Luxury vinyl flooring is the most prestigious of all the forms of vinyl flooring, and if applied right, it can actually add real estate value to any home. It is manufactured in long planks known as luxury vinyl plank flooring or tiles known as luxury vinyl tiles. Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are designed to resemble ceramic or stone tile, and they are a popular flooring option for bathrooms and kitchens because of a variety of desirable characteristics.
But there are some drawbacks to using this versatile flooring material in your home, and you should take them into account when deciding whether LVT is the right choice for you. Read this article where we talk about common potential problems with luxury vinyl tile and their possible solutions.
Problems with Luxury Vinyl Tile and Their Solutions
Luxury vinyl tiles come in thousands of styles and patterns for you to choose from. They can mimic almost any type of flooring, from ceramic or porcelain tile to classic Carrara marble tile that is an elegant choice for kitchens and bathrooms. They are also made to be extremely durable and can hold their luxurious finish for decades with very little maintenance.
But even the best luxury vinyl tiles that resemble high-end natural stone flooring like, for example, Calacatta marble tiles will look terrible if they are not installed properly. So you should avoid some mistakes to ensure you have no problems with luxury vinyl tile once it is installed.
Challenges Posed by Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury vinyl tiles are usually floating floors that snap together at the edges. That poses certain challenges during the installation that may affect the aesthetics and overall beauty of your floor. The primary concern is how level and flat the subfloor is.
Because of the sensitive nature of some luxury vinyl tiles, your subfloor may require a lot of additional preparation if it is uneven or wavy. If you are dealing with a particularly uneven subfloor, vinyl tiles or planks will not line up well. That can lead to lifting of the flooring's edges and joints. If this is the case with your space, you can either add a self-leveling mix (but that will be an added expense) or opt for a glue-down installation.
You should also make sure that the substrate is clean and dry before you lay down any subfloor and vinyl tile on top of it. When replacing flooring, homeowners often neglect to clean off the residue of debris and old glue thoroughly, and that can hamper the installation of new flooring.
Moisture is also a big problem that can affect luxury vinyl flooring and cause curling, cupping, lifted edges, and dimensional instabilities. Another aspect to consider is the place when you install LVT because it can be greatly influenced by heat and cold, and it will expand and contract, depending on the external temperature. So if you install LVT in a kitchen or bathroom, you should take measures to prevent moisture from seeping into the underside of the tiles.
The common installation problem that can be easily fixed is peaking. It happens when two vinyl tiles or planks squash against each other and get lifted at the joints. That won't happen if you leave enough space for tile's expansion and contraction during installation and use vinyl trim to hide joints along the walls.
Grouting Vinyl Tile Problems
Groutable vinyl tile stands up to the challenges of moisture, as well as wear and tear in both commercial and residential properties. Although applying grouting requires additional effort when installing, the grouted vinyl tile provides a more natural stone flooring look. But you should also remember that high-end products might cost more than what was anticipated.
There are some common grouting vinyl tile problems that can be easily solved with proper installation.
- It's quite tricky to adjust vinyl tiles when you do it yourself. The self-adhesive backing on the groutable vinyl tile is hard to adjust once it is placed. That's why proper installation the first time around is vital. Luckily, the professional installation of vinyl flooring is fairly inexpensive because the process is uncomplicated and fast.
- Vinyl tile's edges tend to lift. There is a cure for this, though: grout well and don't get the tiles too wet during installation.
- Grout between tiles can crack. But flexible grouting with polymer additives can help reduce the potential for this kind of trouble.
When done correctly, grouting gives luxury vinyl tiles a sophisticated look and makes them last longer. Here are some tips on how you can do it right.
- Choose the right type of luxury vinyl tiles because not all of them are suitable for grouting.
- Clean the tile joints with a knife or a blade to get rid of any build-up. Then grout will have enough space to occupy the joints and create much stronger bonds.
- Work in sections and don't mix too much grout at the same time.
- Leave the grout to dry for 24 hours after you have applied it.
You can easily install grouted vinyl tiles by yourself, but if the floor size is large, you may need professional help.
The Bottom Line
Good value, easy installation, and excellent day-to-day performance are just a few of the very convincing reasons to choose luxury vinyl tiles. Well-installed luxury vinyl floor tiles are almost impervious to water penetration. Appealing to the eye and cost-effective, they are the perfect material for use in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, or other high moisture space in the home. They are a perfect option for a busy lifestyle because just a quick sweep and an occasional damp mopping are needed to maintain a clean floor.
Luxury vinyl flooring is also an affordable and beautiful option for your home. Besides, vinyl flooring is warmer and more comfortable underfoot than the cold, hard surface of natural stone flooring. But you should be aware of the potential problems with luxury vinyl tile that may occur during installation and avoid them. This way, you can get the most from your flooring and ensure it will last for many years to come.