Top 3 Problems With Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
The options can be overwhelming when selecting the best flooring for your home. You may start your research by searching the internet, hoping to find a wealth of information to help guide your decision-making process. However, you may quickly find yourself drowning in contradictory advice, biased reviews, and sales pitches that tend to leave out the crucial details, a.k.a, the “problems” of certain products. Trying to find the problems of luxury vinyl plank flooring may be challenging.
How can you be aware of the potential challenges you might face with LVP if they’re nowhere to be found online? What if you can’t find reliable information that is relevant to your needs?
Flooring Solutions has been in the flooring industry for nearly 15 years, and we’d be lying if we said every flooring product was perfect for everyone. Throughout the years, we’ve encountered pros and cons to countless products, some of which are most popular today. While each product has its pros and cons, we feel it’s crucial for you and other homeowners to have a real understanding of potential problems you might encounter in your vinyl flooring project, as these facts will help you navigate your options smoothly.
Most articles on the internet try to mask issues with their products, not knowing they turn homeowners away. Transparency is something we value at Flooring Solutions, so that is what we intend to be for you. After all, flooring is a significant purchase, and we want you to get it right!
What is Luxury Vinyl Plank?
Luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) is a type that mimics the look of natural hardwood flooring but is made from layers of natural and synthetic materials.
The top layer is a printed design that can resemble different types of wood so you may want a rustic floor or a more traditional floor – there are many options to fit your preferences. It is covered with a wear layer that protects against scratches and scuffs. LVP is available in various sizes, thicknesses, and colors, making it a versatile flooring option for many spaces.
LVP has become increasingly popular due to its durability, affordability, and low maintenance. You can install LVP in various settings, including residential and commercial spaces. Some of the most common places LVP is installed include:
- Residential homes
- Light commercial spaces
- Educational facilities
- Light healthcare facilities
In any location you choose to install vinyl flooring, you are prone to run into the common problems. But the solutions are what matter most, so let’s dive in!
Problem #1: Luxury Vinyl Plank Isn’t 100% Waterproof.
There is a common misconception that manufacturer’s mean 100% waterproof, no matter what. But what they mean is waterproof for day-to-day use. Moisture from your feet won’t hurt your vinyl, and a spill here and there won’t damage your vinyl.
When water leaks into the edges and underneath the floor, there are concerns for moisture damage. The damage can depend on the subfloor type if water gets underneath the floor. There are two most common subfloor types where moisture can be a concern.
- Wood subfloor.
Most types of wood will swell & expands when exposed to heavy moisture. If your wood subfloor swells to the point of water damage, it can also cause your LVP to change form and potentially unlock the click-lock locking system.
- Concrete slab subfloor:
Hydrostatic pressure is the technical term when your concrete slab is exposed to heavy moisture. This pressure can be released upward, causing the joints where LVP is locked to crown upward and rise.
Best Ways to Minimize LVP Moisture Damage
- Wipe up spills and accidents quickly.
Though luxury vinyl plank can hold moisture on its surface without issues, you don’t want water to seep close to the walls and underneath your baseboards.
- If you do have a significant leak, contact a restoration company quickly.
If moisture is detected, the restoration company can try to contain the water in a smaller area. The quicker they can access your home, the better your chance of salvaging your floors.
- Install in easily accessible areas.
It’s best not to install in areas you don’t have easy access to in case you need to clean up leaks or spills quickly.
Problem #2: Luxury Vinyl Plank Isn’t 100% Scratch Proof.
The good thing is that no scratchproof flooring is on the market, so you don’t have to waste time searching for one. Vendors cannot guarantee scratchproof flooring because there are many factors to consider in a person’s lifestyle. How can they possibly guarantee you will never have a scratch?
Nobody can predict accidents. Even in everyday life, vendors cannot guarantee that something too heavy or sharp won’t touch your flooring. Vinyl will hold up better to scratches than most other floorings, so vinyl could be right for you if you think there’s a possibility for damage to flooring. There are three types of vinyl flooring cores; all have a part to play in scratching and overall wear:
- Stone Plastic Composite (SPC)
If you’re looking for the most dense core for LVP, this core would be your best choice. Made from limestone, it is currently the most scratch and dent-resistant core.
- Stone Plastic Composite (SPC)
The most commonly used core for LVP is this type of core. PVC is used in many other home improvement projects other than flooring; although not the most durable, it will still stand up better than other flooring types.
