Luxury Vinyl Plank, or LVP flooring, is resilient, shaped like hardwood planks, has a natural wood texture, and comes in a huge variety of styles.
The fact that LVP also comes at a great price makes it an attractive choice for a lot of homeowners. You would easily find LVP in big stores, online platforms, as well as local outlets. This amazing material is also heavily promoted by interior designers and DIY home improvement shows.
If you’re thinking about installing LVP, you can consider this article as your ultimate guide on what is LVP flooring (Luxury Vinyl Plank): the pros and cons of LVP.
LVP is a type of flooring that’s affordable, resilient, and stylish. Unlike the sheet vinyl that came out in the 1930s, it’s designed to look more like wood than a plastic derivative. This includes the look, the feel, and even the texture.
This type of flooring managed to mimic the wood-like effect while remaining a viable option economically. This is achieved through designing these planks as a composite structure. The base PVC layer is both strong and flexible to provide the needed backing for the next layers.
In the middle, there’s a water-resistant core that also contributes to the overall rigidity and strength of the planks. The top layer is where the vinyl comes in, and it’s where the color and texture appear. This is often called the ‘wear layer’.
The vinyl ‘wear layer’ could be as thin as 6 mm or as thick as 30 mm, depending on the intended usage. The residential requirements often fall in the 6-12 mm range, while the higher calibers are reserved for commercial uses.
It comes down to expected traffic and required protection. And as expected, the more resistant floors usually come at higher prices.
The huge buzz around LVP flooring is proof enough that it’s a noteworthy product. But we prefer to see tangible reasons. Here are some of the pluses of using this luxury material.
The look of hardwood flooring is a timeless style that looks good in any room size and around all types of furniture. It’s a rare thing to find anyone who isn’t happy around natural hardwood flooring. It’s outrageously expensive though, and quite needy in terms of maintenance.
LVP provides a brilliant solution to this buyer’s predicament. It provides a realistic imitation of hardwood, minus the heaps of cash, and the meticulous cleaning requirements.
LVP comes in a gazillion tones, and it’s cut out in rationally sized planks. Thus, you can place it in any room, and it would match with the wall paints and the furniture.
Being durable and resistant to heavy traffic makes LVP a better choice than even laminate floors. It can be used in the home, office, shop, and many other settings.
LVP is water and scratch-resistant, which is a feature hardwood lacks. Thus, you can install it in demanding spaces like kitchens, living rooms, and dining areas. It’s not fully waterproof though, so you might avoid bathrooms or outdoor spaces.
There are close cousins to LVP that are completely waterproof, and share the general characteristics of imitating natural materials in a budget-friendly way. These are Wood-Polymer Core (WPC) and Stone-Polymer Core SPC.
Installing LVP flooring doesn’t require the same skill level as that needed to lay in laminate floors or hardwood planks. It just needs gluing and setting in place.
This definitely attracted plenty of homeowners who are good with DIY work.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is wonderful in so many ways, but like everything else, it has its limitations. Here are some of its downsides.
No matter how close LVP flooring comes to hardwood, it would still lack the warmth, texture, and value of the natural material.
This is especially true when homeowners put their houses for sale. Despite the stylish look of LVP and its comparatively high price, it’s often valued at much less than hardwood. Interestingly, LVP and laminate floors have similar prices, yet laminate gets a higher valuation.
This is probably because LVP is relatively new in the market, and a lot of potential buyers still associate it with the old sheet vinyl. This perception will probably change in the near future.
Unlike the connectivity method of laminate floors and Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT), LVP is installed by gluing the planks to the floor.
The glue is rather easy to apply, but it has a strong smell that could last for days after installation. Some people are put off by that, but the smell goes away gradually. Good ventilation helps in dissipating this odor quickly.
Removing or maintaining LVP floors could also be a bit challenging. The glued-in planks become stubborn with time and take some effort to remove. Still, some people say that replacing a few planks of LVP is much easier than dealing with the interconnected laminate floors.
LVP is made from three layers that are typically bound together by ‘plasticizing’ agents. It’s believed that some manufacturers use substances that might contain phthalates.
For decades, phthalates were listed among a group of chemicals that could cause health issues to humans, especially, for children or pregnant women. Fortunately, most manufacturers are aware of that and produce LVP that’s free from such toxins and hazardous substances.
Some brands of LVP might not perform too well under harsh sunlight. The UV light tends to fade the colors where it hits the floors. And if some parts are covered by a rug, then a homeowner might end up with partially faded floors!
Luckily, not all brands are that susceptible to the effects of UV light. Then again, it might be a good idea to consider the lighting around the house before laying out the LVP.
Luxury Vinyl Planks, or LVP, is an amazing new type of flooring that imitates hardwood in so many ways. Even better, it comes in a multitude of natural wood tones, it’s durable, and it comes with a budget-friendly price tag.
Like everything else, it has its strong points and its limitations, but we believe that its pros far outweigh its cons.