Ask the Expert: The Best LVT for Your Home
Thinking about LVT for your home? With so many options, we decided to ask Luxury Vinyl Tile expert Jeremy Salomon, the Executive Vice President of LVT at TileBar. He came into the position a few years ago where he put his thousands of hours of research and development in the LVT industry to work by creating a new line of luxury vinyl products from the ground up. The result has been the perfect marriage of performance and price that is already making a name in the flooring market.
We recently asked Jeremy to answer some frequently asked questions about LVT and what you should consider when selecting luxury vinyl tile flooring for your home.
Why Choose LVT for Your Home?
The Tileist: Let’s start with a commonly asked question: Why would a homeowner consider LVT as a flooring choice?
Jeremy: Luxury Vinyl Tile has become a popular flooring solution for homeowners thanks to a number of factors. Cost, of course, is always at the top of anyone’s list when comparing options, but there are many other factors that help sway someone to choose LVT products. These include:
- Low Initial Cost: Low initial material cost and potentially low installation cost, depending on your space. Real wood, natural stones, and tile are great options, but you can have these same looks usually installed for much less.
- Great Durability: LVT can stand up to the heavy daily traffic that you and your family and pets need from your floor. Great luxury vinyl tile will offer scratch, scuff, and stain resistance for peace of mind.
- Waterproof: LVT can be waterproof, unlike real wood and many natural stones which can require sealers and additional finishes to help maintain their beauty and durability.
- Sound Dampening: You can opt to use Rigid Core Click LVT, which can have sound dampening material built into the construction of your flooring. This can really help with footfall sounds and transmission of noise from floor to floor.
- Low Maintenance Cost: Once LVT is installed, sweeping and light mopping will usually take care of most maintenance. TileBar LVT, for instance, doesn’t require stripping and refinishing like wood or stone to keep it looking great for years.
Which LVT is the Most Popular for Homeowners?
The Tileist: You mentioned Rigid Core Click LVT. Is this the most popular LVT for homeowners?
Jeremy: Rigid Core Click is one of our most popular choices for homeowners thanks to its ability to be installed over existing flooring without demolition and other performance characteristics. When talking about LVT, Rigid Core Click flooring is one of two popular product construction types that you will come across when shopping for your floor:
- Rigid Core Click LVT: This is a wildly popular choice for homeowners thanks to its D-I-Y friendly installation that can go over existing flooring without demolition. TileBar’s Rigid Core Click LVT comes with a Unilin locking system, best described as a modern-day tongue-and-groove, that makes for glueless installation and the ability to walk on it instantly as soon as you are done. Throw in the waterproof construction and the built-in sound dampening, and you have a fabulous option for your home.
- Glue Down LVT: Glue down LVT is another popular construction. It does not have a locking system, but rather has straight sides that are installed with adhesive. This is a great alternative when you have a smooth sub-floor and time to allow the LVT product to acclimate and your adhesive to set up. A great benefit of glue down LVT is its ability to be cut into any shape or installed in any pattern since it doesn’t rely on a locking system.
- Loose Lay LVT: Loose lay LVT is exactly what its name says. This LVT has the same characteristics and straight sides of glue down LVT, but it is typically thicker and only requires to be glued down around the perimeter of a space and within a certain square footage, allowing for most of the LVT pieces to rely on the gripping back and adjacent pieces to keep your floor in place. This is a great alternative if you want to move your flooring or change your pattern at a later date.
How to Choose the Best LVT Look for Your Home.
The Tileist: There are so many looks to choose from that many people become overwhelmed. How do you choose what will look good in your space?
Jeremy: Exploring LVT styles and materials is easy on our website, TileBar.com. You can shop by material look, color, construction type, collection, and wear layer. We also recommend ordering samples of our products to ensure that the color and visual will work in your space and design. Our LVT samples are cut from actual products so you will know exactly what to expect when your order arrives at your door. We also offer deals like 5 Samples for $5 so that you can order more than one sample option to make sure that your LVT selection is truly the one that is best for your space.
Another way to help select your LVT is to use one of our visualization tools. TileBar’s “View in Your Room” visualizer allows you to upload actual photos of your space where you can see how your LVT selections and patterns will look. We also have a 360 Visualizer where you can pick a virtual space, along with your LVT choice, and take a 360-degree virtual tour of a room.
The goal of all of all our ways to sample and view our products is to give you confidence in our LVT and TileBar’s selection and buying experience.
How Important is the Wear Layer?
The Tileist: We hear a lot of talk about the wear layer on LVT. How important is it when deciding which LVT to use in a home?
Jeremy: The purpose of the wear layer is to provide durability and to protect the design, keeping it looking great for the life your floor. The thicker the wear layer, the longer your LVT stands up to high traffic. A wear layer is measured in mils (a mil is 1/1.000 of an inch) and we offer a 12 mil wear layer which stands up to regular traffic in most residential, multi-family, and light commercial spaces.
However, for the most longevity and durability, I would recommend our 28 mil wear layer, which comes standard on both our Rigid Core Click and Glue Down products. This thicker wear layer is 40% tougher than industry standard and stands up to both heavy residential and commercial traffic.
Can I Install LVT myself?
The Tileist: Can you install LVT flooring yourself or do you need to use a professional?
Jeremy: If you are excited to tackle LVT installation yourself, Rigid Core Click flooring is typically the most accessible option. Just a few tools are all that is needed to cut and install this LVT type, and the mess and waste from demolition may not be required since you can go right over your existing floor.
Glue down LVT can also be done as a D-I-Y project, but it should be noted that working with vinyl adhesives takes skill and patience. You also need to remove your existing flooring and create a smooth sub-floor, one of the most important factors in a successful and level luxury vinyl tile installation. Loose lay LVT also requires the same level of skill as glue down LVT since it is essentially the same process with less adhesive.
As with any construction project, your ability to install flooring yourself depends upon your skill level and comfortability with construction tools and methods. You should always review your LVT manufacturer’s installation instructions and don’t hesitate to contact a professional flooring installer with any questions or if you get in over your head.
What Care & Maintenance Do I Need for LVT?
The Tileist: What type of care and maintenance should be expected for LVT?
Jeremy: LVT is a great flooring solution because it doesn’t require stripping and refinishing like wood or sealing with natural stone and concrete. But just like any flooring, LVT does require some maintenance.
- Keep your floor dust and debris free: It is good practice to keep dust and debris swept off the floor to avoid micro-scratching and clouding, where the wear layer begins to accumulate so many tiny scratches that it develops a white haze or cloudiness. Simply sweeping to keep dust and debris off your floor helps your floor to keep its original beauty longer.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen: Because TileBar’s LVT has such great scratch, stain, and chemical resistance, the product doesn’t require much maintenance. That being said, any accidents or spills need to be cleaned up as soon as possible to avoid any possible damage or slip/fall potential.
- Feel free to mop: Thanks to the waterproof construction of rigid core click LVT, you can mop as much as you want – but make sure to use a pH-neutral cleaner. Glue down LVT, on the other hand, typically uses adhesives that are water-soluble, meaning that they can be made sticky again by too much moisture. When mopping glue down LVT, make sure to limit the amount of water used to make sure that your floor stays in place.
How Can I Shop for LVT?
The Tileist: What is the best way to shop for LVT with TileBar?
Jeremy: Visit us online at tilebar.com and you can easily find our luxury vinyl flooring products at the menu bar at the top. We have product information, videos, installation help, and don’t forget about our visualization tools and easy sample program. We try to make your LVT buying experience the easiest possible, with everything you need just a click away.