Learn everything insiders know about buying luxury vinyl plank flooring, also known as LVP flooring.
Carpet Captain doesn’t sell flooring, but we have helped nearly one million people buy it
without a sales pitch.
Captain’s Luxury Vinyl Flooring Highlights
- Luxury vinyl is rising in popularity as manufacturers and technology fix many of its old drawbacks.
- Luxury vinyl is the general category. LVP = luxury vinyl planks (like hardwood) and LVT = luxury vinyl tile (like tile flooring)
- One of the best DIY floors–easy for beginner’s
- Plank thickness doesn’t impact durability, but it will impact how the LVP feels. 4mm+ is a good bet.
- The wear layer is the most important part for durability: go for at least 8 mil thick and consider a strong material.
Durability, Looks and Value: Luxury Vinyl fits all these qualities:
With installed cost typically below $5/sq. ft. Luxury Vinyl flooring offers unmatched water resistance, great look, and durability at a cost of cheap laminate flooring (but without the buckling and de-lamination issues). In most cases your you can get luxury vinyl plank installed for about $3.50 – $6.00 per square foot or $700-1200 per average room.
Let’s look at all the benefits as well as cons of luxury vinyl flooring:
Chapter 1: Cost and resale value
One of the early questions you have to ask yourself before any home improvement project is, “Can I afford it?”
And even if you know you can afford it, it helps to know what you should pay, so you don’t get ripped off. It also helps to know the resale value, so you know what kind of investment you’re making.
This section will cover both cost of luxury vinyl plank flooring (including the floor, other materials, and installation), as well as the expected resale value:
Cost of luxury vinyl flooring
The cost of luxury vinyl tile and planks is comparable to laminate. Expect to pay about $4 sq.ft. for planks or tiles. The range is generally $2.50 to $5 per sq.ft., but I’ve seen luxury vinyl as low as $0.50 sqft and as high as $9 sq.ft. Check out our complete guide on luxury vinyl pricing if you want a more detailed breakdown and how to create a budget.
Want the best quick estimate you can get? Check out our flooring cost calculator. It lets you choose your type of floor, your room or house size, and it will give you a fairly accurate project cost.
Luxury vinyl flooring and home resale value
The resale value of luxury vinyl flooring is simply not as good as it should be. It’s the victim of being a newer flooring that hasn’t completely caught on yet, and I think currently laminate has better resale value in most markets.
Many people hear the word “vinyl” and assume you’re talking about sheet vinyl, which is considered one of or the cheapest types of flooring. It’s clear that many people don’t know the difference between the two (which is a big difference) because many real estate sites and systems only allow for “vinyl,” not allow you to specify luxury vs sheet.
With this in mind, ultimately people care about look, durability, and prestige when it comes to buying a home and flooring. Luxury vinyl tiles meet the first two criteria, it just needs to shake the negative reputation of sheet vinyl.
When this happens, I think luxury vinyl tile will jump laminate but still be behind hardwood in terms of desirability.
Chapter 2: What is luxury vinyl? And LVT vs LVP?
In the flooring world, luxury vinyl is one of the new kids on the block.
Luxury vinyl is the cousin of sheet vinyl and the competitor of laminate.
When someone talks about “vinyl flooring,” they’re most likely talking about sheet vinyl. This is NOT the same a luxury vinyl. Sheet vinyl is has been around for a long time. It’s cheap and water-resistant, but it also doesn’t have a great reputation because it can look and feel cheap.
Luxury vinyl took the vinyl core but added other layers to create the planks and tiles. This makes a floor that is still relatively inexpensive but is more durable and better looking than traditional vinyl. Like laminate, some of the high-end designs can look shockingly similar to real wood and tiles.
So you’ve heard me say “luxury vinyl,” “planks,” and “tiles.” When I first learned about luxury vinyl, I found all the terms confusing. It’s really pretty simple:
Luxury vinyl tile looks like ceramic and stone tile flooring. It’s also called by the shorter names: “LVT” and “vinyl tile.”
Luxury vinyl plank flooring looks like wood flooring. It’s also called by the shorter names: “LVP” and “vinyl planks.”
So now you know the basics of luxury vinyl, let’s cover who might want it, and who should stay away from it.
Chapter 3: Pros and cons of luxury vinyl
Before we get into what to look for in luxury vinyl, let’s consider if it’s the right flooring for you.
Pros of luxury vinyl:
- can nearly clone the look and texture of hardwood, ceramic tiles, and other premium types of flooring
- cheaper on average than the floors that it mimics
- less maintenance than hardwood
- since tiles or planks are individual, damaged areas can easily be replaced with just a few new pieces
- potential DIY job—much easier than sheet vinyl
- water resistance better than laminate and hardwood = better for basements and bathrooms
- overall very durable even though it won’t last a lifetime like hardwood can
Cons of luxury vinyl:
A Carpet Captain guide wouldn’t be complete without giving you a heads up on the problems you may run into. This isn’t to scare you off from luxury vinyl—all types of flooring have their problems.
- less comfortable than carpet and potentially slightly colder/less comfortable than laminate
- if you’re selling your home, sometimes people haven’t heard of luxury vinyl and assume it’s old sheet vinyl
- price can vary: the best-looking luxury vinyl floors can compete with hardwood in price
A note on phthalates and safety of luxury vinyl
One specific question I receive on luxury vinyl is its safety.
At times, it’s had a bad reputation, and maybe even an earned a bad reputation. The reason?
Luxury vinyl is a plastic. Most plastics are brittle without chemicals called plasticizers, and often these chemicals are thought to possibly be harmful especially to children and pregnant women. You’ve probably heard similar concerns with the plastic used in drinking bottles, and in Europe, some countries have banned certain plastics in children’s toys.
The plasticizers that are concerning in luxury vinyl are called phthalates. The definite impact of phthalates are unknown, but they are thought to possibly be a carcinogen and cause development and reproductive harm. With this in mind, nearly everyone is already exposed to phthalates. The CDC states 90% of Americans have measurable levels of phthalates in their bodies.
My takeaway: I’d personally avoid flooring with phthalates with children. They are young and still developing, and they touch the floor with their hands (crawling) and put their hands in their mouth. Ideally, I’d also avoid it as an adult for the same reason I look for water bottles that are intended to be “healthy.”
The good news is even if you want to avoid phthalates, you can still get luxury vinyl flooring. Certain manufacturers have committed to making phthalate-free and low VOC (indoor air pollution) luxury vinyl flooring. I’ve called, emailed, and we searched to find manufacturers who make this commitment, and specifics are listed below in the brands section.
Chapter 4: How to pick the best LVP/LVT (durability factors, underlayment, brands)
Here’s the good news for luxury vinyl flooring: the “luxury vinyl” part takes care of a lot of your homework. In other words, if it’s labeled luxury vinyl it means it naturally has a lot of the positive qualities we talked about above.
Here’s the bad news:
There’s not a true definition of luxury vinyl… or at least not the luxury part. This means that a company could make a poor quality vinyl floor in a plank or tile floor and call it luxury. I haven’t seen much of this… at least yet. If it does become common, the industry will have to create more specifications for you to determine the quality yourself.
For now, you only have to pay attention to a couple of key indicators for the quality of your luxury vinyl…
Wear layer thickness is the #1 factor
Luxury vinyl isn’t as complicated as some types of flooring. For durability, you can focus on the wear layer. It will tell you much of what you need to know.
