Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is a newer take on the vinyl sheet flooring market. Instead of thin rolls of vinyl you have planks or boards that lock together to form a new floor.
This flooring type is known as a floating floor, and comes together nicely as a simple DIY install option. However, before you can start adding furniture to your new LVP floor, you have to know what type of LVP to purchase, the pros and cons of installing LVP and if another vinyl option is better suited for your needs.
Good Luxury Vinyl Brands
- 1 Good Luxury Vinyl Brands
- 2 Pros and Cons of LVP
- 3 How to Install Luxury Vinyl Flooring
- 4 Luxury Vinyl Plank Brands
- 5 LVP Vs. Other Vinyl Types
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Conclusion
Not all brands are created equal. When it comes to LVP, it can be a fine line between money savings and higher-quality. These brands bring you the best of both worlds.
- Shaw Vinyl Flooring. Shaw is arguably the best flooring company in many categories. LVP is one of them.
- Armstrong LVP. Armstrong floors specialize in durable, beautiful planks that are affordable and reliable.
- LifeProof Vinyl Flooring. LifeProof is a Home Depot exclusive that offers a highly affordable LVP with decent durability and selection.
- Karndean Flooring. One of the highest quality flooring options, Karndean brings elegance and beauty to any LVP option.
- COREtec LVP. COREtec is one of the most popular LVP brands in the market. With thousands of reviews and millions of installs, it is hard to beat.
Pros and Cons of LVP
LVP has a lot of advantages, which makes it a smart choice for many homeowners. Let’s look at some of the more impressive pros now.
- 100% waterproof. Almost all mid-range and top-tier LVP products are waterproof. This makes them ideal for installing in wet areas, including bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.
- DIY installation. With the click-in-place and tongue and groove boards, LVP is one of the easiest floor systems to install.
- Few extra materials needed. If you purchase a good quality plank, you won’t need much else in terms of underlayments, moisture barriers or adhesives. Keeping material costs low will help save on the overall project.
- Stain and damage resistant. While damage can happen, LVP is resilient to staining, gouges and damage from normal wear and tear.
- Multiple colors and styles. LVP has come a long way in recent years and you can now select from hundreds of colors and styles, including wood-look, stone-look, solid and multi colored boards.
- Install anywhere. LVP comes in various ratings and thicknesses. This allows you to find the perfect solution for both residential and commercial applications. Just understand that most commercial installs will have a limited or lower warranty coverage.
Vinyl planks also have a few down sides. For most residential applications and installs these won’t be much of an issue. However, you should be aware of the bad as well as the good, so we will cover those, now.
- No increase in home resale value. Like most other flooring options, LVP will not raise the resale value of your home. Only natural hardwood floors will increase a home’s resale value, though LVP won’t hurt the value, either.
- No repair options. LVP, LVT and vinyl sheeting comes as-is. It isn’t designed to be sanded, treated or patched. If there is excessive damage, the ruined planks will need to be removed and replaced.
- Synthetic materials can off-gas. Off-gassing is the release of built-up fumes and odors. This is most notable in mattresses and furniture with memory foam. Since LVP is a synthetic material, lower quality brands may have some off-gassing for a few days after being opened.
How to Install Luxury Vinyl Flooring
First thing is to prepare the materials. All LVT, LVP and other vinyl materials need to acclimate to the room it will be installed in. You will also want to mix the planks from the various boxes.
Each box of vinyl will have a slightly different color and dye pattern. If you install all the planks from one box at a time, the small variances will be highly noticeable. The first step is to remove the planks from their boxes and spread them out a bit in the room for about 24 hours.
This will allow them to acclimate to the room temperature and humidity levels. Once they are acclimated they will be less likely to bow, warp or break. The planks will also expand together and lock tighter once installed.
While the LVP is acclimating you can begin to prep the floor for the install. You will want to use a pry bar and a rubber mallet to remove the baseboards, thresholds and any transition molding that is in place.
LVP can be installed over other floor types (except carpet), but only if you have the room to do it. It is sometimes better to remove the existing flooring to help keep the new floor lower and under the baseboard lines.
Once the floor and room are prepped, you should take the time to gather the needed tools and materials.
You will need rubber spacers to place along the walls for the first rows. You also need a rubber mallet or a hammer and knocking block. If you are installing LVP (instead of tiles) you will also need a circular saw.
Make sure you clean the flooring well so there isn’t any dirt, dust or debris underneath the planks when you install them.
Finally, if you are also installing an underlayment, you will need to lay that down and you will be ready to install the planks.
The first plank laid is also the most important. You should use the circular saw to remove at least 6 inches from the plank. The primary reason for this is that you want each row to be off-center from the previous row.
Preventing the ends of the planks from lining up will keep them locked together and give you the final look you are after.
Place the first plank down and then position the second plank end to end with the first. Hammer the ends together so they lock in place (though a hammer may not be needed yet). and continue down the wall with the first row.
Use the 6-inch piece you cut from the first plank to start the second row. This will maintain the off-center needed for each row. When you get to the end of the second row, you will need to cut off some of the final plank to make it fit. Use the cut piece to start the 3rd row, and so on.
Once you reach the final row, you will need to rely on the hammer and bend or twist the planks to get them into place. before you knock them flat and against the wall, remove the rubber spacers from the first row.
Now you just have to wait.
Most brands will require at least 15 hours for the planks to expand and settle. Some may require 24 or more hours. You will need to read the instructions on the planks you purchased to find out the set time.
During the set time, you should refrain from walking on the floor at all. There is nothing to do but wait. The planks need this time to expand and settle into their new position. The planks will lock together firmer, and take up that 1/8th inch gap, sealing the edges of the room.
