During these conversations, though, I started to notice a pattern. When people hear the word "vinyl," it often takes them to an image of their first apartment in college, with the awful, cheap vinyl flooring throughout. You know, the kind of floor that would create a nick the shape of a beer bottle cap if you accidentally stepped on one? Yes, that floor.
While writing this post, I actually decided to test my theory of the stigma behind the word "vinyl." I went to the office next to mine and asked a coworker, "Before you knew much about luxury vinyl, what did you associate with the word vinyl." Her response was "cheap, low quality sheet vinyl," and "old or outdated." She then went on telling stories about the sheet vinyl that was in her home growing up, pairing her story with multiple distorted faces, all of which displaying the word "yucky."
So given our past experiences with sheet vinyl, many are surprised to hear the word "luxury" in front of the word "vinyl." I'm going to use this post to hopefully help ease some of that stigma, so that the true benefits and quality of today's luxury vinyl can shine through! Keep in mind that there are huge differences between the sheet vinyl you knew growing up and the luxury vinyl that is on the market today.
Here's a little review on luxury vinyl from my "Flooring Trends" post: By using 3-D photo replication, luxury vinyl can closely resemble any material, including hardwood and stone. Each tile is embossed to mimic the desired texture. This way, you're able to have the high-end look of hardwood or stone, without the high cost and more difficult maintenance.
There are a two primary types of luxury vinyl: luxury vinyl tile and luxury vinyl plank.
- Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) often times mimics a slate or stone. You can even grout most LVT, if you'd like, for added realism. For the best results, you should use the grout that the manufacturer recommends.
- Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) mimics wood. Luxury vinyl is known for its variety of colors, which really allows for flexibility in design. Some of the more popular styles of LVP are reclaimed wood, oak, exotic woods, grey-toned, salt-worn, seaside, and dock wood. The best part about LVP, is that you can create unique patterns and color variations. The plank sizes also vary from small to wide, just like real hardwood. This picture demonstrates some of the different wood colors available.
The benefits of LVT and LVP extend further than just design, though. Luxury vinyl is less expensive than wood or stone. It's also super easy to clean and maintain.
Key Features and Benefits of Luxury Vinyl
- Scratch Resistant - This one is a huge benefit that many consumers aren't aware of. In the past, vinyl was always very easy to scratch, peel, tear, or nick. Vinyl has come a long way, though, and luxury vinyl is actually very scratch resistant. Luxury vinyl has a ware layer. This layer typically consists of aluminum oxide or urethane, which helps resist wear and tear.
- Waterproof - Since luxury vinyl is waterproof, it won't warp, buckle, or crack after a spill. This is especially beneficial for households with pets or children!
- Easy Replacement (If Damaged) - If an area of your floor is damaged, you can replace just a partial area of the floor with LVT and LVP.
- Soft to the Touch - LVT and LVP are both softer than the products they mimic. Some people desire the softer touch on their feet for their homes.
While it lacks the same quality and durability that LVT and LVP have, luxury vinyl sheet (LVS) is definitely still a popular product on the market. It is very inexpensive, and often times takes on some sort of decorative pattern or mimics slate, stone, or wood. One of the downfalls of LVS is that, unlike LVT and LVP, if damaged, you must replace the whole sheet, and cannot replace just one section. LVS has also come a long way from the vinyl sheets of the past, though, and is much more scratch and tear resistant than it used to be.
There is much to know about luxury vinyl, and I don't want to bore you with every little detail. I know that with so many flooring choices, coming to a flooring decision for your home or business can be stressful! So, if you have any questions about luxury vinyl, or any other flooring, please feel free to ask me!