Unbiased Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

If you’re in the market for new flooring, you’ve discovered that the question is a bit more complicated than laminate or hardwood these days.  There are so many choices!  In our search for new flooring, we automatically ex-nayed hardwood due to costs and were left looking at laminate, wood-look tile, and Luxury Vinyl Tile aka Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP).  After doing lots of research, we finally settled with Luxury Vinyl Plank.  Since there isn’t a lot of information out there yet, I thought I would give you my unbiased Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring review to help make your decision easier.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

The Good

  • waterproof – Unlike laminate, LVP is completely waterproof.  You don’t have to worry about a dishwasher leaking, kids spilling, or pet accidents.  As a mom of four, a waterproof floor in the kitchen is very important to me.  My kids are constantly spilling water, and I don’t find it until I step in it a couple hours later.  I didn’t want a floor that I would have to worry about all the time.
  • cushion – We lived with the concrete foundation as our floor for two months, trying to figure out what to do about some issues we had.  Standing and walking around on the concrete really started to do a number on my feet and joints.  I know, I sound like an old lady, but it’s true!  I am so glad that we didn’t end up getting tile because I would have been dealing with that all the time.  My LVP was installed with a nice, cushy underlayment.  It’s also a LOT warmer than tile would have been.  That makes a big difference in the winter.
  • ease of installation – Since LVP clicks together like laminate, the installation process is fairly simple.  If you are an ambitious DIY-er, it’s something that you can do yourself.  We opted to have ours professionally installed.  Since it’s easy to install, that also helped keep professional installation costs down.  On average, the installation quotes that I got for LVP were $2.00/sf and wood-look tile was upwards of $6.00/sf.  That makes a HUGE difference when you are talking 1200 sf of flooring.

  • ease of UN-installation – I know it’s not something that you want to think about when you are spending so much money on new flooring, but someday it’s going to be out of style.  That’s just the way things are.  When we bought our house, there was dark slate tile all throughout the kitchen and other places downstairs.  It was a huge pain to demo all of it!  We got quotes for $3.00/sf just to get it taken out.  Wood-look tile might be a hot trend right now, but how long is that really going to last?  I can’t image what demoing an entire first floor of tile would have been like.

dark slate tile in kitchen
Here’s a nice “before” picture for you.  What a difference some paint and new flooring can make!

dark spot on bamboo flooring

  • scratch resistance – I brought home lots of different flooring samples before choosing one.  When comparing the laminate and LVP samples, I took a screw driver and attempted to scratch the surface of both.  The laminate that I tested was a good quality, water resistant laminate, but it scratched a lot easier than the LVP.  Not all LVP is the same though, so make sure to do your research.  The stuff we chose is commercial grade and has a high wear layer.
  • high moisture tolerance – I told you recently about the new house we bought and alluded to some of the issues we had.  The day we closed escrow, we decided to pull up the old bamboo flooring and found lots of mold growing beneath it.  We discovered the mold was caused by high levels of moisture in our concrete slab foundation.  The original plan was to go with laminate flooring throughout the first floor, but with the high levels of moisture, we had to consider other options.  The LVP that we chose can handle up to 9 lbs/1000 sf of moisture in the foundation, whereas traditional laminate can only handle up to about 4 lbs/1000 sf.  This also means that it’s a good option for things like basements and finished garages, where moisture levels might not be ideal.

The Bad

  • not as realistic – Luxury Vinyl Plank is a far cry from sheet vinyl, however it still doesn’t look and feel as real as laminate flooring.  I chose a very high quality LVP that has a nice wood grain texture and separations between the boards.  Most people that come to my house aren’t really sure what it is and ask if it is tile.  They are shocked to learn that it is actually vinyl.  When you look at it from a certain angle and light, the wood grain texture does look a little fake, but no more fake than the wood-look tile that is super popular right now.

Unbiased Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Unbiased Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

  • cost – Depending on what kind you get, LVP does cost a bit more than laminate.  The laminate we were looking at cost about $2.00/sf, whereas the LVP was more like $4.00-$5.00/sf.  That was the main reason we originally chose laminate flooring, but the moisture levels in our foundation stopped us from going this route.

In the end, I’m so glad we went with this flooring, and I hope this Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring review was helpful.  Not having to worry about scratches and spilled drinks makes it all worth it!  It may not look and feel as realistic as laminate, but when it comes down to it, no one is going to be looking at your floor that closely.  The overall look is beautiful, and the contractors were even commenting on what a wonderful, high-quality product I had chosen.

Unbiased Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the high moisture levels in the concrete foundation, we finally found out what was causing them when we had our first rain of the season.  Turns out the yard has horrible drainage issues and becomes a lake every time it rains.  The one corner of the house that had the highest level of moisture and mold is right where the water was pooled next to the foundation.  If you are reading this because you have similar issues, email me, and I can tell you what we found out.  I was SO frustrated trying to find answers and solutions to our problem.  Contractors were trying to rip me off left and right, and everyone had a different explanation.  I’ve done a lot of research and would love to help in any way I can.

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7 Responses to Unbiased Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

  1. Thank you! I’ve been looking everywhere for personal reviews of LVP. We are building a rental unit, and the waterproof factor is a big one for us. Would you mine telling me the specific product you used? We like that look, and definitely want a high quality commercial level product.

    Thank you!

    • So glad you found the review helpful! I ran into the same problem… no good reviews! The flooring we used was Paradigm Longboard in the color Mavericks. I love it so much! If you go to Paradigm’s website, you should be able to find a list of retailers. There are also some selling it online. Just be careful to inspect each piece as we did find just a couple with defects in them after they were already installed. :\ We also found some nice LVP at RC Willey, but I didn’t take the time to research the quality on those ones. Hope that helps!

  2. Another huge “thank you”! I will be replacing flooring in a 1700 sf rental and was going to install Pergo or a similar laminate. Never heard of LVP until a wholesale floor guy showed me. Really appreciate a personal review.

  3. We’re looking to replace our entire downstairs, stairs, and upstairs hallway bathrooms and laundry room. We bought a box of the flooring we liked best so we could lay it out and see/feel it in the room. The main issue I have is that it seems “clacky”when the dogs walk on it. I’m also missing the bevel that we have in our existing wood (that is trashed because of the afore mentioned dogs and kids). So, after living with it, do you feel like it feels and sounds plastic-y?? This is such a big decision that I know I’ll have live with for a long time, I don’t want to make a mistake and hate it….

    • It definitely has a more plastic-y feel and sound than laminate and hardwood. I only really notice it when I tap or drag my fingernails across it. The one that I got is better quality than a lot of them that I looked at, so it’s not as bad as some. That was what initially turned me off to vinyl too, but I’m glad that we went for it. I love that I don’t have to worry about the kids spilling things or dragging their toys across the floor. Maybe I can have nice wood floor when I’m 60. Haha! Before we found out about our moisture problem, I was looking at Pergo Outlast and Aquagaurd. They are supposed to have water resistant properties. Hope that helps!

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