Choosing the best flooring for your home takes care and consideration. The floor takes up a huge swath of any room in your home, so you want to ensure it looks beautiful and will stand the test of time — all without breaking the bank.
Luxury vinyl flooring has become a popular flooring choice in recent years because of its gorgeous natural look, affordable price point, and longevity. Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and luxury vinyl planks (LVP) can both be excellent options for your home.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about luxury vinyl flooring, including the difference between LVT and LVP and the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring.
When you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to search for “vinyl flooring near me.” Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered there, too!
What Is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
When you think of vinyl flooring, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t luxury vinyl flooring. Luxury sheet flooring — the most popular form of vinyl flooring for a number of years — has given the term “vinyl” a bit of a bad reputation.
Sheet flooring is rolled out across the floor. Because it only comes in large sheets, it’s impossible for it to mimic natural materials well.
Luckily, vinyl has come a long way since the days when vinyl sheet flooring was popular. Today’s luxury vinyl flooring is thicker and is placed down in tiles or planks. Because of this, it has the ability to mimic wood floors and stone floors in a really beautiful way, but with a price tag that even first-time homeowners can get behind.
Difference Between Laminate Flooring and Vinyl Flooring
From a distance, laminate flooring and vinyl flooring often look the same. So, it can be easy to mix up these two different flooring options.
What Are the Similarities Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring?
In many ways, laminate and vinyl flooring may seem the same. They can both come in attractive plank formats, giving off natural wooden vibes. They’re both easy to install. And they have a similarly budget-friendly price tag.
What Are the Differences Between Laminate and Vinyl Flooring?
The big difference between vinyl and laminate flooring is what the flooring is made of.
Vinyl flooring is 100% synthetic. Because of this, it can go just about anywhere. As long as you’re caulking between individual pieces of flooring, moisture will not affect vinyl flooring. In fact, you can fully submerge vinyl flooring in water, take it out, dry it off, and still use it on your floor.
Laminate flooring is not as versatile as vinyl flooring in this respect. Because laminate flooring has a fiberboard core, it swells when it gets wet. This means that water can really damage this flooring type, warping it and forcing homeowners to replace it sooner than expected.
Is Laminate Better Than Vinyl Flooring?
Laminate flooring is not better than vinyl flooring. Ultimately, picking between the two is a personal decision.
Some people believe that laminate flooring looks better than vinyl flooring or feel more comfortable choosing a less synthetic material. But luxury vinyl flooring has come a long way in style, and these days, it’s often impossible to tell the difference between the two materials from looks alone.
Because vinyl flooring is fully synthetic, it has an easier time standing up to whatever life throws at it and may live a much longer life than laminate flooring.
Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring has long been one of the most popular types of flooring, and there’s a reason for this. In addition to looking great, vinyl flooring boasts a number of benefits that homeowners love.
One of the top reasons homeowners — and even hotel owners — reach for vinyl flooring is affordability.
Luxury vinyl flooring usually costs between $2 and $5 per square foot. Wood flooring, on the other hand, costs $3 to $7 per square foot, while stone flooring can range from $6 to $25 per square foot.
The affordability of luxury vinyl flooring may even allow you to install vinyl plank flooring throughout the house instead of updating your home one room at a time. This can instantly modernize the look and feel of your home, improving your resale value with a relatively small investment.
Another major reason to choose luxury vinyl is its durability and longevity in both residential and commercial settings. In fact, luxury vinyl flooring can last two to three times as long as carpet before you need to replace it.
One reason luxury vinyl is so durable is that, in most cases, it has been coated to be completely waterproof. This makes it a smart choice for spaces like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements, where moisture is a concern.
And while luxury vinyl floors may dent if you drop a heavy appliance on them and can scratch just like regular wood or stone floors if furniture is dragged across their surface, they’re made much thicker than sheet vinyl, allowing them to stand up against the regular wear and tear of family life.
If anyone in your home suffers from allergies, luxury vinyl floors can make for a great allergy-friendly carpet replacement. Their hard surface makes them easy to clean. You can even use a microfiber mop to clean your floors in lieu of a broom or vacuum, which helps you stir up less dust as you clean and keeps your home as allergy-friendly as possible.
Trending vinyl flooring is popular in part because it’s so low-maintenance. In fact, if you install vinyl flooring throughout the house, you can trash the vacuum and clean your floors solely using brooms or mops.
For the most part, vinyl flooring requires no special care or maintenance. The only exception to this rule is caulking. Vinyl planks may shrink or expand due to fluctuations in your home’s temperature. When this happens, it’s important to caulk the spaces between planks. You may need to repeat this process over the years, as caulking can break down over time.
