Consumer Edge: Vinyl Plank and tile (FTW), An unbiased article

Okay, I lied. I'm biased. I confess.

I like vinyl plank and tile, I have BOTH in my own house, I don't get any call backs on LVP, I feel good about selling affordable options that look great, the industry is aimed that way and has the best designs and color offerings in this category. It also has HUGE flexibility when it comes to design compared to other categories (you can do borders or herringbones, angles and mixed colors).

There are some problems with this overall category, like anything else. Tile can crack, wood can dry out, laminate swells, sheet vinyl last so long that it "uglies-out" (that's an actual official industry term). LVP has two main downfalls overall: it is susceptible to scratching and to expansion and contraction with temperature changes. THAT said, these problems have been substantially dealt with in most major manufacturers.

Glue down planks compensate for expansion/contraction problems but are often thin so a good subfloor is absolutely necessary. This is the best price point option by far (sometimes more than $2/sf difference in cost!). Most commercial settings use a glue down with a beefed up wear layer. 

The idea of a click floor is that it will expand and contract as one whole piece. Imagine it like breathing, when you inhale-expansion, exhale contraction; When the floor is heated it will all swell and when it is cooled, it will shrink as a whole. Doorways need expansion joints, t-moldings so you don't create points of tension. You also need to leave space around the edges to avoid buckling. I'm anticipating the click category will go away soon because there is a lot of room for mistakes in install, but its a decent option in the right space. Its cost effective and can compensate for a BIT more sub floor issues than a glue down. 

LASTLY the latest addition to the line-up: the friction fit plank.It's engineered to be more stable than any vinyl product out there (no expansion/contraction problems) Its hefty, usually thicker than any other LVP and can compensate for the most sub floor undulation. It is safe for surface water when the floor is flat. Most brands only ask for a perimeter glue and an "x" through the center of your space to give the planks a barrier for movement. It literally takes longer to open the boxes than to install the floor. Its a more expensive option than the others simply because of the BULK of material required to make it, but offers the HUGE benefit of easy install and repair. If one gets wrecked, just pick it up and put a new one in. 

For the do-it-yourself-ers: DON'T glue a click floor, don't loose lay a glue down. Follow directions every single type of plank is different. Other wise: go nuts. This is the easiest category to do yourself and leaves the most rooms for mistakes. I installed LVP for years and have some great for anyone who is interested, drop me a comment or "contact us".