Updated: May 1, 2021
What is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Luxury vinyl flooring is a tile or wood plank water-resistant product that has a "photograph" of either a tile or wood looking plank, bonded together on a multi level solid core, that is covered with a clear protective coating. Luxury vinyl flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses, making it much thicker than original sheet vinyl flooring. Luxury vinyl flooring has quickly become one of the most popular products in floor covering.
A Little Bit Of History On Luxury Vinyl Flooring...
Many years ago, most of the box stores and retail floor covering stores, carried very inexpensive, cash and carry laminate flooring. This became a very popular do-it-yourself home project. The products cost $0.99 - $1.50 a square foot. Stores could not keep these products in stock. They were selling like crazy!
The industry discovered these products created all sorts of claims problems. Six months to a year after installation, many of these products were blowing off the floor. There were just all kinds of warranty issues.
Fast forward many years later, now we have a marketplace product called "LVT." Luxury Vinyl Tile has hit the market in a big way. Companies make both vinyl tile (that looks like ceramic), as well as "LVP," or luxury vinyl plank.
Customers are just now coming around to the idea that luxury vinyl tile/plank is an outstanding product. This product is NOT the old laminate flooring. Bestlaminate.com wrote a great article explaining this product category: https://www.bestlaminate.com/help/what-is-luxury-vinyl-plank-flooring/. Here are some of the benefits they state:
Waterproof: Vinyl flooring is a 100% waterproof material that can be installed in wet prone areas, such as a kitchen, foyer, bathroom, basement or cafe.
Application: Traditional vinyl plank flooring can be installed below, above or on grade. It can be installed virtually anywhere in your home or business.
Appearance: Today’s digital printing technology is better than ever. You can find beautiful LVT and LVP planks in a variety of looks, colors and styles. Textures are also popular with this type of flooring.
DIY Installation: You can find traditional vinyl in glue down or click lock installations. Both installations are DIY friendly, however, a click lock vinyl will be the easiest option. Traditional click lock vinyl does not require many tools or skills!
Non-Slip – Vinyl flooring is anti-static and slip resistant. It is the perfect option for bathrooms!
Comfort – LVT and LVP flooring will be softer and more comfortable under foot than other waterproof counter parts, such as ceramic or porcelain tile. A thin vinyl, however, will be effected by the subfloor. If you’re installing a thin vinyl over a concrete subfloor, it will take on a harder feel than a plywood subfloor.
Affordability: Vinyl flooring is one of the most affordable flooring options on the market, especially if you’re looking for a waterproof option. Glue down vinyl floors tend to be less expensive than click lock vinyls.
Easy Maintenance and Cleaning: An LVT or LVP vinyl is very easy to maintain. Regular sweeping and occasional deep cleaning is all that is necessary.
Is Luxury Vinyl Tile & Luxury Vinyl Plank The Same Type Of Product?
Luxury vinyl flooring is made with a "photograph" of either a ceramic tile look , or with a vinyl wood plank look, that is attached to a solid core underlayment, covered with a clear protective finish. So, when you hear about either luxury vinyl "tile," or luxury vinyl "plank," it is really the same product. The only thing that is different, is the photograph on the top layer.
Companies make luxury vinyl flooring in a variety of sizes. So even though products might be a different size, it is still considered to be the same type of material.
Luxury vinyl tile is commonly referred to as "LVT," while luxury vinyl plank is commonly referred to as "LVP."
The most popular type of installation in residential installations is with a click together installation method. While in commercial environments (hospitals, schools, office buildings), a glue down installation is typically used.
Is Luxury Vinyl Flooring Better Than Hardwood?
It is really impossible to compare Luxury vinyl flooring to hardwood flooring, as both are completely different types of flooring products.
Hardwood flooring is made in either a solid, one piece form, or in an engineered, multi-layer sliced form, while luxury vinyl flooring is a "photograph" of a wood plank, bonded together on a solid core board.
Both products can be used in mostly the same rooms of the home, but luxury vinyl flooring is a waterproof product, while hardwood flooring is not. Hardwood flooring has been around for several years, and many customers want the feel and look of a real hardwood floor in their home.
Luxury vinyl flooring is the fastest growing product in the floor covering world, mainly due to its easily click together installation and waterproof characteristics.
Hardwood flooring is going to be more expensive than luxury vinyl flooring. However, hardwood flooring will do a better job of adding value to your home.
Luxury vinyl flooring wins the battle of care and maintenance. While both products are relatively easy to maintain, luxury vinyl flooring is more scratch resistant, and is a little more durable than hardwood flooring.
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What Are Some Of The Top Luxury Vinyl Flooring Brands?
There are several quality luxury vinyl flooring manufacturing companies. Too many to mention in this article. Each company has their version of good, better and best products.
When shopping for luxury vinyl flooring, the best method to take, is to make a decision that is based on the color, style and price of the product. We have a great article, "How To Buy flooring For Your Home," that discusses this strategy in further detail.
One of the most exciting features of luxury vinyl flooring in today's marketplace, are the styles and colors available. Wide boards and very long boards are extremely popular, and give the homeowner a very unique looking floor. Luxury vinyl flooring companies continue to introduce awesome looking patterns and colors.
Customers can find a luxury vinyl floor for any type of project. Products range from base grade apartment products, to very fancy products that are being installed in million dollar homes.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring - FAQ
Do you need to put anything underneath luxury vinyl flooring? Great question! It really depends on the situation. Many products already come with an attached pad, so there would be no need to add any additional padding. Sometimes, the material does not have an attached pad, but it might be a thick product, and it does not require a padding.
In some cases, if you are concerned about moisture (such as in a basement), you might add a vapor barrier pad for protection. Likewise many customers that install luxury vinyl flooring upstairs, use a pad, simply to help reduce the walking noise.
Can you put heavy furniture on luxury vinyl flooring? Yes, you can. However, as with any hard surface flooring, you want to make sure you put felt pads on all of the table, chair and furniture legs to help prevent scratching.
How do you clean luxury vinyl flooring? Always follow the instructions provided in the product warranty information. If you are inheriting a luxury vinyl floor, then you can get the maintenance instructions from the companies website. Never use harsh chemicals on the floor.
Do luxury vinyl floors dent and scratch easily? Luxury vinyl floors are scratch resistant. However, it should be noted that all types of flooring will scratch. No product is 100% scratch proof. Having said that, luxury vinyl flooring comes with a protective finish coat layer that makes it more "scratch resistant" than other types of flooring.
Is it better to click together luxury vinyl flooring or glue it down? It really depends on both the product and the type and location of the installation. some luxury vinyl flooring products are "glue down only" products. Some products can either type of installation. Likewise, the type of installation might also depend on the installation. For example, while it might be better to use a click together installation over an existing floor, it might be better to use a glue down installation on stairs. Sometimes it all depends on the job location.
Conclusion - Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring has taken the floor covering world by storm. Unlike the poorly constructed laminate products of old, luxury vinyl flooring is very durable, sold in a variety of beautiful colors and styles. With its click together easy installation method, luxury vinyl flooring has become a great DIY project for homeowners. Likewise, with products being developed that are waterproof, this makes luxury vinyl flooring a great option for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, mud rooms and basements.
When shopping for luxury vinyl flooring, our advice would be to look at options from several different stores, and make a buying decision based on the product color, style and price.
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