Vinyl flooring options have expanded in recent years to include finishes that mimic the appearance of tile and hardwood. These materials have become popular in multifamily condominium and rental apartment markets, and hospital and healthcare facilities (long term care, hospice, etc.) due to the attractive cost and low maintenance.
As acoustical consultants, we evaluate flooring materials as they relate to sounds in the room and impact noise transmission between rooms/units. Hard floors transmit impact noise more easily to the room below, while softer materials like carpet can reduce impact noise transmission. Cushioned vinyl can also result in less noise from footfall, cart traffic, etc., in the room above, which is advantageous in hospital patient rooms and corridors. This is beneficial to both patients and hospital staff.
To help improve the impact noise isolation performance of their products and make them more attractive in the market place, flooring manufacturers have been adding integral resilient underlayments and pads to vinyl flooring. These underlayments are usually made of rubber or foam. While these materials do reduce impact noise transmission, our clients expressed concern as to how the material will be affected by heavy furniture, and if permanent marking or imprints will be left on the surface.
We tested Ecore’s Forest Rx Vinyl Flooring, by placing a metal desk on a product sample for more than three weeks. The foot of the desk left a deep impression in the vinyl. As we removed the desk from the sample, we recorded a time lapse of the product sample/desk impression. See the video, below.
We stopped our time lapse a little over seven hours. While the indent still remained visible at this time, it was greatly reduced. It had significantly improved over the next 48 hours, although an impression was faintly visible for a few more weeks.
Our test was not performed to an established standard but seems to indicate that, while impressions from heavy furniture will occur after long term use, these impressions should subside, over time.