You may be familiar with luxury vinyl planks (LVP), which mimic the appearance of hardwood floors. Luxury vinyl tile (LVT), on the other hand, is a flooring material that mimics natural stone and real ceramic tile. While both are made from the same materials and have a similar manufacturing process, the main difference is appearance.
LVT is trending, and it doesn’t look like that will stop any time soon. Learn more about LVT and the benefits of choosing it for your home or office.
What Is Luxury Vinyl Tile Made Of?
Vinyl was first invented in 1920 as a synthetic material and has long since been a suitable alternative for everyday products. It is composed of ethylene and chlorine. When you mix these two chemicals, you get polyvinyl chloride resin, more commonly known as vinyl. The synthetic materials used to produce vinyl make it easier to manufacture and access, and reduce installation costs compared to other flooring types.
LVT is thicker than standard vinyl to increase its benefits, such as its versatility and durability. Many people are switching over to LVT instead of ceramic or stone because of these benefits, affordability of the material and LVT’s ability to mimic ceramic or stone so closely.
How Is Luxury Vinyl Tile Made?
LVT is 3D printed to mimic the appearance and texture of other flooring options, such as ceramic tile and stone. LVT usually consists of five different layers, each of which plays a crucial role in LVT’s function:
- The backing layer: The backing layer means another material doesn’t have to be installed on the subfloor before installing the vinyl.
- The vinyl core: The vinyl core contributes to its stability and durability
- The design layer: The design layer gives LVT its realistic appearance, whether it’s imitating stone or ceramic tile.
- The protective or wear layer: The protection layer, otherwise known as the wear layer, adds to the floor’s durability and makes it water-resistant.
- The topcoat: Finally, the top layer acts like a gloss or a final finish to add shine and an extra layer of protection for your floor.
What’s the Difference Between Luxury Vinyl Tile and Stone or Ceramic Tile?
The major difference between LVT and stone or ceramic tile is the material it’s made out of. LVT is a synthetic material manufactured to imitate the appearance and texture of real tile. Stone tiles are made from natural materials formed by the Earth. These raw materials are extracted and cut into the shape of tiles. Ceramic tiles are made from clay that gets molded, glazed and fired in a kiln.
Apart from the manufacturing process, a few key differences exist between LVT and stone or ceramic. First, LVT can only be installed as a floor, while both stone and ceramic can be installed as countertops, on the wall or in showers. Another significant difference is the price tag. Stone and ceramic can be expensive due to the process required to make the tiles. Luxury vinyl tiles offer the same appearance as stone and ceramic at a greatly reduced price.
The installation process is also very different with LVT and ceramic tiles. LVT uses a click-lock system that allows for a quick and easy installation. Ceramic tile requires a little more effort, relying on mortar and grout to secure it to your subfloor. The grout also makes ceramic tile more challenging to clean than LVT.
While ceramic, stone and LVT appear the same on the surface level, LVT has a few advantages that often compel people to make the switch.
The Advantages of Luxury Vinyl Tiles
LVT has its pros and cons, but its wide range of benefits is why homeowners and businesses are switching over. Here are a few of the most significant benefits of LVT:
- Durability: Vinyl is a durable material due to its protective layer. This heavy-duty protection means that it’ll be difficult to scuff, puncture or tear.
- Water-resistant: The same protective layer that keeps vinyl from sustaining scratches or scuffs also protects it from water damage. Luxury vinyl tile makes an ideal solution in settings where spills are common, or humidity levels are high.
- Easy installation: Luxury vinyl can be installed quickly using the click-lock system. The individual pieces fit together with ease and can be installed as a floating floor.
- Affordable: Vinyl is an excellent option if you’re on a budget or want to get the ceramic tile look for a lower price. There is some variation in price, but on average, LVT costs $1,400 to purchase and install high-quality LVT for 200 sq ft. This price represents significant savings compared to the cost of ceramic tiles, which average around $3,470.
- Various options: LVT has many options so that you can choose the floors best suited to your needs and design preferences. You can even reinstall new floors to keep up with current design trends.
- Realistic imitation: A large part of LVT’s appeal is that it can mimic the look and feel of the real thing at an affordable price. You can still keep up with modern design trends and save money in the process.
LVT is an excellent flooring choice for homes or commercial locations with a lot of activity. If you have kids who like to run around or dogs who might scuff the floor with their nails, luxury vinyl protects against this type of damage.
Installing Luxury Vinyl Tile
The installation process for LVT is simple when conducted by a professional. Your installer can place LVT down in most locations, as long as the floor’s surface is flat, such as kitchens, bathrooms, dining rooms and living rooms. The only place LVT doesn’t work is on staircases. Your contractor will likely ensure your subfloor is level before beginning the installation process.
Metro Flooring Contractors has a straightforward installation process:
- Preparation: Before the installation process begins, move pets to another room and move furniture out of the way. We can assist you in moving furniture with advance notice. We’ll also recommend you remove other items such as electronics and breakables so your personal items don’t suffer damage during the installation.
- Removal: If necessary, we will remove the existing floor to make room for the new one. Once the old floor has been removed, we clean and prep the sub-flooring to be ready for your new floor.
- Installation: Next, we’ll install your new LVT floor with a click-lock system, a quick and efficient method that will have your floors in place in no time. We also aim to reduce disruptions, so our professionals work efficiently to get the job done right and on time.
- Final inspection: Finally, we do a final sweep and make any final changes or adjustments to ensure your new floor fits perfectly in the room.
Once the installation process is over, it’s essential to maintain your floors to keep them looking shiny and new for years to come. Cleaning an LVT floor is easy — you can sweep the floor to clean up any dust or debris and mop the floor with a mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar.
Trust Metro Flooring Contractors With Your Flooring Needs
The right floor can bring your interior design to the next level, and LVT is an excellent option for many reasons. The durable material, affordable costs and trendy style options keep your home or business looking fresh and modern.
At Metro Flooring Contractors, we aim to help you find the floor of your dreams at an affordable price. Our qualified team members will walk you through every step of the process, from talking you through your flooring options to installation day. Get started by scheduling an in-home appointment today!