What is the Difference Between LVP & LVT Flooring?


You are currently deciding on which floor you want within your home and may have come across sheet vinyl, which is only available in sheets and composite tiles. In this research, you have discovered an even better option: LVT (luxury vinyl tile) and LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring, which can be grouted and mimics natural materials like stone, wood, or tile. Not only that, but these floors come with a lot of different options. 

A good question to ask yourself is what the difference is between LVP and LVT flooring? Although they have many similarities, such as the design, color, and patterns, the contrast between these floors is that luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is supposed to mimic tile. In contrast, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) looks similar to hardwood flooring. The only exception is the arrangement of the planks.

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With this in mind, it can be a bit hard to differentiate between the two. One must ask themselves which one of these floors will do better in their homes and best fit their lifestyles, if they look cheaply made, or hold up to their name of being truly luxurious? We are going to go through all of those questions and more in this article today.

What Is a Luxury Vinyl?

You might be wondering what exactly a luxury vinyl tile is. In short, it is designed to look similar to other flooring materials, such as wood, ceramic, and stone. You reap many benefits natural flooring has, but instead of worrying about bruises, scratches, expanding and contracting, you only have to worry about maintaining cleanliness. 

Which is Better: LVT or LVP?

Which flooring is better, and why? Realistically, there is no definite, this is better than that scenario, but it all boils back to what you prefer. However, there are some things to keep in mind with both. Since they are slightly different, it is safe to suspect that they will not have the same pros and cons. 

LUXURY VINYL TILE (LVT)

PROS

  • Cheaper than stone: These floors are a much lower cost to get and to install. You also do not have to worry about potentially breaking while installing since they are bendable. 
  • Easy to clean and maintain: Many stone and tile is hard to keep looking spic and span because you have to deal with the grout and polish it regularly, but thankfully LVT flooring only requires a quick sweep and mop every once in a while, thanks to its wear layer.
  • Lots of floor options: One of the best parts about LVT is that you can pick and choose which colors and patterns you want.
  • Comfortable: Because it is not a hard surface, it adds much more comfortable for your feet. Not having to walk on thin ice is the best feeling. 
  • Water-resistant: If you have small children or butterfingers, these floors will be great because it means you do not have to worry about getting specific carpet cleaners then scrubbing until it looks as it was previously.

CONS

  • Non-biodegradable: It is safe to say LVT is not the best for the environment and can be very hard to dispose of, which will cause more land pollution in the next few years.
  • May cause health problems:  Vinyl can emit gasses in the air (aka VOCs). If you are prone to have any breathing problems, these floors may not be for you.
  • It may be a safety hazard to some: If you were to spill liquid accidentally, water remains on the surface, leaving a more slippery surface afterward.  
  • LVT floors do not add any value to your home: When you want to sell your house in a few years, these floors will not be the best option for you.

LUXURY VINYL PLANK (LVP)

PROS

  • Cheaper than wood: Although, yes, wood is beautiful, it is also expensive. Vinyl is roughly 50% less than hardwood floors. Now, who doesn’t love a good deal?  
  • Easy to clean and preserve: Luxury vinyl planks are very easy to maintain with just sweeping daily and moping 2-4 times a month. Since they are water-resistant, you do not have to worry if any liquid were to spill on the floor. 
  • Many floor options: Just as above, LVP will provide a wide variety of alternatives that natural wood does not.
  • Easy installation: Since the bottom of vinyl has an attached underlayment, they do not need to go through the long process of using any other material between the flooring and subfloors, which allows the installation process to be a breeze. All you need to do is make sure the floor planks lock together. 
  • Comfortable: Unlike some flooring that hurts your feet, such as concrete, you do not have to be worrying about walking on pins and needles all day.
  • Durable: Wood floors scratch easily, but with LVP, you can get it with the understanding that they will not erode as much. 

CONS

  • Non-biodegradable: It isn’t easy to get rid of these floors when their lifespan runs out. May cause health problems: Vinyl enates gasses into the air, which is not good for someone who has respiratory issues.
  • Fades in the sun: If you have a house that does not let in a lot of sunlight, then this will not be an issue, but if you love to open your windows up, then expect a faded area on your floors where the sunlight hits. To prevent this, place a rug or piece of furniture near that specific area affected by sunlight. 
  • Heavy items might bring damage to your floors: Many luxury vinyl planks are not glued to the floor, so furniture or even wheelchairs may move a plank causing it to get damaged or break. Adhesives are used to secure the flooring. However, if the adhesive doesn’t stick well, it can move or become damaged.

How to Clean and Care for LVP and LVT

Some flooring is hard to clean and manage, especially if you spilled something big or higher in traffic areas, like in your kitchen, dining room, and living room. However, both of the LVP and LVT floors are, for the most part, trouble-free, which makes it reasonably easy to clean up. 

Since they are hard floors, crumbs, and other small objects you track in will be easier to see. If you had a carpet, you would not notice it as much. A quick daily sweep or dry mop is an easy fix for this issue. Make sure you mop anywhere between 2-4 times a month to ensure the dirt does not remain on the ground. Not mopping will lead to your feet looking darker than they should be due to the dirt on the floor.

Ensuring further protection over your floors, get furniture pads for all of your belongings to prevent any scratches. On top of this, wheelchair usage and foot traffic will eventually decrease the silica layer these floors provide, so reapplying any protective finishing after a few years of use will allow your floors’ life to last longer.

Does LVP and LVT Flooring Scratch Easily?

The floors that scratch the most are hardwood and softwood. Because luxury vinyl planks look similar to them and are harder than carpet, many people ask if vinyl floors scratch easily. If you have children or animals, the last thing you want is to watch your new floors get beat up! 

However, because of their immaculate wear layer that protects the floors from scrapes and scratches, vinyl floors are not easily damaged. Making sure no heavy-duty furniture does not often move and adding furniture pads underneath your appliances’ legs will guarantee this does not happen. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure your furniture’s legs do not have any nails or spikes sticking from the bottoms of the feet. If this is the case, it might be time to say goodbye to that item.

Do LVT and LVP Look Cheap?

You might not have gotten new floors within your home because you know that the less expensive floors are not the greatest, and you cannot afford to buy something that is $6 to $12 per square foot (sometimes going up to $25). Since these floors are so affordable on a lower budget, one might assume that they MUST be just that due to being on the cheaper side. Cheap, right?

On the contrary, they do not look this way at all. I have LVP flooring within my own home and can personally attest to this. The look within my home is just as if it were real hardwood floors. The best part about technology today is that we can afford better products on a lower end budget. Luxury vinyl is considered luxurious due to the low maintenance, waterproof planks, and can easily withstand higher walking areas. 

Conclusion

With that said, LVP and LVT floorings are very similar in a majority of ways. It is good to know that these planks offer an easy and hassle-free installation. Whether you like stone or wood better, you get to decide which would be the best look for your household.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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