So What’s Next in Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

What's new in the LVT industry - floortalk.wfca.orgWhen at a party, it’s not at all unusual to have guests ask me interior design questions—it’s kind of like getting free legal advice from a lawyer, I guess. But I really don’t mind (as long as I’m not cornered and asked to do on-the-spot space planning). I’m kidding, that hasn’t happened—yet. So it was pretty interesting when one of my savvy friends asked me what’s on the horizon for luxury vinyl floors. He was pretty sure everything that can be done, has been done. Well, I have news. High definition film is capturing the essence of natural textiles and interpreting that into luxury vinyl tiles.

Manufacturers are bringing large format tiles and tile planking to the LVT portfolio of products. This is exactly the direction predicted by Color Marketing Group over a year ago. Of all the products that make up the flooring sector, luxury vinyl tiles and wood-look planks are still commanding increased market share year over year. If you are not in the flooring industry, you may not know exactly why that is happening. Here’s some markers that will explain why:

LVT is a problem solver. It’s tough enough to be used in high-traffic commercial settings. So residentially, it goes without saying that it is family and pet friendly. Resists scuffs, scratches, cleans with only a neutral pH cleaner and provides years of durability and ease of maintenance.

Have you seen the huge strides in product development for LVT? Stunning facsimiles of the most beautiful natural stones and woods nature has to offer are replicated with stunning accuracy in LVP/LVT. These products, installed with manufacturer-recommended adhesives, are undistinguishable from the real thing. No hollow sound when walking on it, warmer than real stone or tile, and offers some acoustic benefit as well. With a resume like that, it is no wonder this is the fastest growing product in the market.

Commercially, it goes where natural materials fear to tread. That sounds a bit dramatic, but true. I work with design specifiers and architects daily, and commercially speaking, LVT and LVP area solution product for them. You will see high-grade luxury vinyl tile and planks in hospitals, senior living facilities, restaurants, schools, corporate buildings, multi-family, churches, and so much more. The designer gets the rich aesthetic she/he is looking for, without sacrificing performance. The higher the topical “mil layer”, the more suitable it is for commercial uses. I always recommend 20 mil or above for commercial use.

I have witnessed an important trend in the hospitality industry as well just the last few years. Working closely with top designers across the country, luxury vinyl woods are being specified for guest rooms in higher-end hotels! It makes perfect sense and is very gratifying to see this happening. The hospitality sector wants to offer a product that is clean, antiseptic, won’t harbor allergens, easily cleaned, durable and yet, extremely homey. Put a checkmark next to every one of those bullet points, as luxury vinyl floors meet the need. I am currently working on a 700 room established hotel in San Diego that is using luxury vinyl wood in all of their rooms. The life cycle of this material makes that investment not only wise, but a money-saver in the long run over other flooring materials.

So, let me share with you just one new collection from Karndean DesignFloors that exemplifies the newest direction for LVT.


Luxury Vinyl Flooring

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

You made a great flooring choice—all the beauty and character of real wood, but in a family friendly luxury vinyl-wood floor. So now what? How do you keep it looking as awesome as it does? Here’s some practical advice from my friends at Karndean DesignFloors, a 40 year veteran of creating true-to-life vinyl woods and stones.

  • All hard floors can be slippery when wet. Make sure a newly cleaned floor is completely dry before use. Also, in inclement weather, use non-rubber backed matting at entrances to prevent water from being tracked in.
  • Entrance matting is the best way to protect your floor. A 5’ wide mat is recommended and be sure to clean it regularly to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Although luxury vinyl floors are water resistant, mop up spills quickly to avoid slips.
  • Luxury Vinyl FlooringAvoid using aerosol sprays or silicone-based products as these can make floors slippery and dull the finish of your floor.
  • It is best to use the recommended manufacturer’s products to maintain your floors. It protects your floors and your warranty coverage.
  • Avoid sliding or dragging heavy furniture or appliances across the floor. Better to use load bearing castors under heavy items.
  • Rubber can permanently discolor vinyl floor coverings. Avoid using rubber backed mats, rubber furniture feet or rubber wheeled castors.
  • If surface scratching does occur, contact your flooring retailer for the manufacturer’s product recommendations. Each manufacturer has its own product solutions.
  • Accidental damage can occur in real life settings. It is always a good idea to purchase extra planks (or tiles) and store them flat in a dry place. One of the best features of LVT floors is that individual planks or tiles are replaceable!
  • Follow your manufacturer’s directions as to regular cleanings. A neutral pH cleaner is usually a safe choice, but consult your retailer or your manufacturer’s website for specific recommendations..

Luxury Vinyl FlooringYour luxury vinyl floor will give you years of excellent performance and appearance. The life cycle of LVT exceeds most floor covering types. With your attention to each of the above bullet points, your investment will be protected and the beauty of your floor extended for years to come.