Before you invest in LVT, you need to know the pros and cons of LVT flooring. Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, is a huge step up from sheet vinyl. In many ways, it combines the benefits of vinyl with the appearance and durability of laminate flooring.
LVT flooring mimics the look of in-demand materials like hardwood and natural stone without the lofty price point. LVT lasts several decades with minimal maintenance and can be installed in as little as a weekend.
While LVT flooring is one of the best hardwood or tile alternatives on the market, it still falls short of the real deal. LVT flooring tends to show imperfections in the surface below. It can also be a pain to repair or replace as needed.
Is LVT flooring the answer to your home design prayers? Or should you continue saving for authentic hardwood, ceramic, or stone floors? Keep reading for the pros and cons of LVT flooring:
11 Pros and Cons of LVT Flooring You Need To Know
Pros of LVT Flooring
1. Extreme Versatility
The durability and attractiveness of LVT flooring make it a wonderful candidate for nearly any room in the house. And with so many different styles available, you’ll have no trouble finding an LVT product to match your existing decor.
2. Endless Design Options
No two LVT products are exactly alike. There are countless different designs to choose from, including many that mimic the appearance of natural wood or stone.
LVT flooring is a great alternative to expensive or hard-to-find materials like exotic hardwood or colored stone. Plus, you get to enjoy the look of these one-of-a-kind materials without many of the inherent drawbacks associated with natural flooring.
3. Built to Last
On average, most LVT flooring products last up to 20 years. However, some LVT floors hold up for 50 years or more with proper care.
LVT doesn’t have the longest life expectancy in the flooring world. But it will hold up to all kinds of abuse — including from pets and children — throughout that time!
4. Affordable Price Point
On the one hand, LVT flooring is considerably more expensive than sheet vinyl. But when you compare this material to those it tries to replicate — i.e., hardwood, stone, and ceramic tile — the cost of LVT is surprisingly low!
Another factor contributing to LVT flooring’s affordability is the minimal labor required during installation.
Many types of LVT are entirely waterproof. This makes LVT a perfect solution for living spaces like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and mudrooms.
Even LVT flooring that is not 100% waterproof is far more resilient to moisture damage than hardwood and other natural materials. While LVT flooring itself is typically waterproof, moisture can still pass through the seams between each tile.
Proper installation is crucial to prevent potential water damage to the subfloor.
6. Easy to Install
When it comes to installation, there are several different types of LVT flooring available. Tongue-and-groove, pre-glued, and floating LVT floors are some of the most popular.
Many of these installation methods are perfect for the average DIYer. Even if you opt for professional installation, the time and expense required will be less than materials like hardwood or stone tile.
7. Simple Maintenance
Despite replicating the look of hardwood and other luxury materials, LVT flooring is incredibly easy to maintain.
LVT flooring requires no sanding or refinishing. Once installed, you can leave your LVT floors alone until it's time for an upgrade.
Routine cleaning is similar to caring for other types of vinyl flooring. Vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping with a gentle household cleaner are all it takes to keep your LVT floors pristine.
Cons of LVT Flooring
1. Shows Imperfections in Subfloor
Unlike thicker materials like ceramic tile or hardwood, LVT flooring tends to show every little imperfection in the subfloor below. Many homeowners are unbothered by these small divots and gaps.
But for homeowners who value a flawless installation, such imperfections can make LVT flooring feel like a waste of time and money. Careful preparation of the subfloor prior to installation is crucial to ensuring a smooth finished product!
2. Prone to Dents
LVT flooring is capable of standing up to all kinds of wear and tear. Unfortunately, one form of damage this material is highly susceptible to is denting. The force of objects impacting an LVT floor can leave permanent dents on the surface.
Dents may also appear underneath heavy pieces of furniture or appliances left in one place for extended periods. With enough force, a dent can turn into a deep scuff or scrape in the LVT’s top layers.
The only way to fix this damage is to replace the affected flooring.
3. Difficult to Repair
The physical act of replacing damaged LVT flooring isn’t necessarily more difficult than fixing any other material. However, sourcing new LVT can be extremely challenging (or even impossible).
LVT products rotate very frequently. So a style of flooring sold at any given time probably won’t be available within a few years’ time.
If you’re unable to find replacements for the damaged panels, the only option will be to replace the entire floor with new LVT.
4. Not Sustainable
Vinyl is a type of plastic. Vinyl products, including LVT flooring, are man-made materials that will not decompose in the natural environment.
Due to how LVT is manufactured, it cannot be recycled into new goods like many other types of plastic. Instead, most used LVT flooring ends up in landfills where it will sit for many, many years.
Thanks to LVT, homeowners can get remarkably close to the look and feel of luxury flooring without the expense! However, those expecting LVT flooring to be imperceptible from real hardwood or tile will be sorely disappointed.
LVT flooring shines in terms of versatility, durability, and ease of maintenance. Even in spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, LVT will hold up to decades of wear and tear.
You also can’t get much better than the sheer variety of LVT products available for installation. While LVT flooring is incredibly easy to install, it requires an eye for detail.
Imperfections in the subfloor will show through the LVT and may even impact longevity. Sourcing replacement LVT is not easy — you can’t customize the finish to match the existing flooring like you can hardwood.
LVT flooring is also one of the least sustainable products on the market. LVT may not be the perfect flooring solution for many situations.
But it’s a great, affordable option for many homeowners in need of a change!