Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Haven’t heard of it? That’s okay because we bet you’ve walked on it without even knowing it! LVT manufacturers have gotten so good at crafting their products that you wouldn’t believe they aren’t the “expected” products such as natural tile and wood.
So our president, Tom Mikulski, sat down to answer all of your questions about LVT and give some insight into the rising trends around this product line.
Q: First things first, what is Luxury Vinyl Tile?
A: In existence for over 20 years, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), or Luxury Vinyl Plank, is a multi-layered flooring product made of PVC materials with a digital photo layered on top that mimics more high-maintenance, costly products. The idea behind LVT is to give the look and warmth of the real products without wear and tear. Generally, they are made to look like hardwood, stone, or ceramic tile, but advancements in LVT happen regularly, and we may see more elements being portrayed in the near future.
Q: Is Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) a more cost-effective choice?
A: When compared to the products it mimics, yes, LVT is less expensive than hardwoods and ceramic tile products. Yet, that’s only a small piece of the overall package.
Q: Other than cost, what are the main reasons a buyer might choose LVT over hardwood, ceramic tile, or stone flooring?
A: Not only is it at a better price point, but digital photography allows LVT to come in a variety of finishes, styles, and looks, making it more appealing to meet the needs of your space. Color options from a manufacturer can be double that of hardwood flooring choices.
LVT products can be easily maintained and don’t damage as quickly. They no longer require waxing; therefore, you don’t need to strip and wax the floors several times a year, saving you money compared to using Vinyl Composition Tile. So, if there’s a high-traffic space you want to cover and you need floors that will last without retouching, then LVT is the sensible choice.
Another reason would be comfort. LVT flooring is smoother and contains a softer underfoot than traditional flooring, ensuring that you and your guests will have a more comfortable experience in the space over time.
Q: What are some LVT trends you see growing in popularity?
A: LVT, in general, is rising in popularity since architects, designers, facility managers, general contractors are realizing the options and benefits it can have over traditional flooring. Within the industry itself, however, we see a strong pull towards more natural-looking textures. Distressed-looking wood designs, linen-looking designs, limestone mimicking LVT, bright pops of color, and concrete-inspired LVT are all hot items on the 2021 trend list. Our Commercial Flooring & Interior Concepts (CFIC) team can help pick the correct, trending style suitable for your space.
Q: What are some pitfalls that buyers should be aware of when choosing LVT flooring?
A: While LVT is an excellent choice for buyers looking for durable, stylish flooring, some downsides are associated with the product. One example is to be mindful of what the wear layer is made out of. Some LVT products have ceramic beads embedded into the finish to resist scratches, and others do not. Therefore, those without beads may require maintenance to buff out the scratches or a finish applied depending on the end-use.
Another negative that we see with this product is that it isn’t the most eco-friendly choice. Buyers today tend to flock towards products posing less of a threat to the environment, so in this case, LVT may not be the best choice for you.
Q: What does the average maintenance look like for LVT?
A: Typically, there isn’t a lot of maintenance with LVT flooring. As I mentioned before, it does not require waxing, and in fact, all you need is a neutral pH cleaning solution to keep it looking fresh. You’ll also want to ensure that dirt and grit are removed daily as they can cause scratching. Here at CFIC, we’ve found that the low maintenance aspect is a big draw for our customers looking to use LVT flooring.
Q: What is the lifespan of LVT flooring?
A: The lifespan of an LVT floor primarily depends on the product’s wear layer thickness, measured in mils, measured in one-thousandth increments of an inch. Most products have a thickness between 12 mils and 20 mils, and they say every mil equals one year of wear. So, 20 mil LVT panels can last up to 20 years! Therefore, it is essential to keep this in mind when planning your space’s flooring thickness needs and how long you will want LVT to last.
Q: What are some recent projects CFIC has done with LVT flooring?
A: Almost all of our projects today have some kind of LVT product included in them; the product is everywhere! Recently we included it in St. Leo Church in Lincroft, Gravity Vault in Brick, and a pharmaceutical cafeteria spanning 4,000 square feet!
We hope you have learned that LVT is a product that is built to last, and its natural-looking aesthetic can add warmth to your commercial space. Whether you’re looking for hardwood LVT panels or want to give the appearance of a ceramic tile floor, our experts at CFIC can help you. Let’s work together to accomplish your design dreams today!
*Photos courtesy of Mannington Commercial.