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Learn more about luxury vinyl flooring

Vinyl has come a long way since its ancestor Linoleum. Before you complete your flooring choices, you should visit the idea of Luxury Vinyl Tile or Plank. This new floor is easy to walk on with a much softer feel than the tile or even wood. Yet the look of this floor, combined with the easy installation and durability, has launched it to become one of the most sought after floors.

The growing popularity of luxury vinyl tile/plank

One of the fastest-growing segments in the flooring market right now, luxury vinyl tile/plank (also referred to as luxury vinyl planks, or LVT/LVP for short) is increasingly gaining in popularity with homeowners. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

Amazing realism

One of the biggest reasons homeowners are attracted to LVT/LVP is its ability to impressively replicate the high-end looks of today’s most popular luxury flooring materials, including hardwoods, porcelain tiles, limestone, marble, slate, and travertine – often with a lower price tag.

Applying the latest 3D imaging technologies, today’s LVT manufacturers are able to take a photographic image of a natural material, such as wood or stone, and transfer it directly to a tile. Then, through processes like embossed in register printing and laser engraving, each tile is uniquely embossed to match a desired texture.

Many high-end LVT/LVP manufacturers have done such a great job at mastering these embossing techniques, their flooring not only successfully mimics the grain patterns of real woods and textures of natural stone, but it also reproduces the subtle highs and lows in the color variations of these natural materials. In fact, once installed, many LVT/LVP products are often pretty hard to distinguish from the real materials they masterfully mirror.

Luxury vinyl options and benefits

Limitless Design Options
While realism is certainly changing the way homeowners perceive LVT/LVP, the abundance of available design options truly makes this flooring a top seller. From popular gray tones in both wood and stone looks, to wider, longer planks that include hand-scraping and wire-brushing affects, to oversized tiles – LVT/LVP offers all the latest in flooring trends. To add more realism, tiles can be laid with a special grout that won’t discolor like real grout can. Or, tiles can be installed without grout for a modern, seamless look. For further customization, many top manufacturers offer design strips and borders to mix and match styles – a stone tile with a metallic border, or light wood planks with a dark wood trim, for example. The design options are limited only by your imagination.

Enhanced Durability
Perhaps the true secret to LVT’s appeal is its durability. Average 1/8” thick tiles are made of several layers, including a protective top layer, called the wear or mil layer. Often topped with urethane or aluminum oxide for increased protection, this specialized wear layer makes tiles exceptionally resistant to scratches, scuffs, and stains – a plus for homes with small children or pets. LVT/LVP is also resistant to the chipping, warping, and yellowing that can occur with some natural materials. And tiles are naturally water-resistant, making LVT/LVP a perfect choice for areas where moisture is a concern. In fact, LVT’s dimensional stability and durability make it well suited for just about any room in a home. This resilience is often backed by manufacturer’s warranties of up to 20 years or more for residential use.

In addition, LVT/LVP is also softer and warmer underfoot than many natural materials. And many high-end collections include a slip-resistant layer for added safety in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.

More Installation Options
A great option for remodeling projects, LVT/LVP is easy to install over most existing surfaces. This is because LVT/LVP is typically thinner than most hardwood planks, stone, or ceramic tiles. High-end LVT/LVP products can even work well over radiant heating systems.

Floors can be glued down or floated (if direct sunlight is NOT present) – a relatively easy process, particularly for do-it-yourselfers. One caution: Before installing LVT/LVP yourself, check the fine print of the manufacturer’s warranty. Some LVT/LVP manufacturers require a professional installation and/or eliminate sunlit areas for “locking” products to validate their warranties. In the event you want to install LVT/LVP in sunlit areas (most areas of your home), you can choose the glue down product and install over a felt/vinyl mat which still allows for a floating installation.

