23 September 2021

Ask the Expert

LVT Flooring: Pros vs Cons

Everything you think you know about LVT flooring is probably wrong.

Through this article, we look at the pros and cons of this almost indestructible material. We also include advice and tips on how to lay vinyl flooring and maintain this underestimated option.

what-is-lvt-glooring

Linkfloor Leaf Deltoid 18.1X122X0.3 (Available in-store)

 

Before launching into any interior décor project, we should try to keep an open mind. Banish any prejudices and preconceptions we may have about certain materials such as vinyl. LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) flooring has evolved in leaps and bounds over recent years to become almost indistinguishable from the materials it imitates. Whether it be wood, stone or fabric, the look is authentic but without the hassle of ongoing maintenance.

 

What is LVT Flooring?

Unlike vinyl flooring of the past (which came as a roll and resembled linoleum), LVT today comes as a plank or tile. The technology behind LVT reflects advances in vinyl composite materials combined with the ease of laying tiles and planks rather than a roll. Like vinyl rolls, vinyl tiles are made from a sandwich of layers, each layer performing a separate function. The embellishment layer is either a textile fabric or an image printed on paper.

The HD photographic layer is where most progress has been made, resembling natural wood, stone and fabric texture. The finishes are almost indistinguishable from the genuine article. The stability layer provides the weight and sturdiness for the planks/tiles to lay flat. The overall thickness can be anything between 2 and 8mm (including underlay).

 

The Pros and Cons of LVT Flooring

Below is a list of the pros and cons of LVT flooring:


ProsCons
  • Almost indestructible 
  • Resistant to moisture and dampness
  • Little maintenance
  • Easy to lay
  • Versatile
  • Good value for money
  • Difficult to remove if glued down
  • Soft material
  • Discolouration
  • Non-sustainable 

 


 

The Pros of LVT Flooring

  • Almost indestructible: Today, vinyl is almost indestructible, making LVT a popular choice for high traffic areas. The outer layer of the vinyl consists of PVC, which protects the material and generally has a non-slip finish. 
  • Resistant to moisture and dampness: LVT flooring is 100% water-resistant and so particularly suited to wet and humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms. So no need to worry about water leaks or faulty appliances. The outer layer is also treated to be anti-bacterial for additional protection.
  • Little maintenance: Vinyl flooring will only require regular sweeping and a weekly mop (avoid abrasive detergents).  
  • Easy to lay: There is no need for professional installation. Anyone with a measuring tape and a knife can lay LVT flooring. It can be easily cut, making it especially suitable for bathrooms where tiles need to be shaped around bathroom artefacts.
  • Versatility: LVT can be laid over existing floors, concrete, timber or tiles. Nowadays, the planks or tiles have a self-adhesive backing, so they are easy to install and not as hard to remove as glued down versions.
  • Value for money: Costing a fraction of the materials they imitate, LVT flooring will last and last. The higher-end products tend to have a thicker stability layer.

 

the-pros-and-cons-of-lvt-flooring

 

The Cons of LVT Flooring

  • Difficult to remove once installed: Some adhesives are difficult to remove and are labour intensive when removing them. 
  • Vinyl is a soft material: One of its advantages is also its greatest weakness: its lightness. Heavy furniture can dent and mark vinyl floors, while sharp objects can pierce the upper layers.
  • Discolouration: LVT flooring can suffer from sun damage if laid in conservatories or near south-facing doors/windows. The outer layer is not UV resistant and is liable to fading over time.
  • Sustainability: The materials used for LVT flooring are not bio-degradable and, therefore, not environmentally friendly.  

 

LVT flooring in the bathroom

The exceptional technical performance of LVT flooring is the main reason for its use in the bathroom. Heavy-duty planks or tiles are recommended because they repel water over a longer lifespan. Resistant to water and easy to maintain, LVT flooring is also attractive. Choose between timber or natural stone effects. Remember that LVT is also suitable for cladding bathroom walls.  

 

lvt-flooring-for-kitchen

Linkfloor Multiformat Silver (Available in-store)

 

LVT flooring for kitchen

In addition to the Pros and Cons outlined above, LVT flooring offers comfort underfoot. There is a slight give to the material, which provides additional comfort in areas where we are on our feet a lot, like the kitchen. LVT is also suitable for underfloor heating and the different options in designs allow for customisation. Natural wood options combine texture with chevron, herringbone and other laying patterns. While stone and fabric versions also look stylish while requiring almost no special maintenance.

 

LVT flooring installation

Because it can be laid in planks or tiles format, LVT flooring is DIY friendly. No special equipment is required, just a Stanley knife and a measuring tape. Depending on the type of flooring, adhesive can be avoided.

 

 

Follow these steps for the optimum results:

  • Make sure the substrate is completely clean, smooth and level.
  • Before laying the planks/tiles measure the width of the room to avoid awkward cuts.
  • To cut the planks/tiles, score the back with a Stanley knife and snap off.
  • Remove the protection to the backing adhesive and click it into place.  

LVT flooring costs in the UK

On average, expect to pay between £50 and £60 per square meter, i.e. per 10 sq. ft, if the vinyl tiles are of the highest quality. Anything below that price is likely to perform badly in the long run. The cost of use and durability must also be factored into the budget, with significant savings over time.

 


Linkfloor

Vinyl Tiles

Linkfloor, the vinyl tile developed by PORCELANOSA, is a high-quality PVC-based tile with maximum stability, which simulates the appearance of natural wood, woven textile fibre or stone tiles.

 

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FAQs

Protect vinyl flooring by putting rugs on heavily trafficked areas like hallways. Use coasters or felt under heavy furniture sitting on vinyl flooring. Avoid abrasive or overly harsh cleaning products that include solvents or ammonia. Sweep regularly and mop clean with a mixture of well diluted white vinegar for the best results.

Yes, 100%, but better grade LVT products will last longer and perform better over time.

There are three methods of laying LVT flooring, floating, click-in and glued down. The floating floor consists of planks or tiles that click together in a male/female system. Like any other material, vinyl is liable to expansion, so the floating requires an expansion gap. Usually, this joint can be covered by a skirting board and is imperceptible. For the glued down LVF floor, no expansion joint is required. However, it’s advisable to leave a small gap around the perimeter nevertheless.

One of the pros of VLT flooring is that it can be laid over existing finishes. So no underlay is strictly required. However, the substrate must be perfectly even. Otherwise, the vinyl will be damaged. Another advantage of laying LVT flooring directly on a slab is that the vinyl has a waterproof backing, so no DPM is necessary. For upper floors, an Acoustic Vinyl Click Flooring Underlay is recommended to avoid sound transmission.

Vinyl flooring comes in sheets, planks or tiles. The most popular categories of vinyl flooring include: Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring, Stone Plastic Composite Vinyl Flooring SPC, Wood Plastic Composite Vinyl Flooring WPC and Hybrid Vinyl.

These are two very different products. And each has its pros and cons. For wet areas, those subject to heavy traffic or those with the highest wear, LVT is justified.

0 thoughts on “LVT Flooring: Pros vs Cons

  1. A contractor suggested LVT flooring for my kitchen due to my low budget for improving a house I purchased that needs severe updates. After reading in your article that LVT is not sustainable/environmentally friendly, I don’t want to go that route. With that, with my low budget in mind, what would be the best flooring for my kitchen for a person with low $$$ to work with that is eco- friendly. I would appreciate your opinion on this very much.

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