Effortless Installation and Repair: The Advantages of Loose-Lay Vinyl Flooring

Learn from my experience in replacing carpet with luxury vinyl flooring in my daughter's home - an easy-to-clean, attractive option for any space.

Effortless Installation and Repair: The Advantages of Loose-Lay Vinyl Flooring

If you’re thinking of installing a new hard surface floor in your home or cottage, an experience I had last month getting a house ready for my daughter and son-in-law and their kids may prove helpful. The house had wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs, but the kids wanted to replace it with something easier to clean before moving in. Things I learned about replacing that carpet with luxury vinyl flooring makes this option more attractive than ever.

Got a hardwood floor that you’d rather finish than replace? Consider saving money with DIY hardwood floor refinishing.

Luxury Vinyl Advantages

Made by many manufacturers, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are two versions of the same material. The top layer of each is the tough, visible surface, bonded to a flexible substrate that supports it. That flexibility is important because it means you can easily install luxury vinyl planks on subfloors that are not entirely flat. Try that with laminate and you’ll have some fun.

LVP comes in rectangular pieces (reminiscent of boards of wood), and LVP are square tiles, often made to look like ceramics or stone. Both are made of the same stuff and have the same advantages, offering an exceptionally tough floor, but I discovered one more recent advantage that was new to me and probably new to most homeowners.

 Repairable Installation

While original versions of LVP and LVT clicked together as they go down as a floating installation on the subfloor, all types of click flooring have one disadvantage. As tough as these materials can be, damage is still possible. And if you have a plank or tile in the middle of your floor that ever needs replacing, the whole click floor up to that point must be taken up piece-by-piece to get to the one bad section, then it all gets put back down again after you swap in the new stuff. That hassle is completely eliminated now.

What makes the new breed of LVP and LVT superior is repairability. Generically called “loose lay” vinyl, these products have no edges that click and interlock. Neighboring pieces simply butt together. This allows individual pieces to be lifted and replaced anywhere on the floor without a massive tear down, all thanks to the use of a specific type of adhesive.

On the advice of a flooring installer I know, we bought Admira 7" x 48" Loose Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring in the Marble Mountain color from Home Hardware. Non-click luxury vinyl can be installed with a pressure-sensitive adhesive that’s strong enough to hold it firmly to the subfloor, but it’s also relaxed enough to allow any plank or tile you want to be pried upwards and changed if needed. No need to lift up the entire floor just to get to the damaged section. There’s another advantage you should keep in mind as you decide which flooring makes sense for you.

Photo credit: Paul Niven

Varied Appearance

Luxury vinyl flooring comes in many different colours, but some are much more visually forgiving of dirt and even small amount of damage than others. The appearance of the Admira product we chose, for instance, is based on actual wood planks that had a few sawmill marks and knots. There are enough of these “intentional flaws” that it easily hides the fact that vacuuming or sweeping is needed. Not that this is an excuse for dirtiness, but when life gets ahead of you, there is some grace.

Another nice thing about luxury vinyl flooring is how quiet and dust-free the installation process is. Since each piece of flooring can be cut with a sharp utility knife, there’s no periodic screaming of a chop saw as you get with other hard-surface flooring as pieces are cut, and no dust flying around. Just a straightedge and a few strokes with a knife gets cuts done quickly and well.

Steve Maxwell loves real wood, but can’t pass up the durability of tougher wood-look flooring. Visit him at BaileyLineRoad.com and join 30,000+ people who get his Saturday morning email newsletter each week.