When luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors first came to the US about 30 years ago, they served as a cheaper alternative to tile and stone flooring. While they cost less, they also lacked the resilience and durability of traditional tile.
In recent years, this has partly changed. We say “partly” because LVT is still much more affordable, but now offers comparable performance. Here, we’ll take a quick look at how LVT makes tile flooring more affordable.
Although LVT has always been designed to mimic tile & stone floors, the difference in aesthetics was initially fairly obvious. Now, LVT can perfectly match the look AND feel of tile & stone, making it virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
More Color Options
Even better, LVT offers more color options. Since it technically isn’t stone, manufacturers can take the stone-look and modify it to offer more colors and styles than ever before.
As we said, LVT can even match the feel of tile & stone flooring. Some traditional tile floors are perfectly smooth, whereas others have porous textures. For LVT floors, the texture matches the look just as it would with actual stone floors.
So we’ve established that LVT is virtually indistinguishable from tile & stone flooring. But can vinyl tiles match stone’s performance?
It’s no secret that stone (especially porcelain) is a hard material. It stands up well to cracking and breaking. However, tile & stone (especially ceramic) doesn’t always hold up well against surface scratches. Most LVT flooring also include a wear layer specifically designed to resist surface scuffs and scratches.
Tile & stone floors are almost exclusively either ceramic or porcelain. Although ceramic is common in kitchens and bathrooms, it has a higher absorption rate. Over time, this moisture absorption can cause ceramic tiles that have been perfectly fitted to expand in place.
Porcelain tile isn’t subject to the same challenges as ceramic. The tiles themselves are waterproof, and the right grout can waterproof the entire flooring installation. They are also manufactured at significantly higher temperatures, making them impervious and more resistant to damage. In fact, it’s rated for outdoor use. Not even our deep winter freezes will deter porcelain tile.
LVT flooring generally exceeds the performance of ceramic tile. It is completely waterproof, making it an especially useful choice for the coming snow season. And while it isn’t often recommended for outdoor applications, LVT can often rival the performance of porcelain tile indoors. Of course, it costs much less than its natural counterparts despite the comparable performance.
Although some stone tiles (especially porcelain) are completely waterproof themselves, the installation process may not be. Precision is vital when selecting and setting the mortar and grout used during installation. If the right grout isn’t used, and if the mortar isn’t spread properly, moisture may seep through to the subfloor. This can lead to separating tiles in the short term and promote mildew growth in the subfloor in the long term.
LVT floors use a simple click installation that, in some many cases, doesn’t require an adhesive. In fact, they can often be installed over existing hard surface floors. Despite the simplicity, this click installation provides a complete moisture barrier that prevents spills from seeping through to the subfloor.
For expert advice on the best flooring options for your home, visit Steamboat’s premier flooring experts at Carpets Plus today!