Wondering whether luxury vinyl flooring is right for you? Vinyl is one of the most popular flooring choices available today because it is versatile, durable, and waterproof. Besides, it is known for its warmth and comfort underfoot.
Standard vinyl is sold either in flexible sheets or in square tiles. It is made from a very thin layer of vinyl printed with a design layer and covered with a protective coating.
Luxury vinyl flooring is sold in semi-rigid planks (LVP) or tiles (LVT). Luxury vinyl is considerably thicker than standard. It is made with 6 to 8 layers of material, such as
- a clear top-coat layer that adds shine;
- a clear wear layer that protects the design;
- a design layer with the printed image;
- a cushion layer of foam that makes the floor comfortable to walk on;
- a fiberglass backing layer;
- a solid PVC backing layer that adds rigidity and strength.
Stone-look luxury vinyl products that look like granite or large marble tiles may sometimes include ground mineral content in their composition; usually, it’s pulverized limestone.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring Pros and Cons
Let’s take a look at the luxury vinyl tile pros and cons.
Luxury vinyl flooring is a fantastic option if you are looking for an affordable floor that is durable and looks good. Here is why.
- It is waterproof and perfect for a room where moisture can be a concern.
- It can stand up to the wear and tear from your household pets.
- It doesn’t fade in the sunlight or under interior lighting.
- It keeps a constant temperature during the cold and hot months.
- It is soft underfoot and has good sound-blocking properties.
There are very few cons to this type of flooring. It has a softer surface than wood or ceramic tile, so it can still scratch and scuff. And although it feels warmer underfoot than hard-surface flooring, it doesn’t feel like a carpet. But, of course, that shouldn’t hold you back from its installation.
Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring
Luxury vinyl tile or LVT technically refers to luxury vinyl products that look like stone or ceramic tile. But, in fact, this word is often used to describe both vinyl tile and plank products. Today, rigid core LVT, which is most similar to natural stone tile, is the most popular type of luxury vinyl flooring.
You can choose from a variety of luxury vinyl tile flooring styles that come in gorgeous natural colors and surface textures that look and feel like real tile and stone. LVT allows you to create an authentic-looking floor in your home, without the practical drawbacks of natural products.
Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Luxury vinyl plank flooring comes in long, narrow strips rather than the traditional square tile shapes. It is one of the most popular flooring choices for busy households, offices, cafes, and commercial applications because it most closely resembles hardwood planks. Vinyl flooring planks typically are 48 or 36 inches long and about 6 inches wide, although there are some planks that are 7 3/4 inches wide.
Manufacturers of luxury plank flooring offer a lot of different styles, colors, and patterns to match the distinctive appearance of different wood species, including beautifully textured surfaces that mimic real wood grain and knots. You can even find luxury vinyl planks with a heavily antiqued or distressed look, scratched, dinged, hand-scraped, and peppered with nail holes, but they are more expensive.
Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation
This type of flooring was actually made for DIY projects. Luxury vinyl plank flooring installation is rather quick and easy. You don’t have to learn special skills or purchase unique tools – vinyl planks can be cut with a simple utility knife. You’ll also need molding and vinyl trim pieces.
You can install vinyl planks over a variety of subfloors using the same click-lock interlocking edges that are found in laminate flooring. Keep in mind that the surface must be clean, smooth, flat, solid, and dry before you begin. Usually, you can complete a small room in 3 to 4 hours.
How to Clean Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
It’s one of the easier floors to maintain and will look beautiful for years to come. So how to clean luxury vinyl plank flooring? Most manufactures recommend simple sweeping daily. You should also damp-mop it if needed with clean water and a mild detergent. But you should never steam clean these floors. The vinyl floor tiles and planks are impervious to moisture, but the pressure of a steam cleaner can potentially drive moisture down through the seams to the wooden subfloor. You should also avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar.
How to Repair Scratches on Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Although luxury vinyl flooring is more durable than natural hardwood, it is not immune to damage. To prevent damage to vinyl floors, you should never push, pull, or drag furniture across them – it’s better to always lift it and carry.
But how to repair scratches on luxury vinyl flooring? Well, repairs can be tricky. You may try to repair small areas of damage with a vinyl repair kit, but it’s not easy to find a patch to perfectly match the color of your flooring. If you decide to replace the entire plank, it will involve involves disassembling the floor from one wall up the damaged plank. After you install the replacement plank, you’ll need to reassemble the floor back to the wall.
But if you take care of it properly, luxury vinyl can withstand the general wear and tear of daily life and last 20 to 25 years.
The Bottom Line
The wonderful combination of design options, durability, and easy installation makes luxury vinyl flooring a great option for high traffic and utility areas, kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, and playrooms. Due to its realistic and on-trend styles, it’s also becoming more and more popular in other rooms of the house, including bedrooms and living rooms. With a variety of options available on the market, you are sure to find luxury vinyl floor designs and finishes that complement your personal style.