Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a hard surface flooring material available in a range of shapes, sizes, and aesthetics that can evoke the appearance of authentic wood or stone while providing practical benefits not possible with natural products. Available in a diverse array of different constructions, LVT plank or tile flooring can be engineered to suit different spaces while also accommodating ease of installation. The information that follows provides a brief overview of LVT flooring’s composition, characteristics, and installation methods.
Composition and Characteristics
Chiefly comprised of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and calcium carbonate, LVT flooring features multi-ply planks or tiles with wear layers, which typically range from 6mil to 40mil depending on the application. The total thickness of LVT products range from 2.0mm to 8.0mm. The resilient flooring product is comprised of a series of layers—most often an embossed or smooth wear layer coated with a protective finish, a printed film layer that can mimic the aesthetic of other materials, a vinyl or rigid core that provides stability, and a backing layer that can provide underfoot comfort as well as other acoustical properties.
While phthalates have historically been used in PVC materials for added flexibility and softness, many contemporary vinyl plank and tile flooring products are now being responsibly manufactured with environmentally friendly raw materials. The use of virgin raw materials ensures that the flooring products remain free of metals such as lead, mercury, and tin, which are linked to health concerns in connection to prolonged exposure.
With innovations in the LVT product category enabling easier installation processes, an array of LVT constructions have been engineered to meet different needs for both commercial and residential applications. Click, glue down, loose lay, and rigid core click systems each offer an array of unique advantages.
Click involves planks or tiles that are installed by using the tongue and groove locking system on the edges of the product, while glue down requires the use of an adhesive when installing and is commonly used in commercial applications because of the heavy foot-traffic environments and heavy rolling loads. Rigid core click has a thicker and more rigid construction installation process that is similar to the click LVT, but typically provides better resistance to indentations, better dimensional stability, and added comfort-under-foot. With benefits that include a quicker installation process and acoustical advantages, loose lay LVT works well in smaller spaces with no rolling loads.