7 Types of Resilient Flooring and How to Choose

Man installing vinyl floor

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Resilient flooring is perfectly named because the emphasis is on resilience and durability. Floor coverings in this broad category include several variations of vinyl flooring, plus unique products like cork, linoleum, and rubber flooring. Comfort and durability go hand-in-hand with resilient flooring, but which type of resilient flooring is best for your home? 

What Is Resilient Flooring?

Resilient flooring is any floor covering material that is not wood, textile, stone, concrete, or ceramic. Resilient flooring is comfortable underfoot because it provides a slight bounce-back. Vinyl flooring is one example of resilient flooring.

  • 01 of 07

    Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Tile and Planks

    Installing Rigid Core Vinyl Plank

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    Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring is a multi-ply resilient flooring product that merges desirable qualities of laminate flooring, like rigidity and secure joinery, with many of vinyl flooring's strong points, such as water resistance and durability.

    Rigid luxury vinyl planks or tiles can be up to 8 mm thick (over 1/3rd of an inch), the same thickness as many laminates.

    Where laminate has wood content, making it prone to swelling and mold, rigid core luxury vinyl is made of 100-percent waterproof inorganic materials. Tight-locking snap-lock joinery on all four sides renders rigid core luxury vinyl flooring water-resistant.

    Choose rigid core luxury vinyl flooring if you want to easily install your own flooring and aren't interested in glue-down flooring. Due to its four- or five-layer construction, rigid core resilient flooring works well on cold subfloors. Also, the thick construction allows for deeper embossing, for more realistic wood- or stone-like textures.

    Easy to clean, tough, and good for homes with pets, rigid core luxury vinyl is a multi-purpose flooring product that fits especially well in water-prone spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

  • 02 of 07

    Flexible Luxury Vinyl Tile and Planks

    Flexible Vinyl Flooring

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    Flexible luxury vinyl tile and planks come in 6- or 7-inch by 48-inch planks and 12- and 18-inch squares, as well as rectangles.

    Flexible vinyl tile and planks can be as thin as 2mm, or four times thinner than rigid core vinyl floor covering. Some of these boards do have click-and-lock joinery, but their thinness can create joint instability. So, glue-down flexible vinyl flooring is more the norm. This allows for larger expanses of flooring without pull-up or shifting.

    Though flexible vinyl flooring is thinner than rigid core, its prices run commensurate with the thickness: 2mm flooring can be up to four times cheaper than 8mm rigid core flooring.

    Though economy and strength are the merits of flexible vinyl flooring, it's important to remember that flexible vinyl tile and planks aren't as deeply textured as the thicker boards; there simply isn't enough material to emboss.

  • 03 of 07

    Sheet Vinyl Flooring

    Sheet Vinyl Floor

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    Sheet vinyl flooring comes in 12-foot-wide rolls with thicknesses ranging from the traditional 0.050-inch on up to cushioned 0.10-inch version.

    The low number of seams, or absence altogether, contributes to sheet vinyl flooring's excellent water resistance. Small rooms floored in sheet vinyl with no seams are considered to be 100-percent waterproof. 

    If you're looking for resilient flooring you can install by yourself, sheet vinyl can be tricky to install. The material is heavy and bulky, and you need to be able to accurately measure the material and make precise cuts. With plank or tile vinyl, you can discard the piece if you get the cut wrong. With sheet vinyl, you have one chance to get the cut right.

    Modified loose-lay sheet vinyl is the easiest sheet vinyl to install since tape secures the floor covering to the subfloor or underlayment. Glue isn't required. Modified loose lay can go directly on plywood or OSB. Only one seam is allowed with loose lay, but a 24-foot-wide span (two sheets with one seam) is wide enough for most rooms.


    For a more secure bond, choose full-spread sheet vinyl. Glue covers the entire back of the floor. Multiple seams are allowed, seams are less prone to pulling up, and the product is more water resistant.

  • 04 of 07

    Cork Flooring

    Kitchen with cork floors
    Jonathan Bielaski / Getty Images

    Cork flooring is warm, moisture-resistant, and beautiful, much like solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring. Unlike wood, cork flooring is very much a resilient floor: cork lends a natural springiness to the flooring, for an unmistakable bounce underfoot.

