Can nitrogen oxide affect the wear layer in vinyl flooring? The wear layer is the part of the vinyl flooring designed to take the majority of the wear and tear that it is exposed to on a daily basis. Vinyl floors are known to be extremely durable and the real advantage to having them installed in businesses or residences is that they last a long time and resist a lot of scuffs, scratches and other abuse. However, a vinyl wear layer is not resistant to everything, and nitrogen oxide is one such substance that can harm the wear layer.
Understanding the Wear Layer
Vinyl floors are composed of several different durable layers that give it beauty and strength. The backing is the bottom layer, then there are several layers of flexible and resilient vinyl core. The printed layer is what captures the pattern, color and texture of the vinyl flooring. The wear layer is the topmost layer and it is extremely tough, moisture resistant and allows the print layer just below to show.
How Does Nitrogen Oxide Harm Wear Layer?
When polyurethanes are exposed to ultraviolet light or nitrogen oxide fumes, they can deteriorate. Evidence of this deterioration can show up as yellow or brown discoloration in the polyurethane that cannot be cleaned away. While there are many different reasons why vinyl flooring can discolor, exposure is definitely a possibility.
Nitrogen oxide originates both naturally and from human sources. Activities like industrial processing, fossil fuel combustion and agriculture add nitrogen oxide to the soil, waterways and the atmosphere. In a home or business, nitrogen oxide exposure would come primarily from appliances or vehicles that burn coal, oil, natural gas or diesel fuel, like kerosene heaters or gas cookers.
Cigarette smoking, welding, electroplating and other activities can also release the substance. Ensuring that low nitrogen oxide appliances are operating is the best way that flooring installation and inspection experts have to reduce the risk of problems with the vinyl flooring.