Luxury Vinyl Tile vs. Real Tile
Posted by: Genesis Floors
When you hear the words “vinyl tile,” you are probably picturing something cheap and shabby-looking. Does adding the word “luxury” change your perception? Probably not because using “vinyl” and “luxury” in the same sentence sounds like an oxymoron. Yet you can’t be further away from truth! Luxury vinyl tile is, in fact, a premium product that is neither cheap nor shabby. Of course, it is less expensive than tile, but in many aspects it can rival the popular porcelain, marble and ceramics. It’s actually one of the top sellers in our Sykesville flooring showroom, and here is why.
What is Luxury Vinyl Tile?
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are multi-layer flooring materials made to imitate natural stone and hardwood. The printing and photographic technologies used to produce this flooring are so realistic, it’s easy to take marble-looking LVT for the real thing from the first glance. Remember that it’s not sheet vinyl of the past that never laid flat and made horrible seams. To add authenticity, LVT can even be installed with special grout.
How Luxury Vinyl Tile Compares to the Real Tile
Cushion and Warmth
One of the biggest complaints we get from customers about their ceramic or natural stone tiled floors is how hard and cold they are. Of course, you can install radiant heating to fix this issue, but that’s an added expense on top of an already high cost of materials. Luxury vinyl tile, on the other hand, is warm and softer to walk and stand on.
The real ceramic and natural stone tile are extremely durable, no doubt about it. The only weak spot they have is damage from impact. For example, dropping a hammer or a skillet on a porcelain floor may cause the impacted tile to crack or chip. With LVT this is mostly a non-issue, and if serious scratches or chips happen, pulling out and replacing a vinyl tile is extremely easy. The technologies used to create the protective layer on some LVTs produce a surface that’s at least 5 times more durable than polyurethane.
Ease of Installation
Both real tile and LVT are fairly easy to install, but the latter may be more suitable for DIYers. Most LVTs are either glue-down or peel-and-stick, although there are also floating floor options available. This makes LVTs perfect for both permanent uses and temporary “beautification” for tenants and first-time homeowners who don’t want to invest a lot in renovations. Real tile is a bit more complicated and messy to install due to grouting. As we mentioned earlier, LVT can also be grouted if you prefer this look.
If you are going with a grout-less LVT installation, you’ve got one of the easiest flooring types to maintain. The scratch- and water-resistant surface makes it easy to wipe any messes and keep the flooring looking like new even with multiple children and pets in the household. With real tile, you may have to spend some extra time scrubbing the grout joints every once in a while, as they tend to trap dirt and discolor.
Vinyl used to be reserved exclusively for commercial applications, bathrooms and kitchens, but modern-day LVT is attractive and versatile enough to be installed virtually anywhere in the house. If you think about it, LVT and LVP mimic the two most common flooring materials: hardwood and tile. Therefore, they can be laid in any area where you don’t want carpet. Stone tile is also rather versatile, but due to its hard, cold surface and heavy weight, it’s typically not used on upper floors, unless in a bathroom. Price is also an issue, as tiling the entire first floor open concept with terracotta can cost you a pretty penny.
As you can see, luxury vinyl tile measures up to real tile in many aspects. If you want to save money and don’t care too much about 100% authenticity, then luxury vinyl tile is the way to go. But before you make a final decision, stop by our Maryland flooring showroom to examine and compare both flooring materials for yourself.