Vinyl Plank Flooring Buying Guide
Searching for vinyl plank flooring? We’ve got the deets. With all the information out there, vinyl plank flooring can be a confusing subject. That’s why I’ve compiled the best information we have on vinyl planks. That way you can do less research, and way more shopping. Let’s get started!
Okay, so obviously vinyl planks are the hottest flooring on the market right now. No really, they are. Many people are ripping up their carpet and putting down luxury vinyl planks for a lovely wood look in their home.
Nowadays you can get a wood-look flooring without the expense and maintenance of actual hardwood. Let’s be honest, if you have a family, kids, and a pet, you don’t want hardwood. It’ll be roughed up in no time under all that stress. That’s where vinyl planks come in.
Vinyl planks look like real hardwood, but they can hold up under the abuse of a 120lb animal and a few kiddos too. It’s easy to install and even easier to clean.
Intrigued? Me, too! Let’s take a closer look at vinyl plank flooring.
What is Vinyl Plank Flooring?
There are so many types of vinyl plank flooring, that this question becomes a little difficult to answer. After all, you have peel and stick vinyl planks, rigid core, luxury vinyl planks, and waterproof vinyl planks.
These all share the commonality of vinyl, but they are comprised of varying amounts of layers and features. Like I said, it gets complicated.
The good news is, I’m going to break it down further shortly, but for now, here’s a good introduction on vinyl plank flooring:
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Vinyl Plank Flooring Thickness
Why does plank thickness matter? Well, because the thicker the plank, the sturdier it is. Thicker planks are denser and more substantial beneath your feet. A thicker plank can also cover up a less-than-stellar subfloor.
Of course, every home is different and you may not need the thickest plank possible for your home. Some of the thickest planks are certified for commercial use, after all. Here are our most popular vinyl plank thicknesses:
Vinyl Plank Flooring Wear Layer
Why is the wear layer important? Well, it’s what protects your vinyl flooring from surface scratches and stains. It’s the second half of the durability equation: thick vinyl + thick wear layer = higher quality.
If you’re using vinyl planks for a low-traffic area, you might not need the thickest wear layer. However, if your vinyl flooring will be in the midst of your rough and tumble life, then definitely thicker is better.
After all, the wear layer is basically a bodyguard for your flooring. You’re gonna want the beefiest bodyguard, right? Right. Take a look at our wear layer options:
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Types of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Here I want to cover three big categories of vinyl plank flooring. Yes, there are three. Your choices are indeed vast and scary.
Hopefully not too scary after I narrow this down for you. But probably still vast, which is okay because choices are a good thing!
Anyway, there are three main types of vinyl plank flooring: luxury vinyl planks, waterproof vinyl planks, and rigid core vinyl planks.
Luxury Vinyl Planks
LVP stands for luxury vinyl planks.
These planks typically have a rigid construction and they’re made to be very durable. They’re higher quality than the ol’ peel and stick variety, but nowadays, there are even a few peel and stick options that are considered luxury!
However, let’s focus on the planks with a more rigid construction. These planks can stand up to the abuse of high traffic, kids, and pets. They’re made of pretty tough stuff.
It’s worth noting that there isn’t a defined industry standard for the word “luxury.” Usually, though, a luxury vinyl product includes a thick, durable floor, multiple layers, a realistic image, and a tough wear layer. If not, then it might not be as high quality as it claims.
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Waterproof Vinyl Planks
Waterproof vinyl flooring (also known as WPC vinyl flooring) is luxury vinyl that is 100% waterproof.
Yes, you heard that right. It’s 100% waterproof flooring for your home.
Waterproof vinyl flooring typically features a four-layer construction that includes a waterproof core. This core is what sets this luxury vinyl apart from the rest.
Waterproof vinyl planks can be installed basically anywhere. It’s typically thick enough to be installed over imperfect subfloors and can be installed in basements, kitchens, living rooms and more.
Rigid Core Vinyl Planks
Rigid core vinyl planks (also known as SPC vinyl flooring) are also 100% waterproof.
At this point, you might be wondering what the difference is between rigid core and waterproof core. I have an answer!
Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring has a stone-plastic composite core. That means its core is super dense and basically practically indestructible. Seriously. It’s really tough stuff.
Because rigid core is so tough, it’s perfect for high traffic areas and commercial buildings. In fact, it’s certified to handle commercial areas. Because of the ultra-dense core, it’s not likely to dent under heavy furniture. Consider SPC vinyl flooring a Superhero.
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Styles of Vinyl Planks
Okay, now that the technicalities are out of the way, you probably are interested in what wood-look vinyl flooring actually looks like, right? I mean, you can get the thickest, sturdiest flooring out there, but if it makes you think “yuck,” it’s no good to you.
Luckily our options won’t inspire the “yuck” reflex.
Wood-Look Vinyl Planks
So you want vinyl planks that look like wood. Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of options. Everyone wants the look of wood, without having to deal with the finicky nature of real wood.
Best yet, we have wood-look flooring that hits all the modern trends. Do you want gray floors? We got that. Do you want textured floors? We got that too. Dark wood or light wood? I think you know the answer.
Wood-look vinyl planks come in all the colors and finishes as real hardwood floors. If there’s a look you want, you’ll definitely find it.
Stone-Look Vinyl Planks
Most people get stone-look flooring in tile format, but as ceramic plank flooring becomes more popular, I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more vinyl stone-look planks come into play.
Concrete, travertine, and slate are very popular when it comes to stone-look vinyl planks. Guess what? We totally have those looks too. Vinyl planks have a lot of those looks, in fact. From a light beige travertine to a dark gray slate, we got your stone-looks covered.
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Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl plank flooring has a ton of installation options. Every home is different and one installation might work better than other installation types. That’s why we carry vinyl planks with four main types of installation: interlocking, peel and stick, glue down, and loose lay.
Interlocking installation is similar to the “tongue and groove” installation you may have heard of. Vinyl planks are simply locked together in order to create a floating floor. Basically, the floor does not adhere to the subfloor, but the weight of the floor holds it in place.
You’ll find that most vinyl is interlocking. It’s super DIY friendly and requires only a few extra tools like a rubber mallet and a utility knife. Here’s a short video about the interlocking method of installation:
Peel & Stick
This installation method is so easy it’s in the title.
Yes, that’s right, you just peel… and stick. Each tile has an adhesive back already applied. All you gotta do is peel off the backing exposing the adhesive, and press it onto the surface you’re installing on.
It’s super easy!
This installation is good for low-traffic areas since typically peel and stick vinyl isn’t as durable as other types of luxury vinyl flooring.
Like I said before, permanent and high traffic areas usually need a flooring with a super secure hold. That’s when the glue down method comes in.
This installation method is a bit more involved, as it requires a pressure sensitive adhesive. You glue vinyl planks down as you go. This ensures that each vinyl plank is fully bonded to the floor below it.
Loose lay installation is pretty cool. With loose lay vinyl planks, each plank has a backing that grips the subfloor and keeps it from moving. This means that you can simply lay down the planks and not use any glue to keep them in place. You can do this if the room will not be getting much traffic.
However, if your space is going to have a decent amount of traffic, it’s recommended you use double-sided carpet tape around the perimeter and undeath planks to keep any planks from shifting. If you want something more permanent, glue down the planks.
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Vinyl Plank Flooring Reviews
Curious about what others think of vinyl plank flooring? Check out a couple vinyl plank flooring reviews.
New Standard 2 Rigid Core Planks
“Absolutely gorgeous! We went with Tarboro and have been very pleased with our friend’s compliments as they see our new floor. Ready to entertain for the holidays so our family can see it too.”SHOP NEW STANDARD 2 RIGID CORE PLANKS
By now, you probably have a good idea about what type of vinyl floor planks you’ll want for your space. Though, with so many options to choose from, it’s probably hard to pick just one!
Ready to shop?