What Is LVP Flooring? A Complete Guide

By Joe McGuinty
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When it comes to your floors, you want to make sure you’re installing the right fit for your needs. But what is LVP flooring? And what’s all the hype about? I’ll cover everything you need to know about LVP flooring so you can make the best decision for your project.

What is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP for short)  is artificially synthesized pieces of planks that resemble hardwood floors. They’re individual pieces of vinyl instead of sheet vinyl and look very similar to real hardwood flooring. LVP is sold individually in thick vinyl planks and it can be hard to spot the difference between LVP and hardwood if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Traditional LVPs are made with a synthetic material, including white pigments, polyvinyl chloride resins (PVC), calcium carbonate, UV stabilizers, fungicides, and plasticizers. Manufacturers combine these materials by using pressure and heat, and a vinyl compound is later added.

Most traditional luxury vinyl is made using these main 4 layers:

  1. The wear layer is the uppermost layer of the vinyl commonly made from aluminum oxide. It’s transparent and helps prevent scratches, stains, and time-dependent wear and fading.
  2. Digital image gives a decorative appearance to the planks. It’s a digitalized image stuck or adhered to the vinyl core.
  3. Vinyl core is the main component of luxury vinyl plank floor. This core is waterproof and quite flexible.
  4. Backing layer is a vinyl finishing layer that prevents mildew and mold from setting in and is waterproof as well.

Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring is quite different from luxury vinyl tiles. LVPs are much thicker (at least 5 times thicker) than traditional sheet vinyl, giving it semi-rigid properties. This means that instead of being rolled up like a sheet and glued down on the floor, like luxury vinyl tiles, the luxury vinyl planks have to be snapped together in place.

Manufacturers that make luxury floor planks offer a wide variety of designs, styles, and distinctive textured surfaces that look exactly like real wood. Vinyl planks are much better than sheet planks because of the technological advancements; we have better embossing and graphics that make the planks look a lot more like actual wood rather than flat sheets of paper.

You can also customize the look of your vinyl plank according to your aesthetic and give it a distressed, vintage, and hand-scraped appearance. These vinyl planks vary in length and are typically around 36 to 48 inches in length and about 6 inches in width.

How long does LVP flooring last?

The thickness and durability of the floorings affect how long LVP floors last. if installed correctly and maintained properly through the years, Vinyl floors can last more than 15 years, depending on the location where they are 

Is laminate or LVP better?

Vinyl is the best choice against excess moisture and spills while being less expensive than laminate. But a great thing about laminate flooring, especially on the stairs, is that it gives a more realistic appearance and enhances the overall aesthetic of your house. Laminate is also less prone to dents. 

The Cost Of Installing Vinyl Floor Planks

The great thing about vinyl flooring is that it doesn’t cost as much as genuine wood flooring, which costs around 10 times the amount. The prices for these planks vary and can range from $2 to $5 per square foot, with an added $2 to $5 per square foot for installation, but since this is among the easier materials to install, you can take it on as your DIY project which can save you on installation costs. 

If you’re trying to choose between vinyl and laminate, they’re similar in price but vinyl planks are a far superior flooring material.

Maintenance and Repair

Luxury vinyl floors are one of the easiest floors to take care of. Many manufacturers recommend that you sweep the floor daily with damp mopping on a weekly basis with a mild detergent. However, these floors should never be steam cleaned because even though the floors are impervious to moisture, the steam cleaner can potentially push moisture down through the seams and into the floor below.

Installation

Luxury vinyl planks are quite easy to install because they come equipped with a click-lock system. This serves as an advantage over vinyl sheets and gives the floor a very realistic wood effect. Because of how hassle-free the installation process is, many homeowners take it upon themselves as a DIY project and install it on their own.

Durability

The ability to withstand high traffic areas is one of the most popular aspects of vinyl planks due to their incredibly resistant upper wear layer. This property makes these planks an incredible option for homes with pets and small children.

Waterproof and Water-Resistant

All luxury vinyl floors are somewhat water-resistant, but most of the vinyl planks on the market are waterproof, which means that they can easily withstand spills and splashes here and there. This makes them a great choice for homes, especially in kitchens, bathrooms, entryways, or any room prone to leaks, moisture, and spills. The biggest upside is also the fact that these floors are incredibly easy to clean.

LVP Pros and Cons

So now that we’ve discussed some of the main properties of luxury vinyl planks, it’s time to look at the overall pros and cons, so it is easier for you to make your decision when deciding on the type of flooring you want for your home.

Pros Of Installing Luxury Vinyl Planks

  • Fully waterproof
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to clean
  • Simple maintenance

Cons Of Installing LVPs

  • Damaged planks are difficult to fix and repair
  • Some LVPs give off a fake plastic look and might not resemble actual hardwood floors
  • The click-lock function might take some time for beginners to get the hang of

Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Right for You?

Vinyl is low maintenance, cost-effective, water-resistance, and long-lasting flooring option. It’s resilient and has a perfect balance between firmness and rigidity that gives it its longevity. If you’re on a tight budget but want that gorgeous look of solid hardwood flooring, vinyl is the best for you. 

LVP Flooring for Your Project

It’s pretty evident that luxury vinyl planks have a number of advantages. Traditional vinyl is definitely a great choice for DIY projects on a budget for homes and rental properties. 

So, if you’re looking for a floor type that isn’t too expensive, looks like real wood, is sturdy, safe, and resilient, you have to give vinyl planks a try.

Keep us posted on your flooring decisions! Are you learning more towards LVP flooring or something else? We’d love to hear about your flooring process. Let us know in the comments below.

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AUTHOR

Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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