There are 5 layers of vinyl flooring: a backing, a core vinyl layer, the print layer, the wear layer, and then a top coating to protect against scratching and UV.
Of these 5 layers, it’s the wear layer that will most impact the durability. It’s the protector of the vinyl flooring. And it is measured simply by how thick it is.
Well… kind of simply. Manufacturers and retailers find ways to make it a little confusing. Usually, it is measured in mm or mil. These aren’t the same.
So what is a good thickness of the wear layer?
The wear layer should be at least 8 mil or 0.2mm thick for a room with moderate traffic. For high traffic areas or areas where you want the most durable nylon, go with a wear layer that is 20 mil or 0.5mm thick.
I’d avoid 2 mil unless you want the cheapest nylon possible and even 6 mil is rolling the dice on durability.
Wear layer material
In some ways, this is just as or more important than the wear layer thickness.
Think of it this way… which would you rather your floor be protected with: 1. a thick 1-inch coat of Jello or 2. a thin one-tenth inch coat of diamond?
Definitely the diamond. So why didn’t I list wear layer material ahead of thickness?
Because the thickness of a luxury vinyl is 100% clear and easily comparable. The material is not easily comparable. There are a few reasons for this:
- Sometimes the weary layer material is not listed
- There are an infinite combination of wear layer material. eg. 2 different LVP’s might list aluminum oxide in their coating but one may have much more in it than the other (and none that I’m aware of list how much).
- There aren’t any good studies on which wear layer materials are truly the best.
So what do you do?
First off, there are some good wear layer materials. Aluminum oxide is known to be a very strong finish. It’s usually mixed with urethane. Acrylic and urthane by themselves are considered as durable. However, I’ve seen floors that don’t list anything other than acrylic or urethane in their wear layer that perform as well as any LVP.
I think the takeaway is you can consider wear layer material, but going with the thickness and choosing a reputable brand of luxury vinyl is going to be your best shopping decision.
Total plank or tile thickness
Another measure you’ll find with luxury vinyl planks is the total thickness. In fact, I often see people ask about this more than the wear layer. But the truth is, total thickness matter much less than wear layer thickness.
There is some value in the total thickness. The main case is when you don’t have a perfectly smooth subfloor. Thicker tiles or planks will mask some of the irregularities.
So what thickness luxury vinyl tile is best?
In most cases, I’d go with at least 4mm thick luxury vinyl flooring. The LVP thickness range I’d recommend is generally 2mm-7mm (although there are some exceptions). Stay away from below 4mm if your sub-floor is not perfectly smooth.
What about underlayment? Do I need it?
Luxury vinyl flooring does not require underlayment. In 9 out of 10 cases, you can install luxury vinyl without underlayment. However, there are a few cases where you can consider underlayment. The most common case for underlayment is to reduce foot noise from going through to the floor below.
Luxury vinyl isn’t bad for echoing in the room it is installed, but without underlayment, your footsteps will be heard by the people in the floor beneath you. Apartments or other commercial buildings may be required to choose a different flooring or use underlayment with their luxury vinyl floors on the second floor and above.
The other case where you may want underlayment is to limit imperfects of the floor beneath the vinyl. But generally, I think it’s preferable to “limit the imperfections” by treating the floor prior to installing, rather than using an underlayment. More on this and installing luxury vinyl here.
A few tips if you decide to get underlayment:
There are no industry requirements for luxury vinyl since underlayment is rarely used. That said, you want an underlayment that is thin and firm. Luxury vinyl is flexible, so it can’t have a soft underlayment. Usually, your planks or tiles will specify recommended underlayment–I’d check there first.
Does the brand matter?
I usually avoid discussing brands in flooring.
Because I think you can be misled by brands. Sometimes a “good” brand has a bad set of products. And the opposite is true: sometimes a generic floor is extremely well made and costs you less.
Luxury vinyl is a little different than other floors because there isn’t a great way to look at a spec sheet and see exactly how durable the wear layer is. So picking a great brand, you can have more confidence that it’ll come with a good wear layer material.15
That said, what are some of the brands you will find? Our guide on the best luxury vinyl brands gives you the highlights of brands you’ll find at most retailers. This included an idea of their durability and their stance on indoor air pollution.
Chapter 5: How difficult is luxury vinyl to install? Is it a DIY job?
Even if you don’t plan on installing a floor yourself, how difficult a floor is to install will impact how much you pay. And skilled labor like flooring installation can add a significant amount to your total flooring bill.
But what if you want to do-it-yourself? Does luxury vinyl make a good DIY floor?
Luxury vinyl planks and tiles are maybe the easiest type of flooring to install. You usually don’t have to worry about underlayment like laminate. You don’t have to worry about making exact cuts as you do with sheet vinyl. And you don’t have huge objects to haul around as you do with carpet.
If you want a weekend project, check out our page on how to install luxury vinyl planks and tiles. It may save you a few hundred bucks.
Don’t want to go through the hassle of installation? Click here to find pre-qualified installers in your area through our contractor matching service. They do all the homework for you, and then you get the top 3 installers in your area for free.
Chapter 6: Getting a good deal
One of the big advantages of luxury vinyl is it’s affordable, but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t look for a good deal.
There are a few ways to get a good deal, and we’ll cover each:
- get lucky (not going to go into detail on this one)
- buy the best luxury vinyl for your home (we already covered this)
- buy at the right time of year
- ask for a better deal (this can be done the right way)
- choosing to buy at the place with the best deals
Let’s go into a little more detail…
Is there a right time of year to buy flooring? There are definitely times when demand for flooring is a little lower, and if you negotiate (more on that in just a bit), you can get better deals at these times. I break down the best time of year to buy flooring.
Next, you need to be able to negotiate your flooring. You can almost always negotiate some aspect of it (the luxury vinyl cost, underlay cost, installation cost, or removing added fees, etc). The problem is most people feel awkward asking so they never receive these deals. And this is a problem because with a big investment like flooring, just asking for a better deal can save you enough to buy your family multiple dinners at a nice restaurant. Here are go over how to negotiate flooring costs.
Finally, decide where to buy your luxury vinyl. There are too many details for this article (every type of store has its advantages), but I lay out the fool pros and cons of the best places to buy flooring. One addition to that article: many types of floors aren’t easily purchased online. Luxury vinyl may be the exception. It’s easier to know how much luxury vinyl to buy (I show you how to calculate it in my guide on how to install vinyl plank flooring), and it’s easily shipped. That said, I still think it helps to feel and see the floor in person before buying a bunch of it to be a permanent part of your home.
And of course, you’ll need to keep your new vinyl floor clean if you want it to really last. So check out my reviews of the 10 best mops for vinyl plank floors to help you do just that.
Any questions on buying luxury vinyl planks or tiles? Let me know in the comments below…
157 thoughts on “Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring LVP/LVT: The Unbiased Guide”
Under Luxury Vinyl Guide, Chapter 3: Cost and Resale Value, when you click on the hyperlink titled Guide on Luxury Vinyl Pricing – it takes you to Laminate Flooring Cost. Is this an error? Is there a Luxury Vinyl Pricing that I cannot find or are they the same?
Hello Captain. My local store options only have 12 mil wear layers, nothing higher. But all the other specs look good, including the price. Will this be sufficient for a couple small rooms that will probably be “medium traffic”? One will be a future baby nursery room and the other mainly just a “walk-through” to get to a bathroom, but will probably be a small play room for small children at some point, possibly. We do have one 25 lb dog too.
