From affordable pricing to a low-maintenance lifestyle, homeowners are quickly discovering the beauty and benefits of luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring that looks just like hardwood. But what exactly is LVP? How do you install it? Should you hire an installer? Read on to uncover the answers to these questions and more.
Introduction to LVP Flooring and Popular Wood-Look Styles
Are you considering a flooring update for your home but feeling overwhelmed by the countless options available? LVP or luxury vinyl plank flooring could be the perfect solution for your needs. Combining hardwood’s timeless aesthetic with vinyl’s modern benefits, LVP flooring is a versatile and durable choice for any room.
Top Reasons to Choose LVP Flooring Over Real Wood
Wondering why LVP might be a better choice for your flooring needs than real wood? Here are some of the most compelling reasons:
- Cost-effectiveness: LVP flooring is often more affordable than traditional hardwood, making it a great option for homeowners on a budget.
- Durability: LVP flooring is resistant to scratches, dents, and everyday wear and tear, ensuring that it stays looking new for longer.
- Moisture resistance: Unlike hardwood, LVP is impervious to water damage, making it an excellent option for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.
- Easy installation: LVP flooring can be installed as a floating floor, eliminating the need for nails or glue. This makes the installation process less time-consuming and less expensive.
- Low maintenance: LVP flooring is easy to clean and maintain, requiring only regular sweeping and the occasional damp mop.
Perfecting the Wood Look with Modern Technology
LVP flooring has come a long way in recent years, with manufacturers using advanced printing technologies to create incredibly realistic wood-look images. High-resolution photographs allow for intricate detail and authentic color variations, while embossing techniques add texture and depth to mimic the feel of real wood. Some LVP flooring options even feature a registered embossing method, aligning the embossed texture with the printed image for a truly lifelike appearance.
Popular LVP Wood-Look Styles
With countless LVP wood-look styles on the market, you will surely find the perfect match for your home’s aesthetic. Let’s explore some popular styles and brands of LVP flooring:
- Rustic: For a cozy, lived-in feel, look for LVP flooring that mimics the appearance of distressed, reclaimed, or hand-scraped wood. Shaw’s Repel line features rustic options like “Cabin Fever” and “Hearthside.”
- Traditional: For a classic home style, consider LVP flooring with the appearance of oak, maple, or hickory. Armstrong’s Luxe Plank line offers traditional options like “Natural Oak” and “Maple Amber.”
- Exotic: Looking to make a statement with your flooring? LVP planks that mimic exotic wood species such as acacia, teak, or Brazilian cherry can add a unique touch. COREtec’s Plus line features exotic designs like “Black Walnut” and “Java Driftwood.”
- Weathered: For a beach house or coastal-inspired space, weathered wood-look LVP can create a beautifully-aged appearance. Karndean’s Van Gogh line includes weathered styles like “Reclaimed Redwood” and “Smoked Oak.”
When choosing LVP flooring, be sure to order samples and view them in your home under different lighting conditions to determine the best fit for your space. It’s also helpful to read reviews and consult with a flooring professional for guidance.
Best LVP Wood-Look Brands:
When it comes to flooring options, there are many to choose from, and it can be challenging to decide which one to go for. The following are among some fo the top brands of luxury vinyl flooring:
- Proximity Mills: Provides a durable solution with the material in various wood and stone designs. Its click-lock installation system makes it easy to lay, and with a 20-mil wear layer, it’s suitable for high-traffic areas.
- Doma: Doma offers various designs, from classic to modern, while using natural materials and environmentally friendly production techniques. Its waterproof and scratch-resistant properties make it easy to clean and maintain, and it’s stable and supportive with a strong backing.
- COREtex: A popular choice for its 100% waterproof core that protects against spills and moisture, and it comes in various wood and stone designs. The cork backing also provides added comfort and sound insulation, making it an ideal choice for areas with high foot traffic.
- Newton: offers a range of unique patterns and designs that use advanced digital printing technology to achieve a natural and authentic look. Its high-quality PVC material ensures durability, and the click-lock system makes it easy to install.
- Karndean’s distinctive look and texture make it a popular choice with its wood, stone, and metallic finishes. It’s made with high-quality materials that are formulated for durability, and the K-Guard+ surface protection system enhances scratch resistance making it ideal for high-traffic areas.
