Vinyl Floor Backing Comparison – Felt vs. Fiberglass

We all know how good vinyl flooring looks on the surface, but what you may not realize is that the backing on vinyl flooring is just as important as its surface counterpart. The backing adds durability, water-resistance and determines how your floor will be installed. Let’s talk about the two most popular vinyl floor backing materials – felt and fiberglass.

Felt Vinyl Floor Backing

The main difference in vinyl flooring with felt backing is that it must be installed with permanent adhesive so it sticks to the subfloor, otherwise it could curl up at the ends. It also needs to be stored in the installation room for 24 hours to let it acclimatize to the room conditions. Installation is more difficult with felt-backed vinyl, and tiles will be harder to pull up if needed. This is why they are not recommended for the basement or anywhere that might get damp.

Fiberglass Vinyl Floor Backing

Fiberglass-backed vinyl, on the other hand, is growing in popularity due to its simpler loose-lay installation. It can be installed with releasable adhesive or no adhesive at all, making it easy to replace tiles should they become wet or damaged. Fiberglass also doesn’t have the curling problem felt has, and it won’t shrink, crack or warp with exposure to handling or the elements.

Fiberglass is also softer underfoot because of its thickness, which also adds to its muffling acoustic benefits for rooms with home theater systems or music spaces. Rooms with felt-backed vinyl are very echoing while fiberglass dampens the carrying noise and quiets the space. For all of these reasons, fiberglass is helping to redefine how consumers think of vinyl flooring given the benefits that felt-backed vinyl couldn’t provide in the past.

If you have any questions about vinyl flooring, call Jabara’s at 316-267-2512 during business hours to speak with one of our flooring experts.