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Luxury Vinyl Flooring

A Comprehensive Guide to Luxury Vinyl Flooring

You'll agree that installing new flooring is a significant investment. So, choosing the right type of flooring for your home becomes important, right? If you're looking for a high-quality, versatile, and durable option, luxury vinyl flooring may be a perfect choice. Luxury vinyl flooring is available in various variety of styles and colors, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your home.


Moreover, luxury vinyl flooring is water-resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for families with kids or pets. If you're contemplating installing luxury vinyl flooring in your home, read on for a comprehensive guide to this popular type of flooring.



What is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

Homeowners who wish to have a floor that's easy to care for and lasts for many years should choose luxury vinyl floors. Like other types of vinyl flooring, luxury vinyl floors are made up of layers. But what makes this product different is that one of the layers is a rigid core. This type of flooring is also sometimes called engineered vinyl flooring or rigid core vinyl flooring.


Furthermore, they're sometimes known as Luxury Vinyl Tile or Plank (LVT/LVP). This type of vinyl flooring is composed of multiple layers that assist in the design, durability, and maintenance of this fantastic floor covering option. The wear layer is what gives the luxury vinyl plank or tile its scratch and stain resistance. The next layer is the print film that gives the product its realistic look of hardwood, ceramic tile, or stone. Some LVT floors may have a registered embossed surface for a more realistic visual. After that is a clear film layer for protection, followed by the core made from either stone plastic composite (SPC) or wood plastic composite (WPC).


Another distinction of luxury vinyl flooring is its durability and ability to withstand heavy traffic and wear. The thicker the floor, the more durable it will be. Luxury vinyl is typically 4-8mm thick with a wear layer of 8-28 mils. Luxury vinyl is water-resistant and easy to clean, making them ideal for families with kids or pets.



Luxury Vinyl vs Standard Vinyl

Standard vinyl is what you would find in most homes as inexpensive flooring and is sometimes mistaken for luxury vinyl. But that's not the case. There are various differences in both, which may not be obvious at first glance. The table below brings light to some of the key differences between luxury vinyl and standard vinyl.

table explaining the difference between luxury vinyl and standard vinyl

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As per the table, there are several key differences between luxury vinyl and standard vinyl. Luxury vinyl is more durable, thicker, and has a realistic look. On the other hand, standard vinyl wins in terms of water resistance, and otherwise, it's less durable, thinner, and not realistic. So, if you're considering installing new flooring in your home, luxury vinyl products may be a better option.




Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Flooring

While understanding what luxury vinyl flooring is, you'll notice one point that'll stand above all, which is its advantages. The advantages of luxury vinyl flooring are what have made it so popular in recent years. It's a versatile product that comes in many different styles, colors, and patterns. And it can be used in any room of the house. Here are some of the main benefits of luxury vinyl flooring.


Versatile

Luxury vinyl flooring is one of the most versatile flooring options on the market. It can be used in any room in the house, including kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. It's also a supreme option for high-traffic areas and commercial spaces. Not only can luxury vinyl floors be used with underfloor heating, but they can also be used in cold areas as they don’t contract.

High Durability

LVT flooring is not only durable but also hardwearing and long-lasting. The built-in scratch and stain guard protects the floors from daily wear and tear. Moreover, if you are looking for something even more hardwearing that can withstand heavy footfall, there are some high-thickness LVT that can be used in commercial properties.

Stylish and Realistic

LVT or planks come in various colors, styles, and patterns. You can discover one that looks like wood, stone, or ceramic tile. And the best part is that it's much more affordable than the real thing. Luxury vinyl floors also come in a variety of plank sizes and shapes. This means that you can create a unique look for your home.

Easy to Install and Maintain

They are very easy to install and can be done as a DIY project. The planks simply click together, making installation quick and easy. There is no need for adhesives or nails. Luxury vinyl floors are also very easy to maintain. They only require regular sweeping and mopping with mild detergent.

Affordable

Luxury vinyl plank is a very affordable flooring option. It's much more budget-friendly than hardwood, stone, or ceramic tile. Luxury vinyl floors are also a great way to get the look of a high-end floor without the high price tag.

Water Resistant

Water is no problem when choosing luxury vinyl floors. LVT is completely water resistant, making it the perfect flooring solution for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. It's also a great choice for basements that are susceptible to flooding. However, not all manufacturers provide waterproof warranty, so do check it with the brand you are opting for.





What Are the Characteristics of Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

We hope you've comprehended what is luxury vinyl flooring and now it's time to move to its characteristics which make it different from other options.

Appearance

The appearance of a luxury vinyl plank is what makes it so popular. LVP comes in a variety of colors, styles, and patterns. What makes it distinctive is the quality of print it has. The embossing process used for the luxury vinyl plank is what makes it look so realistic. The premium design is printed on a clear film and then covered with a wear layer. This gives the flooring an incredibly realistic look that is hard to tell apart from the real thing.

