12 mil vs 20 mil Vinyl Plank Flooring: Which Thickness is Right for Your Space?

12 mil vs 20 mil Vinyl Plank Flooring: Which Thickness is Right for Your Space?


Vinyl plank flooring has revolutionized interior design, providing an affordable and versatile option for homeowners seeking the appearance of hardwood or stone without the hefty price tag. As you embark on your flooring journey, understanding the differences between 12 mil and 20 mil vinyl plank options will empower you to make the best choice for your home.

Understanding Vinyl Plank Flooring

What is Vinyl Plank Flooring? Vinyl plank flooring is a synthetic flooring option that replicates the look and texture of natural materials, such as wood and stone. It is composed of multiple layers, including a wear layer, image layer, core layer, and backing layer.

Benefits of Vinyl Plank Flooring Vinyl plank flooring offers several advantages, including water resistance, durability, easy maintenance, and a wide array of design choices. It is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas and households with pets or children.

Deciphering Mil Thickness

Explaining Mil Measurement Mil, short for millimeter, is a unit of measurement used to describe the thickness of the wear layer of vinyl plank flooring. It indicates how well the flooring can withstand daily wear and tear.

Importance of Thickness in Flooring The thickness of vinyl plank flooring directly impacts its longevity and durability. Thicker wear layers offer better protection against scratches, dents, and other forms of damage.

Advantages of 12 Mil Vinyl Plank Flooring

Suitable Applications 12 mil vinyl plank flooring is ideal for moderate foot traffic areas such as bedrooms, guest rooms, and dining rooms. It provides a cost-effective flooring solution without compromising on aesthetics.

Cost-Effectiveness For budget-conscious homeowners, 12 mil vinyl plank flooring presents an attractive option. It offers a balance between affordability and visual appeal, making it a popular choice for various spaces.

Installation Ease Installing 12 mil vinyl plank flooring is a straightforward process, making it suitable for DIY enthusiasts. The planks are relatively lightweight and can be easily maneuvered during installation.

Benefits of 20 Mil Vinyl Plank Flooring

Enhanced Durability If you’re looking for flooring that can withstand heavy foot traffic and resist substantial wear, 20 mil vinyl plank flooring is a top contender. Its thicker wear layer provides superior protection against scratches, scuffs, and indentations.

High-Traffic Areas Spaces like hallways, entryways, and living rooms benefit from the added durability of 20 mil vinyl plank flooring. It can handle the daily hustle and bustle of active households.

Sound Absorption The increased thickness of 20 mil vinyl plank flooring contributes to enhanced sound absorption, making it a fantastic choice for reducing noise in multi-level homes or apartments.

Factors to Consider When Choosing

Foot Traffic and Usage Assess the foot traffic in the intended area. High-traffic zones demand thicker wear layers for long-lasting performance.

Aesthetic Preferences Consider the design and style you wish to achieve. Both 12 mil and 20 mil options offer a range of visual possibilities.

Budget Constraints While 20 mil flooring boasts superior durability, 12 mil flooring provides an affordable solution without compromising quality.

Installation and Maintenance

DIY Installation 12 mil vinyl plank flooring is well-suited for DIY installation projects. Its manageable weight and thickness make it accessible to those with basic handyman skills.

Professional Installation For 20 mil vinyl plank flooring, professional installation is recommended, especially for larger or more complex areas. Expert installation ensures optimal results and longevity.

Maintenance Tips Regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping are generally sufficient to keep both 12 mil and 20 mil vinyl plank flooring looking pristine. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could damage the wear layer.

Comparing Costs

Initial Investment 12 mil vinyl plank flooring is more budget-friendly in terms of upfront costs, making it an attractive option for those seeking economical flooring solutions.

Long-Term Value 20 mil vinyl plank flooring, while pricier initially, offers enhanced durability and a longer lifespan, providing better value over the years.

Making the Right Choice

Matching with Lifestyle Assess your lifestyle and household needs. Families with children and pets may lean towards 20 mil for added resilience.

Balancing Aesthetics and Practicality Strike a balance between the visual appeal of your chosen flooring and its ability to withstand daily wear and tear.


In the debate between 12 mil and 20 mil vinyl plank flooring, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right choice depends on your specific requirements, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Remember to consider the foot traffic, durability, and long-term value when making your decision. Whichever option you choose, vinyl plank flooring is sure to transform your space into a stylish and functional haven.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is thicker always better when it comes to vinyl plank flooring?

While thicker wear layers offer enhanced durability, the choice depends on the level of foot traffic and wear the area will experience. Thicker isn’t always necessary for low-traffic spaces.

Can I install 20 mil vinyl plank flooring in moisture-prone areas?

Yes, 20 mil vinyl plank flooring’s increased thickness provides better protection against moisture. However, proper installation and maintenance are still essential.

What is the average lifespan of 12 mil vinyl plank flooring?

With proper care, 12 mil vinyl plank flooring can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years or more, depending on usage.

Is underlayment necessary for vinyl plank flooring installation?

While underlayment is not mandatory, it can improve the overall comfort, sound absorption, and durability of your vinyl plank flooring.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring over existing tiles?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring can often be installed over existing tiles, provided the surface is smooth, even, and properly prepared.

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