What is Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Flooring?

Luxury vinyl plank is one of the most popular forms of flooring for the home. It’s affordable, easy to maintain, and has just the right texture and finish to complement any aesthetic. Flooring technology has also evolved a lot, making the vinyl plank even more sophisticated and durable.

What is Luxury Vinyl Plank?

Vinyl plank flooring installed in a herringbone pattern

Vinyl plank looks like planks of hardwood floors. It’s different from square-shaped tiles – vinyl planks are long, rectangular strips.

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is a form of vinyl flooring designed to provide the look and feel of luxury flooring materials but without extra cost. Rather than needing to be glued down, as with sheet vinyl, vinyl composite flooring is made to interlock so it snaps together. It’s a pet-friendly flooring that can withstand most of the rigors of daily life.

LVP is the plank version of LVT or luxury vinyl tile. Most people use the terms interchangeably, but it’s okay because they are almost similar. The only difference is that LVT is designed like tiles (square-shaped) and mimics flooring options like tiles and stone.

When shopping for vinyl plank flooring, you may encounter SPC or stone plastic composite. Both SPC and LVP are great vinyl flooring options, and they have several similarities. The key difference is that while LVP has a PVC core, SPC has a stone plastic composite core, hence the name.

Because of its difference, LVP is softer and more flexible, while SPC is rigid and thicker. However, they are both available in diverse colors and designs and come in a realistic, classic wood appearance. Because SPC is thicker, it’s a little more expensive.

Pros of LVP

There are many reasons to choose luxury vinyl plank for your home, including these advantages:

1. Low-cost

So far, the major advantage of luxury vinyl flooring is its affordability. LVP tends to be five to ten times less expensive than genuine hardwood. And since they can be easily installed, it becomes much less costly in terms of labor. It’s also not as expensive to maintain as natural hardwood and tile.

2. Easy to install

Another selling point of LVP is its easy installation. Compared to other flooring options, there’s no need for sawing, hammering, or other labor-intensive flooring installation techniques. Because the planks are made of strips to assemble together, they can better lock out moisture than sheet vinyl. Most experienced homeowners often prefer to tackle installing the flooring themselves.

LVP floors have either a glue-down, click-and-lock, or loose lay floating. A glue-down vinyl flooring is sealed to the floor through glue or peel-and-stick adhesive backing. On the other hand, floating vinyl can be installed by the click-and-lock method or the loose-lay technique that uses no adhesive.

To install LVP using the click-and-lock method, you need to snap and lock the planks into position using the click-and-lock system integrated into the planks. Meanwhile, to install loose lay floating planks, you need to place them on top of the subfloor. Usually, these kinds of planks come with a rubber backing that provides friction and ensures the floor stays in place.

3. Beautiful appearance

Sure, hardwood floors are very beautiful, and it boasts a visual appeal that no other material can beat. However, they are expensive to purchase, install, and maintain. LVP has become popular because the materials itself

Today’s advanced digital printing technology has come a long way, making vinyl flooring as realistic as possible. It also comes in a large assortment of exciting patterns, colors, and textures designed to suit the tastes of the most discriminating homeowners. LVP is superior to laminate and sheet vinyl flooring but without the high price point of actual hardwood or stone flooring.

4. Durable

Thanks to its incredible wear layer, the vinyl flooring is durable and can withstand high traffic areas. It’s an excellent option for homes with small children and pets running around. The rigid core floors are made of plastic composite with different strengthening agents.

5. Easy to maintain

Simply put, LVP is very easy to maintain and repair. Cleaning these floors usually only requires regular sweeping, vacuuming, and weekly once-over mopping. Anything rigorous like steam cleaning isn’t recommended.

6. Water-resistant to waterproof

All LVP flooring is water-resistant to some extent, while most of them are waterproof. It means they can withstand spills and water without soaking. It makes it ideal for areas prone to liquids and spills, like kitchens, entryways, basements, foyers, basements, or any room with high foot traffic prone to leaks, spills, and moisture.

7. Comfortable

LVP is softer and more comfortable underfoot as compared to ceramic or porcelain tiles. It provides cushion and insulation, making your feet feel more cushioned and warm. A thin vinyl, however, will be affected by the subfloor. If you’re installing thin vinyl over a concrete subfloor, it will feel much more challenging than a plywood subfloor.

Cons of LVP

Despite the many upsides of LVP, there are still disadvantages that you may want to consider, such as these things:

1. Inconsistent quality

The quality of vinyl can still vary sometimes, even among the top brands, despite its emphasis on different realistic textures and surfaces. This is the reason why it’s essential to consider the thickness and the construction of the product when choosing LVP. Thicker vinyl is best because it’s more durable and resilient. And if you want the best quality, look for rigid-core vinyl, as it comes with four layers of materials for added strength.

2. Hard to remove

Once the flooring is installed, it will be hard to remove if you change your mind later on. It’s because the adhesive that keeps the planks attached to the subfloor is difficult to remove. But if it’s necessary, it’s possible to remove them even without professional help. However, it will be a lot of hard work as the glue won’t give away easily.

However, compared to SPC, replacing a damaged slat of LVP is a lot easier, especially because the planks are not interlocking. With SPC, you have to back the floor out to the damaged spot, replace the plank, and refit the rest of the floor.

3. Leaves an unpleasant odor

If your flooring is to be installed with glue, it may leave some odor while the glue dries. You may need to take some time to vacant the room or area with the newly installed, glued-down LVP.

4. May need lots of floor prep

If your floor is uneven or wavy, vinyl planks may not line up well, and they can bounce, just like any other floating floor. So if your floor isn’t perfectly flat, you may want to add a self-leveling mix, which adds to the prep and cost or consider a glue-down installation.

5. May fade over time

Unfortunately, fading is a common issue with vinyl flooring in high sunlight areas. To lessen its impact, it’s best to use blinds, rugs, or carpets if your home receives lots of natural light.

6. Can be vulnerable to dents and scratches

Vinyl is a softer flooring material compared to tiles, ceramic, and hardwood. Though it’s durable, it can dent easily when heavy objects are placed on top of it for a long period of time. To protect your vinyl flooring, use padding under heavy furniture. It’s also susceptible to scratches.

7. Non-biodegradable

Vinyl is a synthetic material that is non-biodegradable and is hard to recycle. While there are vinyl flooring manufacturers that offer recycling programs, it’s not that common, and it’s not available in many areas. Most vinyl floorings tend to end up in landfills.