LVT Flooring Thickness: Wear Layer and Underlayment Thickness

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring is a popular choice among homeowners and commercial property owners due to its durability, water resistance, and realistic design mimicking natural materials like wood and stone. One of the most critical factors to consider when selecting LVT flooring is its thickness, which can significantly impact its performance and longevity.

Common Thickness Options

Thickness RangePrice RangeBest for RoomsInstallation Types
2mm – 3mm$1.50 – $2.50/sq.ft.Bedrooms, home offices, guest roomsGlue-down, click-lock
4mm – 5mm$2.50 – $4.00/sq.ft.Living rooms, kitchens, hallwaysGlue-down, click-lock, loose lay
6mm – 8mm$4.00 – $6.00/sq.ft.Commercial spaces, high-traffic areasGlue-down, click-lock, loose lay, rigid core

2mm – 3mm: This thickness range is the most cost-effective option, ideal for light foot traffic areas such as residential spaces. However, it may not provide sufficient durability for commercial use.

4mm – 5mm: Offering a balance between cost and performance, this thickness range is suitable for moderate foot traffic areas, providing improved durability and stability.

6mm – 8mm: The thickest LVT flooring options provide maximum durability and are ideal for heavy foot traffic areas such as commercial spaces. These options are more expensive but offer long-lasting performance.

What is a good thickness for lvt?

A good thickness for LVT flooring depends on the intended use and the specific requirements of the installation area. In general, a thickness of 4mm to 5mm is suitable for most residential applications, providing a balance of durability, comfort, and cost-effectiveness.

For areas with light foot traffic, such as bedrooms and home offices, a thickness of 2mm to 3mm may be sufficient. However, for high-traffic areas like living rooms, kitchens, and hallways, a thickness of 4mm to 5mm is recommended to ensure better durability and stability.

In commercial spaces or areas with heavy foot traffic, a thickness of 6mm to 8mm is advisable for maximum durability and stability. Additionally, it is essential to consider the wear layer thickness, which significantly impacts the flooring’s overall performance and durability.

Wear Layer Thickness

Wear Layer ThicknessDurabilityBest for RoomsPrice Range
6 milLowLight traffic rooms, guest rooms$1.50 – $2.50/sq.ft.
12 milModerateResidential spaces, home offices$2.50 – $3.50/sq.ft.
20 milHighLiving rooms, kitchens, hallways$3.50 – $5.00/sq.ft.
28 milVery HighCommercial spaces, high-traffic areas$5.00 – $6.50/sq.ft.
40 milMaximumHeavy commercial use, public spaces$6.50 – $8.00/sq.ft.

The wear layer is a transparent layer on top of the LVT flooring design that protects against wear and tear. The thickness of this layer is crucial to the flooring’s durability, with thicker wear layers offering more protection. Common wear layer options include 6 mil, 12 mil, 20 mil, 28 mil, and 40 mil. Choosing the right wear layer thickness depends on factors like foot traffic, budget, and required durability.

Factors Affecting Thickness

Intended Usage: LVT flooring thickness varies depending on the intended application, with residential and commercial spaces having different requirements. Residential areas typically require a thickness of 2mm to 5mm, while commercial areas with heavy foot traffic may require a thickness of 6mm to 8mm to ensure durability.

Subfloor Condition: The subfloor’s condition can also influence the choice of LVT thickness. Uneven or damaged subfloors with height variations of more than 3/16 inch may require thicker flooring to compensate for irregularities and provide a stable surface.

Installation Method: Different installation methods, such as glue-down or click-lock, can impact the required thickness of LVT flooring. Glue-down installations can accommodate thinner flooring (2mm to 3mm), while click-lock and loose lay installations may require a minimum thickness of 4mm for proper functioning.

Durability and Stability: Thicker LVT flooring tends to be more durable and stable, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and long-term use. A 6mm to 8mm thick LVT flooring can provide up to 10-20 years of durability under normal conditions, while thinner options may offer around 5-10 years of durability.

Acoustic Insulation: Thicker LVT flooring can provide better acoustic insulation, reducing noise transmission between floors in multi-story buildings. An increase in thickness from 4mm to 8mm can result in a noise reduction of up to 50% in certain cases.

Budget Constraints: Budget plays a role in determining the appropriate thickness, as thicker LVT flooring tends to be more expensive. For example, a 2mm to 3mm thick LVT may cost around $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot, while a 6mm to 8mm thick LVT may cost between $4.00 and $6.00 per square foot.

Installation and Underlayment

Underlayment plays a critical role in the overall thickness of LVT flooring. It is essential to consider the impact of underlayment on the total thickness, as it can affect the flooring’s performance, noise reduction, and moisture barrier capabilities. Common types of underlayment include foam, cork, and rubber, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

Underlayment TypeThickness RangePrice Range per sq.ft.Noise ReductionMoisture ResistanceDurability
Foam1mm – 3mm$0.25 – $0.60ModerateLowModerate
Cork3mm – 6mm$0.75 – $1.50HighMediumModerate
Rubber2mm – 5mm$0.90 – $2.00Very HighHighHigh
  • Foam Underlayment: This is a popular choice due to its affordability and ease of installation. Foam underlayment typically ranges from 1mm to 3mm in thickness and can cost between $0.25 and $0.60 per square foot. While it offers basic cushioning and noise reduction, it may not provide the best moisture resistance or support for heavy furniture.
  • Cork Underlayment: Cork underlayment offers a more environmentally friendly option and provides better noise reduction and insulation than foam. Cork underlayment thickness usually ranges from 3mm to 6mm, with a cost of $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot. It is naturally mold and mildew resistant, making it a good choice for moisture-prone areas. However, cork may compress over time, reducing its effectiveness.
  • Rubber Underlayment: Rubber underlayment offers excellent noise reduction and durability, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and commercial spaces. Thickness options for rubber underlayment range from 2mm to 5mm, and it can cost between $0.90 and $2.00 per square foot. Rubber is also highly resistant to moisture, making it an ideal choice for basements and damp areas.

When selecting an underlayment, consider the combined thickness of the LVT flooring and the underlayment. For example, a 4mm LVT flooring with a 3mm cork underlayment will result in a total thickness of 7mm. This combined thickness can affect the transition between rooms with different flooring types, and door clearance may need to be adjusted.

It’s essential to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for underlayment compatibility with the chosen LVT flooring. Some LVT products may have an integrated underlayment or specific requirements that must be met to maintain the warranty. In such cases, using an additional underlayment may not be necessary or may require a specific type or thickness.


Choosing the right LVT flooring thickness is vital for balancing budget and performance requirements. By considering factors such as intended usage, subfloor condition, installation method, durability, acoustic insulation, and budget constraints, you can make an informed decision and select the best LVT flooring option for your space.

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