What is LVT flooring?

What is LVT flooring?

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Luxury vinyl tiles are the latest innovation in modern flooring technology. Also known as LVT, this high-quality smooth flooring combines the realistic look and feel of a wooden or stone floor with the practical features needed for a busy modern home. Each luxury vinyl tile or plank is made up of many different layers, resulting in a smart and stylish floor with super strength and durability that’s also stain - and water -resistant. It comes in a range of different natural designs from oak, to whitewashed wood, to slate - even the most eagle-eyed will struggle to spot the difference between LVT and a genuine wooden or stone floor! If you’re keen to find out more about LVT, read on to discover the best LVT flooring for your home.

What is LVT flooring made from?

Much like traditional sheet vinyl, LVT is made up of multiple layers, all of which have an important role to play. At the heart of each luxury vinyl plank is a lightweight core, surrounded by compact layers that provide strength, stability, and support, and guard against impact and indentations.
On the very surface is a protection layer, which shields the floor from potential damage and provides scratch and stain resistance. Just below this is a wear and tear layer, which adds to the floor’s performance, followed by a design layer, and then an acoustic layer that minimises surface sound whilst adding comfort. In some styles of click LVT, there’s an integrated underlay right at the bottom to provide extra cushioning and reduce the sound of footsteps. The result is an incredibly sturdy plank or tile with the appearance of natural wood or stone that can be laid in any room in your home. It sounds amazing!
What’s also amazing is how many different designs there are for luxury vinyl! Luxury vinyl comes in either planks for a wood effect or tiles for a stone effect. Depending on the range, there can be anything from 6 to 18 planks in a box and the width of a plank/tile varies on different designs.
To create the realistic look of wood or stone, a large repeating pattern is printed on the design layer. The pattern is moved slightly each time, so no two planks look the same, this creates a unique and authentic look. The planks and tiles are also textured, with the more expensive ones featuring registered embossing that follows all the grooves and knots of the pattern, so it feels like real wood or stone beneath your feet. From traditional oak effect wood vinyl flooring to modern black stone, there’s a style to suit every space.
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What are the benefits of LVT?

There are many benefits to choosing luxury vinyl for your home – it’s one of the most advanced flooring options out there!
  • Durable - The wear and tear layer combined with the protective coating makes luxury vinyl incredibly durable! It can easily cope with a high footfall, some qualities are tough enough for commercial spaces – we even use it in our Tapi stores! Many styles come with a lifetime wear guarantee for complete peace of mind.
  • Versatile - Luxury vinyl is suitable for all rooms and all temperatures. It works with underfloor heating and its UV resistance properties means you can use it in conservatories too.
  • Water-resistant - The product is also waterproof, so it’s ideal for kitchens and bathrooms where there might be more splashes or spillages.
  • Scuff-resistant - The protective wear layer will help prevent scuffs and scratches, we always recommend adding some floor protectors to moveable objects like chairs.
  • Stain-resistant - Once again, that clever protective coating comes to the rescue, ensuring spills sit on the surface of the floor until you can clean them up.
  • Easy to fit - Click luxury vinyl is one of the easiest floors to lay; it simply clicks into place. You can even have a go at fitting it yourself!
  • Low maintenance - Unlike a real wooden floor, there’s no oiling or waxing required. You just need to sweep it and mop it from time to time – it’s so easy to keep clean.
  • Realistic design - The state-of-the-art embossing process used to create the texture on the design gives the tiles or planks incredible detail, from the grain and knots in the wood to the natural lines found on stone or slate.
  • Comfortable - The synthetic materials make LVT a warmer and more cushioned option underfoot than stone tiles or wood.
  • Price - Compared to a real wooden, stone, or tiled floor, LVT is the more affordable flooring option. There are also no fitting costs, if you fancy laying it yourself.

Which type of LVT is best?

When trying to pick the best LVT flooring for your home, you need to know that there are two types of luxury vinyl: dry back and click, and as with everything, both types of LVT have their pros and cons.

What is dry back LVT flooring?

Dry back (also known as glue or stick down) requires an adhesive to bond the flooring directly with the subfloor. The planks are thinner and therefore more pliable, so gluing them down gives the floor more stability, making dry back LVT better for bigger rooms and areas of high traffic. However, dry back luxury vinyl is hard to install (and remove!), plus it requires a completely smooth subfloor, so you’d need to call a professional fitter – one of Tapi’s trusted fitters, perhaps?

What is click LVT flooring?

Click LVT is what’s known as a floating floor and simply clicks into place like a jigsaw puzzle – similar to the way laminate flooring is installed. Click vinyl flooring is more rigid and incredibly easy to fit, even if you’re a DIY novice! And because it’s so simple to remove, it’s also the perfect solution if you’re thinking of moving home or changing the room it’s in. It’s thicker than dry back and has extra cushioning from using underlay – most modern styles of click LVT come with underlay built-in (very handy!). So, for more information on how to lay vinyl flooring, head on over to our handy guide.
Still not sure whether to choose dry back or click LVT? Pop into your nearest Tapi store and one of our flooring experts can help you decide which type of LVT is best for you.

Which room is best for LVT?

