Luxury Vinyl Plank
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Here at Flooring Butler, we can install any type of flooring that you would like. One of the most popular options is luxury vinyl plank. It has grown very popular in recent years because of its waterproof nature, the ability of luxury vinyl plank to be a wide and long product, and it is affordable. These are some of the benefits of luxury vinyl plank. To elaborate slightly, luxury vinyl plank is a great product because of its waterproof nature. Many hard surface floors that get wet need to be replaced. Luxury vinyl plank on the other hand is 100% waterproof, and can be cleaned up easily.
Another benefit of luxury vinyl plank is its dimensional stability. What this means is this product can get to be very wide and not sacrifice on dimensional stability which means it is still solid as it gets wider. This is less common in natural hardwood floors, and tends to have more floor, imperfections and issues with performance. Lastly, luxury vinyl plank is often very affordable because it is a man-made product. This is not always the case however because there are many options and some are quite expensive.
You might be asking yourself who would benefit from luxury vinyl plank. If you are, I typically see this product installed in a basement on top of concrete. I probably see it installed in the basement more often because we partner with restoration companies to help replace flooring that has gotten wet. Many homeowners at this point are frustrated with carpet or other types of flooring that get ruined with water. So to help solve that problem they moved to a luxury vinyl plank product because it is 100% waterproof. If their floor ever got wet in the future, they would be able to remove the flooring dry it out and then put the flooring back down. There will be some waste in this option because not all pieces are reusable when they are removed or they break, but the majority of the planks are reusable, which saves them a lot of money on cost. Another person who would benefit from luxury vinyl plank is somebody who is a little more price sensitive and wants a nice looking floor without spending the money it would cost for hardwood. Most of the luxury vinyl plank options are a “wood-look”. The stone or tile look products are not as common, but are available. Because this product is more affordable, we see it installed regularly and can really dress up the appearance of a home.
Some of the drawbacks or cautions to luxury vinyl plank include surface prep that is needed, expected, lifetime value, and quality or sound quality. When installing luxury vinyl plank, there are certain tolerances of floor flatness. Many times the subfloor needs to be flat within 3/16 of an inch over a 10 foot span. What this means to you as the average homeowner is your subfloor needs to be flat enough to allow the subfloor. If your floor is not flat, the click and lock mechanism will get worn out over time and fail. Think of the clicking lock mechanism that holds the floor together as a paper clip. If you bend it slightly up and down and repeatedly the overtime, it will break. So, this is a drawback, because we could go into a home and give them a very affordable option for luxury vinyl plank, but once we remove the existing floor, we find that the subfloor is not within the flatness tolerance and requires self leveling or patching. This requires more money to be spent on material and installation of self level to get the floor prepared.
Lifetime value of luxury vinyl plank can be varied. Improper subfloor preparation leads to early floor, failure and high traffic and pets can also lead to early floor, failure or delamination of the surface layer. Similarly, luxury vinyl plank does not have the same lifetime runway as a solid, hard surface flooring would like tile or hardwood. So, while these products are cheaper to install in the beginning, they do need to be replaced sooner than a hard surface Flooring would.
The final drawback I will mention is the sound quality of luxury vinyl plank. Many homeowners do not like the sound that luxury vinyl plank makes as you walk across it. It can make your floors and home feel cheap because of the clicking noise it makes. One option we offer to our customers is a sound buffer underlayment. There are two options we typically recommend, the first is called sound buffer pro and the second is called Whisper step. They are essentially the same product and it acts as a moisture barrier and sound dampener to improve the quality of the sound of your floor. It’s hard to describe, unless you have actually experienced it, but when you walk on luxury vinyl plank, because of its composition and thin nature, it can sound really cheap when you walk across it with shoes. This is in part because the floor is installed as a floating floor, which means it is not adhered to the subfloor, but it “floats “on top of the subfloor. Hard surface floors can sound rich with quality because they are nailed down to the subfloor.
An additional product to consider, when looking at luxury vinyl plank is laminate. Traditionally, people have tried to avoid laminate plank because it was not waterproof and still is not 100% waterproof. However, it is more solid in nature and has a very strong ware layer on the surface. This means that it will not scratch easily and it has been improved in recent years to be able to withstand water for 72 hours. this could be a great alternative to luxury vinyl plank. If you were looking for more affordable option that still has a strong where layer and has great sound quality.
I appreciate your time and reading this article an invite you to call or text 816-520-0690 to schedule your free estimate and we will bring samples to your home. Thank you!