What You Don't Know About Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring
By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; Chair Holder, CMG
There is a segment of the floor covering market that hasn’t received the full attention it deserves. Commercial designers/specifiers are HUGE fans of this, but what they know hasn’t filtered down to be shared with many consumers at large. Well it’s time to share the features and benefits of luxury vinyl tile flooring (also referred to as LVT) and separate these unique products from the mix of other vinyl goods. Luxury vinyl tile couldn’t be more different, not only in how it’s manufactured, but in the total aesthetic and applications.
Can you have the look, graining, and character of real hardwood in vinyl tile flooring? Yes! Today’s state-of-the-art manufacturing processes can create amazing vinyl “wood” planks and textured “stone” tiles that rival the real thing admirably. I have been invited to visit some of the top design firms in metropolitan Los Angeles and Orange County, California, and amazingly, what I have seen are beautiful office suites with elegant luxury vinyl “wood” planking or vinyl “slate” adorning those office floors. These top designers can have any flooring material they want, yet so many of them chose luxury vinyl tile flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring Construction
The ability to replicate real hardwoods and stones using advanced photographic technologies is the foundation of luxury vinyl flooring systems. 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.
Features & Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring
Below are some of the key features and benefits for luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring
Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring Features
Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring Benefits
|Incredibly realistic photo replication
of natural materials (photogravure process)
|The look and feel of nature’s best materials at a lower cost are a reality of Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring manufacturing
|Brands that offer 100% vinyl material
||Vinyl flooring satisfies Green building standards and earns LEED points in commercial applications.
|Inherent safety features
||Meets requirements of commercial flammability codes, slip resistant requirements…and a menu of other safety codes
|Ease of maintenance
||Simple damp mopping is the recommended cleaning procedure for LVT floors
|Excellent selection of sizes, shapes
||The size options vary by manufacturer, but many styles are available in 12 x 12”, 18 x 18”, 12 x 24” sizes, and planks in standard (3 x 36” 4.5 x 36) and extra-large widths (7 or 9’ widths).
|Naturally water resistant
||LVT floors are inherently water resistant (and fairly impervious to wet spills from above). It’s important to install over flat, dry, approved substrates so that no water seepage occurs beneath the floor.
|Scratch, stain, dent and scuff resistant
||Specialized wear layers (most common are 20 mil; some offer up to a 40 mil layer). Then the floors are coated with urethane to enhance durability
||Economics factor favorably into the specification of Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring for both commercial and residential applications, giving the look and feel of rich, natural materials at a lower cost
||Since most luxury vinyl tile flooring is also constructed to withstand commercial wear and tear, it’s ideal for residential high-traffic areas as well as other areas of the home. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but it’s not unusual to see 20-25 year warranties on brand name luxury vinyl tile flooring.
|More resilient than other hard surface floors
||Because there are multi-layers of vinyl in luxury vinyl tile flooring as well as a resilient backing as the foundation, LVT tiles and planks have more resilience underfoot. It’s easier to stand on for long periods of time AND as an added benefit, it tends to be warmer underfoot than ceramic.
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 one biggest factor that has caused interior designers to stand up and take note of the new brand of LVT. The realism of the total look, INCLUDING distressed wood finishes, stone and slate tactile surface textures, and even woven textiles imbedded in the wear layers, are grabbing attention.
Exceptional realism and Durability
Luxury vinyl tile floors are designed to capture the timeless look of natural stone tile flooring, wood planks and ceramic tile floors, while providing an extremely durable and comfortable surface for everyday living. Luxury vinyl tile flooring comes in many extremely fashionable designs ranging from contemporary to rustic and many feature deep embossing for stunning realism. Many of the luxury vinyl tile designs can be installed with grout or without grout, for a true stone or ceramic tile appearance.