Disadvantages of Cushioned Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl floor covering is available in sheet and tile forms. Both types have a top coat of urethane, a decorative vinyl layer and a backing. The backing of sheet vinyl flooring, however, usually has more cushioning. Cushioned sheet vinyl is soft underfoot, affordable and water resistant. It comes in patterns that imitate more expensive materials such as hardwood. Although it is desirable for many household and commercial uses, it also has several disadvantages.


Cushioned vinyl is suitable for kitchens.

Unlike wood, stone or slate, cushioned vinyl is not a natural product. Whenever natural decorative materials are the preferred style, vinyl and other affordable plastics lack the prestige of natural materials that are considered more luxurious or fashionable. Cushioned vinyl also has a negative impact on the environment. According to "Journal of Perinatology," the production of vinyl flooring frequently creates toxins, and the ordinary care of vinyl flooring, such as waxing, can also release pollutants. To avoid these disadvantages, look for no-wax flooring and flooring produced from recycled components.


Cushioned sheet vinyl is harder to install than some other types of flooring. Installing sheet vinyl requires cutting large sheets to the proper size and positioning them precisely in the room. Cushioned vinyl is not suitable for uneven or bumpy surfaces and does not work on stairs. Fitting a vinyl floor is even more difficult in a room with irregular walls or many angles. If you cannot do your own installation, hiring a professional will increase the total cost of your cushioned vinyl floor.


Although some cushioned vinyl floors last more than 20 years, common cleaning methods can damage them. The seams can come apart if you get them wet before they have dried completely. Cleaning with abrasives, detergents or any products not recommended by the manufacturer can leave a film or mar the finish of a vinyl floor. Vacuuming with an upright vacuum can tear the surface.

Damage From Furniture

If you move a refrigerator or other heavy furniture without putting protective plywood on your floor, the vinyl can tear. The floor can dent if you do not put felt pads or another type of floor protector under the feet of furniture. The dents from heavy furniture can be long-lasting. Even furniture on casters can damage a cushioned vinyl floor. If you use throw rugs with non-slip backing, the backing material can leave a permanent stain on your floor.

Other Disadvantages

Some vinyl flooring is slippery, although cushioned floors vary. This can present special concerns in nursing homes and hospitals. The toasty feel of cushioned vinyl also can be a disadvantage in hot climates, especially for those who prefer to walk barefoot.