Water and Heat Resistance

The LVT is 100% water resistant because of its synthetic material. However, the water can seep down the floor because of the seams present between planks and tiles. In terms of heat resistance, LVP can't withstand high temperatures but can perform well under normal conditions. Therefore, they may not be an ideal choice to install in outdoor areas or near large windows.

Durability

In comparison with normal vinyl floors, LVP is more durable and long-lasting. The thicker the wear layer on LVPs, the more durable the flooring will be.

Maintenance

The maintenance is one thing you don't have to worry about. Most of the tiles that have floating, or click-lock mechanism are replaceable in case of damage. Further, the day-to-day maintenance is very easy, which includes sweeping and mopping with a mild detergent.

Installation

Instead of glue, the LVTs have an interlocking system. The planks or tiles have a click and lock mechanism, making the installation process much easier. However, some LVP has the glue-down option available, and their installation is the same as standard sheet vinyl.

Lifespan

The normal lifespan of LVPs or LVTs is around 20 to 25 years. However, this can vary based on the conditions where you'll install them. If you buy it according to usage, like, if you buy 8 mil LVT for a higher footfall area, it might not last as long as the recommended 28 mil LVT. Moreover, this will also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it’s always good to check with the manufacturer’s warranty.

Cost

Cost is one thing that is relative. The price of luxury vinyl floors largely depends on what you're looking for. The design, quality, brand, and installation all play a role in the final cost.




What are the Types of Luxury Vinyl Floors?

If you don't know the types of luxury vinyl, you can't say for sure that you know what luxury vinyl flooring is. So, let's not leave any void in this learning process and learn about the three types of LVTs available in the market.


Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Plank

Luxury vinyl planks are floorings designed to look like hardwood. The planks are manufactured to mimic the appearance of real hardwood floors. LVP is a composite product made up of several components that work together to create long-lasting, high-performance flooring.

For stability, the bottom layer is a backer board composed of PVC for flexibility. Then there's the core layer, which is what gives the planks their strength and stability. The core can be either solid or engineered, depending on the manufacturer. Above the core lies the vinyl layer, which features a pattern and color printed on it, usually mimicking wood, or stone. On top of everything, it has the most important component, the wear layer.

LVP is more flexible than other types of vinyl flooring on the market, and its strength comes from the fact that it's glued down to the subfloor with an adhesive.


Pros

  • Cheaper than traditional hardwood but provides the same look
  • High durability. Higher scuff, dent and scratch resistance than other types of flooring
  • Water resistant
  • Has a wide variety of options in terms of color and patterns


Cons

  • The feel does not mimic hardwood and does not have the same warmth underfoot
  • Susceptible to wide temperature swings and may shrink or expand leading to warping
  • It can fade in extreme sunshine areas


Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring

Tile

LVTs are either used to replicate stone or to create an intricate pattern. But whatever the purpose may be, they are among the top choices of homeowners. Like plank, the LVTs have three layers of backing stacked on top of each other and individually rotated to create a stronger locking system. These layers are then fused together to create the base.

An authentic photograph film design is then used to create both a strikingly vibrant and texturized design in each luxury vinyl tile. Moreover, all LVT flooring has a wear layer on the surface to protect the integrity of the flooring design.


Pros

  • It’s extremely durable
  • It’s waterproof
  • Click and lock system makes installation easy
  • Very easy to clean
  • Affordable than real stone flooring
  • Moisture and mold resistant

Cons

  • It can fade when installed outside, or when exposed to direct sunlight
  • It’s scratch resistant, but heavy materials can damage the upper layer
  • If you choose the glue-down option, it can be hard to replace


Sheet Vinyl Planking

Sheet

You can install luxury vinyl sheeting in any room you want, but it's commonly used in high-moisture areas like the bathroom or kitchen. The sheets come in either 6 feet or 12 feet lengths. That way, there are very few seams when installed. Plus, it can also mimic the look of hardwood, stone, and tile flooring.


Pros

  • It’s softer and comfortable under foot
  • Water, and scratch-resistant
  • The installation is easy
  • Less expensive than tile and plan

Cons

  • Not easy to replace due to bigger size
  • Styles are limited when compared to tile and plank
  • Difficult to repair due to the glue down installation




Luxury Vinyl vs Laminate

When choosing between luxury vinyl and laminate flooring, it's important to understand the key differences and similarities to make the right decision for your space. Let's compare these two popular options side by side:

Appearance and Aesthetics:

Luxury vinyl flooring convincingly imitates the look of natural materials like hardwood, stone, or tile with high-resolution prints and realistic textures. On the other hand, laminate flooring also replicates the appearance of wood or stone but with a composite material. Both options offer a wide range of styles and designs to suit various aesthetics.

