Considering vinyl flooring as an option to cover your hardwood floors? In this article, we explore the benefits of choosing Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) over traditional hardwood flooring and share tips about properly installing LVP over existing hardwood.
Benefits of LVP over Hardwood
In recent years, LVP flooring has gained popularity as an option among homeowners and interior designers. There are several reasons behind the trend of installing LVP over hardwood flooring, and understanding these benefits can help you make an informed decision when choosing a flooring material for your home or project.
Rationale for Installing LVP over Hardwood
LVP offers several advantages over hardwood flooring in terms of cost, maintenance, and overall appearance. These reasons have driven more people to install LVP as a top choice for a versatile, durable, and attractive flooring solution.
Durability and Longevity
LVP is known for its incredible durability and long lifespan compared to traditional hardwood flooring. The wear layer on LVP protects the floor from damage caused by daily wear and tear, while the strong backing material enhances its resilience. With proper care, LVP can last for decades, making it a smart long-term investment.
One major advantage of LVP is its scratch-resistant surface. The wear layer on LVP is designed to resist scratches, making it an ideal flooring option for homes with pets and children who may cause accidental damage. In contrast, hardwood floors can suffer from unsightly scratches, which can be costly and time-consuming to repair.
LVP is a water-resistant flooring option, meaning it is much less likely to warp or buckle when exposed to moisture. This makes it a suitable choice for rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements where water exposure may be an issue. Hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is susceptible to water damage, which can lead to expensive repairs or replacements.
Thickness Options for Better Wear Layer
LVP comes in various thicknesses, allowing for a customizable wear layer. A thicker wear layer provides better protection against damage and increases the flooring’s lifespan. Hardwood floors do not offer this level of customization, leaving them more vulnerable to wear over time.
Realistic Wood Appearance
Modern LVP products have evolved to offer a strikingly realistic wood appearance, often indistinguishable from real hardwood. Advances in design and printing technology have enabled LVP manufacturers to create convincing wood grain patterns and textures, giving homeowners the aesthetic appeal of hardwood without the drawbacks.
Tips for Installing LVP over Hardwood
Before installing LVP over existing hardwood floors, there are important preparation steps to consider. Proper installation is crucial for achieving a beautiful and long-lasting LVP flooring solution.
Assessing the Existing Hardwood Floor
Evaluate the condition of your current hardwood floor to ensure it is suitable for LVP installation. The existing floor should be firm, structurally sound, and well-adhered. Loose or damaged planks may need repair or replacement before proceeding with LVP installation.
Evaluating the Condition of Wood Planks
Inspect individual wood planks for signs of damage, such as warping or cupping. Uneven planks can cause issues during LVP installation and may need to be sanded or replaced to achieve a level surface.
Leveling Uneven Sections of the Floor
Use a long straightedge or level to identify high and low spots on the hardwood floor. Sand the high spots and fill the low spots with a leveling compound to create an even surface. This step is essential for a successful LVP installation and will greatly improve the final result.
Addressing Problem Areas, Like Squeaks or Damaged Boards
Listen for squeaks or identify damaged boards that may need attention before installing LVP. Loose or squeaky boards should be re-secured, and severely damaged boards may need to be replaced. Properly addressing these issues will prevent future complications, ensuring a successful LVP installation.
Selecting the Right LVP Product
With myriad options available, it’s vital to choose the right LVP product for your project. Consider factors such as thickness, specifications, and underlayment requirements when making your selection.
Thickness and Specifications
Choose LVP with a suitable thickness and wear layer to suit your needs. Thicker LVP offers better durability and will likely last longer, while a thinner product may be more budget-friendly. Carefully weigh your priorities and choose the appropriate thickness and specifications for your project.
Some LVP products require an additional underlayment, while others come with an attached underlayment. The underlayment provides cushioning, sound reduction, and moisture protection. Choose a product that is compatible with your existing hardwood floor and meets your specific requirements in terms of quality and functionality.
Should I Install LVP Myself?
If you’ve decided to use LVP in place of hardwood, it’s time to decide which installation method to use. DIY LVP flooring installation is a popular trend for homeowners who want to upgrade their home’s flooring without breaking the bank. However, some individuals still opt for professional installation services to ensure the installation process is done correctly.
DIY LVP Flooring Installation Pros
- Saves money – The primary advantage of a DIY LVP flooring installation is cost savings. You can purchase the materials yourself and install them without paying any labor fees. This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the project.
- Control over the installation process – With a DIY project, you have complete control over how you want your flooring installed. You can take your time to plan and execute the installation per your preferences.
- A sense of achievement – Completing a difficult DIY project such as an LVP flooring installation can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Moreover, you learn a new skill and add to your expertise for future home projects.
- Flexibility in scheduling – DIY installation allows you to work on your flooring project at your own pace. You can spread out the work over several weekends or days that work best with your schedule.
DIY LVP Flooring Installation Cons
- Time-consuming – Installing LVP flooring is not a quick task. It can take several days to complete the job, especially if you’re working on a large project.
- Requires tools and equipment – DIY LVP installation requires specific tools and materials such as a utility knife, saw, and adhesive. If you don’t have these tools at home, you will have to purchase or rent them separately.
- Risk of mistakes – Without proper experience, there is a possibility of making mistakes during the installation process, such as improper cutting or not following the manufacturer’s instructions. These mistakes can cost you more in the long run, and it may be difficult to fix them after installation.
Professional LVP Flooring Installation Pros
- Expertise and experience – Professional installation services have experienced installers who have knowledge and training on how to install LVP flooring correctly. They will ensure that the installation process is done promptly and correctly.
- Warranty – Most professional installation services provide a warranty for their work, giving you peace of mind if any issues arise post-installation.
- Timesaving – Professional installers have the right tools, equipment, and experience, which enables them to install LVP flooring quickly and efficiently.
Professional LVP Flooring Installation Cons
- Cost – The primary disadvantage of professional LVP flooring installation is the cost. Professional installation services usually charge per square foot, which can add up.
- Dependency – When you hire professionals for installation, you become dependent on them to complete the job. This means you will have to work with their schedule and may need to adjust your own plans until the job is complete.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to DIY or hire a professional depends on your experience, budget, and time constraints. If you’re looking for the job to be done quickly and with no mistakes, it’s best to choose professional installation.
Can you put LVP over hardwood floors?
Yes, you can install LVP flooring over hardwood floors as long as the surface is flat, level, and in good condition. The hardwood floor should be free of debris, dirt, and any loose boards should be securely fastened. It is also recommended to use an underlayment to provide additional support, insulation, and soundproofing. However, keep in mind that installing LVP over hardwood floors may increase the height of your floor and may require adjustments to your baseboards, doors, and other fixtures.
Why choose LVP over hardwood?
There are several reasons to choose Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring over hardwood:
1. Durability: LVP is extremely durable and scratch-resistant, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and homes with children and pets. Hardwood, on the other hand, is prone to scratches and dents.
2. Water-resistant: LVP is 100% water-resistant, making it perfect for areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Hardwood is susceptible to water damage and cannot be installed in such areas.
3. Cost: LVP is less expensive than hardwood, making it a cost-effective option for homeowners on a budget.
4. Low maintenance: LVP requires little maintenance, with just regular sweeping and occasional mopping.
Does LVP need underlayment on wood?
Yes, it is recommended to use underlayment on wood when installing LVP flooring. Underlayment helps to provide a smooth and level surface for the flooring, as well as reduce noise and prevent moisture from seeping through the wood subfloor.
However, note that the type of underlayment needed may vary depending on the type of wood subfloor and the manufacturer’s recommendations for the LVP flooring being installed.