What is LVT Flooring (Luxury Vinyl Tile) & Why Should I Care?
Luxury Vinyl Tile, commonly called LVT flooring, is one of the newer flooring products on the scene. Now, don’t let the word VINYL fool you. Most of the time, when people hear about vinyl flooring, they think of cheap linoleum sheets or unattractive vinyl tiles that were used in decades past. They weren’t the most durable and they defiantly weren’t the nicest to look at. LVT flooring is NOT this type of vinyl. Technological advances in flooring manufacturing have come such a long way in the last few years. The new class of vinyl, or LVT flooring, is some of the nicest looking flooring around. It is easy to install, durable, and most products are 100% waterproof. This makes it a favorite for commercial applications, residential installations and for contractors and handymen themselves. What hasn’t yet caught on quite as much is the consumers knowledge of this amazing product.
LVT Flooring Durability
LVT flooring is constructed using polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. This non-toxic property gives the material a firm yet elastic makeup. The material is said to be resilient because of its ability to compress and expand with contact instead of cracking. Obviously, this is something that you’d want in a flooring choice.
Luxury vinyl flooring is also protected by durable “wear layer” of urethane for maximum protection and orthopedic comfort. The thicker the wear layer is, the more durable the flooring to high foot traffic.
There are four layers fused together to create what we know as LVT flooring:
- The resilient vinyl backing (or cork backing)
- The vinyl color layer
- The photographic film layer which gives it’s appearance
- The urethane or aluminum oxide top layer. The protective top layer, which can also be referred to as the wear layer or mil layer is a very important component in the durability of LVT. Quality LVT products will have as high as a 40 mil layer. Commercial applications can successfully utilize 20 mil or above. Lower mil layers are available, but should be specified only for light traffic applications.
No matter which LVT product you choose, odds are, it’s very durable. They were created with durability in mind and you won’t need to shy away from it if you have pets, kids, furniture with sharp edges, or wear stiletto heels on a regular basis.
LVT Flooring: A Vision Of Perfection
LVT Flooring can mimic so many other flooring options, such as tile or real hardwood. Most people cannot tell the difference. CoreTEC, one of our favorite LVT providers, has just come out with their HD line, which is actually etched and embossed, giving it and even more realistic look that the already realistic LVT on the market today. Because Luxury Vinyl flooring can be made to look like hardwoods, stone, ceramic tile, metal flooring, bamboo, marble, and more, the odds are there is a vinyl tile, plank, or sheet out there to match just about any flooring material you desire. Many high end designers are opting to have LVT in their offices and buildings. They could choose any flooring choice, they know all the pros and cons, yet they still choose LVT. That should tell you something.
Drowning in Durability
One of the most sought after qualities, as well as the biggest improvement over your traditional vinyl flooring, is the face that LVT flooring is completely water and moisture resistant. You can literally let the planks or tiles sit in a bucket of water and it won’t warp, discolor, and the edges won’t lose their integrity. This is THE perfect flooring for basements, water prone areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms or mudrooms.
Homes in areas with risk of floods would be highly encouraged to look into this. Pet owners are also loving this fact, as no more ruined flooring because of an accident!
A Quiet Confidence
Another great quality about SOME types of LVT flooring is the sound dampening cork back. You can find this in the CoreTEC plus line. This cork backing acts as a built in underlayment. This means that while it is a slight bump up from the cost of a CoreTEC One, you don’t have to buy an underlayment or take the time to put it down, so you’ve saved time and money already. In 2 story homes this sound dampening quality is crucial.
Lay it Down Easy
In addition to all the other wonderful qualities of LVT flooring, this is probably the easiest flooring to install. Making it a great DIY project for those of you who like to get their hands dirty! The simple click and lock installation can be done in a breeze with no prior experience. We would always recommend watching a good youtube video first, though! It’s also able to be installed above or below grade. Yeah, we pretty much think it’s the perfect floor, too.
Features & Benefits Galore!
The features and benefits of LVT flooring are endless. Here is a list that the World Floor Covering Association put together to show all the features and benefits of LVT flooring:
- Incredibly realistic photo replication of natural materials (photogravure process) –
- Brands that offer 100% vinyl material
- Inherent safety features
- Ease of maintenance
- Excellent selection of sizes, shapes
- Naturally water resistant
- Scratch, stain, dent and scuff resistant
- Cost effective
- Exceptional durability
- Exceptional durability
- More resilient than other hard surface floors
- Amazing aesthetics
- The look and feel of nature’s best materials at a lower cost are a reality of Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring manufacturing
- Vinyl flooring satisfies Green building standards and earns LEED points in commercial applications.
- Meets requirements of commercial flammability codes, slip resistant requirements…and a menu of other safety codes
- Simple damp mopping is the recommended cleaning procedure for LVT floors
- The size options vary by manufacturer, but many styles are available in 12 x 12”, 18 x 18”, 12 x 24” sizes, and planks in standard (3 x 36” 4.5 x 36) and extra-large widths (7 or 9’ widths).
- LVT floors are inherently water resistant (and fairly impervious to wet spills from above). It’s important to install over flat, dry, approved substrates so that no water seepage occurs beneath the floor.
- Specialized wear layers (most common are 20 mil; some offer up to a 40 mil layer). Then the floors are coated with urethane to enhance durability
- Economics factor favorably into the specification of Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring for both commercial and residential applications, giving the look and feel of rich, natural materials at a lower cost
- Since most luxury vinyl tile flooring is also constructed to withstand commercial wear and tear, it’s ideal for residential high-traffic areas as well as other areas of the home. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but it’s not unusual to see 20-25 year warranties on brand name luxury vinyl tile flooring.
- Because there are multi-layers of vinyl in luxury vinyl tile flooring as well as a resilient backing as the foundation, LVT tiles and planks have more resilience underfoot. It’s easier to stand on for long periods of time AND as an added benefit, it tends to be warmer underfoot than ceramic.
- There has been a stunning transformation in the design aesthetics of Luxury vinyl tile flooring in the last five years. If you are linking it to “industrial” looking floors, this is where you need to throw away your misconceptions and do some research. This may be the one biggest factor that has caused interior designers to stand up and take note of the new brand of LVT. The realism of the total look, INCLUDING distressed wood finishes, stone and slate tactile surface textures, and even woven textiles imbedded in the wear layers, are grabbing attention.
We hope this has been enlightening! If you have any questions that weren’t covered about LVT flooring, feel free to let us know in the comments, or contact us! We also have a wide selection of LVT in stock daily or available for custom order. Come see us for all of your LVT needs!
Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!
Written By: Allie Bloyd