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Competencies covered

MSFFL2021: Install lay flat vinyl floor coverings

Lay flat vinyl

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Lay flat vinyl is a form of heterogeneous vinyl.

This means it is made up of several layers.

The term 'heterogeneous' is used to distinguish multi-layered products from 'homogeneous' vinyl, which is uniform throughout.

We deal with homogeneous products in the unit: Commercial vinyl.

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The most common structure for lay flat vinyl is encapsulated glass fibre, where the fibreglass layer is surrounded by PVC (polyvinyl chloride). In the middle is a layer of expanded foam, which improves the floor covering's softness underfoot.

This product is also referred to as 'cushioned vinyl'.

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An alternative structure is rotogravure vinyl, which is made using a rotating 'gravure' cylinder to print the pattern.

After the print dyes set, a clear wear layer is put on the surface.

The life expectancy of the patterned finish depends on the durability of the wear layer.

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Less common is inlaid vinyl, although it is still a popular structure for certain lines of resilient tiles.

Inlaid vinyl is made from solid vinyl particles fused to a backing material and covered with a translucent vinyl mortar.

This allows the colours to extend right through to the backing, providing a longer wear life.

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Roll widths

Lay flat vinyl is designed to be laid with the minimum number of seams, so the choice of width is determined by the floor dimensions.

Products imported from America are supplied in imperial widths - typically 6 feet (1.83 m) and 12 feet (3.66 m).

If the products are made in Australia or Europe, they're supplied in metric sizes - generally 2 m, 3 m and 4 m.

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Before you begin an installation, you need to let the floor covering condition to the surrounding temperature and humidity in the room.

This process is also called acclimatisation.

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AS 1884-2012 says that floor coverings should be conditioned for at least 24 hours, or until the product has achieved an 'ambient room temperature' range of between 15° and 28° C.

For more information on the conditioning process, including the procedures you should follow in buildings with air conditioners or heated floors, go to the lesson 'Conditioning' in the unit: Preparing floor coverings.

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Learning activity

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Can you identify one brand name product for each of the three types of lay flat vinyl described above? Also name the manufacturer of the product.

Which of these products have you installed? What type of projects were they used in?

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