The Beginner’s Guide to Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring
Are you planning to remodel your home and looking for flooring options? Or you’re building one from scratch and don’t know where to start?
The flooring of your home or office doesn’t only affect the decor, but it also plays a huge role in energy efficiency.
It’s only normal that you’re taking careful considerations before picking one.
There are many options out there, one of them worth considering is luxury vinyl tile (LVT).
What is LVT and is it for you? (Spoiler alert: yes)
Read on for our luxury vinyl tile flooring 101.
What is Luxury Vinyl Tile?
Luxury vinyl tile is a unique product made of a vinyl-based material that’s rapidly gaining popularity in the flooring industry.
There are many reasons people love luxury vinyl tile – and we’ll get to it shortly, but the major one is probably the look.
LVT imitates the appearance and feel of other flooring materials including hardwood floor, tiles, ceramics, and stone.
Thanks to the advancement of technology and expertise in fabrication, they look very natural and come with almost endless choices of design.
Contrary to what many people think, LVT is not the same as linoleum.
While linoleum is made of natural materials, LVT is completely synthetic. There four layers of LVT:
- the backing or the bottom
- a vinyl color layer
- a “desired effect” film layer responsible for the visual design
- a protective top layer resistant to scratches and UV rays
How to choose an LVT flooring?
There are several factors to consider when you pick an LVT.
Although “standard” vinyl is one of the cheapest flooring options you can get, LVT is another story.
LVT costs from $3 to $7 per square foot depending on the design and quality, which tends to surprise people. Don’t forget in the flooring industry, you get what you pay for.
So even though LVT is relatively more expensive than other options, the many advantages legitimate its price.
Don’t fret, here are several tips for you to lower the entire cost:
- Always buy in bulk. The advantage of doing this extends beyond the cost. It’s also to make sure that the manufacturer doesn’t run out of the same exact design before you finish your project. That’s why it’s critical you measure correctly the surface you want to cover.
- Ask your contractor to negotiate for you. If you hire a contractor or installer, chances are they can negotiate a better price for you with the manufacturer. Don’t hesitate to discuss it with them.
Although there isn’t a big difference when it comes to the composition of LVT, you should still compare several brands. Here are some things to watch for:
- Make sure the LVT comes with a certificate for safe indoor air quality. You don’t want your floor to give you respiratory problems.
- The thickness of the “wear layer”. The thicker it is, the more durable your LVT will be. We recommend 12-mil layer or higher.
- Overall quality and realistic design. Due to the advancement in the photographic technology, LVT can look incredibly realistic. However, each brand is not the same. So compare thoroughly before making your decision. Also, ask your contractor or the manufacturer their professional opinion.
Quick installation guide
One of the major benefits of LVT (see the complete list in the next part) is its quick and easy installation: a few hours suffice!
There are four types of installation for LVT:
- Glue. This kind of installation requires a special glue for vinyl. Once the LVT installed, you’ll need to wait a few hours for the glue to cure. In the future, it may be difficult to take the LVT off if you change your mind or want to remodel.
- Interlock tiles. The tiles come with particular tongues to interlock them together, like playing a giant Tetris. Easy to install and uninstall.
- Auto-adhesive. The LVT comes with an adhesive backing. Once you remove the film, you just need to press it against the subfloor. Easier to take off than with glue.
- High friction. As the name indicates, this type of LVT comes with a high-friction bottom to grip the subfloor. The installation and removal are easy.
What are the Advantages?
How does LVT take over the flooring industry so quickly? The answer lies in the numerous benefits.
- Durability. You don’t have to worry to change the flooring in one or two years. LVT keeps its luster and high-quality prints for years.
- Resilience. The LVT flooring isn’t afraid of scratches, tears, and UV rays. Even if you move your furniture often, you don’t have to worry about leaving marks. It’s also resistant to water and dirt.
- Versatility. Its resilience allows you to install it anywhere, even in high traffic areas (kitchen, living room) or in damp places (bathroom, toilets).
- Easy maintenance. You don’t need a special product to clean an LVT floor. Any spill or dirt can be mopped easily with a damp sponge. Perfect for a family with small children.
- Numerous designs. Probably it’s the most attractive feature of LVT for the end-users. You can pick the warm effect of a hardwood floor or a clean look of ceramic tiles.
- Mess-free installation. As we have seen before, the installation and removal are fairly easy and fast.
How about the drawbacks?
There are a couple of drawbacks of LVT.
- It’s unexpectedly expensive. People who think LVT has the same price range as ordinary vinyl will be disappointed. However, its durability means you don’t need to change it for a long time: you’ll end up saving money. So consider it as an investment.
- Finding a matching transitional design/material is hard. The biggest drawback is the difficulty in finding a design or material for the transitional area (a zone between rooms). Without careful organization, it can look awkward or downward ugly. But an experienced contractor can help you by coming up with creative ideas.
Luxury vinyl tile is definitely one of the best options for your home or office if it’s durability and versatility you’re after.
As for the aesthetic aspect, there is a broad spectrum of designs you can pick from: from hardwood effect to geometric tiles lookalike (side note: geometric patterns are hot right now).
If you need help to pick one for your home, we can help!
Our team of contractors and installers have the expertise to install luxury vinyl tile among other flooring types.
Contact us if you need more information.
Or, better yet, come see us at our store in Myrtle Beach to discuss more in depth about your flooring project. We cater to homeowners and business places alike.
We hope to see you soon!