What comes to your mind when you hear the word “vinyl”? For most people, they think of those huge rolls of cheap plastic flooring sold at the big box DIY stores. I try not to tell people that LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) flooring is actually a vinyl product until I have been able to tell them about the wide range of amazing attributes that have allowed it to become a very popular flooring choice. Otherwise, people immediately become close-minded about the product without wanting to hear additional details.
LVT most commonly looks like hardwoods; however, you can also choose LVT that mimics the look of porcelain, travertine, slate, stained concrete – pretty much any style you would want for your new floor. Instead of one big sheet, the product will come in whatever form that the LVT is imitating. “Hardwood” LVT will be shaped in individual planks to closely match the look of hardwoods. When mimicking tile, it will be shaped in squares or rectangles, and it even has a line you would install to mimic the grout! These individual pieces will be glued down using pressure-sensitive glue. There are even some thicker, heavier styles of LVT with a gripping mechanism on the bottom, which allows it to be installed by merely placing them on the floor.
Luxury Vinyl Tile is most commonly used as the flooring of choice in the basement. LVT is a great choice here because it is virtually waterproof so it can withstand the water from an outside pool, hot tub, or even a flood. LVT is virtually indestructible, so it can withhold high traffic (often installed in Wal-Mart), kids playing around, get-together’s, etc. I installed it for a customer who called me two days later, thankful because she had dropped a large glass container full of lemonade that shattered across the floor. She winced because she was afraid she had damaged her new floors, only to find there wasn’t a single mark.
From a maintenance perspective, LVT is a great choice because it can be cleaned with anything, never needs to be refinished, resealed, or re-grouted, and should you damage a piece/plank, it can easily be replaced. It is softer than the flooring types it mimics and also is better at muffling sound. As far as pricing goes, LVT starts off at a very affordable rate. However, the more indistinguishable you want it to be, the higher the price. The higher end wide plank hardwood looks may end up being about the same price as the real thing, but will end up saving you money in the future on repairs and maintenance. No matter what you envision for your home, there will an LVT product out there that will meet your design and budget needs!