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6 Key Decisions When Choosing Vinyl Plank

Vinyl Plank is a great product for the multi-family manager. The enormous number of selections from the different manufacturers can be overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to help you evaluate which vinyl plank is right for you.

Wear Layer Thickness

The thickness of the wear layer will have more to do with determining the durability than any other factor. Wear layer thickness ranges from 6 mil to 30 mil. We recommend between 8 mil and 12 mil for apartments.

Plank Thickness

The overall thickness of the plank has no impact on the wear of the plank. A thicker plank can help to cover up irregularities in the floors to make for a smoother installation. However, this can also be achieved by prep work to the floor prior to install. Plank thickness ranges from 2 mm to 5 mm in thickness.

Method Of Installation

Direct glue vs. floating. Direct glue down products are the least expensive. They require that the floor be smoother at the time of install. Floating floors are more expensive because they are thicker and have a connection mechanism built into them. These can be either tape or click systems that hold the plank together.

Plank Appearance

Selecting a Visual. There are three factors that contribute to the visual look of most plank. The first is the “film” that is used. The film is the picture of the wood that is adhered to the vinyl core. The second element of the visual is the “embossing”. This is the texture that is created when the plank is being produced. The third element of the visual is the level of gloss on the product. All three of these factors are controlled during the manufacturing process.

Sound Transmission

Because vinyl plank is so durable, many property managers want to extend it into areas where they have previously had carpet. Since plank is a hard surface, unlike carpet, it does not absorb sound. Many managers are electing to install plank in larger areas on their bottom floor units. In the upper floor units, they are either choosing to install plank only in the areas where they already have vinyl or they are using a type of underlayment to absorb some of the sound.


When evaluating the cost of vinyl plank, you should look at the all-in cost for an installation rather than the per s.f. price. The reason is the “waste factor” associated with different types of products. Sheet vinyl has an average waste factor of 15% to 30%. Vinyl plank on the other had has about a 5% waste factor. As a result, vinyl plank is much closer in price to the sheet vinyl than it would appear if you are only looking at the per s.f. price.

These are just a few of the important considerations when selecting a vinyl plank. There are others that should also be considered including the regulations of plank materials.

At NAF, we want to help you make the absolute best selection for your particular needs. As part of our proposal process, NAF will guide you through the selection process to find the product that helps you achieve your goals.

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