Guide to LVP Flooring Installation: DIY vs Expert Floor Installer
Installing Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring is a popular DIY project due to its affordability, durability, and ease of installation. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with this project from start to finish.
Step 1: Preparation
Before you begin, ensure that you have the necessary tools and materials for installation. You will need a measuring tape, utility knife, rubber mallet, spacers, tapping block, and a flooring pull bar. In addition to the basic tools, you should also have protective gear such as gloves, knee pads, and safety goggles. It’s important to wear these items to protect your hands, knees, and eyes during installation. You should also make sure that the flooring material has been acclimatized to the room temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation. This allows the flooring to adjust to the environment, reducing the risk of expansion or contraction after installation. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the best results.
Step 2: Remove Existing Flooring and Baseboards
Remove any existing flooring and baseboards to ensure a smooth and level subfloor. Repair any damaged areas or uneven surfaces before proceeding. Removing existing flooring and baseboards is a critical step in preparing the subfloor for new flooring installation. Completing this step will ensure that the new flooring is properly installed and will look its best for years to come. Before removing the old flooring, it is important to assess any potential structural or safety risks, such as asbestos or damaged subflooring.
Step 3: Clean and Level the Subfloor
Once the old flooring and baseboards are removed, inspect the subfloor for any damage, cracks, or unevenness. These issues should be repaired before installing the new floor to prevent any issues down the line. The result will be a smooth, level surface ready for the new flooring. Sweep or vacuum the subfloor, and then fill any gaps or depressions with a suitable leveling compound. Remember to let the compound dry as per the manufacturer’s guidelines before proceeding.
Step 4: Install Underlayment (if necessary)
If your LVP requires an underlayment, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific product. Some LVP flooring comes with a pre-attached underlayment; if so, you can skip this step. Underlayment may be necessary if your subfloor is not perfectly smooth or if you are installing your LVP over concrete. Underlayment can provide additional cushioning, thermal insulation, and soundproofing.
Step 6: Plan Your Layout
Measure the room and determine the best layout for the planks. Plan to stagger the plank seams to give the flooring a natural appearance. Maintaining a 6-inch stagger between adjacent rows is a good rule of thumb. Consider the direction of incoming natural light, the placement of furniture, and the overall aesthetic when choosing the layout. It’s also important to note any unique features, such as built-in cabinets or fireplaces, and plan the layout accordingly. For larger rooms, a diagonal or herringbone pattern can add dimension and interest to the space.
Step 7: Install the First Row
Begin in the corner of the room, and work your way out. Place spacers between the planks and the wall to maintain a 1/4-inch expansion gap. Install each plank by clicking it into the adjacent plank and securing it with a rubber mallet. When installing the first row of planks, it’s important to make sure they are straight and even. To do this, use a chalk line to snap a guideline across the length of the room.
Step 8: Continue Installing Rows
Continue installing rows, staggering the planks as necessary. Use the tapping block to ensure that each plank is firmly in place, and the flooring pull bar to help install the final plank in each row.
Step 9: Replace Baseboards and Trim
Once the LVP flooring is installed, replace the baseboards and trim. Remember to maintain a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the baseboards and the flooring to allow for expansion and contraction.
Step 10: Clean and Enjoy Your New LVP Flooring
After installing the flooring, clean the surface using a damp cloth or a vinyl-approved cleaner. Now, you can enjoy your beautiful and durable LVP flooring.
Should You Partner with an Expert Floor Installer Instead?
While LVP flooring is known for its ease of installation, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether you should hire an expert floor installer instead. Consider the following points to make an informed decision.
Time and Effort
Installing LVP flooring can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. If you’re short on time or prefer not to spend your weekends engaged in a DIY project, partnering with an expert may be the better option.
Experience and Skill Level
Installing LVP flooring may seem easy, but it does require a certain level of expertise and experience. If you’re not confident in your DIY abilities or don’t have experience installing flooring, hiring a professional installer can save you time and potential headaches.
Complex Floor Plans
If you have a complex floor plan with multiple rooms, angles, or unique features, a professional floor installer is better equipped to handle the challenges of such layouts.
Warranty and Guarantee
Some LVP flooring manufacturers may offer a warranty or guarantee on their products if a certified professional installs them. Choosing to work with an expert installer can help ensure your flooring remains covered under these terms.