Durability and Maintenance:

Both luxury vinyl and laminate flooring are highly durable and can withstand daily wear and tear. Luxury vinyl is highly water-resistant, making it suitable for moisture-prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Laminate flooring is also durable but is not as water-resistant as luxury vinyl. Both options are resistant to scratches and stains, but luxury vinyl tends to be more resilient in high-traffic areas.

Installation:

Luxury vinyl and laminate flooring are known for their ease of installation. Luxury vinyl usually comes in the form of planks or tiles with various installation methods, including glue-down, click-lock, or loose lay. Laminate flooring commonly utilizes a click-lock system, making it a popular choice for DIY installations. Both options often require minimal subfloor preparation.

Comfort and Noise:

Luxury vinyl flooring provides a softer and warmer underfoot feel compared to laminate. Many luxury vinyl options also offer additional padding or underlayment layers, enhancing comfort and reducing noise transmission. Laminate flooring can feel harder and cooler underfoot, but some products include underlayment for improved comfort.

Price and Affordability:

Laminate flooring is generally more budget-friendly compared to luxury vinyl. With its composite construction, laminate offers an affordable alternative to natural hardwood or stone while still providing a similar aesthetic. Luxury vinyl flooring, though slightly pricier, offers additional benefits like water resistance and a more realistic appearance.


Luxury Vinyl vs Hardwood

When it comes to choosing between luxury vinyl and hardwood flooring, both options offer beauty and durability. Let's compare these two popular choices side by side:

Appearance and Aesthetics:

Hardwood flooring is renowned for its timeless beauty and natural charm. It adds warmth and elegance to any space with its unique grains, knots, and rich colors. Luxury vinyl flooring, however, has come a long way in replicating the look of hardwood. Advanced printing technology allows luxury vinyl to closely mimic the appearance of various hardwood species, providing a wide range of realistic designs and textures.

Durability and Maintenance:

Hardwood flooring is highly durable and can last for generations with proper care. It can withstand heavy foot traffic and be refinished multiple times to restore its original beauty. On the other hand, luxury vinyl flooring is incredibly durable and resistant to scratches, stains, and fading. Luxury vinyl is also water-resistant, making it suitable for areas prone to moisture, unlike hardwood that can be more susceptible to water damage.

Installation and Versatility:

Installing hardwood flooring requires professional expertise as it involves nailing or gluing individual planks to a subfloor. It requires careful acclimation, proper subfloor preparation, and can be a time-consuming process. Luxury vinyl flooring, on the other hand, offers easier installation options. It typically comes with click-lock or glue-down installation methods, making it more versatile for various spaces.

Comfort and Noise:

Hardwood flooring provides a solid and authentic feel underfoot, and its natural insulation properties help regulate temperature. However, it can be less forgiving and feel harder compared to luxury vinyl. Luxury vinyl offers a softer and more cushioned feel, absorbing impact and reducing noise transmission.

Price and Affordability:

Hardwood flooring is often considered a premium option and can be more expensive due to the cost of materials and installation. Luxury vinyl flooring, while offering a similar aesthetic, tends to be more budget-friendly.

FAQs About Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Is luxury vinyl flooring water-resistant?

Yes, luxury vinyl flooring is water-resistant. It is designed to withstand moisture, spills, and humidity, making it suitable for areas prone to moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms. However, it's important to note that while luxury vinyl is water-resistant, excessive water exposure or flooding should still be avoided.


Is luxury vinyl flooring durable?

Yes, luxury vinyl flooring is highly durable. It is designed to withstand daily wear and tear, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. Luxury vinyl is resistant to scratches, stains, and dents, and it can maintain its appearance even in busy households or commercial spaces.


Can luxury vinyl flooring be installed in basements?

Yes, luxury vinyl flooring is a great option for basements. Its water-resistant properties make it a suitable choice for areas that are susceptible to moisture. However, it's important to ensure that the basement is properly prepared and any moisture issues are addressed before installation.


Can luxury vinyl flooring be installed over existing flooring?

In many cases, luxury vinyl flooring can be installed over existing flooring, such as tile or laminate. However, it's essential to ensure that the existing flooring is clean, level, and in good condition. It's recommended to consult with a professional installer to assess the suitability of the existing flooring for installation.


Is luxury vinyl flooring suitable for pets?

Yes, luxury vinyl flooring is pet-friendly. Its durability and scratch-resistant properties make it a good choice for homes with pets. Luxury vinyl is easy to clean, and any accidents or spills can be quickly wiped away without causing damage to the flooring.


What is the difference between luxury vinyl tile and luxury vinyl plank?

Luxury vinyl tile and Luxury vinyl plank are virtually the same in the manufacturing process, the durability and visuals. The main difference between the two is the format. Luxury vinyl plank tends to mimic wood in its length and width while luxury vinyl tile tends to mimic stone and ceramic tiles.