When specifying flooring for commercial environments, regardless of the setting, durability is sure to be a top priority. In LVT, the product’s wear layer, which lies directly underneath the surface protection layer, is one of the first lines of defense against scratches and everyday wear and tear. Wear layers can range in thickness anywhere between 0.3mm and 0.7mm, so how do you know which thickness you need for a project and what should you look for in a wear layer?
Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the wear layer of a luxury vinyl product.
The Composition of the Wear Layer
Wear layers of many luxury vinyl floors are composed, at least in part, of PVC. Some manufacturers incorporate additives into the wear layer, including aluminum oxide, nylon or ceramic beads, and claim to provide extra protection against scratches. However, when coatings like this are scratched, they often leave a white mark which makes the scratches even more noticeable.
The wear layer of all Karndean Designflooring products is a clear PVC and does not have any additives. In addition, our products are finished with K-Guard+ surface protection, which provides a hygienic and durable finish and will not turn white when scratched or leave stress marks when handled, as aluminum oxide coatings do.
Diagram shown is the composition of Karndean Designflooring gluedown LVT
The Thickness of the Wear Layer
Wear layers are measured in millimeters and in general, the thickness of the wear layer denotes the level of protection. Here is what we would advise specifying in commercial settings, based on our product offering:
0.3mm wear layer | Light commercial duty: Areas like multifamily units or office restrooms.
0.5mm wear layer | Commercial duty: Consider this the standard for most commercial applications, including retail stores, education settings, corporate settings, and restaurants and hotels.
0.7mml wear layer | Heavy commercial duty: Settings where rolling loads, heavy equipment and high levels of foot traffic are the norm.
You can find products with wear layers thicker than 0.7mm, which sounds impressive. However, it’s important to weigh the cost of these products against their warranted performance to decide if the extra thickness is really worth it.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, you’ll be looking for the product that provides the level of protection you need at a cost that is within budget, and in a look that suits the environment. Karndean Designflooring products provide original visuals and premium performance, backed by industry-leading commercial warranties. Begin the search for flooring for your upcoming projects here and simply filter by the wear layer you require.