Learning with Tim: Let’s Talk Scratching

In the resilient flooring world today with all the high-performance coatings being marketed and touted, nothing is scratch proof. The urethane coatings today enhanced with Ceramic Beads, Aluminum Oxide, or Cultured Diamonds still have the ability to scratch. LVP with a 20 mil wear layer does not mean that the wear layer is 20 mils of urethane coating. The wear layer is generally 19 mils of vinyl, then 1 mil or less of a urethane coating that is enhanced with Ceramic Beads, Aluminum Oxide, or Cultured Diamonds. By the way, 1 mil is 1/1,000th of an inch. Plastic Wrap that you cover food with is 5 mils (5/1,000th of an inch thick) thick. Think about that for a minute, that is not a lot of protection, but it does show you how durable these wear layers are, but they will still scratch.

The flooring world went through this a few years ago when Strand Woven Bamboo was introduced. Strand Woven Bamboo touted itself as 2 1⁄2 times harder than Red Oak. Guess what? It still scratched. Concrete has a psi of 5,000, and it can be scratched. Any material (see photos below) when subjected to an object that is sharp enough and abrasive enough, it can be scratched.

So, what helps with scratching? Three simple things, color, design, and texture. Darker colors when scratched show whitening. Mid-tones are better choices than light or dark colors. Busier, high contrast patterns will hide better than solid, monolithic patterns. You can have the hardest coating on a flooring product, but if it a plain, smooth, dark pattern, it is going to show scratches. Texture helps break the visual sight of a scratch a lot more than a smooth-faced product. For example, look how hand-scraped and wire-brushed hardwood hide scratches more than a smooth-faced hardwood. All three types will scratch, the hand-scraped and wire-brushed hardwood will hide the scratched better.

So, be careful when you hear “scratch-resistant”. Anything will and can scratch! Check out some examples below. As always, contact a Flooring Professional today to learn more and get started on your remodeling project.