Home » News » P is for Polymer Degradation

P is for Polymer Degradation

A white plank effect vinyl showing heavy signs of discolouration caused by polymer degradation
What is Polymer Degradation?

Many man-made flooring products such as carpet, vinyl, LVT and laminates contain polymers. When those polymers start to degrade (break down) it can result in a number of changes to the flooring. The most common of these changes is the discolouration of your flooring, but it can also cause the floor to change shape or even wear prematurely.

Is this the same as Plasticisation?

Plasticisation has been used to describe the process of polymer degradation however that is a different process relating to polymer materials and not the same.

Causes and prevention

1. Heat and UV damage
Cause: Generally speaking, heat in domestic environments shouldn’t affect flooring products, although care should be taken for kitchens and in rooms that have hot pipes and underfloor heating. UV sun rays can also cause polymer degradation resulting in discolouration. 

Prevention: Many man-made flooring products are treated to reduce UV damage although some discolouration is still possible. Third party UV protection can be applied to some products and UV films are available to fit to windows protecting more than just the floor.  Manufacturers often recommend curtains and/or blinds are closed on sunny days to prevent UV damage.

2. Sub-floor
Cause: Sub-floor materials can react with a new polymer based flooring product resulting in degradation.

Prevention: It’s not always easy to tell what sub-floor material you have and whether it will react with your choice of flooring. If you are unsure seek expert advice.

3. Old/existing flooring product

Cause: Failure to remove the old/existing flooring prior to installation of the new product. Can lead to the new product to take on the texture, colouring and design of the old product, as seen here:

Prevention: Remove all old flooring back to sub-floor prior to installation of a new product. All too often this step is skipped to save cost but potentially means more cost in the long-run.

A white plank effect vinyl showing heavy signs of discolouration caused by polymer degradation
We were called out to look at the discolouration of this 3rd party installation. The new flooring was a white wood-effect vinyl but you can clearly see the colour and tile shape from the old flooring underneath.

At Grimley Flooring we always ensure your job is carried out professionally and to all British and manufacturer standards. Call now for your free consultation.

Leave a Reply