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What Is LVT Flooring and Is It Right for You?

25/07/2023
lvt flooring guide for your property

LVT flooring is one of the most durable, versatile, and cost-effective floor types. But is it the best flooring for your property? Will installing or replacing vinyl flooring increase your home resale value?

This guide will answer all your questions about LVT flooring to help you decide if it's good for you.

How Is LVT Made?

LVT, or Luxury Vinyl Tile, is a synthetic multi-layer flooring that mimics natural materials like real wood flooring or stone.

Vinyl floors are made by mixing layers of plastic, mainly polyvinyl chloride resins (PVC), with additives, such as stabilisers and plasticisers, and adding a realistic image of wood or stone on the surface. There are different manufacturing methods for LVT, which we'll explore later in the article.

Is LVT Flooring Popular?

Yes, LVT is a popular choice of flooring. It offers a durable, versatile, and comfortable flooring option without the premium price tag of the natural materials it replicates.

Types of LVT Flooring

We primarily categorise vinyl flooring by design. Traditional vinyl floors came in sheet form only, which didn't mimic natural materials well.

Modern luxury vinyl flooring offers a more realistic look. It's available in two main types, each with advantages and disadvantages.

  • Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring
  • Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring

Let's explore each LVT floor type in detail below:

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) Flooring

Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) come in tile-like shapes. It's typically installed with individual pieces that resemble ceramic or stone tiles.

Like other vinyl floors, LVT flooring is multi-layer, but the core material is fibreglass or rigid PVC.

Pros of LVTCons of LVT
Replicates various materials, including ceramic tiles, slate, marble, and travertineDifficult to repair (cannot be sanded and refinished like hardwood)
Comes in different tile sizes and shapesMore expensive than LVP
Works well for high-traffic and moisture-prone areas in both residential and commercial spacesNot biodegradable
Costs less to buy, install, and maintain compared to natural materials like stone or ceramic tilesDoesn't always increase property value

Due to its water-resistance properties, luxury vinyl tile flooring is ideal for water-prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Flooring

LVP comes in long planks that resemble traditional hardwood flooring. It replicates the look and texture of wood, offering a range of wood species and finishes.

The core layer for most LVP floors is rigid vinyl or a composite material, such as WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) or SPC (Stone Plastic Composite).

Pros of LVPCons of LVP
Planks are available in different lengths and widthsNot as sustainable as natural flooring options
Long planks create a seamless and continuous look in larger spacesCan fade due to much sun exposure
LVP floors don't need refinishing or sealingIt offers less sound insulation
Cost-effective alternative to genuine hardwood flooring 

LVP flooring is an excellent alternative to LVT in commercial and residential properties desiring a hardwood look and feel.

Common Uses of LVT Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring is a versatile option for different rooms and properties. Here are the best uses for LVT flooring:

  • Residential spaces, including living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens
  • Commercial areas, such as offices, retail stores, and restaurants
  • High-traffic areas like hallways and entryways
  • Moisture-prone areas, such as bathrooms and basements
  • Retail spaces and shopping centres
  • Renovation projects to update flooring without significant structural changes

Residential LVT Flooring

When shopping for LVT flooring, you'll come across commercial and residential grade options.

Residential-grade LVT flooring is ideal for homeowners. It has a thinner wear layer (6 to 12 mil) compared to commercial LVT because of the expectations of low foot traffic. This wear layer thickness is sufficient for everyday household use and provides excellent resistance against scratches, stains, and wear from regular foot traffic.

Commercial LVT Flooring

Commercial-grade LVT flooring is a durable and versatile option for high-traffic business environments, such as retail stores, offices, hospitals, and public spaces.

It has a thicker wear layer to withstand heavy foot traffic, which is expected in such areas. Most good commercial floors have an LVT thickness of 20 to 28 mil to provide extra protection against heavy wear and tear.

Pros and Cons of LVT Flooring

Pros of LVT flooringCons of LVT flooring
Highly durable and resistant to scratches, stains, and wearNot as environmentally friendly as some other flooring options
Water-resistant, making it suitable for moisture-prone areasCan be more challenging to repair compared to natural materials
Easy installation and maintenanceProne to fading and discolouration when excessively exposed to sunlight
Affordable compared to natural materialsSome versions may lack the authentic texture and feel of natural materials

Styles and Effects of LVT Flooring

Whether you're going for a touch of elegance and sophistication or uniqueness, you won't lack an LVT with options. You can find LVT flooring options for a rustic and vintage vibe, textured look, modern and artistic patterns, classic hardwood layouts, metallic or industrial effects, various colours, and more.

