loose-lay vinyl

With the growing popularity of vinyl flooring in the market, most focus is on glue-down options, but what about loose-lay vinyl flooring? Adhesive-free, loose-lay vinyl sheeting, tiles or planks are designed to reduce installation times and are available in a wide range of designs. They are suitable for both commercial and residential installations, where minimising disruption and installation time is of critical importance. 

How does it work? 

loose-lay vinyl  

The material used for loose-lay vinyl is slightly thicker than the conventional glue-down products and has slightly different construction layers to stabilise and limit movement. Innovative vinyl construction features a glass fibre stabilisation layer to enhance dimensional stability and also a unique honeycomb backing layer to ensure the tiles stay in position. 

Easy installation 

  • Adhesive-free and odourless installation. 
  • Reduced installation time, as there is no need to wait for adhesives to cure. 
  • Can be installed over existing floor coverings, meaning subfloor preparation is significantly reduced. 
  • Some products can be installed over substrates up to 97% relative humidity (RH), with no damp-proof membrane (DPM). Others only offer resistance to subfloor moisture and recommend a DPM. 
  • Tape can be fitted around the perimeter of the room, underneath all seams and doorways, securing the flooring is in place if needed in larger areas. 


  • Continued access to underfloor utilities such as cabling and pipework. 
  • Individual floor tiles can easily be replaced, relocated, and reused for easy adaption to changing layouts or rejuvenation of flooring designs. 
  • Multi-use: Some options are waterproof and well adapted to bathrooms, kitchens, and wet areas. 
  • Diverse applications, from heavy commercial applications and residential to retail and office spaces.  
  • Ideal for temporary installations, exhibition spaces etc. 
  • Easy removal when desired. 

loose-lay vinyl

Ease of use 

  • A polyurethane reinforcement (PUR) surface layer (sheet and planks) ensures durability, easy maintenance, and cleaning. 
  • Many designs and patterns are available. 
  • Loose-lay tiles are available in multiple sizes in both square tiles and planks, which can be used to create unique patterns in layout. 

Longevity and sustainability 

  • Guarantees on loose-lay vinyl flooring is between 10-20 years, depending on the product used. 
  • Most options are recyclable, ideal for green building applications and end-of-life considerations. 
  • Most products contain a percentage of recycled material, up to 100%. 

Key considerations 

  • Subfloor must be smooth, hard, dry and clean. A rough concrete surface should be treated with a smoothing compound before installation. 
  • A highly porous substrate may require a suitable primer. 
  • As with other vinyl products, acclimatising of the product is required in the same area as installation, to prevent thermally induced dimensional changes. 
  • Cold-welded joints on sheet vinyl are recommended for watertightness. 

Issue: What are the alternatives to glue-down vinyl flooring? 

Solution: Loose-lay, adhesive-free vinyl sheets, planks and tiles offer a range of benefits for both domestic and commercial applications. 

Acknowledgement and thanks go to:

www.gerflor.co.za/ and www.polyflor.co.za/ for the information in this article. 

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