Luckily, caulking between planks is extremely easy to do, and your caulk can be painted to blend in perfectly with your luxury vinyl. This quick do-it-yourself (DIY) project is much easier to handle than replacing a chipped stone tile, and unlike with wood floors, you won’t need to refinish your vinyl floors on a regular basis. As a result, luxury vinyl is still one of the most low-maintenance flooring materials around.
Ease of Installation
If you’re looking to cut down on the costs of your home renovation by installing your floor yourself, luxury vinyl is a great material to start with. Unlike wood or stone, luxury vinyl is easy to cut and can be cut to size using just a straightedge and a sharp utility knife.
Whether you choose click-together vinyl flooring, a loose-lay installation method, or a glue-down method, the installation process is quick and relatively painless, and a medium-sized room can have vinyl flooring installed in just a few hours.
What’s the Difference Between Luxury Vinyl Tile and Luxury Vinyl Plank?
There are two major types of luxury vinyl: luxury vinyl tile, also known as LVT, and luxury vinyl plank, also known as LVP.
Similarities Between LVT and LVP
In many ways, LVT and LVP are similar. Both LVT and LVP are forms of luxury vinyl flooring that you can use to upgrade residential or commercial floors in a stylishly affordable way.
Regardless of whether you choose LVT or LVP, your vinyl will be made up of three layers: the thin, transparent hard-wearing layer, which protects your design and gives vinyl flooring its durability; the design layer, which provides your chosen vinyl its characteristic style; and the core layer, which gives your vinyl flooring a bit of cushion and makes it comfortable to walk on.
And regardless of whether you choose LVT or LVP, your product will be easy to install, durable, low-maintenance, and allergy-friendly.
Differences Between LVT and LVP
Although they are largely the same thing, vinyl tile flooring and vinyl plank flooring have one major difference: the way they look.
Luxury vinyl tiles are generally made to look like stones or tiles. They can come in a variety of sizes and are often square or rectangular in shape.
Luxury vinyl planks, on the other hand, tend to be long and skinny and are generally made to resemble planks of wood.
As you can imagine, the differences in style between LVT and LVP flooring mean they tend to be used in different spaces. Modern LVT flooring is often used in laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and entryways because those are some of the most popular spaces for tile or stone vibes.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring, on the other hand, may be used in living rooms, bedrooms, or dining rooms or to outfit the entire floor of a home.
In a commercial setting, either LVT or LVP flooring can be used, depending on the vibes you’re looking for.
Luxury Vinyl Tile Sizing
Just like the tiles and stones it emulates, LVT comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The most popular LVT tiles are square or rectangular in shape. These tiles are the easiest to install. They range in size from 16” × 16” to 18” × 36”, with almost as many sizes and combinations in between as you can dream of.
Luxury Vinyl Plank Sizing
Luxury vinyl planks tend to be long and thin, as they are made to resemble planks of wood. They range in size from 4” × 48” to 9” × 72”.
What Are the Different LVT and LVP Design Options?
The design options for luxury vinyl flooring are nearly endless. Not only can you choose between vinyl that looks like wood, tile, or stone in any color imaginable, but the surface can also have a scraped or embossed look to make your flooring really pop.
When you choose luxury vinyl planks that look like real wood, it can bring an eco-friendly feel to your home. Whether you’re looking for a down-to-earth farmhouse vibe or you have a more boho-chic style, you can find the right LVP for your home.
Luxury vinyl planks can be made to emulate any variety of wood you like, from honeyed pine to dark walnut tones. You can even get planks in grays to bring a rustic, painted-wood feel to your home.
Whether you like the look of small square tiles throughout your bathroom or you’re looking for large tiles to update your kitchen, LVT has you covered. You can purchase LVT that emulates ceramic tiles in any color you can imagine and can even purchase LVT with a glossy finish to complete the facade.
If you prefer tiles with a more natural appearance, LVT that looks like stone may be right for your home. Stone LVT tends to come in larger sizes, which can make installation easier if you’re tiling a big room.
How Do You Install LVT And LVP Flooring?
If you hate the idea of any room in your house being unusable for weeks on end due to renovations, then luxury vinyl flooring is a great choice for you. One of the top reasons homeowners reach for this type of flooring is because it’s so easy to install. In fact, you can outfit an entire room with vinyl flooring in a matter of just a few hours, and you don’t even need that many tools to do it.
There are three major methods for installing vinyl flooring: the click-together method, the glue-down method, and the loose-lay method. At Floor It 41, we supply both click-together and glue-down vinyl floors.
Measure your room to determine how much tile you need. It’s generally a good idea to order 10% to 20% more tile than you think you need. This ensures that you have what you need to make cuts and get into the edges of your room and can provide a bit of backup tile if something needs to be replaced down the road.
