Vinyl flooring has been around since the 1800s. It was especially popular in the 1950s when vinyl tiles added pattern and personality to every housewife’s dream kitchen.

While glued down vinyl composite tiles have fallen out favour, luxury vinyl tiles have risen in popularity. LVT flooring is part of the fastest growing category of flooring materials, gaining 33% in sales last year.

Let’s take a look at the luxury vinyl tile pros and cons.

Cost

Luxury vinyl tile is on the affordable end of the spectrum of flooring materials. LVT flooring costs between £19.00-£40.00 per square meter, installed. Only sheet flooring and ceramic tile compare in price, and neither has all the benefits of vinyl plank.

The cost of vinyl plank vs hardwood is incomparable. Wood floors average around £45.00 per square meter for basic pine and can run upwards of £150.00 per square meter for more exotic selections.

And that’s before factoring in the cost of installation. Expect to add around £21.50 per square meter for hardwood installation. Carpet and tile also rack up labor fees.

Appearance

Unless you’re doing a period renovation, you probably don’t want your kitchen floor to be lime green with strokes of feathered gray and white.

While those vintage tiles are still available, the LVP flooring of today mimics the look and texture of hardwood and stone. It’s an attractive alternative that can be hard to discern from the real thing.

Vinyl plank consists of a photographic layer sealed between the backing and a clear top layer for wear. High-quality digital pictures of actual wood samples lay the groundwork for the different styles. Printing technology is finally able to produce consistent, beautiful results.

You can get the precise look you’re after regardless of the availability of the species of wood. Whitewashed oak, wide rustic maple, rich mahogany. Get the weathered look of old barn wood or the sleek ebony of a modern high rise.

If you’re after a stone look, you can choose among marble, travertine or slate reproductions. There are even metallic finishes and woven styles.

LVT also comes in a variety of thicknesses. From skinny planks for a heritage feel all the way to wide format tiles.

You can get them laid in a traditional staggered plank pattern. Or you can go bold with a herringbone pattern that reads custom and luxurious.

While it’s easy on the eyes, vinyl plank flooring is also easier on your heels and joints than a harder floor like ceramic or wood. With padding underneath, the surface is pliant and comfortable. It insulates and dampens sound, which can be a problem with other materials.

Maintenance

Hardwoods eventually have to be refinished. Linoleum requires waxing. Tile grout needs scrubbing and sealing.

Caring for luxury vinyl tile is as easy as sweeping and mopping.

Sweep regularly to remove dirt and debris that can scratch floors. Or vacuum with the beater bar disengaged. Mop once a week with a gentle cleaner and a microfibre mop.

Spot treat smudges. Don’t scrub. Scrubbing can wear away the protective finish.

Durability

Vinyl plank is hard wearing. It’s resistant to staining, scratching, and dents left from heavy furniture. The durable wear layer provides extra protection.

The tiles come in a range of thicknesses, but the thickness of the wear layer is the most important. A thicker floor is better for high traffic areas. It can also make the most of a less than perfect subfloor.

A synthetic composition makes luxury vinyl tile waterproof. It’s a great choice where moisture is a concern, including kitchens and bathrooms. It’s resilient to accidents from pets and children.

Because LVT is impervious to water, it’s suitable for subgrade basement flooring. A moisture barrier keeps the sweating concrete subfloors from affecting the finished floor. Even when poor adhesives fail from water intrusion, the vinyl flooring itself remains unaltered.

Hot-pressed vinyl planks have a memory that helps them maintain their rigidity. They won’t warp or buckle or peel. Changes in climate and humidity are not a concern.

Installation

The ease of installing LVT is where it really outshines the competition.

There’s no nailing or mortaring or power tools. Planks cut easily with a utility knife. It’s the perfect floor to DIY.

Click-lock vinyl creates a floating floor. Line up the end joints, lower the plank, and snap it into place. Hammer everything tight with a tapping block. It’s that easy.

Glued vinyl floors are glued to the subfloor and then rolled with a floor roller. Loose lay vinyl simply lays into place.

Depending on your subfloor, you may need to lay a vapour barrier before installation.

Cons

Though vinyl plank flooring has many attributes, it’s not without cons.

When installed on a concrete subfloor without proper underlayment, LVT can trap moisture and cause mould to grow.

Vinyl is also a softer surface than wood or ceramic. It’s susceptible to punctures from dropped kitchen knives or gouges from furniture. Once damaged, vinyl can’t be repaired, so you’ll have to replace planks as needed.

The wear layer on vinyl plank floors is not UV resistant. Constant sun exposure can lead to fading and discolouration.

Vinyl also has a certain environmental impact. While some LVT manufacturers make a point of using recycled materials, most vinyl planking is petroleum-based PVC resin. It’s neither recyclable nor renewable.

There’s also the issue of off-gassing. After installation, luxury vinyl tile releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. This will degrade indoor air quality for a temporary amount of time.

Unlike hardwoods, vinyl plank doesn’t add resale value to your home. But it doesn’t detract value either.

Now You Know All the Luxury Vinyl Tile Pros and Cons

LVT is a growing industry, and for good reason! When you weigh the luxury vinyl tile pros and cons, the positive far outweighs any negative. Vinyl plank is durable, affordable, and easy to take care of.

Are you looking for flooring solutions for an area of your home? Request a free quote! With a combined experience of more than 40 years, we’ll find you a quality floor you’ll happily walk all over.