Despite being relatively new, luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) have taken the market by storm. But there are always many options on the market, which may cause you to feel slightly overwhelmed. What is LVT flooring? Do you choose LVT flooring, laminate flooring, or something entirely different? These are all questions you might have.
For this reason, we’ll give you a basic understanding of what LVT flooring is, what it isn’t, its types, what makes it this popular, and why you should consider it.
LVT Flooring: What Is It?
Also referred to as vinyl flooring and PVC flooring, LVT is short for luxury vinyl tile. It assumes the appearance of real wood and stone flooring without taking on their impracticalities. In other words, LVT flooring grants you an elegant design with low maintenance and high durability.
Moreover, LVT flooring is produced in the form of tiles and planks, so it’s easy to customize and manipulate, unlike sheet vinyl that’s made in rolls to be glued to the surface. These planks or tiles can be installed in two manners: floating (glue-less) or glue down.
Besides, LVT planks and tiles can be used individually to create unique floor patterns and designs, whether that’s a chevron design, monochrome design, or something else. There’s a multitude of shapes, sizes, and effects for LVT flooring, and it can have any printed designs.
As for the LVT vs. laminate flooring debate, we’d say that LVT flooring is better than laminate flooring where water is concerned unless, of course, the laminate flooring is water-resistant.
With high density and strength, LVT flooring is very thin. Its thickness ranges from 2mm to 6mm, and the top layer’s thickness ranges from 0.1mm to 0.6mm. To put this into perspective, laminate floors are estimated to be 7 to 12mm thick.
Since LVT flooring is inherently more than twice as strong as high-density fiberboard (HDF) wood, a thin LVT profile would suffice. And as a plus, it’d also mean less disruption to any existing fixtures.
How Is LVT Flooring Made?
You can think of LVT flooring as a series of layers of PVC vinyl. The PVC vinyl is mixed with various components for maximum sturdiness. To illustrate, the PVC vinyl sheets are compressed in a rolling process and left in a liquid. Afterward, the sheets are dried using heat and air, making them strong.
As for the layering, firstly, a stability layer is placed, which is sturdy enough for the planks or tiles to be flat and level but also flexible enough to cut through using a knife. Secondly, an HD photographic layer is established, making for a realistic design.
Lastly, a PVC layer is added to protect the flooring against wear and tear. Clear vinyl and urethane coatings can provide further protection, warmth, and comfort as well. Not to mention, an embossed finish may be featured, using depth to create an effect resembling the grooves found in real stone or wood.
What Are the Types of LVT Flooring?
Below are three of the most common types of LVT flooring.
1. Glue Down
Glue down flooring is available in various designs, patterns, and colors, using different laying styles, design components, and color combinations, so you can customize your planks or tiles. Also, glue-down flooring calls for specialist LVT glues.
2. Loose Lay
Here, the tiles or planks are secured to the subfloor by friction grip backing, reducing noise transfer to the floor below. Furthermore, they’re easy to install and a good choice for rooms with high humidity or water exposure, including bathrooms and kitchens.
Where glue down flooring requires a specialist LVT glue, loose lay flooring requires a specialist LVT underlay. And it shares an affinity to laminate flooring in terms of installation.
3. Rigid Core
The main target of rigid core is to be easily installed with a locking system; no adhesives are required. It’s marked by impressive durability, thanks to a 5mm thickness, 1mm IXPE acoustic backing, and a wear layer.
What Are the Benefits of LVT Flooring?
If you’re still hesitant, this is what you’ll be getting with LVT flooring:
- Beautiful designs, including authentic woodgrains and limitless vibrant colors
- Impressive durability
- Sustainability (LVT flooring lasts for years, meets WELL and LEED certification standards, and makes use of non-phthalate plasticizers)
- Easy maintenance with only a two-bucket cleaning system
- Water-resistance, protecting LVT flooring against leaking appliances, spilled drinks, and more
- Thinness, tailoring it for home renovations
- Stain and scuff resistance, which also ties into the durability and ease of maintenance
- Moisture resistance, making LVT flooring suitable for bathrooms and kitchens, among other humid places
- Easy installation
- Warmth, softness, and acoustic properties making the LVT flooring more inviting than tiles and planks
LVT Flooring FAQs
Does LVT Flooring Wear Down Fast?
LVT designs don’t fade away fast, can withstand exposure and moisture, and are actually highly durable, unlike low-quality laminate flooring.
Is LVT Flooring One Dimensional?
The short answer is no. LVT flooring makes use of less expensive raw materials that lack texture. However, the real texture is embedded into the product using a hot press method afterward.
Is LVT Better Than Tile?
Each has its advantages. Tile may be ahead in durability, but LVT is better for easy maintenance and installation, and comfort.
In a nutshell, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring is produced in the form of tiles and planks, giving the illusion of real wood and stone. Its main selling point is that it can be personalized with unlimited designs and patterns.
LVT flooring’s popularity also stems from its easy maintenance and installment and unparalleled sturdiness, which is the product of PVC vinyl manufacturing with other components to create multi-layers. Ultimately, it’s a good option if you’re renovating and an ideal one where humidity and water are concerned.