How to choose your next floors

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) Buying Guide

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is a growing favourite for many homeowners, in part thanks to the stylish designs on offer that are versatile and durable enough for everyday life. To help you decide whether LVT is right for your home, we’ve put together this handy guide covering everything you need to know about Luxury Vinyl Tiles.

LVT compared to Hardwood floors

LVT products are designed to deliver the unique knots and grains that you associate with hardwood, but without the practical difficulties associated with hardwood. Not only do hardwood floors react badly to temperature changes, by expanding, warping or shrinking, hardwood floors do not react well to moisture and require frequent maintenance through sanding, staining and lacquering. LVT products on the other hand are easy to maintain and clean, and are designed to maintain their shape and durability throughout its lifetime.

LVT compared to Laminate or Engineered Wood

Laminate or engineered wood floors are designed to deliver the same benefits of LVT, which is delivering the look of real hardwood floors but without the hassle of maintenance. Whilst Laminate or engineered wood floors are often a lower cost than LVT floors, the quality of finish is often not as realistic. Additionally, most laminates or engineered wood are susceptible to the top layer peeling and de-laminating.

LVT compared to Carpets

Carpets offer a wide variety of designs, colours and budgets so are often very popular for the style-conscious homeowner. However, LVT brings certain benefits over carpets, namely that they are easier to clean, LVT is suitable for houses with underfloor heating, and individual broken LVT planks or tiles can be replaced as opposed to carpets which would need to replaced in their entirety.

LVT vs stone or ceramic tiles

Whilst it is hard to beat the class of a natural stone or ceramic tile floor, they are often cold underfoot first thing in the morning. The weight of the tiles often make them unsuitable for upstairs floors, whereas LVT floors are comparatively lightweight.

Glue-down LVT

Glue-down LVT are the most long term and secure-once-installed of all LVT. However, they are harder to install and remove. A special form of vinyl glue is required. If you are after glue-down LVT for your home, we highly recommend having a specialist fitter to fit your LVT, and again when it comes to replacing them.

Interlocking Vinyl Planks and Tiles

Whilst very stylish and modern, interlocking vinyl planks and tiles are the hardest to replace. They have special tongues and grooves along their edges so that the planks / tiles click into place. However if an individual tile is broken, then the whole row must be taken apart. 

Loose Lay Vinyl Planks

These LVT planks are not as loose as their name suggests, as they do ‘stick’ to the floor through their high friction of the bottom layer. Importantly, these loose lay LVT planks are easy to remove and do not leave any residue behind once replaced.

Understanding the difference between Click and Gluedown LVT

Click LVT

  • More expensive initial outlay

  • Quicker, simpler and cheaper to install than gluedown LVT

  • Better for DIY installations

Gluedown LVT

  • Often cheaper to buy than click LVT

  • Requires a flat, level subfloor

  • More expensive, fiddly and time consuming to fit compared to click

Similarities between all types of LVT

Whilst there are differences between the various types and brands of LVT, there are certain characteristics that all LVT have in common. Whether you are using a glue based LVT or not, all LVT planks and tiles will require a property prepared subfloor that is smooth, flat, clean, hard and free from residue and debris such as dust or crumbs.

All types of LVT will need to ‘acclimatise’ to the room that they are being fitted in. In the 24 hours before and the 48 hours after fitting LVT, the room should remain a constant temperature of at least 15 degrees Celsius. To help the LVT acclimatise, the planks or tiles should be taken out of the packaging and laid around the room.