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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

LVT Flooring & What You Should Know

Do you have a graduation party or wedding celebration coming to your home soon? Maybe you are interested in new flooring, but do not know what to get or where to start. Listen today as Kathy Kilbourn talks about what you should know about LVT before you buy.

Flooring can be such a difficult product to select because there are so many products available today. We want to look at hard surface options today, LVT as compared to other choices like ceramic and real wood!

What is LVT?

LVT is short for Luxury Vinyl Tile. This product comes out of the commercial world of flooring and has been around a long time. It is installed plank to plank or tile by tile and usually is glued in place. LVT is a flexible product so is easy to cut with a utility knife. It offers a bit of cushioning when walked on. It should always be installed over a new subfloor to make sure that the floor is completely smooth.

Between other hard surfaces like ceramic and real wood floor, is LVT the most popular?

Yes, LVT has become much more popular for several reasons……

  1. It is easier to install in an existing home. Many people will do it themselves

  2. It is a high quality product which is virtually un-scratchable as compared to a real wood floor.

  3. It is not as hard to walk on, like ceramic with grout lines.

  4. Things do not shatter when dropped on LVT like it will on ceramic and will not crack like a ceramic.

  5. The LVT is a vinyl product so it warmer to walk on without having to use a heated floor

  6. It is ADA approved against slipping and will hold up well with wheelchairs and walkers

  7. Many times a Lower cost

  8. Thinner so has less issues when installing in kitchens and up to other floors so that a trip hazard isn’t created.

  9. Not slippery for pets to walk on!

  10. Easily removable and replaceable if damaged

  11. Waterproof

  12. Can look like stone or wood

Why is LVT less scratch-able compared to a real wood floor?

There are two main variables…..the wear layer that is the protective coating on the products can be greatly different. Many LVT products today us a ceramic bead finish which is really hard to penetrate. LVT which can offer 6-9 mil in residential versions, but can go to 40 mil in the commercial product. The mil thickness will make a big difference in how long it lasts and how the finish will remain with out scratches. Wood floors usually use a polyurethane coating which is very easy to scratch and will show white marks when something is dragged across it!

The other big difference is due to the installation method. Wood floors are usually tongue and groves together and nailed in place. It is harder to remove a piece if it is damaged. Generally wood is repaired in place, and many times needs to be refinished to get the luster back after years of use! With the LVT, it is installed with a releasable glue, so a piece can easily replaced. This type of install is very important to the commercial world due to the heavy use the product gets. Damaged floor pieces can be replaced in a matter of minutes.

Tell me about the cost difference in these three products.

The biggest savings might be due to the installation factors. Generally ceramic and LVT can be done yourself. I have seen the DIY installs of ceramic that do not turn out that good, because they did not have the right saw, and did not undercut the door frames.

Products will only be as good as the install, so always consider hiring a professional to get the best job!

Real wood floors can be a lot more expensive today just due to what it is …generally it is 3/4” thickness and there are many options in the type of wood being used, like maple, hickory, oak and cherry. Some wood is much more expensive than another!

Ceramic is not a high cost as there are many lower quality tiles out today. They may not be as thick, fired as many times, or have some of the newer designs. The expense with ceramic is the install. It should be installed over a cement board to alleviate cracks, and needs to have grout. Grout over time is typically harder to maintain. It is the hardest floor if you fall on it, and by far the coldest!

There are a lot of differences in these products so I know it is important to do research on each of them! Just because your friend has a product and likes it, doesn’t mean it is the best choice today! That may have been the best 25 years ago, but today there are many choices that offer different advantages….so check them out!

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