Resilient vinyl flooring has become a priced design material for many professionals such as interior designers and architects. Vinyl flooring is particularly useful for those who are designing heavy-traffic areas such as a grocery store or for rooms that must always be kept clean such as a hospitals.


Vinyl flooring is also called “resilient” flooring because it characteristically “bounces back” from the weight of objects that compress its surface. It has long been the most useful and popular hard surface flooring in nearly all over the world.

Vinyl floors are available in either tile or sheet form for both commercial and residential use. New technologies in recent years have improved vinyl’s looks and performance. Because resilient floors are durable. It is also easier to maintain and more moisture-resistant than many popular materials. Vinyl is favored for use in commercial and residential kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in healthcare locations, and commercial and business establishments.

history of vinyl flooring

A History of Vinyl

Vinyl is basically a plastic. Raw material goes through a process to become a synthetic material which is in form a POLYMER.

Resilient Floors

Vinyl flooring is in a class called “Resilient Flooring” because the material is never rigid. It also can bend, or roll, or otherwise react to different conditions in a flexible manner. There were other kinds of resilient materials used as flooring before vinyl was invented in the 1920s.

Around the 1100s to 1200s, rubber tile style flooring start to come into use. Their popularity mostly died down by the end of the 1600s. In 1845 came the invention of linoleum. It was industrially manufactured in Scotland.

The popularity of rubber tiles came back in 1894, when a locking system to keep the tiles together was invented by Frank Furness, an architect in Philadelphia. The ease of laying these in place permitted decorators and homeowners alike to create different patterns and designs by the way they positioned the tiles. As you can depict, a huge rubber floor will serve as an insulator of sound. These floors were also heavy duty and very easy to clean.

Cork became a flooring product that became the bestselling material in 1924. This lasted within 20 years. It was very expensive and was limited in how it could look. The same was true of the next resilient floor in line, asphalt tiles, developed in the 1920’s. They were good and tough, but styles were limited.

Vinyl Flooring

Its use as a floor will begin in the 1930’s, but the substance itself, just “vinyl”, came around in the late 1800’s. Using vinyl chloride, which is a gas, researchers in Europe developed a material for which no one could find a use, practical or commercial. In 1872 chemist Eugen Baumann developed Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) in Germany. In 1913 another Friedrich Klatte came up with an alternate method of getting the substance to polymerize, and he got a patent, the first for PVC. It remained little more than a patented chemical for roughly the next 20 years.

In 1926 vinyl as a useful substance was invented by accident. In Akron, Ohio, Waldo Lonsbury Semon, a researcher, was trying to develop an adhesive to bond rubber to metal for The BF Goodrich Company. Showing serendipitous resourcefulness. He experimented with the materials generated by his failures and created a plasticized polyvinyl chloride.

Unlike the rigid materials generated by Baumann and Klatte, this appeared as a gelatinous substance like unprocessed rubber. He got PATENTS, but his work with the PVC remained relatively unknown. It was popular industrially, where it was used for tubing, wire insulation and gaskets, but the public first encountered it in golf balls, shower curtains and the heels of shoes, and finally in 1933, when, at a Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, Vinyl Composite Tile as a kind of flooring was presented.

While it was an easily installed floor, and vinyl production had become well commercialized and industrialized. By the 1940, for a very important reason it became very useful for World War II. In December of 1941, Japan invaded southeast Asia. This reduced the supplies of shellac, which almost blocked the production of musical records until vinyl began to be used in record production. Vinyl’s dearth for flooring was increased by the war effort in general. The Germans developed PVC piping when their metals began to be in short supply.

Vinyl during the Second World War

Vinyl experiments during the Second World War did not stop, but some difficulties arose because oil was needed to produce it and there was a shortage. Otherwise, the purpose is to be used as a substitute for rubber. Despite the shortcomings, manufacturers do not give up, but provide help in military operations. They assist with the services and products they offer.

Similar efforts have been made for US warships, where the outer vinyl coating has been replaced with rubber. Vinyl also helped the Germans who created PVC pipes as an alternative to theirs.

In this way, the material continues its development during unrest. As a final result, it is important that peace occurs, and it continues to mark new achievements and ever-increasing popularity in perfection.

The development of vinyl from the 1950s to the 1970s

As it was almost clear, the vinyl flooring was on the rise. High popularity began to be observed in the 1950s. It is mainly due to the advantages it has – flexibility, durability, affordable price and resistance to combustion. Therefore, it is a preferred flooring for the home, office, schools, hospitals and other industries. Its effectiveness earns many and also saves a lot of money.

First, they appear in the commercial areas, and then the pavements enter the housing cooperatives, houses and villas. The highest popularity was recorded in the 1960s. The facts speak for themselves, given the data that in 1950 production reached 222,000 tonnes annually and after 1960 began millions of tons.

The latest fashion trends for this period are the 70s, through which a vinyl board was invented. At that time, the floors could already be resembled woodwork. This more economical option becomes preferred for many.

Vinyl Flooring in 1958

Vinyl manufacturing resurfaced after the war ended, boasting some of its newly discovered properties, versatility and resistance. Vinyl flooring was shown to handle heavy foot traffic. It is also relatively cheap, so it quickly became popular in commercial spaces. It also became a household name. It became a very high competitor to other resilient flooring.

Advancements in vinyl flooring technology in 1960 was popularized. Vinyl which didn’t need other materials such as wax made it so easy to maintain, and cushioned flooring made walking more comfortable. Vinyl became the second most popular kind of flooring next to carpet.

The first vinyl plank flooring was introduced to the market in the 1970s. These are made of vinyl but cut into planks. They are designed to look like wood. It was a durable, cheap alternative to real hardwood flooring which is very expensive flooring material. The Beveled plank cuts made it more authentic and realistic looking than sheet flooring.

Today these planks have a deal sealer. Vinyl plank is now available as a 100% waterproof floor. Top to bottom, inside and out, now they are 100% waterproof, and benefit from the same technologies that have made laminate flooring become so increasingly realistic looking.

The development of vinyl from 1980 until today

1980 vinyl flooring

By the 1980s there was a problem with the production of vinyl flooring. Vinyls contained asbestos that was extremely harmful to health. The consequences of his inhalation could be fatal, namely lung cancer and mesothelioma. Coming to such conclusions as a threat, immediate action has been taken. The discovery was made in the 1970s, and in the 1980s manufacturers abolished the use of asbestos.

For the 21st century it can be said that vinyl is a leading trend among materials as a rigid tube or in the form of a plastic sheath. Not only that development is to a large extent, but in America, this industry employs about 100,000 employees, and in 2012 sales of luxury vinyl tiles are 500 million dollars. This is indicative of the advantages of the material being at a high level, the innovation being in the supply of waterproof vinyl flooring.

Also, the latest is to reduce the amount of PVC used in vinyl flooring. This will also reduce the release of volatile organic compounds. Today the appearance has a serious impact. This is why vinyl is present in a number of areas, including healthcare, textiles, construction, trade, automotive, and it is reaching out to the space industry.