Do you have any info / feedback on the Pergo Extreme Vinyl flooring? Or Stanton Oakley? Those are the two I am now comparing?
Also, my original first choice, which this floor dealer does not carry, is Pergo Extreme Luxury Plank Vinyl. If I go with that product I will have to go to a different store / installing company which I was trying not to do. I really like the rep and the reviews of the store.
My first choice was Pergo Extreme ( preferred store does not carry)
Second choice was this PerformX distributed by Lotus (LotusTileUSA.com) which almost looks the same as the Pergo Extreme but the manufacturer is not named and the store has carried this line for 6 months.
Any feedback on Lotus (?) or Pergo (purchased by Mohawk)
The flooring company I am looking to use has a Luxury Vinyl plan product called PerformX series, distributed by Lotus
They said they have carried this line for six months.
The specs 100 percent waterproof and formaldehyde-free.
7.2 w x 48.03 x 5.5 mm
Wear Layer: 20 mil
Attached pad: 1.5mm IXPE
30-year residental warranty
Reusable Virgin Vinyl
Surface Texture: Deep Embossed
But it doesn’t say who the manufacturer is, just the distributor, so I’m no able to verify these specs.
The product looks great and is my favorite pattern by far.
It is safe to buy a product that I can’t verify if I have the flooring store warranty and they have good reviews?
A brand is not the do-all, end-all of a flooring option. You can have a name brand slapped on a vinyl floor with a very shoddy quality. You can also have a generic, unbranded floor which is very well made. If the reviews for this floor are good, like you said, you definitely should not rule it out. The specs you provided – especially the wear layer – look good.
The Carpet Captain
I have single story house with concrete slab that is in good shape. I also have severe osteoarthritis (recently had knee replacement surgery). A local flooring retailer is advocating for the Mohawk 2.5mm glue down because its cheaper and more durable, but I’m wondering if a thicker floating plank would not be as hard as glue down luxury vinyl on a slab
Hi, I don’t think there’s much of a difference in terms of hardness.
What are your thoughts on Shaw Matrix LVT?
Great articles and extremely helpful thank you. I am considering the Shaw Matrix with advanced flex technology from Lowe’s. Any thoughts on that line? Thanks!
Hi, we would caution that Shaw Matrix is not scratch resistant and is also very thin
Are you familiar with, or have opinion on, Chesapeake’s LVP line “Multicore” (5 mm thick, 4mm w/1 mill cork pad); 12 mil wearlayer; or their “Multicore Premium” (6.5 mm, 5.5 w/ 1 mm cork pad); 22 mil wearlayer? Our builder provides for the basic “MCore1”, which we would want to upgrade to either their “Multicore”, or “Multicore Premium”. We’re a retired couple, no pets, no high traffic; We do, however want to make a good choice for a decent floor that will last well. Installing this floor throughout a single story, including kitchen and baths. Thank you!
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We are looking to install Coretec Plus LVP(with cork backing) in our townhouse. Dealer suggested adding a layer of subfloor when I asked about underlayment options and options to reduce the impact noise. He also said underlayment will almost be no difference when it comes to impact noise reduction and subfloor layer will have some good results because of additional mass. Is this true that underlayment for an already pad attached LVP doesn’t make much difference ?
You’re both right–there are two types of noise reduction. One is achieved by more padding. Another is by more mass. This article on soundproof floors should help.
Hello, we are consider Coretec One, Peruvian Walnut LVP. I love the color, but am wondering if a 12mil wear layer is sufficient for installation in kitchen/dining/hall & baths. We don’t have large dogs (just an old Doxie), and are empty nesters. We prefer a floor with semi-gloss finish…that looks more like finished hardwood…which seems impossible to find! Can we add a layer of polyurethane to LVP to get the look we like? Thoughts or recommendations? Thanks!
You’re right 12mil isn’t the thickest, but I think it will serve you well with a good brand (and Coretec seems to have a good reputation). I’ve never personally heard of someone adding polyurethane to the LVP, but searching the internet it doesn’t seem like some people have been happy with their experience! To me maybe a little risky, but it might give you the shine you want!
I am considering an engineered vinyl plank that’s 5MM from lumber liquidators. How would you compare EVP to LVP and is 5MM still a great quality floor since it’s an EVP?
They’re very similar–EVP has a stiffer core, so it may do better at not showing imperfections underneath. 5mm is good, but the thickness doesn’t matter much for durability like the wear layer does.
great article, thanks for writing this. I’m currently looking at Coretec plus 7″ planks, and was quoted a price of 4.69/sf for them. This is definitely near the high end of LVP, but I’m wondering if this is a fair price for them, or I should think about negotiating down to maybe 4.40-4.50 or so. Thanks for your insight!
I often see this priced $4-6, but prices vary by region and exact style of the floor. It sounds like a fair price, but you likely could still negotiate to save some money.
I am interested in purchasing LVP from 50 floors and they use Axiscor flooring. The salesman said that rhe flooring is made exclusively for their company. I am a little leary because I have never heard of the brand and cannot find any reviews. Have you ever heard of this company? They also stated that the flooring is free of phthalate.
This is getting more common and is called private labeling. Basically, a manufacturer makes a luxury vinyl (or any flooring) but puts a special brand name on it depending on the store they ship it to. The goal is to prevent price shopping. So it could be a great brand/floor or a bad one, just more difficult to decide. I’d make sure that you have in writing it’s free of phthalates, know who manufacturers the floor, that the specs (listed on this page) match what you want, and then decide from there if you trust them.
Just wondering if you purchased the Axis floor? I am also looking at that company forAxis Pro9 and also not finding any reviews or images on line. If you purchased it, do you like it, easy to install?
Thanks for all of this information; very helpful. We are considering Tarkett ProGen (Durham Pine) – we’ve heard from some builders that have had good experience in conditions similar to ours (unheated cabin; below freezing temps in the winter) but some online consumer reviews of the product are quite negative. Do you have any info on this brand?
I don’t… sorry 🙁 At some point, I may try to make more of a focus on reviewing specific brands for luxury vinyl.
Are you familiar with Allusion Flooring? The sample we are looking at has a thickness of 8.5mm, wear layer of 30mil and a lifetime residential warranty. However, I can’t find much of anything regarding the brand, reviews, etc. Thoughts? Thanks!
I’ not familiar with the brand, but the specs seem good. You might try to see if you can find out what the wear layer is made of and where the company is located (to get a better idea if you could cash in on the warranty if needed).
We are really leaning towards LVP for most of our 1st floor – entryway/kitchen/living/dining. We like that it’s waterproof, so we can have the same flooring throughout. We live in North TX where foundation can be an issue- so we are a little worried about doing wood grained tile. However, we have 1 concern – there is a skylight when you walk in the house – do we need to be worried about that causing the LVP to fade? The skylight is not clear and it is not full sunlight, but that is still a lot of exposure. Should that keep us from getting LVP?
It might cause the LVP to fade and buckle from the heat. Unfortunately, vinyl doesn’t do well in direct sunlight, so it’ll depend on how much the light is filtered. You could test it by taking an infrared thermometer to the area of the flooring and see if there’s a big difference where the sun comes through. If you want vinyl, you can always buy extra planks to replace only that area when it is worn.
Do you know if Dixie by Trucor vinyl travertine tile is safe for indoor flooring?