So, you’ve found the best LVT flooring for your style, but now you need to figure out which room it would work best in. Luxury vinyl can be laid in pretty much every room in your home, but the best LVT flooring for your space will depend on factors such as the overall style of your home and whether you want a floor that you can install yourself. LVT is durable, so it’s ideal for high traffic areas like hallways and living rooms (in fact, you can discover how to style tiled flooring in your living room with our handy guide), and it’s a much more cost friendly option than real wood flooring, as well as being much softer which can make it pleasant for bare feet.
LVT has amazing water-resistant properties, and we have an amazing range of LVTs which are definitely the best choice for areas that get a lot of moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens. It’s also warm underfoot, so it’s nice for bedrooms and offices, and it’s easy to clean which makes it great for dining rooms and utility rooms.
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How do you fit LVT?

Click LVT is easy to fit and a great choice for DIY projects. It comes in packs and is fitted plank by plank (or tile by tile), so can be left outside the room until it’s needed - perfect if you’re fitting it in a small space like a downstairs loo. Click vinyl uses a tongue and groove system that clicks into place. It’s installed as a floating floor, which means it’s not stuck down and needs a small gap at the edge that allows it to expand when the temperature in the room is higher. As with all smooth flooring, the subfloor needs to be properly prepared before you can lay your floor, and the LVT should be left in the room where it’s due to be installed for at least 48 hours beforehand so it can acclimatise. You can find out more about how to lay LVT flooring in our dedicated guide.
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s installation guide as there might be tiny differences between different types of LVT. When laying your first line of planks, position the ‘tongue’ side along the wall then add in up to 1cm spacers along the wall. Press the short ends until they click together. For the last plank of the row, measure the distance from the previous plank to the wall. Mark this on a new plank, score with a utility knife, and snap to break the excess off, then click the shorter plank into place (leaving up to 1cm at the end for the expansion gap). Start the next row with a plank no shorter than 30cm, so you end up with a staggered plank formation. Repeat until your floor is complete!
  • Tapi Top Tip: When calculating flooring, we always allow for 10% wastage. You should always use materials from a single production batch for each installation, as there might be slight shade variations between batches. Plus, there’s always a chance you’ll need to replace a plank or two over the years so it’s good to have some spares.
Whilst you can choose to fit click flooring yourself, we’d recommend professional fitting for dry back vinyl flooring. Once it’s stuck down, there’s no going back, so it’s best to bring in an expert. We can arrange a fitting for you when you place an order – whether that’s for dry-back or click LVT - just ask your friendly Tapi flooring expert for details in-store.

How much does it cost to install LVT?

Once you’ve found simply the best LVT flooring and figured out where you want to put it, we come to the installation. Luxury vinyl is one of the more expensive smooth flooring options, but thanks to its durability, it’s a long-term investment. If you compare it to a real wooden floor, which requires a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good, there are no extra costs involved for luxury vinyl aftercare. The more expensive styles of luxury vinyl often have thicker wear and tear layers, and their designs will include registered embossing to provide that extra high-definition detailing, all of which contribute to the higher price tag.
Our fitting service costs from £17.30 per m2 for click and dry back LVT. You may also need accessories, and there might be some extra costs involved if your subfloor needs a little TLC. Our flooring experts will be able to talk you through all the costs involved in buying and installing LVT flooring when you visit us in-store or book a home visit, but there's also a handy flooring cost calculator on all our luxury vinyl product pages to give you an estimate of how much your floor will cost. 
Minimum fitting charges apply, as do higher rates and city congestion charges in London, where applicable.


What’s the difference between vinyl and luxury vinyl?

The clue is in the name! Luxury vinyl has taken the practical benefits of vinyl and combined it with the aesthetic detail of real wood or natural stone to make it even better. There are a few key differences between vinyl and luxury vinyl:
  • Style - Luxury vinyl comes in single planks (for wooden designs) or tiles (for stone); vinyl is sold as a sheet on a roll.
  • Number of layers - Luxury vinyl has more layers than vinyl making it much thicker, more rigid and more stable.
  • Thickness of wear and tear layer - Increased thickness of wear and tear layer for extra durability.
  • Ease of installation - Click LVT is simple to install; vinyl sheet flooring can be hard to lay in small spaces as it must be cut to size.
  • Design - Vinyl offers more designs overall; luxury vinyl offers greater depth and variation in its natural wood and stone designs for a more realistic finish.
  • Water-resistance - Both vinyl and luxury vinyl have waterproof surfaces, but moisture could potentially get through the small gaps between each plank/tile.
  • Cost - Luxury vinyl is more expensive to buy and to install; however, it’s more durable and therefore should last longer than vinyl.
The extra benefits that luxury vinyl offers come at a higher price, so you need to weigh up the pros and cons of vinyl versus luxury vinyl and decide which one is best for you. 
Hopefully you now have a much better idea of what LVT flooring is, and our Tapi flooring gurus can help you to decide whether LVT is the right choice for your home when you visit your nearest Tapi store. Alternatively, for more flooring inspiration, head on over to our ideas hub, where you can discover more care guides, and a range of style inspiration.


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Published: 03-04-2022