Luxury vinyl is a cost-effective way to give your home a sturdy and good-looking floor. These floors are water-resistant and, in some cases, waterproof and can mimic hardwood and stone. In this article, you will find out what vinyl flooring is, how it’s made, and its properties before flooring installation.
What is vinyl flooring?
Vinyl flooring is made of synthetic materials, such as vinyl PVC, colored and textured to look like natural wood or stone. This makes it durable, easy to assemble, and versatile. The color and texture variety is massive, and everyone can find one to suit their home.
There are two main kinds of vinyl flooring — Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). The difference between them is in the form of separate pieces. LVP is shaped like planks to simulate hardwood floors, and LVT is tile-shaped. The shape doesn’t impact the properties of the vinyl flooring and serves an aesthetic purpose.
In wet areas, such as bathrooms and hallways, vinyl sheets are often used. They come in squares with a side of 6 to 12 feet. Large size means there will be fewer joints. And knowing that vinyl is waterproof, fewer junctions will provide even better insulation.
What is luxury vinyl plank flooring made of?
To know what is luxury vinyl flooring made of means to understand why it is so sturdy and waterproof. Both LVP and LVT are made using only synthetic materials. That is why they are so good at withstanding moisture — there is simply nothing in there to absorb water.
The base layer of the planks or tiles is usually made of fiberglass followed by PVC vinyl core. In luxury vinyl, it is usually 5 mm thick, while sheet vinyl floors are only 1,5 mm. Multiple PVC layers and additional thickness allow for making interlocking pieces, drastically simplifying the assembly process.
Now that you know about the basics, let’s talk about what luxury vinyl plank flooring has on top of it. It generally has one decorative and a couple of protective layers:
- Print layer: determines the look of the floor, and can imitate large varieties of wood, stone, ceramics, etc.
- Wear layer: special material that protects the floor from dents and scratches.
- Acrylic coating: protects the floor from harmful UV light and prevents color fading.
Is luxury vinyl flooring durable?
The short answer is extremely durable. Thanks to what is luxury vinyl plank flooring made of and its anti-scratch layers, it can last a lifetime without any special care. Its synthetic core is very sturdy, the overall structure is solid, and protective layers minimize the risks of scratching.
Even the best and most expensive hardwood can still suffer from water leaks, scratches, and getting hit by heavy objects. What’s more, over the years of use, they will always wear off and require refurbishing. Vinyl floors don’t have any of those problems and are often indistinguishable from hardwood. And all that for a much smaller price.
Is luxury vinyl flooring waterproof?
Yes, and that is what vinyl flooring is most famous for. Even the options with moderate price tags can be installed to be waterproof. This makes vinyl flooring ideal for bathrooms, hallways, and other rooms where the floor will frequently get wet. And even if the floor is not completely waterproof, it will still be water-resistant since it is made from plastic.
What is the best thickness for luxury vinyl plank flooring?
The thickness of vinyl flooring’s scratchproof layer is measured in mil (not to mix with mm), while overall thickness is usually displayed in millimeters. Thanks to what luxury vinyl flooring is made, the overall thickness of one plank is rarely higher than 8 mm, with a protective layer of about half a millimeter.
Luxury vinyl flooring is generally chosen by protective layer thickness. One of the most common options is 12 mil planks, which give reasonable protection for a fair price. If you have kids, or pets, or suspect that your floor will need to withstand more, it is better to go for 20 mils. Anything above 28 miles is meant for commercial premises and will be overkill for a household.
In general, thicker vinyl flooring will last longer and deal better with what you throw at it. But the price will grow accordingly.
Where you can use vinyl flooring
Thanks to rigid construction, non-absorbent materials, and protective coating, vinyl floors can be used in every room throughout the house. They can easily withstand excessive moisture and mechanical damage. The difference between luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring, since they often get mixed up, is that the first one can be put into the bathroom without a second thought.
Since vinyl floors are very good at replicating hardwood and stone, you can find a suitable print for any room and style. For example, you can pick a blonde wood floor color for the living room and a natural stone for the bathroom.
What is the average cost of luxury vinyl flooring?
The cost differs between LVP and LVT. For a square foot of luxury vinyl planks, you will have to pay from $2,5 to $12. The highest-rated luxury vinyl plank flooring will cost about $5 per square foot.
Vinyl tiles are slightly cheaper, so if you are going for a natural stone look, you will save some money as well. They cost between $1 and $10 per square foot. The only difference between them and vinyl planks is the shape of the pieces.
If you are planning on using vinyl floors in the office, the better choice is commercial vinyl flooring. Its cost is comparable to regular luxury vinyl — $5-$14 per square foot, but it will last longer under heavy foot traffic. Commercial vinyl flooring has a thicker core and protective layer, and in other aspects, it is identical to regular vinyl floors. And since it lasts longer, it is a better investment for commercial property in the long run, not to mention they are low-maintenance.
Depending on the installation type — floating or glued — the cost of labor will vary between $2-$4 for installing a new floor. There, of course, will be additional expenses if you need to remove old flooring first. With all expenses mentioned, the cost of installing 100 square feet of vinyl flooring is about $700 on average.
Luxury vinyl flooring is sturdy, waterproof, and cost-effective flooring material. Thanks to its fully synthetic core and protective coating, it can withstand damage and water and last almost indefinitely. Also, it can mimic the majority of natural flooring materials, be wood, stone, or ceramic tile.
Place of installation and use intensity determine what is the best thickness for luxury vinyl plank flooring. LVP and LVT thickness is mentioned in mils. It is guaranteed to use at least 12 mils thick vinyl for regular use, 20 mils for active households, and 28 or more for commercial property.
Vinyl flooring price is different for LVP and LVT, with LVP being a bit more expensive. The cost of installing 100 square feet of vinyl flooring, including labor, is $700 on average.