LVP flooring, also called Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring, is a popular flooring material for budget conscious consumers who are looking for a flooring material that provides moisture resistance and ease of maintenance. Whereas LVP flooring is mostly used to emulate wood planks, LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) flooring is used to emulate ceramic tile and stone flooring.
LVP Flooring Construction
Most LVP flooring are constructed of four distinct layers: a clear durable wear layer; an ultra-realistic textured design layer; a rigid and flexible base layer (core); and an underlayment. Each layer serves a specific function. The top clear wear layer protects the other layers against scratching, staining, fading and moisture. The decorative texture layer contains the high definition digital image of the material the LVP is meant to imitate – in this case wood. The core layer which is made of vinyl PVC material, cork or stone polymer or is pliable or rigid, 100% waterproof and gives the planks their strength. The backing layer provides cushioning for added comfort when walking on the LVP flooring, sound dampening and acts as a barrier against moisture coming from the subfloor (if any). All the layers are pressed and glued together to form a vinyl plank. Additional types of vinyl flooring include WPC and SPC as explained below.
Expanded Polymer Core (WPC)
Most WPC flooring products are interlocking and floated atop the subfloor. They are made with a rigid expanded PVC core. Rather than being solid, the PVC core contains tiny air pockets for better sounding floors when walking on them. A pad is usually glued on the back for cushioning and comfort.
Solid Polymer Core (SPC)
Great for uneven subfloors, SPC has an extremely dense and rigid core that is made of stone polymer composite. It has no give when walking on it and resist denting. It is not as comfortable to walk on as WPC or LVT, but it provide a rigidity that is similar to wood flooring. The planks lock together using a tongue and groove system that is installed floating atop the subfloor.
Traditional Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
As described above, LVP is made of several layers that are pressed and bonded together. LVP is not as stiff as WPC and SPC or other rigid core products, but is more comfortable and warmer to walk on. LVP is a stable and reliable flooring material, which, depending on the rigidity of its core, can be glued to the subfloor or floated over the subfloor.
LVP Flooring Installation
LVP is one of the easiest flooring to install, but still requires good technique and know how. Depending on the brand you choose and the way it is constructed, your luxury vinyl planks can be installed in one of several ways:
Click-together floating floors. This refers to an interlocking system whereas planks snap and lock together like a large puzzle.
Glue-down floors. With this type of installation, the planks are attached to the subfloor using industrial-grade adhesive.
Loose-lay floors. This type of installation is applicable to flooring that is made of heavier vinyl, usually with a rubber or rubber-type backing. The planks are laid on top of a subfloor without any adhesives and held in place by their weight, friction between the floor and their underlying sub controls or its snapped-together joints
Peel-and-stick floors. This type of vinyl flooring is the easiest to install. All that is needed is a measuring tape, chalk line, and utility knife.
Advantages of LVP flooring
There are several advantages to having LVP flooring installed in your Charlotte NC home. One of the main advantages is cost as compared to solid and engineered hardwood floors. Luxury vinyl planks flooring is one of the most affordable type of flooring and top brands make attractive and high performance products. Good quality LVP flooring can last 15 to 20 years.
Another advantage of LVP flooring is its resistance to moisture and water. Some brands offer 100% waterproof planks which makes them a perfect material for bathrooms, busy kitchens, foyers and other spaces prone to moisture and temperature changes. They can be installed above and below grade and because they can be installed in moisture prone rooms, it allows for having the same type of flooring throughout a home.
LVP flooring is easy to maintain and clean. Because of its protective top layer, it is also scratch, stain resistant and does not fade easily. This makes it a great flooring material for busy spaces like kitchens.
LVP flooring is comfortable and warmer to walk on as compared to wood, ceramic and stone floors.
Disadvantages of LVP
While LVP is a good option for flooring, it also has disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is that it does not add as much as value to a home as solid hardwood floors, but that really depends on the quality of LVP flooring and how it was installed. Cheap LVP flooring that is poorly installed will affect the resale value of a home.
Being softer than solid hardwood floors, ceramic and stone, LVP flooring is more prone to dents. Heaving furniture, high heels, dropping heavy objects on LVP can damage them. That’s also the case with hardwood floors, but a damaged hardwood floor can be repaired whereas damaged LVP flooring has to be replaced.
LVP flooring emits VOC (even the best LVP available) which is not environmentally friendly. Being made of PVC, once they are disposed of, they are not so good for the environment and will continue to emit VOC.
One of the major drawback for LVP as compared to solid hardwood floors is that they cannot be refinished a different color (or the same color for that matter). So we choosing a color and style for your LVP flooring, make sure you will be happy with your selection for the next 10 t0 15 years, because if you are not, you will have to redo your entire floors.
If you live in the Charlotte area and are interested in getting a quote to have LVP flooring installed in your home, contact Fabricio Hardwood Floors today to schedule a free in-home estimate.