I’m not sure Dixie’s VOCs levels… I’d have to contact the company.
Hi Captain, Thank for doing this research, it’s very valuable and informative. Our big concern healthy flooring. We are looking at LVP and saw your info on various companies stance on VOC and Phthalates. What about flooring made in China? Is is smart to stay away due to the manufacturing standards? Is wood a healthier option over LVP? Thank you!!
If VOCs are a major concern, I think it makes sense to avoid flooring made in China unless it’s been proven to be low VOC by an independent company. Luxury vinyl gets a bad name, but I don’t think hardwood is better than low-VOC vinyl (I’ve never seen a direct comparison). Hardwood is treated and has coatings that will cause VOCs.
How long does luxury vinyl typically last? We’re looking at doing either wood look like tile or luxury vinyl because our dogs are wrecking havoc on our hardwoods and the maintenance we’ve been quoted throughout the years is tremendous. Trying to find the option that will hold up with large dogs that tend to scratch our hardwood.
It varies a lot based on the quality. The wear layer will be important with the large dogs, but a good luxury vinyl should last 10 years. It won’t last as long as hardwood because it can’t be refinished but is less maintenance and much cheaper.
Is there a big benefit to either cork vs rubber backing. I’ve had Coretec Plus recommended because of the cork, but most of the other brands seem to have rubber or dense foam. Which do you recommend? Also have BIG dogs, over 80 lbs. How scratch resistant is LVP really?
I generally prefer cork over rubber. It somewhat depends on the thickness and type of rubber backing, but cork is usually a little softer underfoot and has better noise absorption of it’s on a second floor. Not a huge difference though. The scratch resistance will depend greatly on the type of wear layer, but it can do well with dogs.
I loved your article. Very informative. I am wondering what you think of Great Lakes Defender Weathered Driftwood Floating Vinyl Plank Flooring. Menard’s sells it currently for $2.21/s.f. Plank thickness is 4.5mm and Wear layer thickness is 20mils. It has a 30 year warranty for residential installation. Would it also be okay for a bedroom flooring?
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Good price… I’m not familiar with the brand, but the benefit of a bedroom is they get pretty low foot traffic. I think it will do well if you’re happy with the specs.I’d ignore the 30-year warranty. In my opinion, they usually aren’t honored and are more of a marketing pitch.
I currently have Hardwoods. Building a house and when making selections I chose based on color. I didnt realize what I picked was not LVP but was Mohawks Revwood Plus Castlebriar Trinket Oak LAMINATE PLANK. There is not much out there as far as reviews but they are promising this laminate to be waterproof. Do you have an opinion on this option? Would you switch to LVP? Thank you!
Laminate engineering has improved to make better protection against water, but LVP is still the definite winner in water resistance. So in area like a bathroom or other room with sitting water, I’d go LVP. Otherwise, I good waterproof laminate likely will work out.
My question is can LVP be installed on a screened patio? The builder painted the floor and the paint is peeling up after a year. The yard is very shaded but the rain and humidity does leave the floor wet at times. Thanks for your advice.
I think it’d be good for a screened-in patio. It’s one of the better floors for moisture, just make sure the underlayment has some moisture resistance. There could be some fading with sunlight.
I’m building a home with an accessory apartment in the basement, footfall noise is a big concern. I’ve been looking at different options and kinda like gym floor rubber as an underlayment, it has very little give, I’m looking at 5mm. Then I will put a 7-12 mm LVP on top of that. The rubber will cost about $1.00 per foot if I install it. What do you think, any other suggestions? I’m also installing additional drywall with green glue on the basement ceiling and some insulation in the floor trusses. Thanks.
I think that’s a good start. I have a page on soundproofing flooring. For footfall, you usually want a somewhat soft underlayment (in comparison you usually just want a denser material for voice noise).
Hi Scott. I had a very long conversation with the young office at Shaw and out another LDT company. They both told me that at all costs I should not use latex or rubber as padding above or below LVT because sometimes they are sort of melts into each other and stick together. I also wanted to put LVP down and then like a puzzle mats or martial arts Matt’s on. She did tell me though that I can buy padding to put in between the LVP if I had to have the rubber I can buy padding but to make sure that it did not contain any rubber or latex she told me a special name I forgot what it is but she did mention that I just thought I would tell you
Another reason for underlayment is to bring two different floor materials to the same level or the same thickness. That’s the main discussion I came looking for.
That’s a good point
Very helpful! Thank you for your thorough, informative, easy to understand articles! Easy to get lost in the technical jargon (building for the first time so learning lots right now). You laid it out so clearly..makes my job easier! Appreciate the time you take to help us all make informed choices. Keep it up!
I run into headaches all the time when learning new home improvement topics… glad this helped!
I am building a new house and the flooring store for my builder said Ascension outland is a recommended product. I cannot find any information for it other that it is 3mm thick with a 20 mil wear layer. Do you have any information on this product?
3mm is rather thin, article suggested 5-8mm thick with thicker generally being better. This does include an under pad which seems to come in 1, 1.5 and the toughest 2mm thickness. The thicker stuff which is more light commercial use doesn’t seem really much more, personally i would do for that as is what i am looking to do, this is your house and you intent to live there a long time why not for for stuff meant for stores with heavy foot traffic and dirt and grim of outside shoes.
-Minimum and maximum thickness reccomend?
-Type of padding ?
,-Micro bevel, etc ? Any more brittle than others ?
-I’m looking for a nice texture, not extreme and not smooth or slippery looking. Does amount of texture depend on thickness of wear layer, inlaid, etc.
-Situations where need to glue planks together, ie. edge breaks off, sliding under door molding, etc. ?
1. padding isn’t required with LVP, so whatever pad comes attached should be fine. not as big of a deal as the vinyl itself (this isn’t the case with many other types of flooring). 2. Edge type will just be a style choice. It shouldn’t affect the durability much. 3. Texture isn’t dependent on wear layer. 4. If it’s a click lock floor, usually you won’t need any glue
I’m very frustrated. I like the plank look/shape but I do not want it to look like wood. I prefer a very dark brown to black color, modern looking. I don’t want square tiles. Do you have any recommendations?
You can find plenty of planks (more common), and it seems darker colors are trendy, but most do have a wood-ish look. Unfortunately, I think you’ll just have to shop around. Could save time by calling stores first and seeing if they have anything work looking at.
just heads up very dark is impossibly to deal with for dust. Literally wash and swiffer then sit down and stare at all the dust… i regret it.
Coretec has a new line of tile/stone looks: Coretec Stone https://coretecfloors.com/en-us/products/coretec-stone, most are rectangle sized 12×24 or even 18×24. Bob is correct darker colors can show dust better.
Do you have any thoughts on engineered vinyl? I’ve tried researching it, but have been overwhelmed by how many articles there are, and the varying age of said articles. Your site is very thorough, so I’d like your opinion on it, if you have one
I’ve heard good things. To be honest, I’ve always been a little confused on the difference in LVP and EVP. From what I’ve heard, EVP is a little more rigid and easier to install. I’d expect both to perform similarly, but most people I’ve heard from are happy with their EVP.
Hello, Capt. Thanks to your webpage, my wife and I are more equipped to improve our living space with LVP. We are looking at laying approx 471 sq ft between our LVRM, Kitchen and hallway. With our family of 4 cats (no children), we are concerned that the SPC core composition of the Build Direct plank candidates we have chosen could be detrimental to them. We will be using area rugs for the living room and hallway, but with so much square footage… what is your opinion on this? Thanks again for helping our feasibility exploration.
