Porcelain and ceramic tile have been mainstays in homes for decades, and you’ll still find them on the floors of bathrooms and kitchens today. There are other types of tiles, however, and LVT has become the best alternative for homeowners that feel traditional tile isn’t the right fit. Whether you’ve been on the fence about using LVT tile or just want to know a little more about this flooring, we have you covered.
What is LVT?
LVT is an abbreviation for Luxury Vinyl Tile. It’s part of the luxury vinyl family alongside LVP, which are luxury vinyl planks, and a step up from traditional sheet vinyl or vinyl plank flooring. From a composition standpoint, it’s nearly identical to luxury vinyl planks, but in a different form factor and with an entirely different style.
Luxury vinyl tiles consist of multiple layers, so there are core, image, and wear layers in each tile. The image layer is printed to make these tiles resemble marble, slate, or other natural materials. How closely they mimic the real thing varies depending on the brand and technologies used, but each tile is topped off with a thick wear layer for protection against scuffs and scratches.
Luxury Vinyl Tile vs. Traditional Tile
While there are types of flooring sold in a tile format, most homeowners opt for luxury vinyl tile along with clay-based or natural stone tile. These materials can have a similar style but are manufactured in a completely different fashion. That means it’s important to understand the main differences between these types of flooring.
Both porcelain and ceramic tile are made from clay and fired at high temperatures which adds strength. Porcelain is the stronger of the two, and while more expensive, it’s denser than ceramic tile. It’s better suited for outdoor areas that are prone to moisture, although harder to cut. Ceramic tile is softer, so it’s easier to work with and comes in a wider range of styles.
Luxury vinyl tiles are made from multiple layers and are far easier to install than traditional tiles. It’s less expensive all-around from that standpoint, whether installed by a professional or the homeowner. It’s not a natural product, however, so VOCs can be a concern with low-quality flooring. As these tiles are largely made from PVC, they are resistant to water and available in an assortment of styles.
While both of these flooring styles have distinct advantages, LVT is more affordable and easier to install overall. It’s suitable for more areas inside your home than ceramic or porcelain tile flooring as well. With that in mind, traditional tile is generally the best option for bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas where moisture and spills can be a concern.
LVT Brands and Pricing
Almost all the major flooring manufacturers that produce vinyl flooring have turned their sites towards luxury vinyl planks. Only a handful of those brands have collections of luxury vinyl tile, however, so it helps to know the best brands.
Shaw is a leader in the industry, and they have a small, but impressive line of LVT with their Vista Collection. They are a step up from regular LVT with a rigid core and a waterproof click-lock installation system. SmartCore is an alternative with similar specifications if you shop at Lowes, and there are several smaller collections from companies like Mannington, Pergo, and MSI as well.
As LVT isn’t as popular as LVP, finding some brands can be challenging. We found that larger retailers usually carry a few lines, but the selection online may be better in some areas. The table below will give you a rough idea of what to expect with LVT pricing.
Cost per sq. ft.
18” x 36”
Storm Cloud Slate
12” x 24”
12” x 24”
16” x 32”
Dark Gray Slate
12” x 24”
12” x 24”
Pros and Cons of LVT Flooring
We’ve talked about how luxury vinyl tile stacks up against its closest competitor and some of the top brands producing this flooring today. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the pros and cons of this LVT so that you can decide if it’s the right choice for your home.
Luxury vinyl tile is durable and over half of the big brands have click-lock waterproof LVT. That makes it very easy to install, which is a huge bonus in smaller spaces like bathrooms or laundry rooms. It’s also easier to manage due to its size and resilience against stains along with everyday spills.
Whether it’s mustard, mold, or wine – these floors are also easy to clean. The surface is non-porous, and if the tile is listed as waterproof or water-resistant, it can be wet mopped with ease. The biggest con to installing LVT is the overall section when compared to similar options.
You won’t find as many styles as you would with laminate or LVP, and it’s prone to fading from UV rays like other types of synthetic flooring. On average, we found that it’s slightly more expensive than LVP as well, but that can vary by location and the season.
Luxury Vinyl Pros
- Easy to maintain
- Simple to install
- Resilient against stains and moisture
Luxury Vinyl Cons
- Smaller selection of styles compared to tile or LVP
- Could be more expensive than other vinyl floorings
- UV exposure
There may not be many negatives to going with LVP flooring, but it’s important to keep style and your budget in mind depending on the project. If you feel like luxury vinyl flooring might be a better fit for your home, you’ll want to check out our ultimate guide to vinyl plank flooring.
Q: How does LVT compare to laminate?
A: Both are layered products, but laminate has a measure of organic material which makes it more susceptible to water damage compared to luxury vinyl flooring.
Q: Do luxury vinyl tiles have a rigid or flexible core?
A: It depends on the brand. Unless the flooring is listed as WPC, SPC, or specifically states rigid core, it’s more than likely a flexible tile.
Q: How long will a luxury vinyl tile floor last?
A: You can expect to get a limited lifetime guarantee from top manufacturers like Shaw or Mannington while cheaper brands can range from 15 to 30 years.
Q: Is peel and stick vinyl tile considered LVT?
A: No. Peel and stick vinyl tiles are very thin, and while easy to install, they are not durable like luxury vinyl tiles.
Q: Does LVT need to settle or acclimate like regular traditional vinyl flooring planks?
A: You should follow the manufacturer’s directions with acclimation and it can take a few days to a few months for the flooring to fully settle in some homes.