LVT Flooring Colours

The best LVT flooring colour depends on your preferences. Here are some options you might find and their suitability for different environments:

  • Neutrals (beige, grey): These versatile colours work well in modern homes and offices for an elegant touch.
  • Earthy tones (brown, terracotta): The natural and earthy colours add a sense of cosiness and comfort, making it suitable for living rooms, bedrooms, and areas where you want a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Cool shades (blue, green): It works well in bathrooms, kitchens, and coastal-themed rooms, adding a touch of tranquillity and a connection to nature.
  • Warm hues (red, orange): Ideal for adding vibrancy to welcoming spaces.
  • Rich/dark tones: They suit sophisticated environments.
  • Pastels: A great option for creating a gentle, elegant atmosphere.
  • Vibrant/bold options: They can be used for statement areas or creative spaces.

LVT Flooring Finishes

LVT flooring comes in various finishes with distinct looks and textures. The popular LVT patterns include:

  • Smooth finish
  • Embossed finish
  • Hand Scraped
  • Wire-brushed finish
  • Matte finish
  • High-gloss finish LVT

LVT Flooring Patterns

LVT flooring is available in various patterns typical of the natural materials it imitates. Some common patterns available in vinyl flooring include:

  • Wood species patterns, such as oak, maple, walnut, and more
  • Natural stone patterns, like marble, slate, travertine, and limestone
  • Ceramic or porcelain tiles
  • Modern and artistic geometric designs, including squares, triangles, and diamonds
  • LVT herringbone flooring patterns
  • Chevron patterned LVT flooring

The Best LVT Flooring in the UK

The best LVT flooring varies based on individual factors such as budget, preferences, style, foot traffic, and the space's intended purpose.

LVT Flooring Brands in the UK

In the UK, various reputable manufacturers offer LVT flooring options, providing consumers with a wide selection. Here are some of the reputable flooring brands in the UK LVT market:

LVT Flooring Cost

The average vinyl flooring cost ranges from £2 to £10 per square foot. The price can vary widely based on the LVT type, brand, and place of purchase.

Can You Find Cheap LVT Flooring?

Yes, you can buy cheap LVT flooring. LVT flooring can be available at lower prices due to material quality, thickness, design complexity, brand, and production technique. However, it's essential to balance cost with the desired level of durability and performance.

Can You Find Expensive LVT Flooring?

Yes, you can buy costly LVT flooring. LVT flooring can be pricey due to several factors, including:

  • Premium-quality materials
  • Thicker wear layer
  • Intricate and realistic designs
  • Advanced printing and embossing technologies
  • Brand and reputation
  • Additional features like enhanced sound insulation or extra slip resistance
  • Longer warranties

LVT Flooring Fitting Costs

Fitting LVT flooring typically costs £20 to £50 per square metre. The cost can vary depending on the type of LVT, installation complexity, and location. Intricate patterns, subfloor preparation, and additional services may increase the cost.

Does LVT Flooring Increase or Decrease the Value of Your Property?

LVT can potentially increase the value of your property, but not as much as hardwood which has a longer lifespan.

How to Install LVT Flooring

Different types of vinyl flooring may have varying installation processes. For instance, click LVT flooring doesn't require adhesive, while glue down LVT flooring does.

Below are the essential steps to help you in laying LVT flooring correctly:

  1. Remove the baseboard: You can use a pry bar to loosen and remove the baseboards.
  2. Prepare the subfloor: Ensure the subfloor is clean, level, and dry. You can use a self-leveller on low spots.
  3. Acclimate the LVT: Unpack and let the LVT acclimate to the room's temperature and humidity according to the manufacturer's recommendations (often 48 hours).
  4. Start the layout: Plan the layout of the LVT by starting from the centre of the room and working your way outward. Use chalk lines to mark guidelines for proper alignment.
  5. Cut the tiles or planks: Measure and cut the LVT tiles or planks as needed to fit around edges, corners, and obstacles. Use a utility knife or a specialised cutting tool for precise cuts.
  6. Apply adhesive (if applicable): Depending on the type of LVT flooring, you may need to apply adhesive to the subfloor or use a self-adhesive backing on the LVT tiles/planks.
  7. Install the LVT: Begin placing the LVT tiles or planks along the chalk lines. Press each piece firmly into place, ensuring a snug fit.
  8. Seam alignment: For glue-down LVT, maintain proper seam alignment and minimise gaps between the tiles or planks for a seamless appearance.
  9. Add transition strips: Install transition strips at doorways or areas where the LVT meets other flooring types for a smooth transition and finished look.
  10. Trim and finish: Trim any excess LVT around the room's edges and finish the installation with baseboards or moulding.

