Shopping for Flooring Can Be Overwhelming


When shopping around for new flooring, odds are you have encountered luxury vinyl plank as a popular product option. But how do you compare the different products and thicknesses? Why do some products have 12mil wear layers, and others 20mil? And you might ask yourself, what’s the big difference anyways?

What is a wear layer in vinyl plank flooring?

A wear layer is a clear protective layer that is the topmost layer on a vinyl plank. This layer protects the print layer from being damaged, and usually made of extremely durable resin. Regardless of the type of vinyl plank product, all vinyl plank flooring has a wear layer.

How is a vinyl plank wear layer measured?

Most Vinyl plank flooring has the wear layer measurement in thousands of an inch “mil”. 1 mil = 1/1000th of an inch. Another common way to measure wear layers is in mm. (millimeters). For example, a vinyl plank product could have a 12mil wear layer. That wear layer in millimeters would be 0.3mm.

Why this can be confusing?

This can be confusing when talking to a salesperson. The salesperson might say something like: “this vinyl is a 12mil product.” The salesperson is referring to the wear layer and attempting to tell the customer that it has a decent wear layer on it to protect it from heavy traffic. What the customer usually hears is “This product is 12mm thick”. This is because many people mistakenly refer to Millimeters as mils.

What is a good wear layer on vinyl plank?

Vinyl plank is constantly improving and getting better. Sometimes thickness of wear layer is not the only factor to consider for durability. There are some other factors like core composition, and wear layer finish. Some products have additional production through a process called nano coating.

A general rule of thumb is 12mil wear layer (0.3mm) should be sufficient for residential application and most commercial applications.