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.

Hardwood Floor Discoloration

2723017988_b0e7a982bc_mQ & A with the technical department at the National Wood Flooring Association:

Q: What species of hardwood are most likely to fade?

A: Brazilian cherry and American Cherry

Q:How much do these species change color?

A: They can darken up to 3-4 times their original color.

Q:How long will the floors discolor?

A: The floors will continue to discolor or age with time, but the majority of the aging happens within 3-6 months. The process slows down and that point, but still continues.

Q: If the floors change color in the first 3-6 months, is it best to wait to put area rugs down?

A: If at all possible, it is best to wait 3-6 months before putting area rugs down.

Q: What causes floors to fade?

A: Too much UV light can bleach the wood.

Q: Are there products that can be applied to the floor that have sunblock in them?

A: No, nothing can be topically applied to the floor. The finishes already have UV light retarders in them.

Q: What can help the fading of hardwood floors?

A: Low E glass windows and some types of window treatments can help protect the floors.

Q: What finish has the least effective retarder?

A: Oil Modified Polyurethane

Q: Is the discoloration considered a flaw?

A: No, some people call this an aged look or a patina and realize that it is a natural characteristic of wood.

Q: What can you do if you already have area rugs down and have discoloration?

A: You can move the rugs a couple of inces every month so that there is no stark color change or visible line.