When you think about purchasing new flooring for your home, what’s at the top of your wish list?
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There’s no doubt you’ll want to choose a beautiful-looking floor that matches your specific design style. And you’ll certainly want to go with a durable material that will stand up to daily wear in your busy home. Perhaps ease of installation is also a priority. Most likely, easy maintenance is a big concern as well. And of course, you’ll want all of these features at a price you can afford. Sound impossible to find? Not with today’s luxury vinyl title.
One of the fastest-growing segments in the flooring market right now, luxury vinyl tile (also referred to as luxury vinyl planks, or LVT for short) is increasingly gaining in popularity with homeowners. Here are just a few of the reasons why.
One of the biggest reasons homeowners are attracted to LVT is its ability to impressively replicate the high-end looks of today’s most popular luxury flooring materials, including hardwoods, parquet, ceramic tiles, limestone, marble, slate, and travertine – often with a much lower price tag.
Applying the latest 3D imaging technologies, today’s LVT manufacturers are able to take a photographic image of a natural material, such as wood or stone, and transfer it directly to a tile. Then, through processes like embossed in register printing and laser engraving, each tile is uniquely embossed to match a desired texture. Many high-end LVT manufacturers have done such a great job at mastering these embossing techniques, their flooring not only successfully mimics the grain patterns of real woods and textures of natural stone, but it also reproduces the subtle highs and lows in the color variations of these natural materials. In fact, once installed, many LVT products are often pretty hard to distinguish from the real materials they masterfully mirror.
Limitless Design Options
While realism is certainly changing the way homeowners perceive LVT, the abundance of available design options truly makes this flooring a top seller. From popular gray tones in both wood and stone looks, to wider, longer planks that include hand-scraping and wire-brushing affects, to oversized tiles – LVT offers all the latest in flooring trends. To add more realism, tiles can be laid with a special grout that won’t crack or discolor like real grout can. Or, tiles can be installed without grout for a modern, seamless look. For further customization, many top manufacturers offer design strips and borders to mix and match styles – a stone tile with a metallic border, or light wood planks with a dark wood trim, for example. The design options are limited only by your imagination.
Perhaps the true secret to LVT’s appeal is its durability. Average 1/8” thick tiles are made of several layers, including a protective top layer, called the wear or mil layer. Often topped with urethane for increased protection, this specialized wear layer makes tiles exceptionally resistant to scratches, scuffs, indentations, and stains – a plus for homes with small children or pets. LVT is also resistant to the chipping, warping, and yellowing that can occur with some natural materials. And tiles are naturally water-resistant, making LVT a perfect choice for areas where moisture is a concern. In fact, LVT’s dimensional stability and durability make it well suited for just about any room in a home. This resilience is often backed by manufacturer’s warranties of up to 20 years or more for residential use.
In addition, LVT is also softer and warmer underfoot than many natural materials. And many high-end collections include a slip-resistant layer for added safety in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.
More Installation Options
A great option for remodeling projects, LVT is easy to install over most existing surfaces. This is because LVT is typically thinner than most hardwood planks, stone, or ceramic tiles. High-end LVT products can even work well over radiant heating systems.
Floors can be glued down, clicked, or floated – a relatively easy process, particularly for do-it-yourselfers. One caution: Before installing LVT yourself, check the fine print of the manufacturer’s warranty. Some LVT manufacturers require a professional installation to validate their warranties.
Easy to Maintain
For today’s busy families, perhaps the biggest highlights of LVT is that it’s easy to maintain. To stay looking like new, floors simply require a weekly damp-mopping with water and the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner.