What installation type of LVT is the best?

Luxury Vinyl Tiles are a recent adaptation of the well-known vinyl floor. Traditional vinyl floors (often called roll vinyl or sheet vinyl) are installed by sticking the sheet of vinyl directly to the subfloor. LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles) were invented to give more freedom over design and for a more manageable installation.

There are 3 types of LVT that we sell. You can opt for Stick Down, Locking System or Looselay. All 3 are made from PVC, making them incredibly durable. They have tough surfaces and are 100% waterproof, making them perfect for any room in the house! However, there are some differences between the 3 types that may draw you more towards one than another.

Stick Down LVT floors are the most traditional and comparable to sheet vinyl. These are stuck directly down to the subfloor. This does mean that the subfloor needs to be completely flat, dry and even with no exceptions. If there are any discrepancies, these may be visible once the floor is installed, which is not a good look. The task of installation itself is pretty strenuous and has to be done with great attention to detail, otherwise it can look pretty shoddy. We would strongly recommend sourcing a professional fitter for stick down vinyl, for both the preparation and the installation.

The great thing about Stick Down LVT floors is that you can really get creative with them and make them suit your personal preference. We can provide an array of borders, design strips and feature strips that can be used to customise your floor and make every installation completely unique. The design strips are particularly effective for tile effect LVT, as it mimics grouting, and makes the tiles look more realistic.

Locking system LVT floors have similar installation methods to laminate and engineered floors. The boards are designed to lock into each-other on top of an underlay – something known as a floating floor. This is particularly handy, as it’s DIY friendly, which can save a hefty amount on installation costs. It also means the subfloor doesn’t have to be completely perfect. It still needs to be flat, dry and even, but because of the underlay between the vinyl and the subfloor, it’s more forgiving to small discrepancies than stick down vinyl.

These are great if you know you’re going to lift the floor up in the next few years, as they’re fairly easy to unlock and lift. However, if you’re design-driven, these may not be for you, as you’re limited on the customisation of these floors. There currently aren’t any design strips that we sell that are compatible with locking system floors, which for some people is a reason not to go for a locking system vinyl. The last notable point about locking system LVTs is that we would recommend against using them in conservatories, as there has been instances where the boards rise and expand/contract due to the extreme temperature changes.

Looselay is the most recent adaptation of LVT, and it’s the most versatile of the three. It can be laid over most subfloors without any additional preparation and doesn’t require any underlay. The minimal work required to install this floor is the main reason people opt for it, as it’s hard to get it wrong, especially with the in-depth tutorial videos from Karndean. The back of the boards has a grip backing, designed to grip to the subfloor without any adhesive or locking mechanism to secure the boards to one another. The design itself is really innovative and means that these boards can be lifted in the future if required.

Similarly, to locking system vinyl, it can be difficult to incorporate the design element into these floors. Stick down LVT offers parquet options, whereas this isn’t something you can currently purchase in a locking system or looselay form. The main selling point for looselay LVT is the quick and easy installation, and the built-in acoustic backing, designed to reduce sound without an extra underlay. These boards are also 100% recyclable, which is a great advantage.

Each style of LVT is suitable for use with underfloor heating (providing the correct adhesive/underlay is used), completely waterproof, and hard-wearing. The main factor in your decision should be your personal preference. Most of the design-driven among us will sway towards the stick down, as having the perfect design is important to them. Someone who wants to minimise costs may opt for the Looselay, as they can fit in themselves and won’t need to excessively prepare the subfloor, which is a popular reason for choosing Locking System LVT too.

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