If you’ve been researching wood or wood-like flooring options, you may have encountered a type of flooring known as LVP. LVP, an acronym for Luxury Vinyl Plank, is a synthetic flooring option that replicates the appearance of genuine wood. However, the similarities between LVP and natural wood end at the surface level. This article delves into the specifics of LVP flooring, shedding light on its structure, core options, and the potential benefits and drawbacks.
The Structure of LVP Flooring
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring is a man-made hard flooring solution designed to emulate natural wood aesthetics. The convincing appearance results from a decorative film layer imprinted with a wood design, such as Oak or Walnut. LVP is composed of multiple synthetic layers, including a base layer, a wear layer, and a transparent top coating layer. The core, made from PVC, WPC, or the cutting-edge Rigid Core SPC, is at the heart of the floor and significantly influences the properties of the LVP.
Exploring the LVP Core Options
The stability of LVP flooring stems from its core, which is built using one of three materials:
- WPC LVP – This stands for Wood Composite Core, comprising polyvinyl chloride, calcium carbonate, plasticisers, and a foaming agent. WPC provides a softer feel underfoot compared to other options, thanks to the foaming agent used in the core that enhances cushioning. While the WPC core is dent-resistant, it may not match the resilience of PVC and SPC options.
- PVC LVP – Standing for Polyvinyl Chloride, the PVC core is a blend of felt, paper, and vinyl foam covered by a protective layer. Textured vinyl planks often have an inhibitor applied. Being the thinnest of all vinyl flooring cores, PVC is less accommodating of subfloor imperfections.
- SPC LVP – Standing for Stone Plastic Core, SPC is a blend of limestone and stabilisers, rendering it highly durable and stable. SPC core, also known as rigid core, resists movement, making it suitable for high-traffic areas or environments with extreme conditions such as bathrooms and kitchens. An underlay can make SPC comfortable underfoot.
LVP Pros and Cons:
|Extremely durable (particularly with an SPC core)||May dent and damage (particularly with a PVC core)|
|Easy to clean and maintain||May appear less authentic than real wood|
|Highly affordable compared to real wood flooring||May fade in direct sunlight|
|Can be fitted in wet areas like kitchen and bathroom||Difficult to remove unless a click-fit system is used|
Should You Choose LVP?
LVP is not only aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to walk on but also offers durability, ease of cleaning, and affordability. With advancements in manufacturing technology, LVP flooring is giving even the most luxurious and costly real wood flooring options a run for their money, thanks to its realistic design, textured surfaces, and convincing finishes. If you’re considering LVP, the SPC core type comes highly recommended for its superior durability and stability.
What Is LVP Flooring?
LVP, or Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring, is a synthetic flooring option designed to mimic the appearance of real wood. The LVP structure includes multiple synthetic layers: a base layer, a wear layer, and a transparent top coating layer. The heart of LVP is the core, which can be made from PVC, WPC, or Rigid Core SPC.
What Are the Disadvantages of LVP Flooring?
Despite its many benefits, LVP flooring also has some drawbacks. It can dent and damage, particularly if it has a PVC core. Despite advancements in manufacturing techniques, some LVP flooring may still come across as less authentic than real wood. LVP flooring may fade in direct sunlight and can be hard to remove unless a click-fit system is used.
What Are the Advantages of LVP Flooring?
LVP flooring is highly durable, particularly with an SPC core. It’s easy to clean and maintain, and it’s significantly more affordable than real wood flooring. LVP also offers realistic designs, textured surfaces, and convincing finishes.
What is The Difference Between PVC, WPC and SPC LVP Core?
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) LVP Core: Made up of a blend of felt, paper, and vinyl foam covered by a protective layer. This core is the thinnest among the vinyl flooring options and therefore less forgiving of imperfections in the subfloor.
WPC (Wood Composite Core) LVP Core: Composed of polyvinyl chloride, calcium carbonate, plasticisers, and a foaming agent. WPC provides a softer feel underfoot compared to other options due to the foaming agent used in the core. It’s dent-resistant but may not be as resilient as PVC and SPC options.
SPC (Stone Plastic Core) LVP Core: Composed of a mixture of limestone and stabilisers, it’s highly durable and stable. SPC core is resistant to movement, making it ideal for high-traffic areas or in environments with extreme conditions.
What Is a Good LVP Alternative?
A good alternative to LVP would be engineered wood flooring. Made from a layer of top real wood on a base of ply and mfd core, it is as stable as LVP and boosts an authentic wood look which even the best LVP cannot rival.