The Composition and structure of quartz vinyl tiles
Quartz vinyl tiles are positioned by manufacturing companies as premium flooring. Due to its multilayer structure, the material is durable and 100% hygroscopic.
Photo-printed decors realistically convey the texture of natural stone or wood. In terms of strength and durability, quartz vinyl is similar to ceramic tiles, and in terms of flexibility and ease of installation, it is similar to linoleum.
Performance determines the scope of the material: from industrial premises to beauty salons, from nurseries to the bathroom.
What is quartz vinyl tile?
Quartz vinyl tiles are practical floor covering made up of several layers. The material composition includes quartz sand (from 70 to 80%), which gives it density and strength, and polyvinyl chloride, which provides moisture resistance and stability. There is also a fiberglass canvas in the tile as a reinforcing component.
During the production process, the front side of the product is covered with a protective layer of polyurethane, which makes the coating resistant to wear. Some brands add other materials to the polyurethane, such as crushed ceramic chips. A texture is applied to the protective layer to give natural wood or stone appearance, which prevents slipping.
Quartz vinyl tile layers
Layers of various materials are layered in a particular order on top of one another and then baked using heat pressing.
The following main layers are distinguished in the composition of the tile:
1. Lower baseline
This layer is made of PVC, and it ensures a tight adhesion of the tile to the floor surface.
It has the most significant thickness, PVC and quartz sand. Thanks to the mineral, the tiles are very durable.
To reinforce the main layer, a fiberglass mesh is introduced into it.
It is a drawing, ornament, imitation of wood or stone, applied by photo printing.
5. Upper protective
It’s made of polyurethane with aluminum oxide added to it. Gives strength and abrasion resistance to tiles.
Quartz vinyl is considered an environmentally friendly material; it does not emit harmful volatile substances.
What is the difference between quartz vinyl and PVC tiles?
Both materials are widely used as floor coverings and are sometimes confused. But structurally and in terms of application, these are entirely different materials. Their presence unites them in the composition of polyvinyl chloride. PVC tiles resemble linoleum, only cut into plates for more convenient installation of the main parameters. At the same time, quartz vinyl is close to laminate in strength.
Considering the history of the emergence and development of PVC flooring, we can understand this material’s growing popularity. More than 50 years ago, vinyl flooring was developed and introduced in the USSR in large-scale housing construction. The material consisted of single-layer tiles made of polyvinyl chloride, which reliably resisted moisture. Glue was used during installation, and the work was done quickly and easily. This made it possible to increase the efficiency of construction work.
Despite its widespread use in our country, vinyl has not become popular in the world. This is the lack of decorativeness, uniformity in design, and short service life. In the 90s, Japanese developers showed interest in vinyl tiles. The structure of the tiles was effectively refined, a decorative layer was introduced into it, which was applied through photo printing.
It was no longer a dull tile with the acronym PVC, but a premium luxury product, which was given Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). This is the name under which the flooring is known on the international market. In Russia, this coating has two characters – quartz vinyl and PVC tiles. With the development of technology, the structure of the tiles was changed, interlayers of quartz sand and fiberglass were added. Some rulers were supplied with acoustic substrates. The result is what is called flexible or soft quartz vinyl tiles.
In the 2000s, the quality of photo prints applied to coatings improved significantly. Such LVT tiles could already imitate stone and fine woods. The cost of the layer has lowered as a result of the automation of production lines. Flexible tiles are mounted using adhesives. After that, they decided to modify the structure of the tiles and introduced reinforcing materials. The tile received a rigid base and locked like those of a laminate. Accordingly, such a tile is already laid using the locking method without the use of glue.
Such tiles can be produced in the form of stripes and are called quartz vinyl laminate. In fact, from that moment on, this tile covering became a laminate. At the same time, the main qualities of the material remained the same, and it is durable, resistant to wear, and, most importantly, it successfully resists the effects of moisture. The significant advantage of a castle floor is to lay it on a surface with slight differences in height or unevenness. An adhesive floor requires a perfectly level base.
Ordinary PVC tiles are thinner and less durable than quartz counterparts. In addition, it is more easily exposed to mechanical damage and contains a certain percentage of synthetic components. Quartzvinyl is considered the most environmentally friendly material that does not emit harmful substances and lasts much longer than PVC tiles. Quartz vinyl covering can be laid on a warm floor, provided that the heating temperature meets manufacturers’ requirements. And vinyl tiles are not recommended for these purposes.
Types of quartz vinyl tiles
The main types of quartz vinyl cover differ in the method of installation and rigidity.
There are the following types of quartz vinyl tiles:
- Soft, laid on the adhesive;
- Soft self-adhesive, in which glue has already been applied to the bottom layer;
- Rigid, lock-mounted.
To determine which quartz vinyl tile is better – castle or adhesive, consider the main advantages of each type.
Castle quartz vinyl tiles
The locking cover is a plate with “thorn-groove” locks. For installation, they must be aligned and clicked. The installation method for this tile is the same as for laminate flooring. The interlocking tiles are thicker than the glue tiles since the locks must be embedded. However, the coating is convenient to work with.
Its advantageous properties provide the functionality of the interlocking tile:
Ease of installation
Even to a person who has no experience in construction work, laying vinyl laminate will seem simple. Installation is carried out without glue, which does not require additional costs. And the base does not need to be leveled to perfection.
Operation without waiting period
Immediately after installation, you can use the floor, walk on it, install furniture, etc.
The lock quartz vinyl finds optimal application in medium and high traffic rooms, where fast laying is required. Quartz laminate flooring can be installed without specialist assistance. Slight differences in height (up to 2 mm per 1 meter of area) do not affect the quality of installation.
