If you’re considering new floors, you have loads of options. Hardwoods are always a go-to, but they do have their downsides, especially if you have kids or animals (or both!), are concerned about moisture, and don’t have a ton of money to spend. Luxury vinyl planks have risen in popularity for a number of reasons, but are they for you? Find out as we take a look into this flooring trend.
It’s a great value.
“Vinyl flooring gives you the look of hardwood and the durability of laminate—for a fraction of the price,” said Floor Critic. “No flooring is 100% perfect, but Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)—aka Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)—comes close.
Unless you catch a great sale or a closeout, you’re probably looking at $4–5 per square foot, or more, which is far less than you can expect to pay for decent wood flooring. You can find more bargain prices for LVP, but the quality may suffer. Typically, these planks are too thin and may crack or lift.
“Beware of bargain brands,” said Floor Critic. “If they look a little too good to be true—well, you know the rest of that story. Quality LVP starts at $3 per square foot and goes up to $7. The mid-priced lines are usually a sure bet. You’ll get the features you need — like waterproofing and scratch resistance—without paying for unnecessary upgrades.”
You actually have to work to mess up your vinyl floors. It doesn’t scratch or chip, which is why parents of humans and animals love it.
It’s for the dogs
Seriously, if you have dogs that dribble from their water bowl or maybe leave a puddle of something else here and there, luxury vinyl planks may be for you. They’re waterproof, so not only are they great for animal lovers, but also can be used in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms without fear of warping or discoloration.
They’re simple to take care of
“Other than vacuuming or sweeping and washing them with soap and water to keep them clean there’s absolutely no maintenance required,” said Architypes. “You’ll never have to wax, seal, or refinish them like you do with so many other available floor coverings.”
But, you’ll want to keep in mind that you can’t just use any old cleaner on luxury tile floors. Say a sad farewell to your Swiffer WetJet. Many floor cleaners can dull the finish on vinyl floors, so be careful what you choose. We recommend Rejuvenate Luxury Vinyl Floor Cleaner.
They can be slippery
One thing to watch when you’re choosing luxury vinyl plank floors is the texture. The newest products are designed to fool the eye into thinking you’re looking at a textured wood product, but the foot feel may differ from the appearance. If you’re purchasing in person, it pays to take out one of the planks and put it on the floor so you can walk on it. You don’t want to make the mistake we made and go too slick, or you’ll be watching your dogs play slip-and-slide.
The installation is easy
“You have to know what you are doing when it comes to laying a wooden or a tile floor,” said Architypes. “There is very, very little room for error and in general, it is not something a novice should be doing. Vinyl flooring, on the other hand, is much easier.
The majority of vinyl planks that you find fit together very easily and will lock in place. You can then simply trim them with a knife so that they fit the shape of your room. As long as you take your time, installing vinyl flooring is very simple, and once you get the hang of it very quick.”
Another thing people love about LVP is that they can “float” over other types of flooring. If you’ve been holding off on upgrading your floors because the thought of demo is not delightful, this might be for you. The trick is proper preparation.
“Whether you’re installing your LVT and LVP over concrete, vinyl, wood, or ceramic tile, your new floor will perform as well as how you prepare the surface below,” sad DuChateau. “That preparation must provide a level, smooth, and dry surface on which to install your new LVT and LVP.”
Vinyl is so much softer than tile and hardwood. That back pain you’ve been dealing with after spending time at the sink or stove might be gone for good. That’s reason enough to take the plunge!