Removing Existing Flooring
The first step to installing luxury vinyl flooring is making sure you’ve removed the previous flooring if necessary. Vinyl flooring can be laid over concrete, wood, or up to one layer of previous vinyl. However, if you have any other type of flooring, you will need to pull it up prior to laying down your new vinyl floor.
Many DIY-ers can remove carpeting themselves with minimal hassle. Removing existing tile or stone floors can be a little more tricky and may require the help of a professional.
Preparing the Subfloor
The subfloor is the bottommost part of your flooring and lies beneath your decorative floor. Typically, subfloors are made either of wood or concrete.
Because the subfloor will provide a foundation for your vinyl flooring, you want to make sure it’s fully prepared before you begin laying your vinyl. Start by sweeping the subfloor, clearing out any dirt or debris that has accumulated over the years. Then use a level to note any places where your floor dips or rises.
If you’re dealing with a wooden subfloor, you’ll want to sand any portions of your subfloor that lift up and pour a liquid underlayment into any portions that dip. If you’re dealing with concrete, you can pour a self-leveling compound over the entire floor’s surface, and it will even the flooring out for you.
Once you’ve removed the existing flooring and prepared the subfloor, you can move on to installing your vinyl flooring using either the click-together, the glue-down, or the loose-lay method.
Installing Click-Together Luxury Vinyl
Click-together vinyl flooring, also known as click-and-lock vinyl flooring, works a little bit like a puzzle.
Start by trimming the tongue edge of the first tile and then laying it flat, remembering to leave appropriate space between the tile and the wall. Then take the next tile and insert the tongue of the tile into the groove of the previous tile at an angle. Lower it, and the two tiles should snap into place.
Continue in this way until you reach the other side of the room, at which point you should trim your last piece of vinyl down to size. When you get to the second row, you’ll continue in a similar manner.
Installing Glue-Down Luxury Vinyl
To install glue-down vinyl flooring, you’ll want to pour the manufacturer-recommended adhesive in one section of the room, using a trowel to spread the adhesive out and ensure it lies flat. Once you’ve finished with a small portion of the room, pour adhesive on the next section and keep going.
When you’ve completed your room, you’ll want to roll a 100-pound roller over the entire floor. This helps the adhesive bond to the vinyl and ensures that pieces of your vinyl don’t bubble up over time.
Installing Loose-Lay Luxury Vinyl
Loose-lay vinyl flooring doesn’t require adhesive or click-together tongue-and-grooves to stay in place. Instead, it relies on friction to keep each piece of vinyl together once the flooring has been laid. This works because loose-lay vinyl flooring has a rubber backing to help each individual piece stay in place.
As with other vinyl flooring installations, it’s a good idea to start in one corner of the room and work in rows, cutting your vinyl to size at the end of each row.
Tips for Installing Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Because each package of flooring may have subtle variations in tone or hue, it can be a good idea to open all your tiles before you start and shuffle the tiles together so that your floor has a naturally varied look throughout instead of an ombre appearance.
If you need to lay flooring around an unusually shaped appliance or fixture in your home, draw the fixture out on paper first and then use that as a stencil when cutting your vinyl.
If you’re laying vinyl that looks like tile or stone, it’s a good idea to keep your rows looking the same. However, if your vinyl looks like wooden planks, you’ll want to vary the length of your starting tiles so that the vinyl isn’t perfectly lined up. This better emulates the look of traditional hardwood floors.
Cost of Luxury Vinyl Installation
Although some people may be willing to install luxury vinyl flooring on their own, the cost of hiring someone to install this flooring is significantly lower than the cost of installing hardwood or tile flooring and can help ensure that your floor is installed correctly for its longest possible life.
Hiring someone to install vinyl floors costs $1 to $6 per square foot. So, for example, if you were hiring someone to install flooring in a 10 × 10 room, you could expect to pay an extra $100 to $600 in addition to the cost of the flooring.
Keep in mind that if you’re looking to use glue-down vinyl flooring, a 100-pound floor roller can cost a few hundred dollars on its own. Once you add in the cost of adhesive and any other tools you may need, it may actually be cheaper to hire someone to install your floors than to try to do it yourself.
Choosing the Best Luxury Vinyl for Your Home
Luxury vinyl flooring offers an inexpensive way to give your home a quick face-lift. Whether you dream of tiled floors or hardwood, vinyl offers a long-lasting, durable alternative that can weather whatever your life is ready to throw its way. Google “LVT flooring near me” if you’re looking for a tile or stone appearance, or search for “LVP flooring near me” if you’d prefer a hardwood look.
Regardless of the style you choose, you can’t go wrong when you choose vinyl flooring. The next step is to look into the most popular vinyl floor colors of 2022 and shop luxury vinyl flooring at Floor It 41!