    Cork flooring comes in square tiles or long planks that attach side to side for floating floors that are simple to install or which glue down for maximum resilience and durability.


    Not all cork flooring looks like cork. Some cork floors are digitally printed in high definition to reproduce the look of wood or stone.

    Cork flooring is the most environmentally friendly resilient floor. Recycled cork stopper waste is often mixed with urethane to form cork sheets that are bound with high-density fiberboard to produce tongue-and-groove planks. In many cases, waste cork powder generates the energy to make cork tiles. New cork is harvested, as well. Cork also has the distinction of being the only flooring product where the source (the tree) is not removed when the flooring material is stripped.

    Warm and comfortable, cork flooring works well in basements or any place in the house where flooring insulation is important. Cork is also a standout for anyone looking for a healthier floor with little or no synthetic additives.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Linoleum Flooring

    Linoleum Tile Floor

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    Linoleum, the precursor to vinyl flooring, is durable, dense, and vibrant.

    Linoleum is an all-natural product made of linseed oil, wood flour, pine rosins, and pigments. Today's linoleum comes in three forms: glue-down tiles, click-lock tiles and planks, and large sheets. 

    Linoleum is very much a resilient floor for today, though availability is more limited than in the past. Manufacturers like Marmoleum, MCT Elementals, and Textura make linoleum in sheet rolls from 6 to 7 feet wide or in tiles and planks that range from 12 inches square to nearly 40 inches by 10 inches.


    Few homeowners will casually purchase linoleum flooring in favor of other resilient floor products like vinyl flooring. Most seek out linoleum flooring to give a vintage home an authentic look or for linoleum's solid colors that are both bold and dramatic.

    Linoleum tiles and planks are very dense and heavy, contributing to linoleum's long lifespan. Along with cork, linoleum is made primarily from renewable resources.

  • 06 of 07

    Solid Vinyl Tile (SVT)

    Tile Floor

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    Most vinyl flooring may appear to be solid vinyl, but it really isn't. Instead, it's a layer that starts with a felt back on the bottom, ends with a clear wear layer on the top, and has many layers between. De-lamination is possible. With solid vinyl tile, it's vinyl from top to bottom, and this will not de-laminate.

    Through-body construction is common with ceramic and porcelain tile, but less so with resilient flooring. Yet solid vinyl tile is also through-body. The advantage of a through-body build is that there are no layers to successively wear away or peel off. As traffic and time wear down the surface, there is more vinyl below to take its place. 

    Solid vinyl tile compares to vinyl composite tile (VCT): also solid, homogeneous, and through-body. The difference is that solid vinyl tile contains more vinyl than VCT, so it's less porous and easier to maintain without regular surface treatments. Of the two, solid vinyl tile is a better choice for homes than VCT.

  • 07 of 07

    Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT)

    Vinyl Tile Flooring
    Vinyl Tile Flooring

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    Where solid vinyl tile is just that—all vinyl—vinyl composite tile (VCT) is a blend of vinyl, limestone, dolomite, and other minerals and pigments to produce a resilient floor with remarkable strength.

    Up to 85-percent of vinyl composite tile is mineral content. Vinyl composite tile is best for high-traffic environments where durability is the main concern, yet where the limited design, pattern, and embossing options are less important.

    Heavy and dense, VCT is also durable due to its through-body build. VCT is not made from layers. Instead, the material is a solid piece from top to bottom. As the upper surfaces wear down, there is more of the same material below.

    Vinyl composite tile is the clear choice for high-traffic commercial spaces, where the floor needs to last for decades. Because of its porosity, VCT needs waxing or other surface treatments on a regular basis.

  • Which resilient flooring is the most durable?

    One important quality of resilient flooring is its resilience, so all resilient flooring is durable to one degree or another. Linoleum is the most durable resilient flooring for homes, with wear warranties routinely extending 30 years or more. Vinyl composite tile is the most durable resilient flooring of all.

  • What are the advantages of resilient flooring?

    Some of the advantages of resilient flooring are that it is economical, simple to install, durable, easy underfoot, and water resistant.

Article Sources
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  1. Vinyl Flooring. LL Flooring

  2. B03C - Material Guides - Resilient Flooring. National Floor Covering Association

  3. Natural Cork Flooring. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

  4. Flooring: One Step Ahead. FacilitiesNet

  5. Vinyl Composition Tile. Mannington