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LVP/LVT: Sounds Fancy, but is it?

Luxury Vinyl Planks/Tiles have been requested lately, so I decided to educate myself on the product. This post will provide a personal take on when I'd recommend this product to my clients versus not.

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To begin, I had to erase any negative connotation of "vinyl" from my mind. Let's be honest, we all assume vinyl = cheap. I quickly learned that was not true. Secondly, I had to understand why the product was created. I'm going to ask you to do the same thing. Continue reading below for findings.

How Much Is It?

Let's get down to the dollars and cents first. Is LVP/LVT saving you money?

Let's use a scenario that you are shopping for a 500 square foot space for your kitchen and living room. Well, because you'll be using it in an area that will need to be cleaned up frequently or will have the occasional mishap of spills, we'll need it to be waterproof versus water-resistant. This requires a higher grade of vinyl flooring which is termed as EVP (engineered vinyl planks). These planks are thicker than the original LVP product and don't require a glue-down process.

In my search, I found products that ranged from approximately $2-$5 per square foot depending on the thickness and color. There are a variety of options, but I didn't find myself thinking there were more options than other laminate or wood-type products. Let's say we choose an EVP product that is on the high-end of the spectrum at $5/sq. ft. This would make the product cost $2,500 before tax is applied. That seems like a bargain to me, especially if I'm looking to cut cost but have the feeling of wood in a room. This price point would still easily compete with other laminate flooring options on the market.

Installed. Is it still a bargain?

So, we decided on the EVP product. To save the labor costs, we installed it ourselves (Happy about that!). As time goes by, you're able to clean messes or spills up relatively easy. There doesn't seem to be any staining or curling occurring to the planks. The waterproof marketing for the product seems to be holding up its promise.

However, you do notice that after you initially installed your furniture you can't move it without indents being left behind. When something sharp hits the floor, it not only dings, but also leaves exposed white spots. The vendor says it's easy to repair the damaged plank, but that means you have to go through the same process as engineered hardwood or laminate, which is removing all the boards up to that point to replace and then reinstall.

Verdict: Initially Cost-Efficient, but Not Time Enduring

My brand is about timeless investments. I guide my customers to products with two requirements: 1) they have to be made of high-quality materials to withstand daily use, and 2) they have to be able to be able to outpace any trend. Because of these two requirements, LVP/LVT products wouldn't be recommended by my firm.

These products specifically are targeted for consumers that want a cost-efficient mend that appeals to common trends without the price tag. I think they have their place. For example: I could see this product being used in a foyer of a commercial property with minimal furniture, but has high-traffic, knowing that they update the space every few years.

Recommendation for Homeowners

For the homeowner that is looking to update their home and only plans to do it once every 8 years or so, invest in an engineered hardwood or solid hardwood floor. This allows you to refinish when needed, lasts through any fad or trend, and will elevate the renovated space when completed. Whether you are the buyer who saves all their change to buy things out-right or finance your floor for a period of time, you'll be much more satisfied with how you spent your money.

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