Common Sheet Vinyl Problems
The following is a listing of the most common sheet vinyl problems, complaints, and defects. Most of the problems are usually traced to poor maintenance and care on the part of the homeowner. There are installer related problems and actual material defects. This guide will help you zero in on the probable cause. The information that follows was taken from a very fine publication developed by the Armstrong World Industries, Inc. folks. Visit a dealer or distributor in your area that sells Armstrong products. They should have this publication handy so you can see the helpful illustrations. The copy I have has is 8.5 by 11 inches in size and has a bright yellow cover with black type.
Change in Gloss
This will appear as an overall dullness in the sheet vinyl, a dullness in traffic areas, and scuffs under chairs. The cause is almost always improper maintenance. Dirt, dust and grit act like sandpaper and scratch the gloss finish of the vinyl. You can avoid these problems by dust mopping and wet mopping on a frequent basis. Consider installing floor mats and rugs at doorways. Polishing compounds may help restore the shine.
You may see random cracks in the vinyl, over joints in the underlayment, under chairs with wheels, or cracks at doorways, etc. The causes of cracks are numerous. Virtually every crack problem is remedied by replacing the vinyl and solving any subfloor or underlayment problems. Almost always the party responsible is not the homeowner.
You will possibly see yellowing in a traffic lane or color patterns at entry points into the room or random spots or splashes of color. Asphalt sealers, oil, rubber shoe soles, and nylon stockings can cause stains! Carpet components, rich colored clay soils and ordinary spills also cause staining. Try to remove shoes before walking on the vinyl floor. Purchase sheet vinyl with discoloration warranties.
Heat / Sunlight Stains
You may see yellow, red-brown or black discoloration near heat vents, radiator legs or supply pipes and spots near windows or glass doors. You can avoid some of these problems by not allowing vinyl to come into contact with high heat sources. Close window shades during the most intense periods of sunlight.
Dents and Surface Damage
High heels, bar stools, corner tears at cabinets, rips, tears, etc. can really cause problems. The solutions vary from repair to total replacement depending on the degree of damage. A homeowner can be held responsible for high heel marks, chair leg problems and rips, tears and gouges caused by dragging or rolling heavy objects across the vinyl. Many other defects can be traced to improper installation.
Irregular Surface Defects
You see the old floor pattern show through. The floor appears like sheets of plastic that have sealed bubbles of air because of regular humps. The vinyl needs total replacement and the problems can almost always be traced to the installer or the manufacturer.
You see irregularities in the sheet vinyl pattern. Some of these meet the manufacturers specifications. There are quite a few that can be traced to a manufacturing defect. The distributor can show you illustrations of what is deemed acceptable and what is a true defect.
Some pattern problems meet the manufacturer's specifications. Others can be traced to installer or manufacturing defects. Once again, check the book for examples of who is responsible!
Seam or Joint Opening
Most seams that open are not acceptable. Some can be within manufacturer's specifications. Usually a credit card is used as a gauge. If the card can be placed in between vinyl tiles, the gap is too large. Open seams in sheet vinyl are not acceptable. The installer is almost always responsible.
Get a copy of the yellow and black booklet!