Alan and Kris
This is a tough topic, which basically, comes down to VOCs. There are definitely many opinions on VOCs but no definite conclusion (are they harmful? how harmful etc?). There are some brands that have taken a stance against VOCs, and if I am buying luxury vinyl, I personally would go with one of these brands (especially if I have small children and maybe pets). You can check out some information on my luxury vinyl brand reviews.
I will check that link out.. Much much appreciated. Alan
Very informative, thanks for the detailed information. We currently have hardwood which is in poor condition, and are contemplating the options. If we were to replace it with LVP, how is this commonly done? Do you apply the LVP over top of the existing hardwood or remove the existing hardwood first? If remove, how would you compensate for the height difference? Thanks
There are multiple ways, but I think the best is to install a thin (about 1/4″) plywood over the hardwood and then the LVP on top of that. You need the plywood to smooth out the bumps; luxury vinyl has many advantages but one of its drawbacks is it will definitely show imperfections beneath it. I’d consider refinishing your hardwood if possible, but I’m sure you’ve considered that. If you’re installing the luxury vinyl, I’d consider a good installer (even though LVP can be a DIY job), and they can help with the decisions on ripping up the old floor vs installing directly over vs smoothing out imperfections. You can get bids from installers in your area that are pre-qualified by clicking here. I get a small commission, but I do think it could be a good service for you.
We just built an enclosed screened in porch but it is not temperature controlled. We like the look of LVP but before yesterday could not find a company that would warranty a LVP product. Yesterday we found that Pergo Extreme does warranty their product but I’m not finding any positive feedback about this, but I have found very negative reviews. Now, I know you probably hear more from people who are unhappy than happy, but it’s concerning. Do you know anything about this product or others that will work. Also, one company who does warranty their product so we could glue it down and it should be fine. Thoughts?
I don’t think Pergo is a bad product, but I’m with you I’ve seen many bad reviews and also agree it’s always tough because you often just hear the complainers. I don’t like warranties because there’s usually an “out” for the company if they don’t want to pay. Also, a good company will stand behind their product if it fails prematurely without a warranty. Here is an article give a brief review of some luxury vinyl brands. It might help give you direction. I don’t think you have to get too fancy; many people are happy with mainstream brands like Mohawk.
Would you recommend a plastic moisture barrier under the flooring. We have a slab on grade and live on the sunny side of the Ohio river- lots of humidity.
I think it’s a good idea. LVP is resilient as far as flooring goes and moisture, but I think it’s relatively cheap insurance. You can moisture test for a while too (or your installer can), and if there doesn’t seem to be a moisture problem you could possibly go without.
I appreciate your articles as I’m just getting into my research. Initially I thought I wanted to go with engineered wood, but my potential installer went to great lengths to discourage me from that path and very strongly suggested LVP.
My chief concern with LVP is just how thin the planks are! There’s no mention of it on your article, but I’ve read elsewhere that LVP laid on the concrete slab will be cold to the touch and hard/jarring to walk on. That was my first thought when I saw one displayed. Laminate is supposedly ‘warmer’ and ‘softer’, and the real woods are better yet. Furthermore I’m surprised to see that underlayment is rarely used for LVP considering these statements.
What are your thoughts and findings on this aspect? Will my bare feet and ankles regret walking around my living room on a LVP floor?
I agree that LVP will have a colder and generally less comfortable feel underfoot. The problem with underlayment and LVP is it can make the click installation unsteady. You can still definitely use it, but you’ll usually want a thicker LVP (at least 4mm). The underlayment needs to be thinner than some other floors, but you’ll find options. Just curious, why did your installer not like engineered hardwood?
Basements provide unique challenges, like with laminate you’ll have to worry about moisture.
Thanks for the response and confirmation of my concerns.
The installer urged against engineered primarily because it would be glued down and thus more difficult to replace/remove in the future. He also mentioned the greater ease of installing LPV versus engineered, and thus the lower cost. I truly don’t understand why these details made him seem so passionately against engineered and so steadfast about LPV, but he was…to the point that my wife and I feel that if we choose anything other than LPV he might not be the best choice to go with.
Also, no basement here. We’re just doing the living + dining room.
I’m looking @ a glue down Vinyl plank because I like the color tone. If a plank would need to be replaced is that a
Problem because it is glued down?
Actually glue down can be easier to replace a single plank. It’s a little difficult to pull it up, but you don’t have to pull up a whole section like you probably would with standard “click lock” vinyl flooring. You can just pull up the single plank you want to replace.
the care instructions on my LVF says not to use rubber back carpets. Dose this mean all non slip backings or just real rubber back?
LVF is often picky about the backings of rugs and rug pads. it most likely is excluding most all nonslip backings because usually you’ll find rubber or PVC, and I bet you can’t use PVC with your floor. best thing to do would be contact the manufacturer. if you get an update, I would be interested in what they say.
Coincidentally I had a discussion with Shaw the other day and they said not to use any latex or rubber with any LvP PBC was good at At least for their product -floorte line and the newer one,
so even if I wanted to put a pad and carpet pad between let’s say puzzle mats and the lvp-the pad (must use a pad or something in between the rubberneck lvp- she said to make sure there is no latex on the bottom of anything at all. She said that rubber and latex sometimes for a lack of better words melt/ mold or stick together
wonderful article. Thank you. I am getting ready to install LVP, not sure which on yet. My question is should it go under the frig as my current flooring is. I am concerned due to the weight that it would dent it enough to cause a buckle like affect on the part of the piece extending out from under the frig. I hope that makes sense. I also have a kitchen table that weighs about 100# abut his tiny feet ( to small to put pads under). Do you think that amount of weight would cause dents? The weight is dispersed onto 5 feet. Thank you!
It should be fine. Any floor can dent under appliances, but vinyl should actually do pretty well. The other concern is the floating nature of the luxury vinyl. You want to still give it room to expand, but a good installer can take care of this.
We getting ready to have Coretec Plus LVP installed, and I am wondering about the texture of the wear layer. We didn’t notice much texture on the sample we ordered from. But, the product delivered has a lot of wood grain texture in the top wear layer. Is this normal? If so, is it difficult to clean with all of the crevices? To me, it looks more fake because wood floors are usually sanded smooth. Is that just me? I’m trying to move ahead with confidence that this will be a great floor for our house. Thank you for any input.
I don’t think it’s difficult to clean. If you’re mopping vacuuming, it should have no problem getting in the crevices since it’s not too deep and a hard floor. Some of the higher-end luxury vinyls tend to do this. I agree that hardwood is usually smooth, but for fake hardwood, I think a lot of people like texture better.
In section about LVT vs. LVP, the text calls both Luxury Vinyl Tile. LVP should say Plank.
Updated it! Thanks for letting me know!
Thank you very much for your very informative website. I’ve been stressing out trying to find ‘safe’ LVP in regards to VOC’s and pthalates and getting overwhelmed by all the brands out there. Also, I had no idea of what constituted a reasonable cost for quality, or even what thickness of wear layer or the planks themselves should be, for our needs. It was an immense help to read your info, as well as going through all the comments on the related pages where there was additional info. Just a suggestion, maybe at the top of the pages you might consider putting a “Last updated month/year”, so people have an idea of how current the info is, or when you may have last edited as you became aware of any new/outdated info.
