Vinyl flooring today is highly engineered, unlike the vinyl that was there some years back. It’s commonly referred to as; LVP (at times LVT), WPC, and SPC. However, whether you’re considering installing vinyl or remove an existing vinyl tile floor. It’s good to understand as a homeowner or contractor, that vinyl floor still comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
LVP provides a resilient, low-maintenance, cost-friendly-durable floor. However, it’s uncomfortable to walk barefoot, non-recyclable, and cannot be refinished. The flooring fades, dents, scuffs, and scratches easily. When glued down during installation, it’s extremely hard to remove.
Understanding these disadvantages and benefits will you be prepared for future flooring undertaking. More so, it helps to care for and maintain your floor and get the best of the vinyl flooring. Here are the pros and cons of luxury vinyl plank flooring
What Does LVP , WPC, and SPC mean?
LVP (at times LVT -Luxury Vinyl tiles) is a composite product that has several layers. Each layer has its own purpose but all working together to create resilient, low-maintenance durable flooring. LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) is made as planks with a look of wood floors and has all the features and benefits of vinyl. LVP strength is derived from its “backer board layer”. In addition, the center core adds more stability, strength, and water-resistance feature to vinyl flooring. The top layer is the most important- provides its wear and tear resistance as well as its natural mimic either stone or wood. This clear thin-protective coating layer makes the vinyl flooring scratch and stain-resistant and determines where they will be installed depending on its thickness.
Rigid Core on the other hand can be either WPC (Wood-Plastic Composite/Wood-Polymer Core) or SPC (Stone-Polymer Core). The “W and S” -refers to the composition of the core layer of your vinyl flooring. Similarly, the rigid core is made up of different layers just like luxury vinyl plank flooring. The base of the rigid core is attached with foam or cork underlayment to add comfort underfoot and improve sound absorption. The center core is made of a composite of wood, stone, and resins or plastics. The top layer is digitally printed and color added with a thin layer that makes it scuff and scratch-resistant.
But are there differences between LVP and rigid core WPC & SPC
- Rigid core vinyl (WPC and SPC) flooring is waterproof and can be installed in wet areas while LVP is water-resistant. The wood in the core (WPC & SPC) doesn’t buckle, bubble, swell and separate/ lift when it comes in contact with water from wet-mopping or normal daily use and cleaning.
- Rigid core vinyl on other hand is installed as floating floors since it has a click and lock or and tongue-and-groove lock system while LVP is glued down.
- WPC and SPC rigid core vinyl are available in a variety of thicknesses (from 5-8mm) which makes it appropriate for high traffic areas to low traffic applications.
Note: SPC vinyl flooring is thinner and has more density especially the one with a stone-based core; allows a much stronger plank with a thinner (3-7mm) profile.
So, which is better?
Both are good, but their effectiveness depends on a number of factors the purpose, expected traffic, subfloor, for basement or which floor, water prone areas, UV prone areas, budget, and many other considerations. However, for basement, laundry, and bathroom floors, I’d recommend WPC or SPC since they are water-resistant and waterproof.
But, what are vinyl plank flooring pros and cons?
Luxury Vinyl Plank Pros and Cons
Advantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring
The vinyl flooring, both LVP and rigid core have various benefits. It good to note the quality keep on improving over the years. Some of the outstanding benefits include;
Easy to Install
The vinyl tiles can be installed as a floating floor or glued down to the subfloor. Rigid core vinyl flooring is best installed as a floating floor, while Luxury vinyl plank flooring will need to be glued down to the subfloor. Whichever the case, both are DIY-friendly if you are that kind of a person.
Vinyl requires an underlayment, whereas some high-end vinyl comes with already attached underlayment. It’s good to note LVP installation commonly requires glue, to allow gluing down to the subfloor. If you ain’t a good DIY person you can hire a professional installer at an affordable rate.
See More on Best Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring?
Easy to Clean and Maintain.
Regular vacuuming and dust mopping will help maintain your floor’s aesthetic value. Occasional damp mopping for high traffic areas with affordable mild floor cleaners will help protect the vinyl luster and shine for decades.
For deep cleaning, mop with warm water to maintain the vinyl shine and luster. Avoid using a mop with built-in scrub brushes to avoid damaging your floor. In addition, repairing is easier than traditional wood flooring. You just need to remove the damaged plank and install a new one without sanding and refinishing the entire floor. In all this, you don’t need to break a bank to clean and maintain.
See More: How to clean vinyl floors
Tip: LVP or LVT is glued down, thus fixing a damaged plank is slightly difficult and time-consuming. However, for WPC or SPC flooring, it just takes minutes to replace the damaged plank or tile.
Highly Durable Flooring
The luxury vinyl planks and tiles flooring are stains, scratch, and dent resistant. This makes it great for high traffic areas, kids, and pets friendly for almost anywhere in your home. Vinyl plank flooring is extremely versatile and great for the bathroom and kitchen. Luxury Vinyl flooring doesn’t chip or scratch easily.
However, pay a lot of attention to the quality of your flooring, some low-quality vinyl flooring may scratch and bend easily. The floor is not nailed down, this reduces the appearance of black water stains around the nail’s head. It also prevents interfering with vinyl flooring waterproof and water-resistant ability. Some WPC and SPC flooring are thick enough such that they may used for subfloors.