Castle quartz vinyl tiles are the latest advancement in flooring development. The multilayer structure ensures reliable operation, with each layer having its purpose and contributing to the system’s strength. However, the most significant impact on the durability of the tile is provided by the rigid composite base on which the entire structure is supported.
Introducing a composite layer into the material structure significantly reduces the percentage of polyvinyl chloride and enhances the stabilization properties. At the same time, the tiles become more environmentally friendly: at the end of their service life, they can be recycled.
Depending on the composition, two types of composite base are distinguished:
Stone Plastic (Polymer) Composite (SPC)
In SPC, 78% is calcium carbonate, and 22% is polyvinyl chloride.
Wood Plastic (Polymer) Composite (WPC)
The wood composite board consists of wood powder (55%), calcium carbonate (15%), foaming agent (8%), polyvinyl chloride (22%), plasticizing components.
With the same PVC content in SPC composites, quartz is the main element. Therefore the structure of the material is close to natural stone. At the same time, WPC has a loose design since wood flour is the main constituent.
The structure of quartz vinyl tiles made based on SPC and WPC is almost the same, and it consists of several layers:
- Upper polyurethane layer, which serves as protection against damage and slipping;
- A decorative coating on which a drawing is applied through photographic printing, imitating a wood or stone surface;
- Composite interlayer made of suitable material;
- PVC layer with fiberglass reinforcement;
- Acoustic or cork layer.
But, despite the similarity in structure, mineral and wood composite boards differ in some parameters:
The homogeneity of the structure provides the SPC board with a higher density against WPC (2000 and 1050 kg / m³, respectively). Therefore, with the exact dimensions, the SPC board will weigh more.
Footstep sounds are better muffled by WPC composites, and mineral SPCs are supplied with particular substrates.
Using lock joints, both types of tiles are simple to install. According to the main quality criteria, WPC is slightly inferior to SPC.
Adhesive quartz vinyl tiles
Soft quartz vinyl tiles are the predecessor of rigid interlocking. For its installation, a unique contact adhesive is used.
Installation is carried out as follows:
- The floor surface is leveled;
- Using lock joints, both types of tiles are simple to install.;
- Cover elements are stacked end-to-end;
- The floor is left to dry for the time specified in the instructions.
Laying the glue product requires specific skills. A beginner can easily ruin the material. As a result, delegating such jobs to professionals is preferred.
The main advantages of glutinous quartz vinyl tiles include:
Resistant to moisture.
After laying and drying, the soft tiles become a monolithic coating with sealed joints.
Variety in design.
Elements can be mounted in various ways – herringbone, deck, patterns, or in combination with other materials.
Tiles for gluing are much cheaper than for interlocking. However, due to the special preparation of the floor and the need to purchase glue, additional costs arise that should be considered when choosing.
The main area of application is residential or public buildings with any level of humidity. The high wear resistance class (43) allows the coating to be used in areas with high traffic. Well suited for modern interiors with a variety of design solutions.
Quartz vinyl tiles, the pros and cons of which will be discussed below, are perfectly combined with various materials: stone, wood, porcelain stoneware.
The main positive aspects of using quartz vinyl are:
1. High moisture resistance.
Due to its low moisture absorption coefficient (one ten-thousandth of a percent). During operation, the material does not change its geometric dimensions and can withstand moisture in the dampest rooms and even in contact with water.
2. Frost resistance.
The coating tolerates low temperatures well. Therefore it is applicable in rooms with no heating. However, it should be remembered that the material becomes brittle at low temperatures and can collapse under load.
3. Resistant to wear and tear.
Quartzvinyl has a high degree of wear resistance, and it was assigned a 43rd class for this indicator. The material can be used in rooms with any level of traffic, including large public buildings such as government offices or shopping centers.
4. Possibility of laying over large areas.
In case of temperature drops, quartz vinyl is not subject to expansion or contraction; therefore, when installing in rooms up to 400 m², it will not be necessary to arrange expansion joints.
5. Variety of decors.
One of the layers in the structure of quartz vinyl tiles is a decorative film on which an image is applied that imitates the texture of stone and wood. Any drawing or ornament can be imposed by the method of photo printing.
6. Ease of maintenance.
Quartzvinyl is resistant to detergents and abrasive cleaning agents.
7. Fire safety.
The absence of the possibility of igniting or spreading a flame makes quartz vinyl one of the safest materials. In addition, the tiles are odorless. If the material is of high quality, it should not emit any volatile substances during installation or operation.
The disadvantages of the coating are more related to soft adhesive quartz vinyl tiles:
1. Installation specifics.
For glued tiles, the floor surface is prepared very carefully. It is necessary to make a flat screen or self-leveling floor. Any imperfections in the bottom will show up on the tiles.
2. The softness of the material.
Under the influence of constant stress (heavy furniture), dents may appear on the glutinous quartz vinyl tile.
3. Professional styling.
If the standards are not observed, the seams on the soft tiles may crack. To tightly and correctly lay quartz vinyl, it is better to invite a specialist.
4. The impossibility of combining with a warm film floor.
When using infrared film, it isn’t easy to control heating. Temperatures over 50 ° C are critical for tiles, and they can crack and deform.
5. Poor compatibility with warm floors.
It can lay quartz vinyl on a warm bed. However, the heating efficiency is not very high since the material has low thermal conductivity.
Quartz vinyl price is relatively high. It depends on the type of tile, its thickness, and also on the manufacturer.
It isn’t easy to find an analog of quartz vinyl in the modern building materials market in terms of quality. The tile has absorbed the best qualities of the materials included in its structure. Thanks to minerals, the material is solid, and polyvinyl chloride gives it durability and resistance to wear.