The Move Towards Luxury Vinyl Tiles and What It Means for Flooring

While carpet, area rugs, hardwood floors and ceramic tile flooring have traditionally been some of the favorite flooring choices for homes and businesses, it’s clear that the trend for flooring is moving to a new and different kind of flooring. This move is demonstrated in the announcement from Shaw Industries, one of the largest carpet and rug manufacturers in the world, that they are moving away from area rug production to invest over $100 million in luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors. Shaw Industries CEO Vance Bell says “The economics of the rug business today simply does not allow for future growth or encourage future investment,” indicating that the money in the flooring business has shifted from soft floor coverings, to cost efficient and appealing luxury vinyl tiles. But what are luxury vinyl floor tiles and what is the importance of these luxury tiles for homeowners and businesses?

What Are Luxury Vinyl Tiles?
Luxury vinyl tiles are resilient, hardworking and truly beautiful, however, they are not a premium product in the way stone, marble or granite flooring would be considered premium. In essence, LVT floors are imitators, designed to impersonate with a high level of accuracy the look and feel of a luxurious stone, marble, granite or wood floor, while actually being composed of vinyl.

Luxury vinyl tiles are the result of advanced computer technology that allows the production of a vinyl flooring that very closely matches not only the look, but the feeling of premium flooring choices like stone, marble and granite. The production of these vinyl tile squares involves a computer “seeing” and copying what real marble or granite luxury floor tiles look like, and then making a photographic replication of that image onto the vinyl floor tiles. This results in an incredibly realistic product, of much higher quality than flooring imitators of the past.

How Are Luxury Vinyl Tiles Used?

The quality of luxury vinyl tiles can vary depending on the compositions and the manufacturing country (manufacturers in Asia, the United States and Europe all have their own manufacturing procedures and technologies). Luxury Vinyl Tiles that are composed of 100% vinyl are often used in commercial flooring, and have an additional protective layer (the mil layer) added to the vinyl to enhance the durability in commercial settings.

Luxury vinyl floor tiles used in residential settings may not be 100% vinyl and may not have an extra mil layer. However, it’s important to ensure your vinyl tile floor has a sufficient mil layer in order to make it more durable and easy to clean.

How To Care for Luxury Vinyl Tile Floors?
LVT floors do not need to be sealed or finished and many manufacturers strongly recommend against this. LVT floors are resistant to spots, stains and moisture, and sealants and finishes will merely end up peeling off the floor with wear.

Luxury vinyl tile floors are prone to soiling over time however, and need targeted care to maintain their finish and beauty. A professional floor cleaner is best able to remove soiling and staining from luxury vinyl floors using a neutral cleaning solution and a wet/vac system to remove all moisture along with the soiling and dirt.
Of course when it comes to cleaning floors, prevention is better than cure, so using a ‘high-performance’ matting system to help keep LVT floors looking great can be very effective. These ‘high-performance’ mats last for many years and are more effective and durable than conventional mats. Having the right matting and seeking professional floor cleaning care for your luxury vinyl floors helps to retain their appearance and functionality.

For more information on luxury vinyl floor tiles and their care, contact Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration.

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