Skip to main content
FREE SHIPPING ON ALL FLOORING SAMPLES!
Share this page:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Home / Flooring Education / Flooring Shopping Guides / Luxury Vinyl Plank/Tile Flooring Guide

Luxury Vinyl Plank/Tile Flooring Guide

When it comes to completing efficient home renovations and capturing eye-catching hard surface looks in a family-friendly floor, luxury vinyl flooring is an increasingly popular option in homes everywhere! Since luxury vinyl can stand up to tough messes, cleans up easily, provides realistic visuals, and is budget-friendly, this option is an ideal fit for households with energetic kids and loveable pets. Combining strength and functionality with authentic design and style, the three types of this resilient flooring include luxury vinyl plank, luxury vinyl tile, and sheet vinyl. A far cry from the sheet vinyl of previous decades, luxury vinyl has taken the home and building industry by storm and shows no signs of slowing down. Here’s a helpful guide to understanding how this durable, versatile flooring type and its many valuable attributes can uplift your home: 

I. What Is Luxury Vinyl?
II. How Is Luxury Vinyl Different Than Other Vinyl Plank/Tile?
III. What Is LVT vs. LVP?
IV. LVP vs. Laminate
V. Benefits of LVT & LVP
    A. Durability
    B. Sound Absorption
    C. Scratch Resistance
    D. Waterproof
    E. Child & Pet-Friendly
    F. Resale Value
VI. Is Luxury Vinyl Waterproof?
VII. What to Look for When Purchasing LVT / LVP
    A. Wear Layer
    B. Attached vs. Nonattached Underlayment
    C. What Is the Difference Between Bevel, Microbevel, and Painted Bevel Floors? 
VIII. Today’s Vinyl: Misconceptions About Vinyl
IX. What Are the Best Rooms for LVT & LVP Flooring?
X. Installation of Luxury Vinyl Flooring
XI. How to Care & Maintain LVT/LVP
XII. Top Luxury Vinyl Brands 

I. What Is Luxury Vinyl? 

 

Comprised of a high-quality vinyl core, print film, and a wear layer, luxury vinyl is essentially a plasticized, flexible vinyl that is available in a glue-down or a click version. To emulate the most popular wood varieties, luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are long, narrow planks of vinyl that are thicker and more rigid than sheet vinyl, which helps make them more durable and scratch-resistant. Most luxury vinyl planks are composed of thick PVC with a design layer that gives the planks their authentic hardwood look. The design layer can feature a variety of colors and realistic textures that capture the hottest trends from light wood, greige, and whitewash, all the way down to charcoal and midnight black. Luxury vinyl offers tremendous water resistance due to the inherent nature of vinyl, with many options warranted for waterproof installation and enhanced scratch and stain protection. The versatility of LVP installation options, including a floating tongue-and-groove option and glue down option, create easy installations and waterproof surfaces that can withstand standing water in places like bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. 

II. How Is Luxury Vinyl Different Than Other Vinyl Plank/Tile?

A huge advantage of luxury vinyl over other vinyl plank or tile is the enhanced durability that can withstand active homes, as well as provide a realistic wood or stone feel. Whereas previous vinyl types required a completely flat subfloor and adhesive to install, luxury vinyl can be laid on top of some existing flooring types, so there may be no need for installation professionals to rip out your old flooring beforehand. This ease of installation makes luxury vinyl much less labor-intensive, requires zero grout work, and cuts down on installation costs. With the rigid texture, luxury vinyl also presents a much lower slip hazard in areas that will experience moisture. The realistic plank and tile size formats and installation pattern capabilities ultimately produce realistic hard surface finished floors that other vinyl varieties simply cannot match. 

III. What Is LVT vs. LVP?

Engineered to mimic stone, porcelain, or ceramic tile, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is constructed very similarly to LVP with a thick vinyl layer that makes it more durable and rigid than sheet vinyl, as well as a design layer that has natural tones and textures to provide incredibly realistic visuals. Also, durable, waterproof LVT comes in floating or glue-down installation options making it perfect for bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and more. LVT is great for families with children and pets since common spills and everyday messes can simply be wiped up and spot-cleaned if needed. Since LVT doesn’t require the level subfloor or grout work that traditional tile or stone does, installing and maintaining luxury vinyl tile is far easier!