Easy to Maintain
For today’s busy families, perhaps the biggest highlights of LVT/LVP is that it’s easy to maintain. To stay looking like new, floors simply require a weekly damp-mopping with ammonia & water or the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner.
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in Germantown, WI from Carpet City

What you don’t know about luxury vinyl tile/plank flooring

There is a segment of the floor covering market that hasn’t received the full attention it deserves. Commercial designers/specifiers are HUGE fans of this, but what they know hasn’t filtered down to be shared with many consumers at large. Well it’s time to share the features and benefits of luxury vinyl tile/plank flooring (also referred to as LVT/LVP) and separate these unique products from the mix of other vinyl goods. Luxury vinyl tile/planks couldn’t be more different, not only in how it’s manufactured, but in the total aesthetic and applications.

Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring Construction
The ability to replicate real hardwoods and stones using advanced photographic technologies is the foundation of luxury vinyl flooring systems. There are four distinct layers fused together to produce the final product: a resilient vinyl backing or crushed limestone composite, a vinyl color layer, a photographic film layer, and a urethane or aluminum oxide top layer. The protective top layer (also called the wearlayer or mil layer) is very important to the durability of the product. Commercial applications can successfully utilize 20 mil or above. Lower mil layers are available, but should be specified only for residential setting or light traffic commercial applications.

Features & Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Tile/Plank Flooring
Below are some of the key features and benefits for luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring FeaturesLuxury Vinyl Tile/Plank Flooring Benefits
Incredibly realistic photo replication
of natural materials (photogravure process).
The look and feel of nature’s best materials at a lower cost are a reality of Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring manufacturing.
Brands that offer 100% vinyl material.Vinyl flooring satisfies Green building standards and earns LEED points in commercial applications.
Inherent safety features.Meets requirements of commercial flammability codes, slip resistant requirements…and a menu of other safety codes.
Ease of maintenance.Simple damp mopping is the recommended cleaning procedure for LVT floors.
Excellent selection of sizes, shapes.The size options vary by manufacturer, but many styles are available in 16” x 16”, 18 x 18”, 12 x 24” sizes, and planks in standard (3 x 36” 4.5 x 36) and extra-large widths (7 or 9’ widths).
Naturally water resistant.LVT floors are inherently water resistant (and fairly impervious to wet spills from above). It’s important to install over flat, dry, approved substrates so that no water seepage occurs beneath the floor.
Scratch, stain, dent and scuff resistant.Specialized wear layers. Then the floors are coated with urethane or aluminum oxide to enhance durability.
Cost effective.Economics factor favorably into the specification of Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring for both commercial and residential applications, giving the look and feel of rich, natural materials at a lower cost.
Exceptional durability.Since most luxury vinyl tile flooring is also constructed to withstand commercial wear and tear, it’s ideal for residential high-traffic areas as well as other areas of the home. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but it’s not unusual to see 20-25+ year warranties on brand name luxury vinyl tile flooring.
More resilient than other hard surface floors.Because there are multi-layers of vinyl in luxury vinyl tile flooring as well as a resilient backing as the foundation, LVT tiles and planks have more resilience underfoot. It’s easier to stand on for long periods of time AND as an added benefit, it tends to be warmer underfoot than ceramic.
Amazing aesthetics.There has been a stunning transformation in the design aesthetics of Luxury vinyl tile flooring in the last five years. If you are linking it to “industrial” looking floors, this is where you need to throw away your misconceptions and do some research. This may be the one biggest factor that has caused interior designers to stand up and take note of the new brand of LVT/LVP. The realism of the total look, INCLUDING distressed wood finishes, stone and slate tactile surface textures, and even woven textiles imbedded in the wear layers, are grabbing attention.

Exceptional realism and Durability

Luxury vinyl tile floors are designed to capture the timeless look of natural stone tile flooring, wood planks and porcelain tile floors, while providing an extremely durable and comfortable surface for everyday living. Luxury vinyl tile flooring comes in many extremely fashionable designs ranging from contemporary to rustic and many feature deep embossing for stunning realism. Many of the luxury vinyl tile/plank designs can be installed with grout or without grout, for a true stone or porcelain tile appearance.

Reimagine your home

with our luxury vinyl flooring gallery