Tim McAdoo’s: LVP Tips and More

Marketing in the flooring industry doesn’t always tell the correct story about a product. Two terms, in particular, are in the Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) market and are not always truthful or covered by warranty:

  1. Waterproof
  2. Covers over dips in the subfloor

Waterproof is the most overused word today in the flooring world. Since its introduction to the US market, LVP has always been waterproof. What this means is that the product will not fail and delaminate when exposed to water. While all of this is true, it’s also important to note that waterproof products may differ. For example, Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) products with a cork backing are waterproof but also require a 6-mil poly beneath them when installed over concrete. Why? When cork gets wet, it expands but the rest of the structure doesn’t, leading to the cupping effect.

If floating waterproof floors are so moisture resistant, why do they recommend that moisture emissions should not exceed 5.0 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. for 24 hours and should not exceed a Relative Humidity of 85%? Most glue down LVP Adhesives start at 5-lbs. moisture and go as high as 8-lbs. Calcium Chloride and 90%, 95%, and even 98% Relative Humidity. Just saying!

LVP flooringDon’t be fooled by the waterproof term, though. The installation requirements for these products are no different than that of a glue down product.

Some floating products are stating that they can span over dips in the subfloor. If that’s the truth, why are subfloor flatness requirements the same for a floating product as they are for a glue down product? Proper subfloor preparation is a major part of a successful installation. If they’re not clean, flat (3/16” in 10’ or 1/8” in 6’), dry and structurally sound, installation and product life will not last. These requirements are the same for a glue down installation. Floating products do have an advantage when the concrete cracks or has cracks in it, however, due to its ability to create a bridge over the imperfections.

Glue Down LVP Facts

  1. LVP Pressure Sensitive Adhesives are not like VCT Adhesives. LVP Adhesives generally have a maximum working time (after the adhesive is dry to the touch, the amount of time you have to install the flooring into the adhesive) of 1-3 hours. After the working time expires, the strength of that adhesive can be compromised. Mapei 373 Adhesive does have a 12-hour working time.
  2. Rolling a glue down LVP in both directions with a 100-lb. roller is one of the most critical things you can do during installation. These are pressure sensitive, as they need pressure for contact, and require rolling with a 100-lb. roller.
  3. If it has vinyl in it, acclimate it. Temperature changes can affect how LVP flooring performs. It expands when warm and contracts when cold.

Bottom line, you’re only as good as what you go over, regardless if the product is glued down or floated. Preparing a clean, flat, dry and structurally sound subfloor is the way to go. If you buy into all the marketing fluff, it’s going to come back and bite you. Want to learn more? Contact a Flooring Professional near you today.

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