Modern-day luxury vinyl flooring has taken the flooring market by storm. If you are still thinking of the old-style floor coverings of the 70s, think again. Elegant, durable and a cost-effective alternative to hardwood and stone, it is one of the most popular floor products of this age.
That said, choosing between the types in an extensive flooring range can be a challenge.
We make the process easier through consideration of five important, but often overlooked factors when you buy luxury vinyl flooring for installation in South Africa.
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1. What Is Wear Layer Thickness?
The wear layer is the transparent top layer of the vinyl tiles or planks. It protects the digitally printed surface. Without this layer, the vinyl planks, tiles or sheets won’t last long.
Not all wear layers are equal. Here’s the secret…
Measured in millimetres, the thickness of the layer plays a significant role in the floor covering’s durability and how long it will be pleasant to the eye. The thicker it is, the more protection it gives to the underlying surface of the luxury vinyl tiles or planks.
The Centrepiece Commercial, for instance, has a wear layer of 0,5 mm and falls within the Micro V4 level category. This wood lookalike floor covering is installed using the glue-down method. It comes with a 20 year residential and 5-year commercial guarantee. With these features, the stunning-looking surface is suitable for residential and medium commercial use.
Innovations by Nature is a floating floor system, making it possible to install it on other floors because you don’t have to attach it to the sub-floor. The wear layer of 0,55 mm adds to the durability, evident in the 25-year residential and 20-year commercial guarantee. Of course, with such longevity and superior features, you can expect to pay more per square metre.
Interested in more options? Find the perfect match from an extensive collection of flooring products.
2. What Guarantee Is Offered?
The guarantees differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. The secret is to buy from a trusted and well-established flooring solution provider in South Africa. Make sure you know what is included and what voids the guarantee or warranty. The floor solutions provider must have extensive experience in the supply and installation of luxury vinyl flooring.
The product guarantee is covered by the manufacturer and not the supplier. The product installation guarantee is honoured by the installation company.
Talking about superb guarantees and warranties, a R2 million-installation guarantee is sure worth consideration. Don’t believe it possible? Discover more about this and other guarantees worth considering here.
3. Is the Luxury Vinyl Flooring Suitable for Your Area?
South Africa is a country of intense weather. From high-humidity conditions to harsh sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations are everyday occurrences. It pays to be mindful of the temperature range and humidity factor when you choose flooring products.
The optimal temperature range for installation is between 14 and 28°C and the humidity level in the room must be below 60%. Installation in a temperature-controlled environment is best. You also need to protect the floor surface against direct sunlight.
The LVTs must be placed in the room where you want to install and left for 48 hours before installation to allow for acclimatisation. You cannot install LVTs on top of a sprung floor because it causes movement, which causes the interlocking system to break. You can also not install it on a rubber underlay because a chemical reaction between the PVC and the rubber causes a bubble effect. Reach out for expert help if you are not sure whether LVTs or SPCs are better suited for your application needs.
4. Do You Know the Differences in Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) are more flexible than Stone Plastic Composite (SPC). LVT has a plank thickness of 5 mm whereas SPC can be 4 to 6 mm in thickness. SPC has more dimensional stability and is superior when it comes to water and dent resistance, depending on the thickness of the wear layer. LVT is widely used in South Africa as an alternative to hardwood floors. It mimics wood surfaces whereas SPC with its embedded stone chips mostly mimics stone-based flooring solutions.
You can install both types over plywood and cement floors, but LVT is not particularly forgiving with uneven surfaces. If you choose LVT, invest in a self-levelling mix to ensure a level subsurface. Have a look at the video on LVT and SPC for an easy-to-follow explanation of the differences between SPC and LVT.
LVT can be installed using the glue or click-in method. SPC is a floating surface and is installed through the click-in method. Heavy furniture can cause dents in LVT. SPC is sturdier and better suited for commercial environments. In both instances, you will want to change the layout of a room every few months to ensure all the floor planks or tiles get even exposure to sunlight.
LVT is water-resistant against surface water, whereas SPC is waterproof from the bottom and the top. SPC is the next level of luxury vinyl flooring in South Africa and it is fast gaining ground for use in commercial settings. It caters well for temperature fluctuations and can handle heavy traffic. Learn more on how to choose SPC in this video. Try the nifty floor visualiser tool to see how your choice looks in a particular setting.
5. You Need Expert Luxury Vinyl Flooring Installers
Both require expansion gaps at the walls and door frames. The floor surface shrinks and expands as the temperature changes. If not allowed, expect a huge bubble to develop in the middle of the floor. This is one DIY project, best left for the professionals. The sub-floor (maximum 3 mm tolerance), the expansion gaps, acclimatising needs, and the importance of a moisture-free subsurface affect installation success.
You Have the Final Say
See how luxury vinyl flooring stacks up against other floor solutions. A little help from an expert flooring solutions provider in South Africa can make the difference between being ecstatic over the end-result and having a surface that impresses at first but doesn’t match your long-term expectations.
Click to reach out to your nearest Top Carpets and Floors branch for help in choosing luxury vinyl flooring that will meet your requirements.