Also, the Cali Bamboo co. has LVP now, which SEEMS pretty good and they are Floorscore certified, they have some of their test results on their website, and if you email or call them they’ll send PDF’s of more detailed results for the VOC’s and pthalates than they already have on their website, as well as send samples. Their underlayment also looked pretty good in that regard as well. They sell direct online and I see them listed at Lowes online.
It has a 20mil commercial wear layer (and I had no idea what that even was until I read your website, thank you! :D)
A built-in 100% recycled insulating cork underlayment accounts for 1.5 millimeters of the 7 millimeter plank thickness.
They have a 50 year residential warranty (but that’s for manufacturer defects, not for scratching/scuffing).
LEED Points EQC4.3 (but I actually have no idea what that means, do you?)
Pthalates tested at less than 50ppm (parts per million), so that’s NOT “no pthalates”, but it seems like a small amount…?
And the VOC testing showed “No Known VOCs were found by GC/MS analysisor HPLC analysis.Two Unknowns were found by GC/MS at levels of about 17 ug/m3from the chamber at the 96 hour time point”
– so there ARE 2 ‘unknowns’ found.
Limestone in the core to make it dent-resistant
And “Better telegraphing ability to keep them lying flat over less-than-even subfloors”
The company says it values being green, but it’s not exactly the easiest thing to figure out just what the VOC’s and pthalates picture is, even though “Floorscore” is there. Just putting out raw testing results without a frame of reference doesn’t really give a consumer without a science degree an idea of whether or not they’re actually saying: “ok this is safe in regards to VOC’s and pthalates” and I didn’t see wording like that anywhere on their website.
And I don’t have a science degree. (English major :D)
Offhand, would this seem to you like a good floor in terms of VOC’s/pthalates? Sometimes I think I may be digging a little too deep into this kind of research, but this is a really HUGE purchase and my family’s health is a major concern. (Can’t do carpet for reasons, and the care/upkeep for hardwood/laminate is not something we can take on. Everyone vetoed tile as well, so LVP it’s going to be.)
Thank you! 😀
I’m with you it should be much easier to figure out which floors have lower VOCs and phthalates. It really gets confusing, and some will claim that their type of phthalates isn’t the harmful type (and give data to back it up), but it’s hard to tell what is true and what isn’t. Certifications are some of the best info we have to go off of right now. It’s not all the flooring company–even science isn’t clear on what exactly is harmful, at what quantities, etc.
Would you put vinyl plank in upstairs bedrooms in florida? Re-doing a 32 year old house. Thank you for your time.
Yeah, I’d definitely consider it. I personally like carpet in bedrooms because I like the softness and you don’t have to worry about spills, but luxury vinyl is definitely an option.
I would greatly appreciate your opinion about putting LVT over underfloor heating in the kitchen. I want to use limestone tiles but our builder suggested LVT. His explanation is that old wood joints will move because of the heat from the underfloor heating and limestone tiles are likely to crack. Thank you!
Many LVT floors can be used over radiant heat, but you have to check the manufacturer specs because 1. some can’t be used and 2. some have heat limits. Luxury vinyl is like a plastic, so some can be damaged with heat. I think of tile like ceramic and porcelain as good for radiant heat, but maybe some people have a different experience.
Are you familiar with Nouveau planks made by WellMade? They say they are approved as a Low VOC brand safe for indoor use but also say they use plasticizers. Do all plasticizers equal phalates? Are phalate free planks likely more pricey? Thanks! Your site has been the most helpful of anything I have found!
I’m not too familiar with this brand currently, but I have information on luxury vinyl brands here. The VOC/phthalate/etc info can get very confusing (I think researching it I got more confused than when I started!). But basically, I think all luxury vinyl has to have some type of plasticizer or it would be brittle, but there is a spectrum of how dangerous plasticizers can be and some are currently considered not to be dangerous. If you look at my brand page on Armstrong’s brand, I have a good example of this under “There stance on VOCs and phthalates”
I’ve heard Luxury Vinyl Planks are not recommended for stairs, do you agree? I’m doing LVP downstairs and carpet upstairs, but I’m torn about what to do on the stairs! Thank you.
LVP can be used on stairs, but I agree that it can be tricky. 1. sometimes it doesn’t hold 2. rounding the edge can be tricky. I’ve seen people pull it off. If you’re really interested, find an installer you trust and they can get the job done for you (have them choose the vinyl for you). Otherwise, I’d try to go with something else.
Hi Carpet Captain. Thanks for all of the information you covered in the article. The main thing I wanted to ask about was is the wear layer thickness that important? The differences in measurements in thickness choices are only noticeable at small level. I feel like the hardest of the wear layer should be the first thing to consider when we determine which LVP to buy. For example, if you buy some LVP with Aluminum Oxide (one of the hardest minerals besides diamond) mixed into your finish, your wear layer is extremely hard and should last for as long as you need it to. Heck, you can drop things and have pets run across it and not notice much difference because of the Aluminum Oxide.
Perhaps this is just a more personal perspective, but in combination with this, I think the main cause for flooring replacement is the person not being happy with the change in gloss layer/finish. Usually what you see from constant foot traffic. That can be avoided with harder wear layers, not thicker ones. Increasing the thickness would not make the floor look better from foot traffic. Just some things for everyone to consider before going all in on buying something 20 mil thick haha.
Your’re honestly one of the few blogs I’ve run across that view thickness as the number one concern when picking the product, as the main concern from people seems to be scratch and scuff resistance instead. [link removed]
Considering this, what do you think?
Again, thanks for the informative post Captain!
I still think the wear layer thickness is critical, but I do agree with you that the thicknesses have gotten crazy (eg. companies are making wear layers thicker than they need to be). Also agree that the materials used for the wear player is extremely important. I should clarify this part of the article to be the #1 item of importance is the wear layer in general (not solely based on the thickness). Appreciate your input (had to take down the link–it leads to an escalation of spam if I let one slide)
Oh it’s no problem ! Thanks for the reply. That makes lot more sense then. I read it a bit differently.
Hey Daniel, Can you tell me what I can search in Google to see that link? Or can you guys here at carpet captain send me the link?
I’m interested to know more about wear layers and finishes. Especially about this aluminum oxide finish on lvp.
Hey Patrick. Yes, thanks for asking. The article I tried to link to was found when I was Googling Best Luxury Vinyl Plank, best basement flooring or really cheap floors. The blog was by a group called Really Cheap Floors and it’s the main blog I’ve found that elaborates extensively on the benefits and structure of aluminum oxide.
Hope this helps!
Is there a significant amount of protection difference between a 12 mil and 20 mil LVP? No kids, but 2 dogs (medium sized). This would be in a great room – so a decent amount of traffic. The two styles of LVP that we are looking at are about $3.53/sq ft for 12 mil and $4.75/sq ft for 20 mil. It ends up being about a $500 difference in price for materials. We are on a pretty tight budget, so don’t know if this is worth it or not.
There is a point where I think thicker wear layer doesn’t give as much benefit, but I think at 12mil you’ll still see a difference. I can’t give an exact, but there would be some difference. 12mil isn’t a bad wear layer though. It should be moderately durable.
The protection difference wouldn’t come directly from the wear layer, but instead from the mixture of minerals and materials in the finish layer of the LVP. This in turn increases the hardness of the wear layer tremendously depending on the mineral type. i.e Aluminum Oxide being the hardest and talc-compilations being some of the softest.
