There are a lot of questions about Luxury Vinyl, specifically what it is, what it can do and if it is a new name for laminate. We are going to cover all the main talking points about luxury vinyl so you can make an informed decision about this flooring type and if it is right for your home.
First, what is the difference between luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile. These product names are often used interchangeably and you may wonder what they mean. Luxury Vinyl Plank or LVP is the name for luxury vinyl product that look like wood and come in a plank form. Luxury Vinyl Tile or LVT is the name for luxury vinyl product that looks like tile and comes in tiles rather than planks. Some LVT products can be grouted.
What exactly is luxury vinyl and what is it made of. Luxury vinyl is a floor covering made of vinyl. Vinyl is a form of plastic and is sometimes called PVC. Vinyl is the second most common form of plastic and is used in a variety of applications ranging from food storage to auto body parts and much more. Vinyl can be recycled and made into new products. Depending on the LV product you are looking at some have FloorScore certifications for Zero VOCs, Indoor Air Quality and being formaldehyde free. The FloorScore certifications are helpful in understanding if the flooring is safe to have in your home and around your family.
Construction of luxury vinyl-
Depending on the specific product you are using there are a variety of different layers in a luxury vinyl plank or tile. The base backing or vinyl back layer of the product is a layer that is balanced wit the top layer and film of the plank or tile to create a structurally stable product.
The core layer varies based on the specific product but is commonly made of a durable PVC layer. This layer is also where the locking system is located that will allow the planks or tiles to be locked together.
On top of the core layer the printed layer is attached. This vinyl film layer is where the image of the flooring is added. Then a transparent top layer is adhered above it to work as a protective layer for the printed layer. The transparent layer is added during the pressing process.
Then a surface coating is added to aid in durability and create a wear layer.
This construction varies based on the individual product, we have attached a visual for a specific product so you can see a visual representation of the many layers of luxury vinyl.
Are laminate and luxury vinyl the same? No. Nope. Never.
Luxury vinyl and laminate may compete for the same market share but they are very different products. Luxury vinyl is a vinyl product while laminate is made of pressed wood or plywood layers with a printed image and wear layer added on top. Laminate is sometimes water resistant but can be damaged by big spills like a dishwasher leak while LVP is often times waterproof and can withstand very wet environments. The application of these products is often times different as well as the thickness, installation and core.
Can vinyl be recoated?
Some vinyl products can be recoated over time. Hallmark floors specifically offers a recoating system for their vinyl products helping to improve the lifespace of the flooring. The recoating can help to remove scratches and wear patterns.
Is vinyl a good choice for my home?
This depends on a lot of factors but there is a reason vinyl is the fastest growing flooring product. Vinyl is durable and can stand up to a lot of abuse, looks a lot like real wood and is a more affordable option than a solid wood or engineered wood product. If you want to install flooring in a bathroom or kitchen but are worried about water vinyl can be a great choice. It also works great in mudrooms, laundry rooms and basements, LVT is not limited to any space in your home and many people are using it for their living spaces as well as other parts of their homes.
Understanding MM vs mills.
When you see the mm of a luxury vinyl product you may wonder what that means. The milimeters is for the total thickness of the product. The mills measurement represents the wear layer of the product.
Do I need an underlayment?
Not necessarily, this will depend on the environment the floor is being installed on and what type of luxury vinyl is being used. Many of the floating installation so not need an underlayment. Underlayments can help with noise and make the floor more cushioned but are not always necessary for proper installation.