Newly popular, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is often installed in a system that hooks, snaps, or locks together, or a self-adhesive system that is glued directly to the subfloor. LVT makes a beautiful floor, but as with any flooring choice it has its advantages and disadvantages that you must consider when deciding if it is the right flooring choice for you.
A strong advantage of LVT is its visual appeal. It realistically mimics the appearance of natural materials such as wood or stone with embossed or textured surfaces, making it almost indistinguishable from the real thing. It offers a wide variety of patterns and styles that would be difficult to source, thus higher in expense, if the natural materials were used. LVT is also softer and can also tolerate conditions that these natural materials can’t. LVT is typically thicker than traditional vinyl flooring materials due to an added layer of heavy film covered with a UV-cured urethane that makes it scuff, stain, and scratch resistant, improving its wear and performance. This added thickness adds the advantages of sound absorption, heat insulation, and comfort underfoot. Another major advantage of LVT is its resistance to water damage, making it a great option for an area where you may have spills.
Successful flooring installation always requires correct substrate preparation but it is extremely important when installing LVT because it will conform to the surface it is applied to and any irregularities present in the substrate will show through. If a substrate is not flat then the installation will have gaps and an uneven appearance. The pattern of the flooring may visually hide flaws but the LVT can shorten in length over high and low areas, and lift on its edges or ends. While underlayments could be used, they would compromise performance since LVT is made to lie firmly against the substrate. An underlayment would make the flooring unstable and prone to flexing and indentations. The next consideration when installing LVT is moisture in the substrate. Moisture will affect LVT’s plasticizers (additives that increase fluidity,) creating changes in the material. It is important to remember that regardless of moisture testing, all concrete substrates, especially older slabs and those on or below grade, contain moisture. LVT can also expand and contract with fluctuating temperatures so it must be installed in an area where the temperature is constant.
LVT has a higher upfront cost but minimal maintenance requirements, making it the preferred flooring for many homeowners. As with any product, make sure you purchase your LVT from trusted flooring professionals. In the Atlanta area that means Flacks Flooring, your number one source for the highest quality flooring at the most competitive prices! Come visit us today and check out our selection of luxury vinyl flooring for yourself.