IV. LVP vs. Laminate

Depending on your specific household factors, deciding between laminate and luxury vinyl flooring will come down to your personal priorities. Unlike luxury vinyl, laminate flooring is a composite of wood byproducts, composed of several layers of high-density fiberboard, with a photographic image of wood grain or stone beneath a resin layer. Many of today's laminate flooring planks will click together with patented locking systems, do not necessarily need to be glued to the underlayment or subfloor, and depending on conditions, can often be installed over existing flooring. However, not all laminate is water-resistant, so you need to be selective when purchasing for moisture-prone areas like kitchens or mudrooms. Thanks to premium durability, laminate will be a solid choice for high-traffic rooms like hallways, playrooms, and family rooms. Unlike vinyl, laminate will be a bit harder to cut to size and will require more immediate attention with moisture: You will need to clean up spills as soon as possible to prevent damage and avoid leaving puddles of water or using wet mops to clean. 

V. Benefits of LVT & LVP

For the average active home, chaos can happen without warning whether it’s a spilled wine glass during the evening, a knocked-over water bowl or accident from an excited pet, or the afternoon stampede when the kids come home from school! From easy cleanability and ease of installation to supreme durability and budget-friendly value, both LVT and LVP have transformed the vinyl category by offering an incredible number of useful attributes. Here are a few of the outstanding benefits of LVT and LVP that have made luxury vinyl the premier choice for capturing hardwood and stone realism: 

A. Durability

While vinyl has always offered exceptional resiliency against foot traffic, dropped items, and the ability to retain shape under pressure, luxury vinyl takes durability to the next level. Rigid luxury vinyl planks and tile don’t just emulate wood and stone, they perform like you need your hard surface floors to perform! Generally, the higher the wear layer of your luxury vinyl, the longer the floor will last. Equally suitable for high traffic areas like hallways and moisture-prone rooms like kitchens and bathrooms where soft flooring underfoot can alleviate tired feet, the multi-layered construction will handle family adventures and protect against scuffs, dropped items, and general wear-and-tear. 

B. Sound Absorption 

If you have ever awoken to the sound of your dog’s nails clicking or running children that sound like thunder, then you understand the importance of sound absorption from your flooring. Luxury vinyl flooring with attached underlayment is one of the best sound-absorbing options on the market. Collections that offer quality textile backing or cushion-backing can help you achieve floors that look fantastic and help reduce noise. Look for sound-absorbing luxury vinyl options with an Impact Insulation Class (IIC) 60 rating or higher if this quality is one of your top needs. 

C.  Scratch Resistance

Although every brand and product will vary in the level offered, luxury vinyl is an excellent selection if you are looking for enhanced scratch resistance. With a durable wear layer that protects the surface of the vinyl floor from wear and tear, today’s LVP and LVT floors offer better scratch resistance than previous vinyl products ever have. The best scratch-resistant luxury vinyl flooring will offer a thicker wear layer of 20-mil and up and offer through-body coloring to minimize any visible damage over the years. Products with greater scratch-resistant warranties will often feature aluminum oxide or ceramic bead coatings to provide even more protection. 

D. Waterproof 

Let’s cut to the chase: vinyl is waterproof! With waterproof luxury vinyl options, you can capture your favorite realistic wood and stone looks in rooms that experience moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms, and even basements. Waterproof LVP and LVT styles are not only protected against spills, but they can also handle standing water without being damaged. In an active home, there is tremendous peace of mind in knowing your floors are not damaged when you discover an unknown pet accident or puddle of water! 

E. Child & Pet-Friendly 

When it comes to crafting a home that’s suitable for growing children and active pets, luxury vinyl flooring is a home run. In addition to being water-resistant and spill-resistant, which helps incredibly during mealtime and bath time, kid-friendly LVT and LVP are non-porous materials that are mold-resistant and prohibit the growth of bacteria. Luxury vinyl flooring is also softer underneath than hardwood or stone, a quality that will come in handy when stumbles and falls occur. To help disguise any marks from pet nails or claws over the years, we love the idea of installing a distressed, hand-scraped, or wire-brushed hardwood visual as a pet-friendly luxury vinyl floor that will help minimize wear and tear. Look for LVP and LVT products with enhanced Pet Warranties to ensure a long-lasting pristine appearance in your home. 

F. Resale Value 

If you need to get your home ready to list on the market quickly and not go over a set budget, luxury vinyl will help your resale value tremendously. In addition to the ease of floating floor installation that eliminates many time-consuming tasks, luxury vinyl increases resale value by allowing you to bring in the hottest, highly-desired hardwood looks for less and make the floorplan appear more expensive. More and more homeowners are searching for waterproof flooring options and a home that already features this protection will appeal to many! If your current flooring appears dated, new luxury vinyl floors will offer the easiest way to update your floors and impress prospective buyers. Increasing the visual appeal of your home, adding valuable qualities, and preserving more of your budget will all translate to a greater resale value.

