Vinyl flooring has been the top choice in affordable, practical flooring for many years–and with various colors and prints to choose from, it is also a stylish choice for spaces where water resistance, stain resistance, and durability is preferred and needed.
The vinyl flooring market has traditionally been driven by two forms–sheet vinyl (or rolled vinyl), and vinyl tile. These are regarded as standard vinyl flooring and are quite different from the newer, luxury vinyl usually referred to as luxury vinyl plank, or LVP or is also available as luxury vinyl tile or LVT.
In this guide, we will explore the key differences between standard vinyl and luxury vinyl.
Traditional vs. Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Sheet vinyl still plays a major role in residential flooring, but standard vinyl is made from a very thin layer of vinyl making it prone to tearing and holes. Manufacturers responded to this with the creation of luxury vinyl tile, or plank.
The major differences between traditional vinyl flooring and luxury vinyl comes down to how it is sold.
Standard vinyl is sold in either rolled sheets or square tiles. Standard is very thin, made up of a thin layer of vinyl bonded with a thin backing of fiberglass or felt backing. The vinyl layer is printed with the design and then a top coat of a protective film is applied. While this style of vinyl is very flexible and quite thin, it still has water resistant and stain resistant properties and offers durability.
Luxury vinyl is much different. Sold in multi-ply planks or tiles with layers ranging from 2-8mm thick considerably thicker than sheet vinyl and semi-rigid in nature unlike the highly flexible standard vinyl. With six to eight layers of material including a printed design layer, a clear coat for shine, a protective coat on top of the print, and a foam layer for cushion, plus a fiberglass backing and solid PVC layer for added durability. LVP and LVT flooring is much more comfortable to walk on, rather than the thin standard vinyl which is thin and without much cushioning.
Differences Between Standard Vinyl and Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Aside from their physical makeup, there are other key differences to note between LVP and LVT and sheet or rolled vinyl flooring. Listed below are some major differences to consider when shopping for vinyl flooring:
Standard Vinyl Flooring
- Cost- .50 to $2 per square foot
- Thickness- very thin
- Dimensions- 6 or 12-foot rolls; 6 to 18-inch square tiles
- Installation- full glue-down bond
- Durability- 10-15 years
- Value- usually viewed as “bargain” flooring
- Cost- $2 to $7 per square foot
- Thickness- thicker and more rigid than sheet vinyl
- Dimensions- 4 1/2 x 48 inch planks; 12- to 18-inch square tiles
- Installation- click-lock or floating installation
- Durability- up to 25 years
- Value- viewed as more prestigious
You may also want to consider the appearance of each flooring option, and what look you’re looking to achieve as each type of vinyl flooring was designed to emulate a different material. Standard vinyl is typically used as a substitute to stone or ceramic tile, however there are many patterns, styles, and colors available.
Luxury vinyl plank is typically used in place of hardwood flooring with its click-lock style giving the simulation of hardwood planks. Luxury vinyl tile on the other hand typically resembles stone and ceramic tile, much more convincingly than its sheet vinyl counterpart.
When to Use Sheet Vinyl Flooring
Standard vinyl has an edge over luxury vinyl when it comes to heat and water resistance as it is normally installed in one or two unbroken pieces. Because of this, it does not have the seams associated with tile or plank vinyl, making it less susceptible to moisture–making it an ideal choice for bathrooms and other areas requiring moisture resistance.
Sheet vinyl, like luxury tile and plank flooring can both be damaged with extreme temperatures from hot pans, cigarettes, heating appliances such as curling irons, high heat can melt the surface. You may not want to use this type of flooring in a hot kitchen, especially in a commercial kitchen that might be more likely to have hot pans fall or grease spills.
When to Use Tile Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl, whether in plank or tile form, is more durable than sheet vinyl as it is thicker and can hold up to high traffic areas and spaces where wear and tear may be a concern. Both flooring options have water resistance properties, so this style of floor is also ideal for kitchens, laundry rooms, mudrooms, and bathrooms.
Neither luxury or standard vinyl holds an advantage when it comes to cleaning, care and maintenance. However, with the proper care, the investment of luxury vinyl may have longer lasting qualities than sheet or rolled vinyl as its thickness adds to its durability.
Installing Vinyl Flooring
When it comes to installing either standard or luxury tile, sheet vinyl is typically best installed by professionals with a full glue-down bond method. As for luxury plank or tile, it is easier to install DIY style, the interlocking technology makes this flooring a bit easier to work with for non-professionals. The click-and-lock system is often a floating style over the subfloor without requiring glue or bonding to keep in place.
Is there a Winner?
While both types of vinyl flooring have their clear advantages and even similar properties, if you can afford it, luxury vinyl is going to give a better return on investment in areas of comfort, more authentic look, and longevity. And if you prefer self-installation, or want to spend the money with the flooring itself and save on installation costs, luxury is the easier choice.
The experts at Flowers Flooring can help you choose your design and brand of luxury vinyl that best meets your needs, style, and budget for your home project. Contact Flowers Flooring today for a free in-home estimate.
About Flowers Flooring
Flowers Flooring is your family flooring specialists with two locations – Cornelius, NC and Winston-Salem, NC. Both locations service a 100-mile radius from the showroom. Both locations specialize in flooring sales and installation including carpet, laminate, hardwood, sand & finish, hardwood restoration, vinyl plank, vinyl tile, rubber flooring, tile floors, tile showers, tile backsplash, area rugs, interior painting and more. To reach the Cornelius, NC location please call (704) 445-7750 and to reach our Winston-Salem location, please call (336) 660-0977. Please be sure to inquire about our current promotion and financing offers.