Methods of Installing LVT Vinyl Flooring

There are various ways to install LVT flooring. The method you choose may depend on the type of LVT, the manufacturer's recommendations, and your level of expertise. Some standard installation methods for LVT flooring include:

  • Loose lay
  • Glue-down
  • Floating
  • Locking
  • Peel-and-stick (self-adhesive)

Do You Need an Underlay With LVT Flooring?

No, an underlayment isn't necessary if you're using LVT with a built-in underlay. When installing vinyl planks directly over a concrete floor, an underlayment would be needed.

Can I Install LVT Flooring Myself or Hire a Professional?

No, you do not necessarily need a professional to install LVT flooring. It is possible to DIY the installation if you have the necessary tools and skills and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. But for complex installations or, if unsure, hiring a professional ensures proper fitting and optimal results.

How do you maintain LVT flooring?

Maintaining LVT flooring involves regular cleaning and care to keep it looking its best and extend its lifespan. Here are the steps for maintaining LVT flooring:

  • Sweep daily to remove debris and dirt
  • Mop weekly and use a manufacturer-recommended LVT cleaner
  • Promptly clean up spills and stains with a damp cloth or sponge
  • Place mats or rugs at entrances and high-traffic areas
  • Use furniture pads or felt protectors under furniture legs to prevent scratches and indentations on the LVT surface
  • Avoid harsh chemicals, wax, polish, or oil-based products on LVT flooring
  • Follow the manufacturer's care guidelines

How do you clean LVT flooring?

LVT flooring requires regular cleaning to maintain its appearance and durability.

Here are useful tips for how to clean LVT flooring:

  1. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose dirt and debris
  2. Damp mop using a mild pH-neutral cleaner or manufacturer-recommended LVT cleaner
  3. Avoid abrasive scrubbing and excessive water to prevent damage

Is It Possible to Repair LVT Flooring?

Yes, you can repair LVT flooring. You can replace damaged tiles or planks with new ones. However, the ease of repair may vary depending on the specific installation method and the type of LVT used.

What is the LVT Flooring Lifespan?

Depending on various factors, LVT flooring typically lasts 15 to 25 years. These include:

  • Stability and levelness of subfloor
  • Weather
  • Installation method
  • Maintenance levels
  • Traffic levels

How Efficient Is LVT Flooring?

LVT flooring is highly efficient, offering durability, water resistance, low maintenance, ease of installation, and various design options.

Is LVT Flooring Eco-Friendly?

No, vinyl floors aren't very environmentally friendly. The primary material making vinyl flooring (PVC) can emit VOCs after installation, isn't biodegradable, and can't be recycled.

However, vinyl floors can last for decades meaning less waste and environmental impact.

Is LVT Flooring Good?

Yes, LVT flooring is a good choice for commercial and residential use. It's durable, cost-effective, versatile in design, easy to maintain, and water resistant.

Is LVT Flooring Suitable for Pets?

Yes, LVT flooring is an excellent choice for pet owners due to its resistance to scratches and stains. It is also water-resistant, making it easier to clean up pet accidents.

Is LVT Flooring Suitable for Kids?

Yes, LVT flooring is a child-friendly option as it offers a soft and comfortable surface, reducing the risk of injuries from slips and falls.

Is LVT Flooring Ideal for High-Traffic Areas?

Yes, LVT flooring is good for high-traffic areas. Its durability, scratch resistance, and easy maintenance make it an ideal choice for spaces with heavy foot traffic, such as hallways, entryways, and commercial settings.

Does LVT Flooring Suit Wet Environments?

Yes, LVT flooring is good for damp environments. Its water resistance and durability suit moisture-prone areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Is Vinyl Waterproof?

Yes, LVT flooring is waterproof. Its vinyl composition and tight seams make it highly resistant to water, making it ideal for wet areas.

Conclusion

Flooring is expensive to buy, install, and maintain. As a result, you should choose your flooring carefully to avoid costly mistakes. Consider LVT flooring as it is durable and cost-efficient both for commercial and residential settings.

And contact us for more expert guidance on choosing and purchasing the right flooring for your property. We can also help you install, repair, or replace your flooring if you're in Richmond, London, UK!

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