VI. Is Luxury Vinyl Waterproof?

Although vinyl is an inherently waterproof material, a truly waterproof luxury vinyl floor will be defined within a product’s warranty section. Both waterproof and water-resistant floors will help protect your home from moisture, but a waterproof floor will not allow water to permeate or penetrate through it, either from the top or the bottom surface. Waterproof LVP and waterproof LVT products will feature locking mechanisms that are engineered to withstand and lock out topical water penetration at the joints. Consider a luxury vinyl floor that features a solid polymer core (SPC) construction for greater stability and selecting a warranted waterproof product for the ultimate protection against moisture. Keep in mind that some flooring manufacturers require a subfloor moisture barrier before installation for the waterproof warranty to be valid. For waterproof luxury vinyl flooring, explore styles with a rigid core construction and a glue-free locking system!

VII. What to Look for When Purchasing LVT/LVP

As you begin your luxury vinyl purchase journey, it’s always a good practice to list out your most preferred qualities and needs related to your household. For instance, if your interiors receive an ample amount of natural light shining through, you will want to explore LVP and LVT that features UV protection for better fade resistance. If your household is more low-key and experiences minimal foot traffic, you will not need to focus on certain warranties that active families will hone in on. Ultimately, a high-quality LVP or LVT floor will offer a well-rounded mix of durability, fashion, water resistance, and sound absorption. Here are a few key areas to look for when purchasing luxury vinyl flooring:   

A. Wear Layer 

As previously mentioned, the thicker the wear layer, the more durable the luxury vinyl floor. When shopping for a mid to high-traffic home, pay attention to the mil or thickness of the wear layer. Hallways and common rooms will be best served by luxury vinyl floors with a wear layer of 20mil or thicker, while bedrooms and formal dining rooms will be fine with a 12mil wear layer. For the best surface protection, a high-quality polyurethane luxury vinyl wear layer will prove to be more durable than simple vinyl wear layers and preserve a better appearance over time. Polyurethane wear layers with aluminum oxide or ceramic bead technology will provide even more durability in a high traffic setting with active children or playful pets. 

B. Attached vs. Nonattached Underlayment

Many modern LVP and LVT offerings will feature an attached underlayment that adds a multitude of benefits including noise reduction, moisture barrier, mold inhibitor, greater comfort, and longer performance. However, luxury vinyl underlayment can vary widely between products, and therefore you will need to decide whether to add a nonattached underlayment. If the luxury vinyl product you love features a thick, high-quality attached underlayment, you will not need additional underlayment. Conversely, if the underlayment is just a basic backing with minimal thickness and no added features, adding an underlayment can help tremendously. If your subfloor is uneven, quality underlayment will add extra cushion and help fix subfloor imperfections. If your region experiences extremely chilly weather or heavy rainfall, added underlayment will help in both circumstances. The answer to this question lies in assessing the attached backing of your luxury vinyl product of choice, and the specific conditions of the room receiving new flooring. 

C. What Is the Difference Between Bevel, Microbevel, and Painted Bevel Floors?

(Bevel, Microbevel, and Painted Bevel images)

For added hardwood realism, some luxury vinyl planks feature beveled edges that shave down the sharp 90-degree edges of each plank. Specifically, microbevel edges or “eased edges'' are cut down the length of the plank at a shallower 45-degree angle. Hardwood planks can feature beveled edges to create uniformity between planks and disguise subfloor imperfections. Beveled luxury vinyl helps produce a more realistic and more expensive looking finished floor by creating shadows that give added dimension and depth. As part of an authentic-looking wood floor, the V-shaped groove created by microbevel luxury vinyl planks side by side is a subtle detail that serves modern, contemporary, and minimalist rooms well. Beveled luxury vinyl flooring also enhances DIY capability by lessening the amount of precision required during installation. Painted bevel luxury vinyl takes this look one step further as each beveled edge is painted a color that compliments the floor for added interest, dimension, and character. In larger spaces, painted bevels will add luxurious detail to a floor that takes a starring role within a finished layout. Bevels, microbevels, and painted bevels will all enhance the genuine appeal of your wood-look LVP!

VIII. Today’s Vinyl: Misconceptions About Vinyl

Today’s sheet vinyl offerings have indeed experienced a chic transformation from decades ago, but luxury vinyl has achieved higher levels across the board when it comes to performance, appearance, and quality. One of the biggest differences between sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl is the format: While sheet vinyl is still a product that can come in budget-friendly rolls, luxury vinyl plank and tile more realistically provide the look and feel of wood and stone. The plank and tile format allow for a rigid wear layer that enhances durability tremendously while the finished floor still provides a waterproof surface. Whereas sheet vinyl can offer a patterned installation visual, LVP and LVT allow you to actually achieve an intricate installation that enhances realism and may allow you to design better for a tricker space. Luxury vinyl also provides floating floor installation that avoids the subfloor prep and flooring removal that installing sheet vinyl will require. Additionally, repairing a damaged sheet vinyl floor will prove a more difficult process than replacing a plank or tile if damage happens.  

