Vinyl flooring development and use
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the most common types of flooring were clay, linoleum, rubber, and cork. In the late 19th century, the process of making linoleum was patented in the UK, introducing a smooth surface flooring for the first time. Different types of tiles were also introduced, and vinyl flooring gained popularity until the 1940s. Each material developed at the beginning of the last century had many positive aspects that were first introduced in the field of flooring, but at the same time, it had many limitations.
The development of materials has changed the world around us, by allowing us to constantly overcome new challenges and span greater distances. Wood and stone are just some of the materials that humans have used for construction since ancient times and have been in constant use for centuries, symbolizing quality.
Today, the development of flooring and building materials is driven by the need for ecological sustainability. The desire to limit the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) marks current trends in the development of flooring.
This is a volatile organic compound, the quantities of which are now strictly limited by regulations on the restrictions and prohibitions of the production, placing on the market, and use of chemicals that pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. This determination has influenced the direction of flooring development, with an increasing focus on renewable sources and minimizing the environmental impact throughout the entire process of production and disposal of flooring.
Vinyl flooring was actually discovered by accident in the late 19th century, when a European chemist invented rigid vinyl chloride material in his experiment, which did not receive any role at that time. A few decades later, through a series of other chemical experiments, vinyl chloride was mixed with other chemicals, resulting in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which we now call PVC.
This material was originally used for cushioning and creating synthetic rubber, and only after World War II did it enter the market as a flooring material. Soon, it became a very popular material, due to its characteristics of high durability, long-lasting performance, and of course, low cost. The psychedelic colors and patterns of the 1960s brought innovations in this area as well, and PVC floors began to be produced in a wide range of colors, patterns, and designs.
However, in the 1980s, the presence of asbestos was discovered in vinyl, which posed a health hazard. Thanks to technological advancements, vinyl flooring continued to evolve and was soon improved to eliminate the asbestos problem. These flooring materials began to be produced even better than before.
On the market today, there is a wide range of vinyl flooring with different characteristics that were not present before. Most of these floors are now completely waterproof, making them very easy to maintain. Additionally, they can be slip-resistant, creating a high gloss floor that is safe to use. One of the newer developments in vinyl flooring is that they are now produced to be static-free and can be environmentally friendly solutions.
Thanks to the development of flooring like this, a wide range of different ways of using buildings has been developed that was not possible before. Handling dangerous chemicals, transporting heavy materials, various sports activities, signaling, safe play… are just some of the activities made possible by the development of flooring and the inseparable link between lifestyle and the development of the construction industry.