How much does vinyl plank flooring cost? What about labor cost?
What are the LVT/LVP flooring cost factors?
These questions and many more are covered here in the most detailed and accurate Vinyl Plank Flooring Buying Cost Guide available.
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Vinyl Plank Flooring Cost Factors
Luxury vinyl plank flooring price is mostly determined by how it is made and how well it is made, but there are a few other factors affecting cost.
This is a general rule. Many of the factors below are about quality. While there are bargains on the cheap end and overpriced flooring at the high end, you mostly get what you pay for.
The cheapest vinyl plank flooring sells for less than $1 per square foot. The best has a list price above $6.
That’s a wide margin. Quality of the materials used and the quality of the construction are the biggest factors.
Wear Layer: Thickness and Material
It is important to research the wear layer before buying any LVT/LVP.
The wear layer is the thin, clear layer that covers the design layer of the flooring.
There are two things to know:
Ceramic beads are added to some midgrade and premium luxury vinyl flooring to make the wear layer tougher.
Armstrong has a wear layer called Diamond 10 Technology. It is polyurethane with crushed lab-created diamonds. It seems like that would produce a better wear layer, but this is a newer product, so time will tell.
There are three types of core: Stone polymer, wood/polymer and rigid vinyl.
Stone/polymer core (SPC) is also called stone-plastic core. This flooring costs the least.
Wood/polymer core (WPC), or wood-plastic core, is wood dust or bamboo dust mixed with polymers.
Solid vinyl cores are a newer type.
Whether Pad is Included & What it Is
Pad isn’t a huge expense. If you have to install pad, it will cost less than 30 cents to about $1 per square foot depending on the material.
However, attached pad saves that step of installation. Cork is premium pad with excellent sound-dampening ability. It costs more. Cork is soft too.
The warranty generally reflects quality.
A few cheap lines have a prorated warranty – the company pays less and less of the replacement cost as time goes on. Flooring with a prorated warranty costs less than one with full coverage for the length of the warranty.
Who Makes & Sells the Flooring
Flooring generally sells for less when there is a direct relationship between the manufacturer and the seller. Here are a few examples.
With fewer levels of distribution (fewer “middlemen”), the LVP can be sold at a more competitive cost.
Vinyl plank flooring installation cost is $1.50-$2.75 per square foot for most jobs. Cost factors are explained in detail below, but the most important one is who installs the flooring.
DIY installation is free, except for tools you might need to purchase.
Vinyl Plank Flooring Prices
These pricing ranges are general.
$0.65 - $1.39
R: 15 / C: None
$1.40 - $2.39
R: Up to Lifetime/ C: 3-10 years
$2.40 - $3.99
R: Up to Lifetime/C: 10-15 years
$4.00 - $6.00+
R: Lifetime/C: 15-20 years
(1) "R" is the residential warranty; "C" is the commercial warranty.
Some LVT is overpriced. There are also values out there for savvy shoppers – good-quality flooring sold for cheap because it is discontinued, for example.
What do you get for those vinyl plank flooring prices? Two quick notes before we begin:
- 1In this section, where mils are mentioned, the reference is to the thickness of the wear layer.
- 2Warranties are longer than you should expect the floor to last. A floor with a lifetime residential warranty might be ready for replacement in 12 years. This is because, even if the wear layer doesn’t wear through (a warranty issue), it will be scratched, clouded and dirty from wear.
Cheap Vinyl Plank Flooring – Up to $1.39 per Square Foot
The cheapest luxury vinyl flooring is often discounted/clearance flooring. There are some bargains, but there’s cheap quality too. Find out the length of the warranty and whether it is prorated. Warranties indicate what the manufacturer thinks of the flooring.
Average Cost: $1.19 per square foot
Longevity: 5-10 years. Residential use only. Expect it to look good for up to a decade depending on how much TLC (no shoes, no big dogs, regular cleaning to remove abrasive sand and dirt) it receives.
Construction: Stone/polymer LVT costs less than wood/polymer flooring, so much of what’s available in this range is SPC. If it’s WPC, it is either clearance or very poor quality.
Warranty: Usually 5, 10 or 15 years for residential use and no warranty for commercial installation.
Best Use: Quick fixes to sell a home or for use in low-traffic areas like a guest bedroom, vacation home and “no-shoes” areas.
Brands: Among cheap lines are Mohawk 2mm Glue Down, cheap TrafficMaster at Home Depot, cheap Style Selections at Lowes and similar. Most online sellers have random lines in this price range.
Basic Vinyl Plank Flooring – $1.40 to $2.39 per Square Foot
Quite a bit of luxury vinyl flooring is sold in this price range, though it’s not the most popular range.
Average Cost: $1.89-$2.19 per square foot.
