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4 Types Of Vinyl Tiles And Planks (LVT) - How To Choose The Right One

4 types of luxury vinyl tiles and planks (LVT): self-adhesive, interlocking, loose lay, glue-down

The vinyl tiles and planks market has grown drastically recently due to their affordability, quality, and easy maintenance. Thanks to the latest technologies in manufacturing LVT, this vinyl flooring option offers incredibly realistic designs resembling wood, hardwood, stone, or ceramic, but at much lower prices and with better replacement prospects.  So with hundreds of different styles and textures to choose from, how can you be sure to make the right choice? While trends in interior design might help you pick the best look for your home, what should you do when it comes to installing the vinyl tiles? We have put together a small guide to help you determine the best options.

4 different types of tiles and planks - glued or floating

Gerflor Vinyl Click Flooring Gerflor Vinyl Click Flooring

First things first. Generally speaking, there are two main types of vinyl plank flooring from an installation point of view. On the one hand, you have the LVT that is fixed to the ground with glue or self-adhesive, which means you need to wait at least 24 to 48 hours after installation for the glue to cure. On the other hand there are the floating vinyl planks and tiles which don't require any kind of glue or adhesive and which can be used immediately after installation. The first category comprises self-adhesive vinyl planks and glue-down vinyl flooring, while the latter consists of vinyl click flooring and loose lay vinyl flooring. Now, let’s quickly see what each of these four installation systems mean.

 

Self-adhesive vinyl tiles and planks

Self-adhesive vinyl planks and tiles already have a pressure sensitive adhesive layer on their back and do not require extra glue. They are installed by simply removing the protective film, positioning the plank or tile, and pressing down.

Removal: Easy to remove individual tiles by warming them up with a blow-dryer, cutting them in smaller pieces and removing them carefully.

Glue-down LVT

Glue-down vinyl flooring is intended for gluing, but it requires getting the special vinyl glue separately. The adhesive is first applied to the ground and then the vinyl tiles or planks are fixed to the adhesive layer. Therefore, it's generally recommended to leave this installation to a professional.

Removal: Hard to remove.

Interlocking vinyl planks and tiles

Interlocking vinyl planks and tiles have special tongues and grooves on their edges so that adjoining tiles just click together in place. This is very similar to the click systems found on parquet and laminate flooring most of us are familiar with.

Removal: Entire row must be taken apart to remove an individual tile.

Loose lay vinyl planks

Loose lay vinyl planks and tiles do adhere to the ground, but that is due to the high friction coefficient of their special bottom layer. Thus they get an extremely strong grip of the subfloor, but they are removable and reusable and do not leave any residue behind.

Removal: Easy to remove individual planks by cutting them in smaller pieces and carefully pulling them up.

What all vinyl tiles and planks have in common

Tarkett Starfloor Click 30 Tarkett Starfloor Click 30 "Retro Indigo" vinyl click flooring

Despite the obvious differences regarding installing the various LVT and other structural differences, there are still some things that they all have in common. Regardless of using adhesive or glue or not, all LVT require a properly prepared subfloor for the tiles and planks to be fitted on. So ensure the ground is smooth, hard, clean, dry and free from residue (e.g.: plaster, oil, grease, paint) even if you are installing floating vinyl plank flooring.

In addition, all types of vinyl planks and tiles need to get acclimatised to the room, so at least 24 hours prior to installation they need to be taken out of the box and laid around the room. It is important to keep a fairly constant temperature of at least 15°C 24 hour before, during, and 48 hours after fitting the LVT. If you have underfloor heating and the vinyl planks are suitable for that, it must also be switched off during installation.

Heavy vs. little traffic, commercial vs. home use of vinyl planks and tiles

These four different installation systems of vinyl planks and tiles are in direct relation to the kind of environment and traffic the tiles are meant to withstand. That's why the first thing you need to figure out is what kind of space you will be using the vinyl flooring for and then how much traffic you are expecting in either of the environments. This will make it very easy for you to decide which type of LVT to opt for when choosing luxury vinyl tiles or planks (LVT).

Just remember that within the same range of LVT you can have vinyl tiles or planks suitable only for domestic use, as well as LVT suitable for commercial use. Make sure to check the product specifications to see if the tiles or planks are suitable for the traffic you need them for. For a general comparison, take a look at the chart below. These are usually the ranges in which you can find LVT in our store.

Type of vinyl flooring Domestic use, normal traffic (EU class. 22) Domestic use, high traffic (EU class. 23) Commercial use with moderate/light traffic (EU class. 31) Commercial use, medium traffic (EU class. 32) Commercial use, high traffic (EU class. 33) Industrial use, moderate/light traffic (EU class. 41) Industrial use, high (EU class. 42)
Self-adhesive vinyl tiles and planks Yes No No No No No No
Interlocking vinyl tiles and planks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Loose lay vinyl planks Yes Yes No No No No
Glue-down vinyl tiles and planks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Of course, you can always install LVT made for heavy traffic in a less used area, but you cannot do it the other way around. So if you know you need these vinyl tiles for a commercial environment with regular traffic or a lightly circulated industrial space, glue-down LVT are the only way to go. Conversely, if you only need the flooring for a normal household, self-adhesive vinyl tiles or planks will suffice. Saying this, you also have the choice of interlocking vinyl plank flooring or even loose lay tiles. Read further to see what LVT are the most suitable for you.

Installing the vinyl tiles and planks: DIY or professional help?

Deciding how you are going to install your LVT and the level of expertise needed is the next step in making the right decision regarding vinyl tile or plank flooring. You need to know that glue-down vinyl planks or tiles generally require some special extra materials. These are best left for a professional to handle. If, however, you would like to save money on installation and go for a do-it-yourself approach, the other three options can be done without professional help. Nevertheless, do bear in mind that some vinyl tiles are easier to fit than others, so time will also be a factor here.

1. Loose lay vinyl planks

The easiest and quickest to install are the loose lay vinyl planks. All you need is a ruler, gloves, and a Stanley knife or scissors for cutting the tiles. Perfect for DIY.

2. Self-adhesive tiles or planks

Similarly easy to install, but take a little bit longer than the loose lay type due to the peel and stick technique. Perfect for DIY.

3. Interlocking vinyl planks and tiles

While easy to install, the interlocking LVT require a bit of a technique to fit the tongues and the grooves. Cutting the tiles requires careful attention because of the special edges. This is, however, similar to the systems found on traditional parquet and laminate planks, most of us are familiar with. Perfect for the DIY adventurer or a professional.

4. Glue-down LVT

The need of special materials and the technique involved are best left for someone with expertise to handle.

Choose the best luxury vinyl tiles and planks (LVT) from our store

So now that you can easily decide which type of luxury vinyl flooring is the best one for you and your requirements, feel free to browse through the items in our store to find your perfect vinyl flooring. You can even take advantage of our free sample service on our wide range of vinyl tiles and planks for an even better and more informed decision. Enjoy and don’t hesitate to contact us!

* The discount is only valid on LVT orders over £100, excluding shipping. The discount is valid on orders compromised of different product categories, as long as at least £100 worth of LVT is included in the order. Keep in mind that these conditions may be changed at any time, without notice. The conditions available at the time of ordering apply.

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