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How to Shop for Luxury Vinyl Flooring

With so much LVT available in the market, how do you know what luxury vinyl is the best fit for your needs? Below we offer tips on what to look for and what aspects of these product are most important.

Price vs. Product Life Cycle

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  • With such wide availability of luxury vinyl, you may be tempted to go for the lowest price per square foot, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Warranty

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  • All Karndean Designfloors come with a lifetime residential warranty. Most, if not all, luxury vinyl floors do, but be sure to read the fine print to see what each manufacturer defines as a lifetime and to understand exactly what is covered.

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

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  • Waterproof or water-resistant flooring refers to any moisture that encounters the floor’s surface from the top and typically does not include any acts of nature like flooding.
  • If your flooring will be installed over a concrete subfloor, it is essential that the installer performs a moisture test to make sure the installation will not fail because of water coming up through the slab.

Product Thickness

  • An overall thicker product doesn’t necessarily equate to a more durable product. The durability of a product is dictated by its wear layer.

Wear Layer

  • In LVT, the wear layer is one of the first lines of defense against scratches and everyday wear and tear, and a thicker wear layer allows for more depth in a product’s emboss (realistic texture).
  • As you shop, you may encounter wear layers ranging from 6mil to 40mil. While 40mil sounds impressive, you may be interested to know that in commercial applications, like in restaurants or universities, the standard wear layer is 20mil and in heavily trafficked commercial environments 30mil is considered the standard.
  • The cost of a product is typically driven by the thickness of the wear layer. Ultimately, you will want to weight the cost of a product against its warranted performance.

What Does a High Quality LVT Floor Look Like?

  • Color striation and variation within individual pieces and among multiple pieces on a display board.
  • Should be hard to distinguish if the material is LVT or  natural wood/stone.
  • When light catches it, do you see detailing? Is it textured to the touch? Detailing and texture should vary from piece to piece.
  • You shouldn’t see the same characteristic repeated at the exact same spot on a piece over and over. As your floor is installed, be sure that your installer should open two to three boxes at once and shuffle the pieces for the most realistic layout. At Karndean, we take pride in the fact that our manufacturing process allows for less pattern repeats than you may even see in natural products.