Longevity: 8-12 years is typical in a residential setting. In a commercial setting, expect 5-7 years for an average. Again, how heavy it gets used and how well it is cared for make the difference.
Selection: Good. Mostly wood looks in basic textures.
Construction: There’s a mix of core types. Some has attached pad.
Warranty: Some has a lifetime residential warranty, but 15-25 years is more common.
Best Use: Homes with light to moderate traffic. Very light commercial use, for those brands with a commercial warranty.
Better Vinyl Plank Flooring – $2.40 to $3.99 per Square Foot
This is the most popular category of LVT and LVP. Every manufacturer has a few collections in this range.
Average Cost: $2.79-$3.59
Longevity: 10-15 years for residential use and 7-12 years for commercial use depending on traffic and maintenance.
Selection: Excellent. Wood, stone and tile looks across the color palette.
Construction: Most are WPC or vinyl core floors, but quality SPC lines are found here too. Much of the WPC lines have pad attached.
Warranty: Lifetime residential and 10-15 years for commercial use.
Best Use: Residences with moderate to heavy traffic and light-to-moderate commercial settings.
Brands: Armstrong LUXE and Vivero Better; COREtec One, Pro Galaxy and Pro Plus; LifeProof 6 mils and 12 mils; all NuCore; Mohawk UniClic 8 mils and 12 mils; Cali Bamboo Plus and Pro; Shaw Floorte 8 mils and 12 mils, Floorte Pro Plus 12 mils.
Best Vinyl Plank Flooring –$4.00 per Square Foot
This is premium LVT and LVP, the top of the line for most brands.
Average Cost: $4.19-$5.29 per square foot
Longevity: 12-20 years for residential use, or 20+ in homes with light traffic. In commercial settings from moderate to heavy, you can expect 8-15 years of durability.
Construction: Mostly WPC and vinyl core flooring with attached cork or foam pad. COREtec is the leading brand for commercial-grade SPC flooring.
Warranty: Lifetime residential and up to 20 years commercial warranties.
Best Use: Busy homes with heavy traffic; Commercial settings with moderate to heavy use.
Brands: COREtec 20 mils Plus and Pro; Armstrong Vivero Better and Best; Shaw Floorte Plus 20 & 30 mils and Floorte Pro 20 mils; Mohawk UniClic 20 mils; LifeProof 22 mils;
Cost of Accessories and Supplies
The prices above are for the flooring planks or tiles only.
For some floating floor jobs, that is all you need.
Other projects require accessories. Some brands make accessories to match their flooring options.
What it is: Much of the midgrade and premium LVT is produced with attached pad. For example, LifeProof comes with thin plastic padding. Better options like all NuCore lines have cork underlayment. COREtec makes “better” flooring with a 1.5mm cork pad and “best” flooring with a 3mm pad, the most luxurious available.
If there is no pad attached, see the installation guide for whether it is required or at least allowed.
Underlayment materials include recycled wood and bamboo fibers, cork, foam and other synthetic materials. Some has a vapor barrier layer too.
When it is used: All floating vinyl plank flooring should have underlayment pad to soften the floor and reduce the noise hard flooring can make.
Cost: 30-85 cents ($0.30-$0.85) per square foot. Synthetic is the most affordable. Premium cork costs the most.
Vapor Barrier / Moisture Barrier
What it is: Vapor or moisture barrier is a waterproof layer of material used to protect the flooring from moisture below. It is installed with slight overlap and the seams sealed with waterproof tape.
When it is used: When vinyl plank flooring is installed over concrete, which allows moisture transfer from below, vinyl plank is required. But LVP is waterproof, right? Yes, but you don’t want moisture accumulating beneath it, presenting the potential for the growth of mold or for staining the flooring.
Cost: 15 to 40 cents per square foot.
What it is: These are strips of wood, synthetic or metal material that are fastened to the subfloor. They have slots in the sides for flooring to fit into.
When it is used: When two flooring types meet, a transition strip is required to hide the seam.
Cost: $1.75-$3.00 per linear foot. Most are sold in 8’ to 12’ strips to be cut to size.
Stairnose / Bullnose
What it is: The piece of material on the front edge of a step is called a nose, nosing or bullnose.
When it is used: On every stair to give the front edge a finished appearance.
Cost: $1.75-$3.50 per linear foot.
What it is: This spread adhesive is applied with a roller to permanently adhere the planks to the subfloor.
When it is used: Glue-down flooring only.
Cost: $35-$50 per gallon. One gallon of glue covers 140-170 square feet of flooring.
Vinyl plank flooring installation labor cost is $1.50-$2.75 per square foot for most jobs.
Labor Cost Factors
Professional installers consider these factors when putting together an LVT installation estimate.
This table shows sample jobs based on these factors.