- Wood Plastic Composite (WPC)
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly luxury vinyl plank, you’ll likely find one with this core type. WPC cores will still withstand some scratches and overall damage, but you may see more indentions with this core type.
An interesting fact about vinyl plank and the three core types above is that the comfort levels are in reverse order from above. SPC core is more rigid and harder under your foot, while WPC is softer and will have more give under your foot. If you do opt to move forward with Luxury Vinyl Plank, knowing the difference between the core types, you’ll want to ensure you properly clean and maintain it.
How Do You Clean & Maintain Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
A substantial positive side of LVP is its ease of maintenance. If you are looking for lower maintenance flooring than other options, LVP could work for you.
All manufacturers have a recommended specific cleaner that correlates with the particular product. They have tested these cleaners and have produced technology inside them that guarantee it won’t affect the finish. The upside to using manufacturer-recommended cleaners is that it takes much of the guesswork out of shopping for cleaning products.
Here are the top 3 guidelines we advise our Flooring Solutions customers to keep in mind when selecting cleaners:
- Use a non-abrasive, pH-neutral cleaner.
Many LVP manufacturers recommend using a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for vinyl flooring.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools.
Harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, such as steel wool or scouring pads, can damage the surface of LVP and cause scratches.
- Use a stain-resistant cleaner.
While luxury vinyl plank flooring cleaners usually don’t have harsh chemicals, it’s still important to use a cleaner that prevents stains and doesn’t cause them.
Following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions is the easiest way to clean and maintain your LVP. Always consult with your flooring specialist if you’re unsure of the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for your LVP product, as they may have specific recommendations or restrictions.
Problem #3: Luxury Vinyl Plank Can Make Noise When You Walk On It
How much noise? That’s tough to say, as it can vary from floor to floor. Since vinyl plank is most commonly a floating floor, it’s more likely to make noise when walking on it, and vinyl planks do not adhere to the subfloor. (link to install over existing article)
You may wonder what the noise will sound like and when you will hear it most. Each flooring is different so the noise may vary across the board. The most common noise you may hear is a very light “clicking” noise, or like you are walking lightly over small pieces of gravel.
With the proper and necessary floor prep, it could improve over time, and you will likely hear it decrease in areas you heard it the loudest.
Best Ways to Prevent Noise From LVP
- Install a good underlayment.
Your vinyl plank might come with something other than pre-attached underlayment, and vinyl performs best with some underlayment. The type of underlayment needed varies depending on the product, and we suggest using the manufacturer-recommended option.
- Install a secondary underlayment if applicable.
This option to install a secondary underlayment only applies if the manufacturer recommends or allows it. With certain products, the additional underlayment could pose installation issues or problems in the future.
- Install a 6-millimeter poly membrane underneath the vinyl.
If your household is particularly noisy, or you have multiple kids and pets, you may wonder how to minimize this noise. Installing a poly membrane under your vinyl can prevent the plank from touching the subfloor with heavy foot traffic.
- Ensure proper floor preparation.
Floor preparation is easily the most effective way to minimize noise. Do you have an uneven subfloor? You may have cracks or holes in the subfloor from previous flooring removal. These types of subfloor issues can cause noise to worsen if you do not remedy them before the installation. Floor preparation can look like different things for different homes. It’s best to consult with your flooring professional if you suspect subfloor issues.
If you think the noise is an issue in your household, you can use a glue-down vinyl plank that is adhered to a wood or concrete subfloor. If you already have existing flooring down, it’s best to consult your professional flooring company on whether you can install your luxury vinyl plank flooring directly over that.
Is Luxury Vinyl Plank the Right Flooring For Your Home?
With so much online information, knowing which sources are trustworthy and which are biased can be challenging. You want flooring advice that helps you understand the problems and solutions, so you can make the best choice, knowing how the flooring might work in your home.
You may be considering Luxury Vinyl Plank for your home. After reading the problems and solutions in this article, you might fit your lifestyle perfectly. If you feel LVP suits you, you may have a few questions scrolling through your mind:
How Much Does Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Cost? What does the installation process for LVP consist of? These are valuable questions that Flooring Solutions has done the research on for you!
It’s important to be aware of potential challenges, and know you’re working with a company that can provide the solutions to those. Whether you’re ready to choose luxury vinyl plank flooring for your home or a different option altogether, we may be a good fit to help you along your flooring journey. To start your project, schedule a Flooring Design Consultation, and get one step closer to finding your perfect flooring.
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