How Thermal Expansion Affects LVT Products

Ah, the feeling of warm rays of sunshine beating down on you. Doesn’t everyone love some good old sunshine? Sadly, some of your flooring products do not. Every year it seems as if there are more and more cases of LVT products that are growing/expanding and then gapping, especially at the end joints. More than likely, their products are being used in rooms with glass doors, skylights, or big window areas. And while it may seem your flooring product can withstand anything, sometimes it cannot bear years and years of direct sunlight beating down on it. Because Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) products have been increasing in popularity, these complaints have become more and more common today. But what people don’t know is that this problem has been happening for a much longer time than they think. Don’t worry (spoiler alert) – you can save your floors.

LVT Flooring

While prolonged sunlight has many positive effects on certain things, it also can have a damaging effect on glue-down LVT products. Apart from the obvious concerns regarding discoloration and fading of your luxury vinyl tile flooring, thermal expansion is one of the more destructive problems.

Linear Thermal Expansion

This trend started when floating LVT was first introduced, and the floating LVT was installed with expansion around the vertical objects and the perimeter. Unfortunately, when direct sunlight beats down on these products, they expand just as vinyl does. For example, before the sun rises the temperature of your flooring product could be 60 ˚ F. But since there are no window treatments to prevent the sunlight from hitting your flooring, after several hours of direct sunlight exposure your floor will reach a temperature of 90 ˚ F. Depending on the time of year, intensity of sun, and where the sun is angled in the sky, having a big window or glass door can cause your floors to heat up to temperatures up to 120 ˚ F!

As the sunlight decreases, the flooring will start to decrease in temperature resulting in it going back down to size. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. Having this happen repeatedly day in and day out will cause these floating floor locking systems to disengage and eventually this product loses its bond. What makes matters more complicated is that the flooring manufacturer has no liability in these applications.

Thermal Expansion

What You Can Do

Installation: In cases where the flooring is in direct sunlight for most of the day, like sunrooms, it is recommended that the planks be glued down in those spots/areas. An approved premium luxury vinyl flooring adhesive should be used in these areas.

Window treatments: You should install window treatments on all windows where direct and prolonged sunlight will shine on your LVT products. You need to ensure that these treatments are used properly to protect your luxury vinyl tile flooring products.

Window Treatment

When looking into these LVT products, you first need to understand where they are going to be installed. For more help and guidance, contact your local flooring professional today.

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