The Nitty Gritty On The Different Types Of Luxury Vinyl Tile

Want to know the truth about the different types of luxury vinyl tiles?

The truth is luxury vinyl tile or lvt is not a new floor. Luxury vinyl tile has been around for many years. But with the innovation of new technology, we are now able to take the old vinyl tile and create a new and improved version of the old product. We all want better right?

Due to the improvements of the product, the flooring is now being oversold as the perfect flooring solution for everyone in every situation by many retailers.

Well, the fact is that not all types of luxury vinyl tiles are for everyone.

Let's go over the different types of lvt and why each may or may not be the perfect solution for your home.

The first types of luxury vinyl tiles is glue down vinyl tiles. 

Groutable Luxury Vinyl Tile

Groutable Luxury Vinyl Tile

This is the type of tile is the most similar to the older version. It is available in solid vinyl tile or in vinyl with enhanced limestone backings.

The versions with limestone backings such as Congoleum's Duraceramic and Armstrong's Alterna are quite a bit more durable than the older versions as they provide more indentation resistancy, thanks to the stability of the limestone backing.

The finishes on these floors now are much more scratch resistant and easier to clean than the previous versions.  These floors are now low luster so they show fewer imperfections than the older high gloss products.

This floor is now glued down with a pressure sensitive adhesive that is releasable. Meaning that if a piece of tile is damaged you can heat the tile with a heat gun and the floor tile can be removed and replaced.

This type of tile can be laid in many different patterns with a wide variety of colors. The option of grout is now available for many of these products giving it the most realistic look to ceramic tile. Not to mention that the floor takes on the warmth of the rest of the home and is much warmer than regular ceramic tile.

This type of glue down tile is suitable to glue down over concrete, plywood, and 1 layer of existing vinyl that is already adhered well and is hard. It is not suitable to install this floor over particle board, osb, or multiple layers of vinyl without installing new underlayment. Always consult with a professional flooring store on the best installation procedure for your home. 

The second types of luxury vinyl tiles is solid vinyl snap together tile.

Snap together vinyl tiles are the hottest type of material being sold right now in the industry. It has opened up the door to a new flooring that many are attempting to DIY.

This is good as it allows for many homeowners to get a better quality product that they can easily install themselves. However, the floor tends to look easier than it is to install making it more of a struggle than one might initially realize.

snap together vinyl tile

snap together vinyl tile

The floor has lots of flexibility making it a bit harder to work with and the joints can be finicky to go together. With a similar locking system to the laminate, this type of lvt has a tongue and groove system that locks into place without the need for any additional padding.

Since there is no glue involved with this product it has opened up the door to installing in areas that currently have particle board or OSB. This draws many new buyers wishing to get rid of carpet that frequently has particle board or OSB under it. Due to no adhesive, this floor can be installed over either of these existing subfloors.  Here is where the floor is being oversold.

This floor is not recommended for areas that get direct sunlight for extended periods of time, such as a sunroom. These, floor when left in the direct sun, will expand vertically giving the floor a ledged or raised look around the joints.

This floor is not recommended for homes that have floor with a roll to them. Meaning that the sub-floor has roll to it. This is sometimes seen in older homes or homes that have had flooring damage. This roll in the floor can cause a gap between the product and the subfloor, this can cause a locking failure.

Now, remember this floor is vinyl and can get wet without damage to the product. But remember there is no glue involved so there is nothing sealing the joint from water leaking through to the subfloor.

So there are no guarantees that the sub-floor underneath won't get wet if water is left standing on the floor. Be sure to clean up your spills to prevent this problem. 

The third types of luxury vinyl tile has preglued adheasive. 

There is more than one type of preglued vinyl tile. One has a preglued edge strip that can be overlapped with the next row of tiles. The direction tell you that you simply pull off the taped edge of glue and overlap it to the next row.

What they don't tell you is that you must be perfect in your placing these two edges together. You Do Not have have the option of lifting up the board to reposition it. If you attempt to you will distroy the glued edge and it will no longer adhear or hold the joint. 

The second type of glue down vinyl tile has a preglued backing that has glue all over the backing. This is a good concept for an installtation of a diy. Armstrongs version of this floor does allow for you to lift and reposition the flooring for the perfect placement. However, be aware that this floor has to be installed over plywood as it is a glue down product. 

The fourth types of luxury vinyl tiles is also a snap together called coretec.

difference in lvt

Coretec was the original floor invented with this name however it is now known under many names, as several manufacturers now produce versions of the floor.

Whichever, name you use the structure of the product is similar to the snap together. The top layer of the floor will be vinyl with a polycarbonate center.

Sometimes this product will be available with foam or cork backings providing a quite step to the floor. The product installs just like the solid vinyl snap together tile but is much thicker.

The thicker product is a bit more expensive but is not as flexible. This allows for the floor to be installed over areas that are not as perfectly level and flat. This provides a customer with a better option for a sub-floor that is not as perfect.

This product is advertised as being water proof in many cases. It probably is a bit less likely to get water through it as the locking system is much thicker and harder. Once again though there is no glue preventing water from seeping through, so clean up spills and don't leave them on the floor. 

There you have it! The basic types of luxury vinyl tiles with their ends and outs. Vinyl tile has opened up new options to many homeowners.

Just make sure that before you buy your next new floor that you consult with a professional flooring store so they can discuss the benefits of the floor and the best installation for your before you purchase. If you need more guidance and are still not sure that vinyl tile is best for you then check out my ebook on what you must know before you buy your next new floor.

There I go over all the advice I have given to my own customers throughout my 20 years of selling flooring. Maybe you would like to explore other flooring options for your room. If you need help choosing colors for your room. I have design services where I can help you make those tough decisions check them out here.