This week, we look at Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) as another smart alternative to hardwood flooring. LVT is the fastest growing category in the flooring business. Why? Like laminate flooring, it provides the natural, elegant look of wood, tile and stone at a more reasonable cost. But the real story of LVT is its exceptional durability. LVT is so durable that many of them are even recommended for light commercial use.
- Exceptional Durability
Because LVT is constructed to withstand commercial wear and tear, it’s probably “over-qualified” for residential use and can handle high-traffic areas with ease. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but it’s not unusual to see 20-25 year warranties on brand name LVT. Specialized wear layers (most commonly 20 mil) are engineered to be scratch-, stain-, dent- and scuff-resistant. Then the floors are coated with urethane to enhance durability.
LVT planks feature incredibly realistic photo replications of hardwood, with handsome graining, realistic knotholes, worn saw marks and beveled edges embedded in the wear layer. This gives the floors the look and feel of real wood finishes at a fraction of the cost.
- Naturally Water-Resistant
If you’ve been longing for a hardwood look in your basement or bathroom – moisture prone areas that would normally be “off limits” for traditional wood flooring – this is your floor! LVT can take water spillage and it’s possible that it may even survive flooding, provided that the floor was installed correctly and that you remove the water ASAP. Now that’s impressive!
- Safe & Comfortable Underfoot
Vinyl is inherently slip-resistant, making LVT a good flooring choice for folks with mobility problems, as well as kids and pets. Plus, LVT is comfortable to walk on. Because they contain multi-layers of vinyl as well as a resilient backing as the foundation, LVT tiles and planks have more resilience underfoot than hardwood. It’s easier to stand on for long periods of time and it tends to be warmer underfoot than ceramic.
- Fast & Easy to Install
LVT floors are either glued to or “floated” over a subfloor. Although no underlayment is necessary, the subfloor needs to be secure, free of moisture, smooth and level. This is important because roughness or unevenness of the subfloor may “telegraph” through the vinyl planks, resulting in an unsightly surface and excessive wear on high spots. The cost and time involved in installation will depend on the condition of the subfloor. That said, most LVT floors will be less expensive to install than hardwood. As always, we recommend using trained, professional installers for the best long-term performance of any flooring product. But the skilled “Do-It-Yourselfer” can save even more money by using special Luxury Vinyl Planks made for glueless installation.
- Easy to Maintain
Simple damp mopping with a manufacturer-approved cleaner is the recommended cleaning procedure for LVT floors. Although LVT is tough and durable, if a plank does become damaged, it can be removed and replaced.
Our Favorite Luxury Vinyl Plank
Since its introduction in 2007, MANNINGTON ADURA® has been a perennial favorite of our customers. In my opinion, it’s the most realistic-looking of the LVT products. Mannington’s Adura collection features a nice variety of hardwood species, textures and plank sizes. Adura Planks are available in today’s most popular 4″, 5″, 6″, and also variable width planks. Take a look at Mannington Adura flooring in “Dockside” (pictured, above left) – a reclaimed and restored wood visual that makes a bold statement in design, color, and character.
In a field of products known for their durability, Adura is “the best of the best” and is backed by a 20-Year Residential Warranty against wear, fading, staining, de-laminating and defects. In fact, I can’t think of one instance where a customer has had a problem with an Adura floor. The floor is that good (and our installers are that good)!
FREE FIT LVT Floors are new to Pucher’s. When we learned about them, we were impressed by their innovation. First of all, they’re totally glueless, making them really easy to install. FreeFit planks feature a suction backing that forms an anti-skid surface between the subfloor & the plank. FreeFit Planks are dense – the weight of the product allows it to lay flat to the subfloor. So, assuming you’ve got a good subfloor, the Free Fit floor is extremely stable and no glue required! FreeFit claims to have the best warranty in the business – a Limited Lifetime Residential Warranty & 15 Year Commercial Warranty. Pictured above, right is FreeFit LVT in Amendoim (Brazilian Oak).
Key Takeaway: Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Planks will give your rooms a realistic hardwood look with more durability and for less money! Now that’s a great value!