Luxury Vinyl Plank (or LVP) is a durable, long-term flooring option allows homeowners to transform their homes with gorgeous style and design possibilities with a minimized environmental footprint and upkeep, two things that don’t always go together. It also combines the look of wood with low maintenance and high durability, which also can seem mutually exclusive at times.
LVP simulates wood (teak, maple, oak, walnut, and pine) using an extremely detailed realistic photo replication process called photogravure process, which creates “wood” planks with the graining and characteristics of real hardwood. While easily confused with laminate (especially since many features and benefits do overlap), the two flooring options are actually very different: they are made out of different materials and manufactured differently, they install differently, they feel different, and they handle stains and usage differently. Read more here.
LVP, which is estimated to make up as much as 35 percent of resilient flooring sales, is projected to remain the fastest growing product type within the category.
Here are three reasons this trending flooring material might be right for your home.
1. Pared Down Upkeep
LVP is gorgeous, yet provides ease of maintenance that you might not expect. You can enjoy the look of real wood or genuine stone without many of the care and maintenance worries because LVP is more dent, scratch, scuff, stain and moisture resistant. It offers especially strong durability when you choose a product with a quality protective top layer.
There are four distinct layers fused together to produce the final product: a resilient vinyl backing, a vinyl color layer, a photographic film layer, and a urethane or aluminum oxide top layer. The protective top layer (also called the wearlayer or mil layer) is very important to the durability of the product. Quality products will have as high as a 40 mil layer. Commercial applications can successfully utilize 20 mil or above. Lower mil layers are available, but should be specified only for light traffic applications.
Simple damp mopping is the recommended cleaning procedure for LVP floors, providing high ease of maintenance. No special cleaners or mops.
LVP’s prime material, vinyl, is man-made. While not a natural, highly eco-friendly material it is highly durable—often lasting more than 25 years— which turns into a sustainability benefit by reducing replacement costs, raw materials and energy required to manufacture other products that would have shorter lifecycles.
From a sustainability perspective, resilient flooring is one of the most transparent products on the market today.
Because most luxury vinyl tile flooring is constructed to withstand commercial wear and tear, it’s ideal for residential high-traffic areas in your home.
You can compound the sustainable attributes of LVP with the addition of radiant heat, which is more efficient and comfortable than heating the air because air does not retain heat for very long. Instead, radiant heat warms your body and the objects surrounding you, ultimately eliminating inconsistent room temperatures.
When installing LVP, you can further maximize the heat produced by your radiant heating system with the use of a self-leveling underlayment (SLU), which is suggested for all forms of vinyl floors. In addition to improving heating efficiencies, it also adds forgiveness when installations are taking place on a less-than-perfect subfloor and increases the water and mold resistance of your floor. LVP floors are also fairly impervious to wet spills from above, which is just one more benefit the floors offer.
It is important to be aware of trapped heat when choosing LVP.
When you place items on top of the floor they can trap radiant floor heat, which can make the area much warmer than the surrounding areas. Without monitoring, this trapped heat can cause problems with the floor coverings, including discoloration.
The key to avoiding those frustrations is to mindfully avoid big offenders such as colored bean bags and pet beds that would cover a large space and sit directly of the floor.
Any item that sits in the same place for long periods of time can cause discoloring. These products may have temperature limits too, so double check items you plan to sit directly on LVP.
3. Beautiful Possibilities
Don’t get trapped into visualizing the commercial, “industrial” look of the past, as LVP has been totally upgraded.
There has been a stunning transformation in the design aesthetics of luxury vinyl tile flooring in the last five years. If you are linking it to ‘industrial’-looking floors, this is where you need to throw away your misconceptions and do some research. This may be the biggest factor that has caused interior designers to stand up and take note of the new brand of LVP. The realism of the total look, including distressed wood finishes and tactile surface textures, are grabbing attention.
The sizes available in LVP are growing to allow for more design options, adding flexibility that is fueling the trend.
LVP eliminates the sometimes complicated installation processes that can happen when trying to put real wood and stone together. Nearly any design can be cut and installed with nothing more than a utility knife. You can get the look and feel of the latest trends in natural products without their practical drawbacks.
It is just another way LVP can allow you to have the best of both worlds. So keep an open mind for all the new possibilities LVP can offer and the various benefits it may bring to your home and family as you plan your design.