A worrying trend that has been doing the rounds of just about every home decorating Facebook Group in Australia is using Kmart’s vinyl products on kitchen countertops and cupboards. Although some of these transformations do look amazing, there is a very dangerous reason why you should NOT be jumping on the Kmart adhesive vinyl bandwagon!
Kmart’s self adhesive vinyl can certainly make for quite the transformation in the home. From timber-look styles to both white and black marbles, the vinyl is available in many different varieties and when applied properly, it does in fact look great!
The issue however is that this product has not been tested nor approved for use in the kitchen where statistics show most household fires start which not only poses a safety risk in the home, but can also lead to issues with your building insurance. Furthermore, Kmart vinyl is noted on their website as being made of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) which is a known carcinogen. This post explores each of these factors and what products you can use instead for your kitchen makeover project.
Kmart Adhesive Vinyl & Fire Safety
Every product that can be used in a kitchen design has passed through rigorous testing (in accordance with Australian/New Zealand Standard™ 1530.3) to ensure it meets Australia’s fire safety standards. Manufacturers such as Laminex and Caesarstone for example, all share this information on their websites and product information sheets.
Products are tested on their ignitability, their ability to spread flames, the amount of heat that evolves from the material and the smoke that is developed.
The Kmart website does not list such information in relation to the product’s fire safety. Although it is made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC – A common plastic used for bathroom pipes for example) which can be somewhat fire retardant, Kmart adhesive vinyl as a product has not been tested against Australian Standards so we really have no indication of how the material paired with the adhesives used will stand up against fire.
Containing high levels of chlorine, PVC is generally a self extinguishing product but it does however, release an enormous amount of extremely pungent smoke when set alight. Once again, we have no further information on the specific adhesive products used in Kmart vinyl and as such, we have no indication of how the adhesives together with the PVC film will react in a kitchen fire.
Kmart’s website does however, state that the vinyl’s intended use is for “office or home decor” – No mention of kitchens!
PVC – Potential Health Issues
PVC is in fact, a known human carcinogen – You will find in depth information on the health risks associated with the material here.
As specified on the website, Kmart adhesive vinyl is made of PVC. Although PVC can be used in the home, there are many concerns over the product’s safety and how it can affect our health and well-being, especially when our air, water or food has been contaminated with a higher concentration of the product. Now, I will not pretend to be a medical expert on the matter however, I can direct you to a few resources that discuss PVC in greater detail:
You will find that there are many household products that are made of PVC, so should we be concerned about this? Well, that all comes back to product testing. PVC materials that have been approved for use in the home have all been tested to ensure that they do not exceed the allowed vinyl chloride content. Exceeding this amount can be harmful – We do not have any further product information on the vinyl itself or the adhesives used so once again this is a further question mark on the product’s safety when it is not used as intended.
Building Insurance Issues
Faulty workmanship, defective designs, defective materials and failure to comply with Australian Standards are all common reasons why home building insurance claims can be denied. As already demonstrated in this post, Kmart adhesive vinyl is not intended for use in the risky environment of a kitchen as it has not been tested for use in this area of the home and as such, using this material may fall into one or more of these categories, ultimately leading to any insurance claims being denied.
What to use instead for a Kitchen Makeover
A kitchen makeover can still be cost effective and glamorous without the use of products that have not been specifically designed for these sorts of projects! After all, Kmart adhesive vinyl is found in the Crafts section of the store for a reason – It’s designed for use in arts and crafts projects, NOT for remodeling your kitchen!
Brands such as Rustoleum and Dulux have created their own specialised collections that are intended (and approved!) for use in a kitchen makeover. From benchtop resurfacing kits to tile paints and more, you can create a fantastic kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation.
If your existing kitchen is in fair condition but could benefit from a face-lift, resurfacing your cabinetry, benchtops and splashback can make quite the impact, along with swapping out cabinet handles and knobs as well as updating accessories to create a more modern look.
Kmart adhesive vinyl is a lovely product and does work well when it is used as intended for simple crafts and DIY projects that are not part of the high-risk environment of the kitchen. You will find an excellent selection of products available in your local hardware store that are specific for a kitchen makeover project, from stylish benchtop resurfacing kits to tile paints and more so this is the very best (and safest!) place to start on your DIY journey!
Continue the discussion in our Facebook Group: Home Design & Decorating 101!