Since you have two dogs, LVP with higher scratch and scuff resistance may suit your needs. I’d also encourage you to keep looking through different sellers as you can find quality LVP in the $2 range.
Hope this is helpful
What can you tell me about the Triumph Lex Haus II product? Where it is made at and what is the VOCs and phthalates?
The wear is 22 mil, and the thickness is 6.5
What I like about it is the grout look on all sides of the plank.
Thank you for any insight.
Are there any companies making matching LVP & laminate or hardwood? I’d like to run it continuous thru the kitchen, LR, hall & computer rooms.
So, for instance, you want LVP in your kitchen and then laminate or hardwood in the rest of the house but the same look? I don’t know of any specific companies doing this, but LVP and laminate have come a long way in mimicking wood so I bet at the least you could find a match on your own. No matter how close it imitates the wood, I’d be afraid the LVP would be more apparently fake next to true wood.
The warranty is garbage, it’unsafe, and CAN NOT be easily replaced because it is always discontinued. This is a scheme to present the image of “design improvement ” while actually making you buy a new floor every time it fails in some way because the new style won’t fit together with the old. Design improvements equal a locking mechanism change which equals you’re out more $.
Hey Kale, I’d really have to disagree on about everything you said here. A lot LVP lasts for years, which is backed back extreme amounts of reviews. LVP is also extremely cheap and is not heavily inflated by the “locking mechanism” you’re talking about. So many folks save money by going this route, is just all about what’s best for you.
It mostly sounds like you’ve had some rough personal experiences with very particular companies and bought bad/cheap product from them. Just an example of one good one, is Shaw. Everything you’re concerned about, seems to be a mystery solved from all of their products. You also mention safety, I assume meaning VOC emissions? Shaw and some other companies are approved by FloorScore and don’t have dangerous VOC emissions, period. For Shaw specifically, FloorScore is also legally allowed to go to any of their product sites and inspect to hold up integrity with the LVP. They can do this anywhere in world, even at their factories in China where their are no government regulations.
So in retrospect, I would go so far as to call all LVP a “scheme”, just research more until you’ve got a lot of good information. We live in a time where all of it is available to us with the Internet, so go for it. I hope this new info helped you.
Thanks for focusing on the health impact of LVP. I haven’t been able to find much on specific brands otherwise. Do you know if Provenza LVP is phlatlet free? Thanks!
This page on luxury vinyl and phthalates will be of use if you haven’t read it already. Unfortunately, I’m not sure on Provenza. So many brands out there, but that article will cover some of them!
New-to-me education about “wear layer” and “surface coating.”
We have been looking at LVP floating (click-lock) for many months now, and we thought we were fairly educated on “what to look for.” We decided to not consider anything with less than 20 mil. However we did not realize the importance of the scratch resistance coating.
Our main concern is durability. Don’t want to have a gouged/scratched floor from pets or dining room chair movements.
A recent (May 3, 2019) reply to my inquiry from Flooret/Modin stated that the ability of the flooring to resist scratches/gouges comes not from the wear layer, but from the scratch resistant coating ABOVE the wear layer (which is also pointed out in this article). I quote (from Floret):
“The example you gave about the gouge has more to do with the coating than the wear layer itself. The benefit of a thick wear layer is not about whether or not gouges can happen but rather whether or not that gouge actually reaches the print film and destroys the design. The thickness of the wear layer also determines how long the floor will last through just typical foot traffic over the years (how long it will take to wear through to the print).”
To my understanding the current technology in scratch-resistance coating is a combination of ceramic bead with aluminum oxide.
We will be placing more emphasis on potential improvements in scratch-resistance coatings before we make a purchase decision.
Good call. Often the “scratch layer” is included as part of the wear layer, but the materials it’s made from are important. The challenge is how tough a floor is against scratches isn’t hard to quantify other than the thickness of the wear layer. Maybe I should include a breakdown of materials used in the scratch layer as well.
I need to redo our bathroom with a walk in shower–no barrier f or a wheelchair. We need to install ceramic in the shower and the area in front of it, but want to install luxury vinyl tile in the rest of the bathroom. How will the two go/look together?
I’ve seen it done and look great. Color choices will probably be your biggest decision.
Thank you for this great information on LVP. After much research, we are leaning towards the Modin line because of their 40 mil wear. My one concern is that the product is not made in the USA. Your thoughts ?
Flooret (who makes Modin) is based in the U.S. I’ve had a good impression of this company. They are responsive and take a pretty strong stance when I talked with them regarding making “clean” vinyl, and I think that’s the biggest concern when the floors are manufactured overseas.
How would you rate the luxury vinyl tiles compared to laminate or porcelain tile for a kitchen – especially considering spills of water or grease, durability of the tiles when pots drop, and survival of plates or glasses that are dropped?
Just a quick ranking (can vary on other factors but for the most part is true). For SPILLS: 1. porcelain 2. luxury vinyl 3. laminate. For IMPACT RESISTANCE: 1a. luxury vinyl 1b. laminate 2. porcelain (porcelain is unlikely to crack but unlikely vinyl/laminate, it can crack, and that’s not fun to deal with)
My sister has a motorized wheelchair and there’s a ramp to the bathroom. Can we install luxury vinyl on the ramp or should we stick to carpet?
Luxury vinyl is used in many commercial settings. You’ll want a high grade (and maybe even consider a low commercial grade), but I’d think it could make a great option. It’d be easier to roll than carpet.
I am still a little confused as to which flooring is better for me, as I have very bad hearing, and my hearing aids often make loud children’s voices/squeals and banging toys sound like a war zone, making understanding speech impossible! I don’t want carpet, so which is better….wood (engineered?) or high luxury vinyl? Those are the 2 I am considering.
For noises, I don’t think you’d notice much of a difference between the two. Adding padding may help some, but most of the noise is going to reverberate off of the hard surface. I’d pick whichever you like better for other reasons. You could also consider cork flooring.
at first I was confuse at LVT and LVP but thank you Captain for this informative words. Just added this page on my favorite book mark. I salute!.
Is the “sheet vinyl” you reffer to the same as Linoleum? I’d like to see a tab with pros and cons on buying linoleum.
Also, are your prices in US dollars?
Prices are US dollars. Sheet vinyl is different than linoleum. I don’t have too much on linoleum because it went out of favor. Seems to be making a little comeback though. Here is a page I have comparing vinyl linoleum and laminate.
I have been researching LVP for a week or so now, and have found nothing but what I call “flooring snobs” chastising people for considering this option. I don’t remember quite what I typed in to Google search to get this page to show up in the results, but I just want to say this has been the single most informative, educational and best page I’ve come across yet. Thank you SO much for taking the time to write this up!
Thanks for taking the time to let me know! Maybe the world needs more Captain’s, fewer snobs 🙂
Will heavy furniture leave indentations? Do you need furniture pads under beds, dressers etc?
It can. If there’s not a soft underpad, you may not notice much as far as indentations especially with lighter furniture, but it can so I’d be on the cautious side and use furniture pad. Maybe more likely is LVP can scratch, and the pads should help you avoid this while moving furniture.
I have a friend who had Cortec plus installed looks great as long as no one walks on it, especially with shoes. I swear after a couple of days you can see every shoe print, bare foot, etc. Even sometimes it smears, streaks when cleaned with a damp mop or manufacture recommended PH cleaners. Any recommendations? It looks good and we were considering until our friends related their story and regret installing which they feel now was a spendy mistake. I found this interesting since all reviews love it and rave about ease of cleaning. Thank you!
