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What is LVT flooring?

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring is a unique alternative to ceramic or porcelain tile. It falls into the luxury class of flooring for a variety of reasons. LVT is elegantly designed, long-lasting, and easy to preserve, even in high-foot-traffic areas. It's the perfect product for creating an authentic, natural look for commercial environments.

If you've been looking for flooring in recent years, you've likely come in contact with tile, hardwood, and vinyl flooring on more than one occasion. These are your more standard types of flooring. LVT flooring is a significant upgrade over the common vinyl tile, making it an ideal material for many home and business owners.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) Flooring In-Depth

Although it's been around for decades, you may still wonder "what is LVT flooring?" You wouldn't be alone in your query. LVT is often commonly confused with other vinyl tile types and tends to be less popular than luxury vinyl planks (LVP).

LVT flooring is synthetic flooring created from polyvinyl chloride bound together by heat and pressure with plasticizers, stabilizers, and other chemicals. LVT is a PVC-based product making it non-eco-friendly. However, thanks to its construction, it is resistant to rot, mold, and mildew.

Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring is a multi-layered product that undergoes a similar construction process to engineered flooring. The process creates flooring using different layers: backing, core, image, and wear.

LVT Layers

Materials and techniques during construction will differ between builders. However, every tile begins with the bottom-most (backing) layer.


You will find the backing layer on the bottom of every LVT. This layer should consist primarily of vinyl, hence the name. However, Manufacturers can make it from other materials, such as cork or rubber.

The price and feel of the flooring after installation can all be impacted by the backing layer. The backing layer makes up the base for your LTV. It can be constructed of multiple layers itself to create a more robust locking system.


The core layer can sometimes be lumped in with the backing layer. This layer mixes vinyl with Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) or Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) to create the LVT core. The core layer provides the viscosity, stiffness, and dimensional stability necessary for a finished product.

WPC finds more common use than SPC. Some may refer to SPC as rigid core, which can be tougher on your feet than WPC. SPC is also likely to be more expensive.


Our third layer is the image layer. The image layer is where style and high-quality print come into play. Carpet Mart has a large selection of LVT and LVP from which to choose. All of our luxury vinyl flooring is made by Shaw Floors where they combine durability, style, and waterproof technology into every finished product.

When you look at LVT, which appears as hardwood or natural stone, what you see is the image layer. It may also be called the print layer or design layer. There are a number of varieties to each style.

We include authentic photo film designs to replicate the natural look of oak, driftwood, pine, and even clay. Solid colors, patterns, and more can create a strikingly dynamic and texturized layout suitable to your flooring needs.


The final LVT layer is the wear layer which serves as the protection layer for the design. Essentially, this layer exists to prevent damage to your flooring caused by daily abuse. It serves as your first line of defense against damage to your LVT.

This damage can come in many forms but is often relegated to heavy foot traffic, pets' claws and scratches, UV rays, and stains. The resilience will depend entirely on what materials the manufacturer used during creation. Substances such as crushed diamonds or ceramic beads can increase scratch resistance.

LVT wear layers can be exceptionally thick. The thicker the wear layer, the more expensive the product. Which often means the more protected the design.

Pros of LVT

Instead of comparing LVT flooring to other types of flooring, we'll simply list a few advantages to using LVT.

Many flooring products are labeled as waterproof; however, some cheaper tiles may actually be water-resistant. LVT flooring is ideal for rooms in need of water resistance. Spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens, where liquid spills are commonplace, would benefit most from LVT.

In comparison to the likes of hardwood or stone, LVT is highly maintainable. LVT requires no special cleaning agents and is naturally resistant to stains and scuffs, making clean-up a breeze. A decent broom, mop, or vacuum cleaner should do the trick.

Though not as "hard" as hardwood or stone, LVT still remains quite durable and resilient. Scratches mean nothing to LVT with a decent wear layer, and stains are mostly an afterthought. Also, LVT is built to last for a very long time making it more sustainable than some other flooring options.

Certainly not the cheapest type of flooring on the market, LVT still remains a cost-effective option. Compared to other alternatives, LVT looks relatively inexpensive for what you receive in return. In addition, the various designs, colors, and patterns provide you with an amazing finished product for a minimal cost.

Cons of LVT

Everything has its downside, and LVT is no different. We couldn't talk about the pros without providing the cons. Thankfully, luxury vinyl tiles have very few drawbacks.

Sizing could be a minor concern as most floor tiles are commonly square. LVT follows this trend. Generally speaking, this usually doesn't present much of an issue so long as the design is consistent.

Although LVT offers a large variety of designs, it's common for some designs to have very few variations. One of these designs happens to be stone. Manufacturers will typically only stick to a few stone styles making it challenging to find something unique.

LVT is a PVC-made product making it not eco-friendly. Those who are conscious of their environmental impact may find it challenging to accept that LVT is difficult to recycle.


Q: Are all vinyl floor planks waterproof?

A: No. However, most are water-resistant. The difference comes down to the brand and what they offer.

Q: How is Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) installed?

A: You can place LVT over most surfaces. However, they are less forgiving on uneven surfaces that other flooring may work better on. LVT with a solid backing layer can be installed over concrete, plywood, hardwood, and tile.

Installation will vary by manufacturer. Most provide a floating flooring option, such as click-lock, to keep your tiles in place. Grip strips are another common option that some manufacturers prefer. Most individuals should find it easy to install LVT on their own. However, in the case of uneven flooring, it may require the help of a professional.

Q: Is it safe to use a rug over LVT?

A: It can be safe, but you'll want to ensure that you stick to a woven mat or a rug with a safe vinyl layering to avoid discoloration over time.

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