If you are refurbishing your home and changing the floors you must have wondered by now about what is vinyl flooring since it’s one of the most popular options for long term, resistant floors for home and office. In this article we’ll delve into LVT flooring meaning including the LVT flooring construction definition and the wider, commercial uses of this product category. We’ll also compare LVT vs VCT (Vinyl composition tile) as those terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
What Is Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl flooring is a synthetic flooring material that has risen to fame due to its durability, practicality and ease to install. It is composed of several layers of different types of synthetic materials, usually topped by a UV protection layer that will ensure the color won’t change due to sun exposure over the years. It comes in several formats which use the same materials but different manufacturing methods to achieve totally different results:
- LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile
- Roll Vinyl
- Peel and stick vinyl
Overall, vinyl flooring is incredibly resistant to scratches and stains, suffers no water damage and (provided you choose a high quality product) will remain unchanged by sunlight or day to day life for years. Unlike laminate, vinyl doesn’t have wood or other organic elements so it won’t expand and contract due to humidity. It’s also more flexible, thinner and lighter than laminate or real wood, so easier to install for a non-professional.
Vinyl Flooring is mostly composed of different layers of PVC and as such is totally inert and can come in any pattern or design you can imagine, including some very realistic wood and stone options! Both luxury vinyl tile and roll vinyl can be used in areas where you expect moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms or kitchens. And peel and stick vinyl can also be used on walls and even to build your own countertops. As you can see, vinyl is incredibly versatile.
LVT Flooring Meaning
The LVT flooring construction definition is a type of resilient flooring composed of several layers:
- Backing layer: Sound absorbing and with a texture to grip to the sub-flooring
- Fill layer: Thicker layer that provides denting resistance
- Print layer: This is a thin layer where the design is printed to imitate hardwood floors such as wood, stone or ceramic
- Top coat: A clear coating that provides protection and prevents the vinyl from scratching or fading
Luxury vinyl tile is designed to imitate hardwood floors, and as such comes in a variety of patterns that can be easily confused with the real thing. The difference is that instead of a heavy plank of wood or stone you have a few millimetres flexible PVC plank that can be clicked into place without the use of glue or other adhesives. Funnily enough, the meaning of LVT flooring is just Luxury Vinyl Tile, but it usually refers to planks as opposed to roll vinyl which is more similar to a carpet and comes in rolls.
So, LVT flooring standards for Luxury Vinyl Tile. Let’s look at it in detail, word by word.
Luxury: LVT flooring meaning includes the word luxury, and people tend to get fixated on this and assume it’s going to be really expensive but that’s not always the case. Why luxury? Well, to start with the feeling of LVT is something else: It’s a high quality flooring and unlike laminate it’s noise dampening, and warm to the touch. It’s very comfortable to walk on barefoot, which makes it perfect for home use. It can also be used to install underfloor heating as it’s heat conductive and impervious to moisture. And you can use it on kitchens, bathrooms and other rooms where water spills are a possibility.
Vinyl is self explanatory, as the planks or tiles are made of PVC or vinyl, a material that has been with us since the beginning of last century (Chicago Word Fair in 1933 is officially its birthday!) but it has evolved greatly ever since. Modern vinyl plans are around 5mm thick and fully waterproof, as well as incredibly strong and durable.
Tile: Funnily enough, most people see planks when purchasing LVT and not tiles. However, tiles that imitate stone and ceramic are also a very popular format and widely used on kitchens and bathrooms. Since it’s a man-made material, the sky is the limit in terms of sizes and formats. The reason why the word Tile is used is because by definition planks are just a form of rectangular tiles.
LVT vs VCT
Often people confuse LVT vs VCT and are surprised by the price variation. However, Vinyl Composite Tiles aren’t actually 100% PVC and include other materials such as limestone in the mix. VCT is more porous and requires maintenance but they also look more organic and can deal better with scuffs and marks by disguising them as part of the pattern.
Most households will be better served with an LVT product, while VCT is mostly relegated to large commercial spaces and institutions, with high traffic areas where lower costs are an important factor.
SPC Vinyl Plank Flooring Meaning
If you have been doing your research into lvt flooring meaning, you have no doubt come across about SPC vinyl planks and wondered about SPC vinyl plank flooring meaning. SPC is a new product whose main defining characteristic is a signature rigid core that is practically indestructible. It’s slightly cheaper than your typical LVT, but due to its hard rigid core is also less flexible, colder and harder to walk on. It is however more resistant than LVC so it’s frequently used in areas such as kitchens which get heavier use.
SPC is often cheaper than LVT, though the price ranges for both types of floor surfaces are wide enough that they overlap.
In terms of similarities, there are many. Both types of flooring are offered commercially as click vinyl planks, which means you can install them yourself without the need for glue or specialist knowledge. Both are waterproof and moisture proof, when installed correctly. And both come in a variety of styles and patterns that imitate any stone or hardwood you can think off.