Luxury vinyl tiles or planks, more commonly referred to as LVT, replicate timber and stone looks by using advanced technologies. Now your home can have the timeless look of wood or stone at a fraction of the cost.
All flooring types have their own pros and cons, and it is up to you to decide what option best fits your home and lifestyle. Here are some characteristics of LVT flooring to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
- Luxury Vinyl Tiles and Planks (LVT) are made up of multiple layers starting with a base of PVC, topped with a fill layer for a bit of thickness and dimensional stability. Overtop of this is a photographic image that replicates the latest trends in wood, ceramic and stone designs. On top of this photographic print, a clear vinyl wear layer is applied to protect the tile or plank for durability.
- Depending on the variety of LVT that you are looking at, there may be slight differences in the layers making up the flooring. Some manufacturers use more or less layers, or have different protective layers on the top surface to further enhance wear resistance and other features. These vary across the different ranges and can make some LVT superior to others.
- The quality of the top coat wear layer should not be underestimated as this is what makes the LVT floor more durable, hardwearing and scratch-resistant. Scratches from debris, furniture moving and human interaction can be avoided by selecting a quality LVT that has a better wear layer. It is always good practice to lift furniture instead of dragging when moving it across your floor and using felt pads on the feet of furniture.
- There is a wide variety of qualities of LVT. Some ranges have the texture of wood or stone with grooves and embossing, truly replicating the look and feel of the raw material.
- It is important to note that while luxury vinyl replicates wood or stone, you will notice on closer inspection that it is not a natural product. For those looking for a natural product, opt for laminate, wood or tile instead.
- Different types of LVT will have different thicknesses. The thickness will be a factor in determining the durability and quality of the product. A LVT with a thicker layer, while more expensive, will provide longer resistance to wear-and-tear. Opting for an LVT with a thin top layer, will be cheaper but may not have the lasting quality and appearance.
- One of the most appealing features of LVT is the ability to install it in homes without having to remove skirting boards or kickboards from kitchen cabinetry.
- Luxury vinyl planks can be laid on top of any existing hard flooring. The subfloor that the luxury vinyl tiles or planks get installed on top of needs to be finished well with no dust, dirt, high levels or protruding stones in the concrete and so forth. This is so the planks or tiles lay completely flat and don’t have any irregularities show through.
- As LVT is glued directly to the subfloor without the use of an underlay, there may not be the desired or required sound absorption levels that can be achieved with other flooring types. This is especially important to note for multilevel homes or apartments where noise travels between floors. The exception to this is in the case of a Loose-Lay LVT which is thicker and has additional layers that enhance the acoustic properties beyond the standard LVT
- LVT is an easy care, low maintenance flooring option. It doesn’t need waxing, polishing, sanding or refinishing. Instead, regular mopping and sweeping will maintain its appearance.
- LVT planks and tiles are glued to the subfloor and for this reason the subfloor needs to be completely clean, allowing the glue to stick.
- Like with any other floor covering, spills on the floor should be attended to briskly to avoid lasting damage. Liquid spills have the potential to lift planks along the edges, particularly the short edges. Water can seep into the seams and “washout” the adhesive. If this does happen and only a few planks are affected, it can be fairly easily remedied.
- Dimensional stability is the biggest issue when using luxury vinyl. Gapping or ‘peaking’ where ends of planks butt into each other and stick up, may occur due to environmental and installation factors. This is undesirable as it can make for an unsightly looking floor, as well as result in dirt build-up in the gaps over time. Some LVT ranges are proven to be more stable than others, with extensive testing evidence available on request.
- Environmental factors are the major cause of this phenomena occurring. Luxury vinyl needs to be acclimatised at the property before being installed. The floor and room temperature also needs to be maintained prior to, during and for some time after installation. It also can’t be installed outside of certain temperature range.
- After installation, the indoor climate conditions need to be kept between a certain range to avoid shrinkage.
- Providing installation is carried out to manufacturers instructions by a qualified and reputable installer, these issues are easily avoidable but good to be aware of nevertheless.
- LVT is available across a wide variety of price points that are comparatively cheaper to real wood or stone. Installation is relatively quick as well so there may be savings in laying LVT over other hard flooring types.
- Most Luxury vinyls are compatible with underfloor heating systems. To avoid damaging the planks or tiles, there are maximum heat setting recommendations and best practice guides to follow.
- It is always a good idea to order slightly more flooring than you need and to store this away somewhere safe. When you come to making any alterations to your home and need to ‘patch’ your floor or you seriously damage a plank, you can remove this and replace it for a seamless repair.
APPLIED IN THE HOME
LUXURY VINYL IS A GREAT OPTION FOR MOST HOMES AS IT CAN BE INSTALLED ON ALL HARD SURFACES. WHEN LAID AND CARED FOR CORRECTLY, IT'S AN EXTREMELY HARD WEARING FLOOR TYPE AND IS AVAILABLE ACROSS A VARIETY OF PRICE POINTS.
KITCHEN : Luxury vinyl is a great option for kitchens. It can be installed in existing kitchens without having to remove kickboards or scotia. Dropped food can be cleaned away without mess or fuss.
HALLWAY: Perfect for entrance and hallways, Luxury vinyl will withstand the constant movement and traffic with its hardwearing properties.
BEDROOM: A good choice for bedrooms, luxury vinyl will work well in this space. For chilly winter mornings place a sheepskin on the floor at your bedside for something warm to step onto, or an area rug for kids playing on their bedroom floor.
BATHROOM & LAUNDRY: Providing the bathroom has good ventilation and temperature ranges do not move outside of recommended conditions, Luxury vinyl can be used in these spaces.
LOUNGE: Luxury vinyl is well suited for lounges and living spaces. Team this with a rug to add texture or warmth if required.