Sheet vinyl and vinyl tile have always been a favorite flooring material that homeowners choose for their kitchens and bathrooms. But vinyl has a reputation for being cheap when compared with other flooring materials. Not so with luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) or luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP). Instead of featuring a thin layer of flexible vinyl, vinyl plank flooring is much thicker, available in long planks with a tongue-and-groove system that you can snap together, AKA “click-lock.”
Vinyl plank flooring is popular because it mimics the look of wood plank flooring quite well, much better than plastic laminate flooring. But it can also mimic the appearance of other flooring types, such as ceramic and porcelain, or even natural stone such as granite or marble.
It comes in long, narrow strips instead of square tile shapes. Whereas sheet vinyl is flexible vinyl with a printed top layer covered with a clear wear layer, vinyl plank flooring is a multi-ply product boasting four layers:
- Topmost layer of aluminum oxide, which prevents light scuffs and scratches
- Clear film layer to protect against severe tearing and ripping
- Design layer to give a photo-realistic look of stone or wood
- Backing layer comprised of rigid vinyl, making up nearly 90 percent of the thickness
In fact, luxury vinyl is about five times thicker than traditional sheet vinyl. Instead of rolling it out over the floor and gluing it down, you snap the luxury vinyl planks together. It’s available in dozens of styles to match the appearance of various wood species, featuring a deeper embossing and clearer graphics.
You can also get vinyl planks that are heavily antiqued or distressed, hand-scraped, scratched, dinged, or rendered with nail holes.
Vinyl flooring planks usually run between 36 and 48 inches long, with a width of about six inches, on up to 7 3/4 inches.
Vinyl plank flooring won’t cost you nearly as much as genuine wood flooring, which is typically five to 10 times more costly than vinyl planks. Prices for vinyl plank materials range from $2.50 to $5 per square foot, with professional installation adding $1 to $3 per square foot.
Material costs for this type of flooring are pretty comparable to porcelain or ceramic tile; however, with tile, you also have to consider the cost of additional materials, such as grout and thinset, as well as tile-specific tools. And keep in mind, ceramic tile is much more labor-intensive.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is one of the easiest floors to maintain. Just some simple daily sweeping and weekly damp mopping is all that’s needed. Just don’t use a steam cleaner on them, as that pressure could drive moisture through the seams and into the wooden subfloor.
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If you’d like to learn more about luxury vinyl plank flooring for your home, contact us today for a free consultation and quote.