Once the set time is over you can replace the baseboards, thresholds and transition molding as needed. Once that is done, move your furniture back in, clean up and your room is ready.
Of course, if you would prefer not to go through the hassle of installing the floor yourself, you can always hire a flooring professional.
If you need help finding local contractors that are qualified for the job, we can help. Check out our free pro finder and locate professionals in your area for all of your flooring needs.
LVP Installation Cost
The overall cost of the project will depend greatly on if it is a DIY project or if you hire a professional for the job.
DIY costs will be lower since you are supplying the labor. However, this also means you are doing the prep, clean up and must supply all the tools and materials.
Material cost for a good quality LVP will range from $2 to $6 per square foot. You shouldn’t need to pay extra for underlayment as higher quality planks will have the underlayment already attached.
Providing you already have the needed tools, the additional materials such as spacers and knocking blocks will only cost a few dollars.
You can expect to add an additional $3 to $10 per square foot for professional installation, according to Home Advisor.
Luxury Vinyl Plank Brands
There are a lot of LVP manufacturers out there, and some are much better than others. Between overall cost, product selection and availability, there is quite a bit to wade through.
|Brand||Vinyl Types||Selection||Average Cost|
|Shaw||LVT, LVP||Over 60 options||$3 to $5 per sq. ft.|
|Armstrong||LVT, LVP||Over 40 options||$2 to $5 per sq. ft.|
|LifeProof||LVT, LVP, Sheet||Over 25 options||$1 to $4 per sq. ft.|
|Karndean||LVP||Over 30 options||$3 to $6 per sq. ft.|
|COREtec||LVT, LVP||Over 40 options||$2 to $5 per sq. ft.|
LVP Vs. Other Vinyl Types
LVP Vs. EVP
Engineered vinyl planks (EVP) are similar to LVP in almost every way. They offer tongue and groove style DIY installation, are waterproof and highly durable.
In fact, there are only a few major differences between the two. The first difference is the design layer. EVP is made to exactly replicate stone or wood. Once installed, there is little difference between actual wood planks and EVP.
LVP on the other hand, uses a photographic layer. While it can look like wood or stone, LVP does more with colors, patterns and grains. The look is still great, of course, but it doesn’t mimic exactly.
The next thing is the core layer. EVP is also known as rigid vinyl or RVP, because it only uses a stone-plastic core (SPC). This makes the planks stronger and more durable, but also more stiff and harder underfoot.
EVP is great for entry ways, sun rooms and commercial applications. In a residential environment, though, LVP will have a better feel underfoot.
LVP Vs. LVT
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is the exact same as LVP in every way, except for one. They share the same layer builds, quality and stone or wood look finishes. You can get LVT with a stone-plastic or wood-plastic core (WPC).
The difference, though, is the size and shape. LVT is used when you want to mimic a tile floor pattern. So instead of long planks, you will get squares. The sizes vary based on brand and design, but usually 12 x 12 or 24 x 24 inch squares are common.
When choosing between LVP and LVT you only need to ask yourself if you want a tile pattern or a wood plank pattern. Once you decide that, you will know which is best suited for your needs.
LVP Vs. Vinyl Sheet
LVP has replaced vinyl sheeting as the go-to chose for vinyl floors. However, this doesn’t mean sheeting has gone away.
Vinyl sheeting is just that. It comes in large rolls that you must glue to the subfloor directly. It isn’t very thick, with most versions coming in at 5 to 8 mil. And there aren’t very many layers.
Vinyl sheeting is cheaper than planks, but more difficult to install. It is also impossible to repair a small section without it being noticeable. If you need to replace an LVP section, those few planks can be replaced and probably won’t be seen.
Vinyl sheets, though, usually require a much larger section to be replaced than what is damaged. Matching color, pattern and fading is near impossible, and takes a skilled hand to perform.
Also check out our guide to LVP vs laminate plank flooring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, we will answer the more common questions about LVP. If you have other concerns please feel free to use the comment section below the article.
Q. Is LVP better than laminate?
- LVP and laminate planks are on the same playing field. One is not necessarily better than the others, until you start comparing them for specific needs. LVP is more stain resistant and waterproof, allowing you to install in bathrooms, basements and other wet areas. Laminate, though, has a higher durability and scratch resistance, but is not waterproof.
Q. Does LVP scratch easily?
- LVP can scratch, yes, but how easily will depend on the circumstances and quality of the planks. A home with a lot of foot traffic may never scratch a high quality LVP, while a smaller home with a dog or cat can have even the highest quality LVP scratched up in a few months. It will all depend on how well you care for the flooring and what walks on top of it. Here is a guide on how to clean LVP.
Q. Can I put LVP in my kitchen or under a refrigerator?
- LVP is made from plastics and resins. It doesn’t break, crack or rip because of weight. Because there are no natural fibers, it also won’t swell, bow or fall apart if it gets wet. Installing LVP in a kitchen and placing your refrigerator on top is not only advised but worthwhile in the long run.
Q. What does thickness mean for LVP wear layers?
- Wear layers for LVP come in various thicknesses. These are measured in mils and the average wear layer is between 8 and 12mil thick. Lower quality planks will have wear layers under 6mil while commercial grade LVP can have layers well over 20mil thick.
Luxury vinyl plank is a flooring solution that only grows in popularity as time goes on. The planks are durable, waterproof and easy to install, making it a favorite option for many homeowners.
Being able to find your favorite color or wood grain pattern, install the floor yourself and save money doing so are all alluring reasons to purchase LVP. However, it isn’t for everyone or every home. Hopefully this article helped you understand LVP and put you on the right path for your next flooring project.