IX. What Are the Best Rooms for LVT & LVP Flooring?

With the rise of open floorplans in modern design, LVT and LVP styles are a perfect fit to match flooring throughout the household since they are waterproof, flexible, dent and scratch-resistant, as well as cushioned underneath. Resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold, you can even have wood and stone beauty in rooms like basements and laundry rooms! For a bright entranceway and hallway, or even a relaxing sunroom, we love the idea of using wood-look LVP with a smooth or wire-brushed finish that will brighten the space when sunshine comes indoors. Perhaps you want to use a striking darker wood tone for a statement living room or formal dining room, or maybe an easy-to-use grey neutral so that you can change the feel easier down the line. With luxury vinyl, you can use the warmth of rustic wood in your inspired kitchen, or craft a soothing stone feel in a spa-like bathroom. A modern stone LVT will give your sleek home office an elevated feel, while a mixed-plank LVP will produce a fashion-forward mancave.  Quality underlayment ensures soft steps in your relaxing master bedroom or calming nursery with luxury vinyl floors. You can truly use luxury vinyl flooring to uplift every room in the home! 

X. Installation of Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Very few flooring options can match the installation versatility, DIY capability, or design creativity that luxury vinyl flooring can offer. After you assess luxury vinyl installation factors such as natural light sources, room shape, and room features, you can use the shape, color variation, and grain of your flooring choice to help choose the best installation direction. It’s also worth exploring if a patterned plank installation such as herringbone, chevron, geometric parquet, or diagonal stripe would work well in your space. Always reference your manufacturer’s installation instructions to ensure that you follow a specified “correct” pattern of installation before solidifying your plans. If you’re a first-time DIYer, it’s easy to learn how to lay vinyl plank flooring so long as you take the proper time to gather tools, allow your flooring to acclimate to the new environment, and reference the manufacturer’s instructions that are found linked on every item page on Twenty & Oak. Since luxury vinyl can be installed over existing flooring such as vinyl, parquet, laminate, tile, or linoleum, your installation project is easier to complete than most! Make sure to review our common luxury vinyl installation questions, steps, and finishing procedures to ensure best results. 

XI. How to Care & Maintain LVT/LVP

With day-to-day upkeep and regular cleaning, you will be amazed at how utterly low-maintenance luxury vinyl flooring will prove to be. As far as how to clean luxury vinyl floors, you simply need a daily sweeping routine to remove tracked-in dust and debris, a good old-fashioned sponge mop and water once a week, and a pH-neutral cleaner to address any spills when they occur. One of the biggest advantages of luxury vinyl flooring over hardwood is that you can deep clean LVP and LVT by wet mopping whenever you prefer! In fact, there’s no need for steam cleaning, a vacuum with a beater bar, abrasive brushes, steel wool, ammonia cleaner, paste-like wax, detergents, or abrasive powders: Simply use a soft nylon brush, manufacturer’s recommended products, and water to treat common spots and stains. Each Twenty & Oak flooring has a specific recommended cleaning product at our Healthy Home website. Use felt pads and rugs to minimize the impact of heavy furniture, and your easy-to-maintain home is ready for everyday activity and adventures. 

XII. Top Luxury Vinyl Brands

As you select new luxury vinyl floors to elevate your rooms, high-quality collections from the industry’s most in-demand manufacturers will give you the greatest return on investment and help improve resale value. Azalea Lane delivers Made-In-USA waterproof LVP flooring with in-demand wood looks to complete your d├ęcor including the subtle wire-brushed Writers Collection, the natural visuals of the Park Collection, and the relaxing realism of the Retreat Collection.  Palmetto Road’s Rigid Core Collections such as Inspire Flooring, and Impact Flooring provide unparalleled spill and liquid protection within stunning surfaces. You can make a design statement as bold as you wish with the high-quality luxury vinyl flooring solutions that Metroflor offers. Use Beauflor’s Pure Collection and patented DreamClick® 360° locking system to create one-of-a-kind patterns and installations by mixing different designs within the collection. Whatever aesthetic you aim to achieve, Twenty & Oak carries the top luxury vinyl brands to bring your vision to life!

Twenty & Oak Experts
Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.
 

Beautiful Floors Start Here

Get Inspired
-Flooring Trends & Styles

-Flooring Renovation Tips
-Expert Flooring Picks

Start to Plan
-Take Our Flooring Quiz
-Find Your Favorite Products
-Get Advice From Our Pros

Pick Your Floors
-Order Samples
-Get A Flooring Quote

Get Answers to Your Questions
-Flooring Installation Questions
-Common Questions
-How to Choose the Right Floor for You