperature changes.
Electric heaters mounted to walls, especially those that are older, can create a lot of heat that is directed towards the floor. Newer type heaters tend to direct the heat upwards, but you should monitor any laminate floor nearby as the temperature will naturally increase as you use the heater.
Direct sunlight can damage vinyl not only from the increase in temperature but also from the UV rays as well.
There are a lot of other commonly asked questions surrounding vinyl and heat, so we’ve included them in this section.
How To Maintain Constant Temperature
Buying a thermometer is a good way to monitor the temperature of a room, but how can you make sure that the temperature remains relatively constant?
In hot climates, air conditioning is an easy way to regulate the temperature of a room. You can also use blinds as a way to keep out sunlight which can increase the temperature of your room.
In cold climates, using central heating controlled by a thermostat is a great way to prevent the temperature from dropping too low.
Heated floors can also be used which maintain the temperature much better than any other method, but they come at a large cost.
Is Vinyl A Fire Hazard?
Luckily, vinyl is not a fire hazard.
Not only does it take a direct fire source for vinyl flooring to actually set on fire, but it also will not spread unless it remains in contact with the fire source. This means if you simply remove the source of the fire, or prevent as much oxygen as possible from reaching the fire, then it will stop quite quickly.
The only problem is when vinyl burns it releases toxins, such as diethyl hexyl phthalate, into the air that can be harmful to health. So, if there is a vinyl floor on fire nearby you need to consider wearing a mask or using clothes to make sure you don’t breathe in the smoke.
We hope you have learnt something new about vinyl flooring and heat in this article. Ifyou have any other queries surrounding this topic then don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us know.