Vinyl Plank - What You Need to Know Before You Buy!
So you’re looking for some Luxury Vinyl Plank? Excellent – Vinyl Plank, Luxury Vinyl Plank, LVP – whatever you want to call it, is the fastest growing floor covering in the market, and has been for over 5 years now!
Now vinyl plank has really taken over the market because it’s very durable, easy to repair, easy to install, and very water resistant! Unlike other products, vinyl plank doesn't move due to moisture changes, but it does move with heat – when it get hot it expands, when it gets cold it shrinks.
Ok, so when we’re talking about vinyl plank there are three main types available today. Glue down, click together and our favorite – loose lay.
They are pretty much all constructed similarly; a wear layer, then either a recycled or virgin vinyl core, hopefully with some fiberglass for stability, and then the installation system. They are individual tiles or planks, unlike sheet vinyl that comes in a large roll.
Glue down is the cheapest. They are usually 2-3mm in total thickness, and have no fiberglass. Now this is a big problem here in Southern Saskatchewan – as I mentioned, the vinyl moves. And without something in the core to help minimize this movement – it can warp and buckle. While glue down is the cheapest, because of this movement we really suggest to not use it.
Next is floating vinyl, or click vinyl. Wow, this is horrible. The problem with it is that the tongue and groove is so small, unlike laminate flooring which first started the click togethers that has so much meat, so much strength on the click system. So with the click vinyls – if you accidentally bend it slightly wrong while installing they will break, and eventually with the expansion and contraction of the floor – it will come apart. With these, there are some that work – but that’s a totally different technology (spc, wpc) so we can go through that later if you want. But for now let’s talk real vinyl planks. We won’t sell you the click either.
Loose lay – now that’s what works here. They have thick wear layers, so can be used anywhere in your home, office, and commercial spaces. The good ones all have a virgin vinyl core. Now this is important – ordinarily we’d think that recycled would be better – but alas for this, we’d be wrong! When they are recycled, there are all sorts of different binders and whatever mixed into the vinyl. These make the floor less stable, and will move a lot more than the virgin vinyl.
Then, all of the loose lay vinyl that we sell – all has that fiberglass in the core. So while the floor will move a little bit, it will always move back to its original shape. Last but not least on the loose lay, this stuff is heavy. This weight as well as this texturing on the back of the boards helps keep the floors from moving. So they say that you don’t need to use any adhesive or glues while installing, but we still do. I consider it a very cheap insurance policy. So loose lay is fast to install, it’s very durable, it’s water resistant – and one of my favorites, it’s the easiest to repair.
You see, the glue that we use is called a pressure sensitive. So it’s spread onto the floor, allowed to flash (basically dry to the point that you can walk on it!). This is so easy, and even faster than click together systems! Now, after the floor is installed – say you take up juggling chainsaws or something, and one falls and damages a board. With this pressure sensitive glue, all you do is heat it up with a heat gun (get it to 90-95 F) and the glue lets go! Just pick up the board, and put a new one in its place. You don’t even need new glue!