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Plasticised PVC floors – waterproof, stain resistant, anti-slip, comfortable, safe, stylish and also inexpensive – can be found in large variety of buildings including sports halls around the world. Most PVC floors are created through a process known as 'plastisol spread coating'. Plasticisers (US: plasticizers) are first combined with PVC powder to produce a liquid paste or 'plastisol' which is then spread in several layers, literally ‘building up’ the floor composed of a foam core, a decorative and a clear protective wear layer.
Plastisols are rapidly gelled so that the layers can be applied quickly on top of each other, ensuring that the whole process is productive and cost-effective. These plasticisers also enable the plastisols to be processed at a range of temperatures providing consistent high quality foams. Thanks to these integral foams, soft PVC floorings muffle sound and are soft to the touch yet still hard wearing. Used in sports halls they provide durable cushioned flooring which helps to prevent sports injuries. Used in hospitals and medical centres they provide easy maintenance and very importantly hygiene can be readily maintained.
Complex patterns and three-dimensional effects can be built up through these layers, offering a wide range of styles. But aesthetic value is not the only advantage of soft PVC floors. The smooth, tough surface of the upper wear layer prevents dust and dirt from building up and stops microbes from breeding, helping to reduce disease and infections in buildings that need to be kept sterile, such as hospitals and clinics. This is also a key factor for PVC floors in household kitchens and bathrooms so our everyday health is protected.
The robust surfaces of soft PVC reduce the need for cleaning and the use of polish. They are a natural choice in buildings with large floor space and high traffic, such as schools, offices and public buildings, where durability and low maintenance are vital.
PVC floors can last for up to 20 years of intensive use. Over this period, plasticisers guarantee the application’s flexibility despite temperature changes. Deterioration and discolouring from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light are also minimal.