While partnering with an expert floor installer may increase your overall budget for the project, it can also save you money in the long run as a professional installation can reduce the risk of mistakes or damages to the flooring.
Ultimately, choosing to install LVP flooring on your own or to partner with an expert installer will depend on your preferences, budget, skill level, and time constraints.
The Low Maintenance Advantage of LVP Floors
One of the primary benefits of LVP floors is their low maintenance. LVP floors are specifically designed to require minimal upkeep while still providing a durable and stylish flooring option. One of the most significant advantages of LVP floors is their resistance to water and moisture damage. Unlike traditional hardwood floors, which can warp or stain when exposed to moisture, LVP floors are waterproof, making them an ideal option for high-traffic areas, bathrooms, and kitchens.
This same quality makes LVP floors easy to clean and maintain. To clean LVP floors, simply sweep or vacuum the floor to remove any dirt or debris, and then damp mop with a mild cleaning solution. There’s no need to worry about using harsh chemicals or cleaners on your LVP floors, and you’ll never have to worry about damage from water or excessive moisture.
Another reason why LVP floors are low maintenance is due to their durability. Made with multiple layers including a wear layer, LVP floors are resistant to scratches, dents, and scuffs. LVP floors are designed to withstand the wear and tear of daily use and will maintain their appearance for years. Unlike traditional hardwood floors, which require sanding and refinishing over time to keep them looking their best, LVP floors do not require any upkeep beyond simple cleaning.
Finally, because of their versatility, LVP floors require minimal upkeep. They come in a wide range of styles, colors, and textures, so there is an LVP floor design that will fit any home decor or personal style. Whether you prefer a classic, rustic look or a modern, sleek design, there is an LVP floor option that will suit your preferences. And, because LVP floors are easy to install, you won’t have to worry about professional installation costs or time-consuming DIY projects.
Conclusion: Why LVP is Better than Real Wood Floors
While real wood floors undeniably have their own charm and appeal, LVP floors offer several key advantages that make them a better choice for today’s modern home. Here’s a summary of why LVP floors come out on top.
Appearance – A Wide Range of Beautiful Designs
LVP floors come in various designs and styles that mimic the appearance of real wood. With a multitude of choices, homeowners can find the perfect floor to match their needs and aesthetic preferences. The realistic patterns and colors of LVP floors make it difficult to distinguish from actual hardwood flooring.
Cost – A More Affordable Choice
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is significantly more affordable than real wood floors, making it an excellent choice for homeowners on a budget. The lower initial cost combined with fewer maintenance requirements and expenses makes LVP floors a more economical choice in the long run.
Installation – Fast and Simple
LVP floors are easier to install than real wood floors, with options like click-lock and peel-and-stick installation methods available. This means a faster installation process and the possibility for projects.
Low Maintenance – The Winning Factor
As discussed in detail above, LVP floors require less maintenance than real wood floors. The durability, water resistance, easy cleaning, and simpler repair/replacement make LVP flooring a practical and convenient option for many homeowners.
In conclusion, the low maintenance advantage of LVP floors, combined with other benefits such as appearance, cost, and ease of installation, make them a wiser choice over real wood floors for modern homes. To make an informed decision, it’s always best to consult with professionals and consider all the factors specific to your home and lifestyle.
Is there an LVP that feels like wood?
Yes, there are luxury vinyl plank (LVP) options available in the market that are designed to mimic the look and feel of real wood. These LVPs are made with a textured surface that closely resembles the grain and texture of wood, and they come in a variety of wood-like colors and finishes. Some manufacturers even use a special embossing technique to create wood-like knots and character marks on the surface of the plank. With advancements in technology, LVPs have become more realistic and can rival the look and feel of real wood, while still offering the benefits of durability, easy maintenance, and affordable pricing.
Which flooring looks most like real wood?
Luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) is often considered the flooring that looks most like real wood. It is designed with high-quality photographic images of wood grains and textures that closely resemble the look and feel of real wood. Additionally, LVP can be embossed or textured to create a more realistic wood-like appearance. Other flooring options, such as laminate and engineered hardwood, can also closely resemble the look of real wood, but LVP is often considered the most realistic option.