A lot of people do love Coretec. I’ve also heard complaints of footprints (with Coretec, luxury vinyl, and even other types of floors). Usually, the recommendations is to try to clean it. Sometimes they say to use the recommended cleaner, sometimes something more abrasive to remove any residues. Have they contacted Coretec? Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic bullet fix, but if they find something, please follow up with us because I’m sure other people have ran into the problem.
Have you had any experience with Raskin? I have a house with level floors and existing sheet vinyl in good shape. Would you recommend glue down of floating LVP for a high traffic area? Looking at 20 Mil minimum wear layer… COnsidering the Raskin Pride, R9LVP, or Formation glue down. I had laminate flooring previously which was installed correctly and I was disappointed with the joint separation over time.
Either floating or glue down can work in high-traffic. With that in mind, I think glue down provides slightly higher durability (and the easier ability to replace single planks) in especially high-traffic or where you may have a wheelchair or moving heavy objects. It’s also a little cheaper, but you might lose the saved costs in adhesive and increased installation costs for glue down. I don’t have personal experience of Raskin. Might need to give it a test run.
What is the most durable LVT flooring you know of. I have two dogs over 100lbs and I need something basically indestructible. I was looking for 28mil wear
At this point, I don’t have one that I think stands out above the rest (may have more of an opinion with time). I think you’re on the right track with the wear layer, especially with the two dogs. Scratches will be one of your biggest concerns. I’d definitely go with a wear layer of at least 20mil, and I’d check out the article on luxury vinyl brands; there’s at least one that takes wear layer to the extreme with 30+.
I am thinking about install lumber liquidators better quality tranquility line with 20 mil wear layer on my concrete slab with in slab radiant. Thoughts on this? Will the heat cone up through ok? Should I use the underlayment they recommend?
There should be an r-rating for both the luxury vinyl and the pad that tells how well it insulates. In the case of radiant heat, you don’t want as good of insulation or it will block the heat. The pad will likely be worse than the planks. My guess is it still wouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s a big enough investment (on both the floor and radiant heat) that I would contact both the manufacture of the floor products and the radiant heat system (there are many different systems) to make sure it’s okay.
You give such an in-depth explanation of all sides of vinyl flooring; I think this will really help my husband and I decide if this is what we want for our new kitchen floor in our new home. It’s good to know that it most of the time doesn’t require underlaying, as that will no doubt save us time and money. I’ll be sure to remember the difference between mm or mil, as you suggest, so thank you for that guide.
Hi there, this is so helpful! Any thoughts on Coretec brand for luxury vinyl? I saw them in a home recently and they looked great, but are a bit pricier than other options I’ve seen so curious if the quality matches the price. Thank you!
Thanks! I really like Coretec for anyone willing to spend a little more for a couple of reasons 1. I like the details they put in some of their designs and think they have some of the most realistic looking “wood” and “tiles”. 2. They are manufactured in the United States and have made a commitment to regulating chemical levels. I know many of their luxury vinyls are certified very low in VOCs, and I’m currently researching phthalates but know some of their products (maybe all… to be continued) are phthalate-free. This is a big deal in vinyl where some overseas manufacturing uses high levels of chemicals thought to be harmful to humans. So to answer your question, yes I think there’s a reason for their higher price. That said, if you find a cheaper brand you like, it may be good too, but I’d pay attention to where/how it’s manufactured.
I had LVT installed in my 1200 sf medi spa and it’s amazing. I have compliments almost every day, women bring their hubbys in to see it and the company who installed it did a great job. I love the durability and ease of cleaning and looks just like laminate. Mine is a Grey sh, kind of beachy or rustic look. I highly recommend it. We are going to do our Florida condo with it when we can.
I’m a pretty big fan too! Thanks for sharing your experience
I think this is one of the most significant information for me. And I’m glad reading your article. Thank for sharing!
Glad you liked it!
I had the same concerns and have been doing a lot of research. California has some regulations but they do not seem to be very stringent. I came across a LVT product made by Cali flooring out of San Diego (have not bought it yet), which seems to have considerably less phthalates and VOC’s than other brands.
Are Luxury Vinyl Planks toxic? Where are they made? I read that “Luxury Vinyl Plank is made from PVC (poly vinyl chloride) which contains plastisizers to increase flexibility,plastisizers cannot bond with PVC so they migrate from the PVC. The plastisizers contain Phalates which are endocrine disrupters in the human body.”
Are all LVP’s the same or are any safe and which ones?
Good questions that I don’t 100% know the answer to. I wouldn’t single luxury vinyl out as toxic; all flooring (and pretty much everything in your home) contains VOCs that some people (and sometimes studies) believe to be toxic.
As far as phthalates, the CDC states most people are exposed to them (have them in urine samples), and their effects on humans are not known, and it sounds like the biggest cautions are when you’re ingesting them (eg you have a water bottle that has phthalates, or you handle something with phthalate dust on it and don’t wash your hands): https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html
All this said, I’m with you that if there’s some concern over them, best to avoid them if you can. I know there are LVP’s that are phthalate free, but I’m going to have to research more to find out which. Also, not sure how much you are actually exposed to the phthalates even if they’re contained within your floor–I’ll have to look more into that.
Hello, hoping to follow upon this discussion about the phthalate exposure from LVP. Were you able to research this a bit more from your prospective?
A little bit. It’s pretty difficult to find detailed information but here are some things to know. I know the flooring industry use to get a lot of luxury vinyl from China, but in the last 5 years, they have invested more in creating luxury vinyl in the U.S. The significance is they know people want safe flooring and don’t want to get a reputation for having chemicals in their floors (even if it’s unclear the chemicals truly are bad–reading the CDC article above, it hasn’t been determined that phthalates are dangerous to humans). Therefore when they control the manufacturing here, more and more vinyl flooring will be free of phthalates and other controversial chemicals. What’s not clear is exactly which luxury vinyl floors don’t have it. I think at this point your only options is to go to the store, and ask if they have luxury vinyl specifically labeled phthalate free. If they don’t or act like they don’t know, I’d avoid it. If they give you some options, I’d verify it with the manufacturer. And not to minimize the concern, but nearly everyone is exposed to phthalates, so this isn’t an issue with just luxury vinyl.
I still have plans to research this more, including contacting some of the companies to get better information. Will plan on updating the page when I do.
Home depot brand, Lifeproof states that “This flooring is both phthalate-free and formaldehyde-free to ensure product safety”.
Hi Jaime – it’s taken a while but here’s a start to brands and their stance on phthalates: https://www.carpetcaptain.com/luxury-vinyl-guide/brand-reviews/ It’s going to be a constant work in progress (regulations change, what’s considered dangerous changes, and some are difficult to get responses from!) but hopefully it helps.
UPDATE: I added a page on luxury vinyl brands: https://www.carpetcaptain.com/luxury-vinyl-guide/brand-reviews/ It’s going to be a constant work in progress, but I made a point to give highlights on the brand/lines stance on VOCs and phthalates.
I really like how you talked about what makes luxury vinyl different from sheet vinyl. I am looking to replace the floor in my bathrooms and kitchen and haven’t been sure what to use. Thank you for the information about how luxury vinyl takes the vinyl core and adds other layers to create planks and tiles to make it more durable but still relatively inexpensive. [link removed]