LVT is an abbreviation for Luxury Vinyl Tiles. Our experts explain more about this popular floor covering.
An LVT floor can look like real wood or real stone and have any design printed on it, but it also offers many practical benefits. It is produced in shapes of tiles or planks. Luxury vinyl flooring is still a relatively new product and one of the fastest-growing products within the flooring market. It can often be chosen over laminate flooring or tiles, especially in areas where water is present. However, with the introduction of water-resistant laminate flooring for bathrooms, there are still a lot of good options available. It is often referred to as "Click Vinyl" and "luxury vinyl tiles".
How is LVT flooring made?
Luxury vinyl tiles are commonly made from multiple layers of PVC vinyl. The PVC is mixed with various compounds to affect the hardness. These multiple sheets of PVC vinyl are carefully compressed by a rolling process, suspended in a liquid. This is then dried through an application of heat and air to produce tough sheets of vinyl. The top layer can also feature an embossed finish, with manufacturers being able to add realism to the top layer by adding a layer of depth to help mimic the grooves found in stone or wood.
LVT floors then have a clear vinyl and urethane coating applied at the end of manufacturing to add further protection and comfort to the finished product. They are compressed together and a decorative printed vinyl layer is bonded to the surface to add enhanced comfort and warmth. Rigid LVT boards are often thicker and will usually have a click system to make DIY installation easier.
New developments in Green technology, are improving the manufacture of LVT flooring, by using recycled plastics and even wood, in the core materials. Some manufacturers are even incorporating cork underlays into their products.
Why are LVT Floors So thin?
LVT flooring can be anywhere between 2mm and 8mm thick. They often have different top layers too, ranging from 0.1mm up to 0.6mm. It doesn't sound like much, especially when compared to laminate floors which are commonly 7-12mm thick. The reason luxury vinyl tiles are so thin is due to their high density and strength. 4mm of compressed vinyl is much stronger than 8mm of HDF wood, so there really is no need to make them any thicker. They are already more than strong enough to use in heavy traffic commercial installations and are commonly used for this. And of course, a thinner profile ensures less disruption to existing fixtures such as skirting and shower trays, etc.
What is LVT used for?
Because they are made from PVC, this makes them ideal for areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, or for even for commercial use such as hair salons and yoga studios. Anywhere that moisture could be an issue, LVT is an ideal substitute to wooden floors. The multiple layers also offer stability to ensure that the product lays flat on the ground without absorbing moisture or expanding due to water.
Installation of Luxury Vinyl Tile
There are 2 main ways to install an LVT floor. There is a loose lay click system, similar to laminate flooring installation, requiring a specialist LVT underlay and there is glue down systems requiring specialist LVT glues. Both installation types require a completely level sub-floor. Read our guide on how to Lay LVT Flooring for step-by-step instructions. If you are not confident in installing, we can recommend services such as Rated People, where you can look for experienced LVT fitters in your area.
The Benefits of an LVT Floor
- Great durability
- Warmer than tiles and laminate
- Softer than tiles and laminate
- Limitless colours
- Ideal for commercial and residential installations
- Some excellent greener technology being used by Some brands such as Egger's "Greentec" LVT.