Variety of Vinyl Planks
The upper coating layer of vinyl flooring comes with different mimics; wood, stone, marble, parquets varieties to choose from. The texture can be available in hand-scraped and knotted. The planks and tiles are also available in different thickness appropriate for staggering pattern and to be installed in different area like bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, basement floors.
Flooring has Realistic Visuals
One of the biggest appeals for vinyl flooring its uniques color, patterns, and textures. This creates an extremely unique and authentic feel of the real floor. Thanks to technology advancement, photographic imaging technology has enabled look-alike designs that you might be looking for.
Vinyl flooring provide a affordable alternative to hardwood floors. The technology advancement has enabled making almost realistic wood and stone floor.
Water Proof Flooring
Luxury Vinyl flooring is ideal for bathroom, kitchen, basements, and laundry rooms. You don’t have to worry much about accidental spills, pet and kids messes, Vinyl has moisture protective layer. If your floor is prone to water and moisture, vinyl flooring is 100% for you since its totally water and moisture resistant.
It’s good to note WPC and SPC flooring is waterproof and can best be used under flood prone areas like basement, laundry and bathrooms floors.
Affordable and Comfortable Flooring
Vinyl plank is affordable and cost-friendly (range from $1 to $8), this is far cheaper than solid hardwood flooring. This allows one to enjoy or benefit from the look-alike wood flooring without paying the high cost of solid wood flooring.
Luxury vinyl plank floors have a softer feel on your feet, making them comfortable to walk on. It’s even more comfortable to stand on than normal solid wood alternatives. It also has a warm feel on your feet.
Best hardwood alternative
Vinyl plank flooring provides one of the best wood alternatives, thus referred to as “fake wood”. In addition, the vinyl flooring offers a good alternative in areas where installation of the wood floor may be tricky or not ideal.
Vinyl is able to withstand heat, water, and humidity which is an issue for wood floors and a limiting factor for its installation in certain parts of the house flooring. This makes it a perfect fit for the area where wood can’t fit.
Increase the Home Value
Vinyl floors add appeal and an aesthetic look to your house. The fact is a flooring lifetime investment that doesn’t require occasional change. As such vinyl flooring may last as much as the lifetime of the house due to its durability. The luxury vinyl flooring does increase and add value to your house.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Just like any othe flooring, both luxury vinyl and rigid core vinyl floooring have their cons. Here are some disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring:
Vinyl Floor is not a Natural Wood
No matter how better the floor photographic mimics the natural wood it still feels hollow and hard when you walk on it. This won’t make the house as luxurious as natural wood would.
Hard to Remove
While installation is easy for vinyl plank flooring. Removing the glued-down vinyl tiles is not an easy job. However, the easy interlocking options may not be an issue to remove, although not recommended for large commercial or high traffic areas.
The glued-down method remains the best option for these large commercial areas. Even though installation of vinyl either through glued down or click and lock method is easy, the removal of the glued down method may require a lot of effort and patience.
Vinyl is non-biodegradable and difficult to recycle which is a major drawback for the environment. Environmental consciousness is needed when disposing of the destroyed or removed planks.
Prone to Damages
Vinyl flooring can handle some misuse for some time, however pulling and pushing furniture, dropping sharp items, walking with high pointed heels will definitely scratch, stain and gouge or dent your vinyl flooring.
After installation, vinyl flooring may require some time before walking on it or bringing in your furniture. In addition, you need to protect it from abnormal tear and wear as a result of heavy furniture dents.
Prone to Fading and Discoloration
Direct exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays for a period of time will definitely discolor the vinyl floor. Direct sunlight is a challenge that complicates the installation of a vinyl floor in outdoor areas.
See More on How to Clean Vinyl Floor Discoloration
Vinyl Floor Cannot be Refinished
Vinyl flooring is very light and thin to refinish or be repaired. The top prefinished wear and tear-resistant layer make it even harder to refinish.
Limited Resale value not as Harwood Floor
As mentioned earlier, the vinyl remains fake wood. The value increase of the house limited and not as much as the hardwood floor would result.
Here are some things to condider before instaling Vinly flooring
Note: The WPC/SPC floor type prices may vary depending on the print, color, base layer material, wear layer thickness, and more. All this does raise the price of your vinyl flooring above some other type of floor like laminate.
Here a review of pros and cons on vinyl flooring
Vinyl plank flooring does emit gas or off-gas that are considered toxic. If you are allergic or have respiratory issues, it better to natural wood flooring. In addition, you may look for flooring with low VOC labels or that are Phthalate free.
Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring is scratch and dent resistant when precautions are taken. Pushing and pulling furniture, walking with high heel pointed shoe, and dropping sharp objects however will scratch, dent, and damage your vinyl flooring.
Vinyl plank flooring has some advantages over laminate flooring depending on your need. Vinyl is highly durable, scratch resistant wand water proof that gives it some advantages over laminate for moisture and water prone area installations. Its easy to install and maintain, can be steam and wet moped compared to laminate. However its more prone to fading than laminate flooring.
Vinyl plank flooring is known majorly for its water-resistant and waterproof ability. Once installed correctly you don’t have to worry about moisture damage on your kitchen or bathroom. When installed in moisture and water prone areas you don’t have to worry for warping, buckling or bubbling problems
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