Vinyl Plank Cost
Full Two Story
Full Ranch Home
Basement - Open Plan
Bonus Room - Open
Cost includes 5% extra material for trimming and waste, so 2,100 sq. ft. for a 2,000 sq. ft. home.
Is DIY Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation an Option?
Yes, especially a floating floor or peel and stick.
Glue-down flooring is really pretty easy too, when the Installation Guide provided with the flooring you purchase is closely followed.
Stairs should definitely, for the sake of appearance and safety once installed, be left to pros, in our opinion.
For jobs with no stairs, the hardest part comes before you start to install the flooring. Really!
These steps are vital for a successfully completed job:
- 1Measuring the floors accurate and adding 5% to 10% for trimming, goof-ups during installation and to have enough of the flooring left for future repairs.
- 2Choosing the right underlayment or vapor barrier and supplies, if needed (and knowing whether they’re needed).
- 3Coordinating trim, transition strips and other accessories – if needed.
- 4Planning what direction to install the flooring for the best appearance.
- 5Putting together a tools list.
The Installation Guide for your flooring will prove valuable for these steps. If installation video tutorials are available, watch them a time or two.
Should you DIY vinyl plank flooring?
Consider DIY if you:
Best Places to Buy Vinyl Plank Flooring Online
Shopping online gives you the best selection and price, and it makes for easy comparison of the products you’re considering.
Here are five great options for shopping for vinyl plank flooring online.
Each has similar filters to narrow your search. These include Price – start High or Low, Price Min to Max, Brand, Flooring Type (floating, glue-down, etc.) Color, Customer Rating, Brand and more.
This online megastore has the motto, “Everything home for every budget.”
Our search “luxury vinyl flooring” turned up 690 results. That’s an overwhelming number, but Wayfair offers excellent Filters that are easy to use to pinpoint your search.
Brands include Shaw, Armstrong, Mohawk, Tarkett, Mannington, Allure, Montserrat and 30+ more.
Overall, the shopping experience is easy and enjoyable at Wayfair.
Floor & Decor
The company behind this site makes and sells NuCore vinyl plank flooring.
But Floor & Decor sells quite a few other Brands including Armstrong, NuCore, Casa Moderna and DuraLux.
Home Improvement Stores
Lowes, Menards, the Home Depot and several others are best known as bricks & mortar stores, but shopping/buying online is easy too.
Most allow you to shop online and pick it up in the store, which often saves shipping charges.
The Brands carried by the stores vary quite a bit. Each store has one or two featured brands. Lowe sells a lot of Cali Bamboo vinyl plank flooring. Home Depot has exclusive TrafficMaster and Home Decorators Collection LVT.
All have good information on Warranty and Installation. Recommended underlay, glue or other supplies are often shown.
The layout at Lowes is the clearest and easy to use, in our opinion. Home Depot has the best selection (750+).
The best part of the Build Direct site is the helpful information and guides. They include FAQs, Installation How-to, Vinyl vs Laminate and Vinyl Reviews.
The Selection is good, with about 270 products.
The biggest problem is with Brands. You have a limited number – 3 currently, but it varies. Finally, Build Direct doesn’t carry any premium LVT options.
Floors to Your Home
This company claims “Manufacturers contact us first to sell their overstocks, discontinued and factory seconds that they cannot sell through their regular channels of distribution. We sell these products at 50-75% off their original retail selling prices.”
The Seconds sold by Floors to Your Home have slight imperfections you probably won’t notice. If you’re concerned, buy a single box and check it out.
Brands include COREtec, Mohawk, Shaw Floorte, Supreme Click, Pergo and Mannington.
Just beware, the flooring is sold with no warranty.
This Goliath isn’t our favorite place to shop for vinyl plank flooring for two reasons: Too many Sponsored results on every page and too many miscellaneous but related items. If you’ve shopped Amazon enough, you know about those distractions.
Amazon has the best Reviews and Ratings section. This is the best part of shopping for luxury vinyl flooring on the site.
There are more than 50 brands, but most have only a few options-about 200 total styles across those 50 brands.
How to Find a Quality Vinyl Plank Flooring Installer at a Fair Price
The proven method of getting a combination of excellent installation and a fair price is to get estimates from multiple installers.
There are so many installers in most areas, it can be a headache research them, make lots of calls, wait for sales agents to get back to you and set up appointments.
The next step is to narrow the list, and get estimates from your 3 or 4 top choices.
There’s a faster, more convenient way to get written estimates. Use our Free Estimates option for bids from top installers in your area. They are prescreened to be sure they are licensed and experienced. They know they are competing to get your flooring project.
Once you have the estimates, review the qualifications and online reviews of each company, and choose one you believe offers quality installation at a good price.
We hope this Vinyl Plank Flooring Cost Guide has helped you understand costs and estimate how much you’ll pay for flooring.
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