LVT Table of Contents
.. Definition of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
.. Benefits of LVT
.. LVT at Tile Outlets of America: Stone Plastic Composite (SPC)
.. What Constitutes the Layers of SPC Flooring?
.. How to Shop for Luxury Vinyl Flooring
.. Options Available
.. Installation Information
.. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about LVT
LVT and its related products belong to a flooring category that includes flooring products with a rigid core. Some of those products are referred to as:
LVT or LVP - Luxury Vinyl Tile or Planks
WPC or Wood Plastic Composite which has an expanded PVC core
SPC or Stone Plastic Composite which has a solid PVC core
Because of the multilayer construction of LVT, it offers consumers many benefits. More specifically:
A top wear layer that protects against dents, scratches, UV, and moisture.
A vinyl layer that showcases stunning visuals and even texture, so you are hard-pressed by just looking at the flooring to determine if you're standing on wood or stone.
A core layer that provided stability
The bottom layer is usually made of a product such as cork, rubber or foam for sound absorption, stability, and cushion.
Luxury vinyl flooring offers you the following benefits:
Residential products come with a lifetime or limited lifetime warranty depending on the specifications and manufacturer
It's impact resistant
It's resistant to household chemicals
Most will accommodate underfloor heating systems
If you have pets, you'll love that It's scratch-resistant
It's also light-resistant - a big deal in Florida especially in the wintertime when you might keep your doors and windows open to enjoy the sunshine
It's waterproof (and pet-proof)
It's suitable for humid environments such as what we have here in Southwest Florida
The floating floor installation allows for easy replacement in the future
There are no dye lots to consider on a job
It can be installed in large areas (e.g., 5000 sf) without expensive transition pieces
Pre-attached padding provides sound absorption and helps hide minor subfloor imperfections
At Tile Outlets of America, we feature mostly SPC products in our LVT offerings.
The SPC (stone plastic composite on the base material) is an improvement from LVT (all plastic on the base layer) and WPC (wood plastic composite on the base layer) as it provides increased dimensional stability so it does not contract and expand with thermal change as LVT and WPC can, so even the click type installation which is very fast and cost-effective enables the installation to be done with no acclimation needed before installing.
The SPC available at Tile Outlets of America contains up to 70% of stone particles in the base layer, which provides considerable stability.
This product may come with the EVA or IXPE padding pre-attached to grant additional time and cost savings on the installation.
It is water-resistant.
It may be treated with anti-bacterial protection.
There are many certifications awarded to LVT products and we have many selections that are certified by Floorscore® and/or Greenguard®.Concerning slip resistance, some products are rated as high as R11.
Some are also certified fire-resistant class B.
The product is created in layers as follows from the bottom up:
EVA or IXPE Foam Pad for better sound absorption and excellent underfoot feeling
High-Density Rigid Stone Core to prevent expansion and contraction of the flooring, cover sub-floor imperfections
High Definition Decorative Paper for the realistic design and look of the piece
Wear Resistant Transparent Layer to restore the authentic color and embossing, protecting it from abrasion
UV Ceramic Bead Top Layer to ensure superior stain-resistant and water-proof performance, saving maintenance costs.
When considering LVT for your project, you'll want to consider wear layers as well as the total thickness of the product. The best way to evaluate and compare your available options is to understand the numbers that represent the technical specs of the LVT products.
The first number on the Tile Outlets' signs refers to the total thickness of the plank. It is in millimeters (mm). The planks available range from 3 mm to 6.0 mm.
The second number indicates the thickness of the wear layer on the top. It is typically measured in mils, but may also be shown in mm. The larger the number, the thicker the wear layer on top. For example, 20 mils (.5mm) and above is thick enough for a commercial installation with high traffic. You won't find any LVT with a wear layer lower than 8 mils (.2mm) at Tile Outlets of America.
The look of the product is in the decorative paper which is protected by the aforementioned wear layer.
Residential - you can use an 8 mil, 12 mil (.3mm) or 20 mil product
Commercial – a 20 mil wear product is recommended. This will provide the best warranty and best surface protection.
Note that a 12 mil wear layer product can be used for light commercial applications but typically comes with a shorter warranty ranging from 5-15 years depending on the product and manufacturer.
The product will come with either a pad attached or you can purchase a rolled pad to install under the product if required. Note that the total thickness of a product with pad will include the pad, so be sure to pay attention to details when comparing seemingly like items. The wear layer and the thickness of the pad can be 1 – 1.5 mm thick. Generally, a 1mm pad is used for planks that are up to 4.5mm thick and 1.5mm pad is used for thicker planks. Thicker is not always better when it comes to pad as using pad that is too thick for a thinner plank can compromise the integrity of the locking system.
At Tile Outlets, you'll find 8 and 12 mil products for residential and light commercial use and 20 mil for commercial use. Other stores sell products below 8 mil, so be sure to confirm the data so you can properly evaluate your options. We don’t recommend products with a wear layer less than 8 mils or a thickness (excluding pad) of below 3.2 mm.
Finally, Luxury Vinyl Flooring products will have different click systems; be sure to understand the installation of each click system. There are only a few designs in the market and these are patent protected. The click system technologies you will most commonly see are Unilin, I4F, or Valinge.
Trims and Moldings
You'll find many LVT trim pieces available to coordinate with your luxury vinyl tile flooring.
At the store, you'll notice that each product display includes coordinating trim pieces. These include end caps and T-moldings that allow you to easily transition from LVT to carpet, for example, and professionally complete an installation. Other coordinating moldings such as stair nosing are available by special order.
>> Download the list of Coordinating Moldings by Versatrim
You can install LVT using a crack isolation membrane to protect from structural movement in apartments, condominiums, hotels and any residential installations that require crack protection. You may also want to consider a self-leveling underlayment if the subfloor has uneven areas.
>> Download ECB 75 Crack Isolation Membrane information from NAC
You'll find that luxury vinyl planks make for an ideal do-it-yourself flooring project given how easy it is to install. These products use a click system for assembly, which, as you can see in the schematic below, is easy to use.
Utility knife and straight edge
Shears for cutting around irregularly shaped objects1/4" spacers
Be sure to read the installation instructions carefully before installing LVT.
In this first before/after scenario, the original 12' x 14' room had tile installed on the floors.
The project took approximately 4 hours for one person (with some experience) to complete and that included moving the furniture.
The tile floor required no preparation ahead of time as well as no transition strips.
Tools used included:
Small crowbar (basically for putting in the last row)
The installer (our own Bill Granger from the Tampa store) made his own hitting block with scrap pieces of LVT
One of the other benefits of luxury vinyl flooring is that it can go over many different types of floors. Yes, you'll need to prepare that floor to ensure that it is level, however, you can install it over tile, wood, and concrete.
How easy is it to cut SPC?
This product is easy to score and break apart to make your cuts. You can use a straight edge and a knife to make your cuts and then snap the board back and forth.Also available are cutters and snippers for small areas to cut around.
Is it possible to do special orders on SPC luxury vinyl planks or tile?
While Tile Outlets of America carries a diverse line of in-stock SPC, we also have many other styles available through quick-ship special order programs.