LVT Flooring, or luxury vinyl tile, is a vinyl tile made of different layers that makes for a durable flooring material. Luxury vinyl tiles and planks offer the highest levels of design and durability available in vinyl flooring. This material is designed to keep floors protected, especially in high-traffic areas. Perfect for mudrooms, basements, or kitchens, LVT flooring can replicate the look of natural hard flooring such as stone or wood. It is also available in tile and plank-shaped designs.
Types of LVT Flooring
Once you have decided to choose LVT flooring for your home, you will have to narrow down which type of LVT material to install. Take into consideration where you will be installing the material, any pets you have, and how long you plan to keep this flooring.
Traditional LVT: Available in wood and stone looks, traditional luxury vinyl tile is completely waterproof. It is easy to clean, making it perfect for high traffic areas of your home, such as mudrooms and entry ways. The tough surface of traditional LVT resists scratches, stains and wear, providing a durable material that will last for years.
Rigid core: With a unique multi-layer construction with dent-resistant and waterproof core, this material is a perfect flooring choice for homes in humid climates or that see high rainfall/snow. In addition to being able to resist normal wear and tear, rigid core LVT can be installed over subfloors.
Engineered stone: As an alternative to natural stone, porcelain and ceramic tile, engineered stone LVT flooring is crack-resistant and will be more durable. It is 100% waterproof, and easy to clean.
There are two options when it comes to choosing the shape of your luxury vinyl tile: tile and plank. The shape of the LVT material will impact the installation of your flooring.
Tile: Can be overlayed on top of other flooring by several different installation methods.
Plank: Will be most effective in a locking system that joins the planks together.
Luxury vinyl tile is made of several layers that are fused together under heat and pressure, which form a resilient material designed to withstand heavy traffic and wear and tear. The most common layers that make up an LVT tile are:
- Vinyl backing
- Vinyl core
- Print film layer (designed to look like wood or stone, based on your preference)
- Protective clear layer known as the ‘wear layer’ and finished with a polyurethane coating which is sometimes reinforced with ceramic bead, silica bead or aluminum oxide
The thickness of your wear layer depends on how much wear and tear you expect your floor to go through. A lower thickness level suggests that you do not need as much protection, whereas a higher thickness level will be used in areas of your home that need to most protection as possible.
LVT vs. Laminate Flooring
A common misconception is that luxury vinyl tile is just another type of laminate flooring. While they are both durable, resilient flooring materials, their construction and makeup is vastly different. Laminate flooring is constructed with a core made from wood powder, where LVT has a core layer made of vinyl. Vinyl is also more waterproof than laminate, as the wood core in laminate flooring is more susceptible to water damage and warping.
Once you’ve chosen your luxury vinyl flooring material, there are different installation options. We recommend finding a flooring dealer in your area that can help assist you with the installation process. Here are the most common types of installation for LVT flooring:
- Loose Lay
- Tape Systems
- Clic and Locking Systems
- Floating with no locking mechanism, but help in place by adhering the perimeter with glue or tape
- Glue Down
- Trowel or Roll On Applied
- Spray Adhesives
Be sure to talk to your flooring professional or installation guide about which type of installation will work best in your home, especially if you are keeping your existing subfloors.
As with any flooring material, you will pay more for a higher-end product. However, luxury vinyl tile is an affordable alternative to other flooring materials that it can mimic, such as hardwood. Hardwood flooring, while beautiful, is also very costly. LVT flooring that can appear to look like hardwood will not only cost less upfront, but will cost less to maintain over its lifetime. Hardwood costs 2-3 times more than LVT, making LVT the more affordable option by far.
Care and Maintenance
Luxury vinyl tile is extremely durable and stable, with little to no upkeep. It’s hard wear layer makes it long-lasting and applicable to nearly any situation. Clean any spills, dirt, water, or messes with mild soap and water, and dry with a paper towel or regular towel. However, due to the hard ‘wear layer’ on an LVT tile, it makes upkeep and care very easy. LVT flooring is perfect in homes or businesses with high foot traffic areas, and their durability can withstand wear and tear from pets and children. For any severe damage to your LVT flooring, contact a flooring professional to help assess and repair the damage.
With all of the flooring options available, what makes LVT so special? As one of the most durable and resilient flooring materials, luxury vinyl tile is a great option for those looking for a low-maintenance flooring option. LVT is also user friendly, meaning it’s easy to install and can be laid on almost any existing sub-floor in your home. It is also cost effective and can be designed to look like hardwood, without the upkeep. For more information on how you can find luxury vinyl tile in your area, contact a flooring professional today.