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Goodbye real wood floors - the future is LVT
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When it comes to the interior design of today’s homes, wooden flooring has long been a firm favourite. Of course, there’s no denying the beauty of a real wood floor but how practical is this choice of flooring for the rough and tumble of modern family life, kids and pets? While wood is certainly a robust, traditional building material that oozes character and style, is it still fit for purpose or are there better flooring solutions out there?
Enter LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles), or LVP (Luxury Vinyl Planks), a relatively new player in the flooring market that has taken the world by storm. So, what exactly is it? And why is it better than wood?

What is luxury vinyl flooring?
LVT is a high-end vinyl flooring product that can look like genuine wood flooring in a vast choice of styles, effects and designs. Unlike inferior sheet vinyl flooring of days past, today’s LVT designs are so authentic, they’re often indistinguishable from the real thing, as the main photo beautifully illustrates.
LVT has a multi-layer construction consisting of a solid vinyl backing and a rigid core, plus the design layer which is topped with a clear protective polyurethane coating – all of which makes the product extremely durable and hardwearing. Karndean and Amtico are the market-leading brands, but there are many others.

What are the advantages of LVT?
Wood floors are typically marketed as a naturally beautiful, timeless and tough flooring solution – and in many respects they are. However, if you look closely at all the demands that a domestic floor must meet these days, wood is by no means the perfect material. Whether you choose solid or engineered wood flooring, reclaimed wood flooring or parquet, they all have the same drawbacks. And, that’s where LVT comes in.

- Water resistant
Unlike natural wood, LVT is totally waterproof, no matter how wet it gets. This is great news for kitchens, bathrooms and utility areas in particular – you’d be surprised how often water accidents occur in the home. Water and hardwood floors just don’t mix – the floor can warp or buckle as a result of a water spillage, or grow mould when exposed to moisture over time. Sealing floors may provide some relief, but it’s not recommended in wet areas. With LVT, you don’t have to worry about any of that. From condensation in the air to spilled liquids or full-on flooding, nothing is going to damage your vinyl floor.

- Scratch resistant
LVT is a fully engineered, man-made flooring product originally designed to withstand tough conditions in commercial environments. Essentially, it will take whatever you throw at it and simply shrug it off. This is exactly what you need for high traffic areas in your home, such as hallways and kitchens. LVT has none of the weaknesses of wood or wood veneers; its solid core and ultra-dense composition make it highly resistant to scratches, marks, dents and gouges. Wood floors, by comparison, are vulnerable to scratches and can get damaged; the floor will need to be sanded and refinished to look new again.

- Temperature resistant
Did you know that wood moves? Being a natural material, it contracts and expands in response to temperature and humidity changes. Even engineered floors are not impervious to minor seasonal variations. Timber floors can shrink leading to unsightly gaps appearing between planks or near walls, or they can expand causing buckling and crowning in the floor, which can be a nightmare to fix. If you want to eliminate all risk of this happening to your floors, there’s a simple solution: install LVT instead. Man-made and dimensionally stable, luxury vinyl floors don’t swell or shrink regardless of the weather, and they’re perfect for underfloor heating too.

- Supreme comfort
If you’re looking for a hard floor that feels pleasantly soft and warm underfoot, stone or wood flooring is definitely not the answer. With excellent insulating properties, the temperature of LVT floors remains comfortable across the seasons, and you can easily combine it with underfloor heating systems such as these. The resilient layer anticipates your body weight and creates a soft, supportive underfoot feeling while providing excellent acoustic comfort too. Who wants to hear the clatter of feet or paws on wooden flooring in the house when a vinyl floor can reduce walking and transit noise to an absolute minimum.

- Low maintenance
Hardwood floors may look beautiful but a lot of cleaning and maintenance is needed to keep them that way. This includes regular sweeping and dusting to prevent scratch marks from dirt and dust, regular refinishing to repair damage from pet claws, high heels or furniture, and the use of wood-friendly cleaning products that don’t saturate the floor. Caring for your vinyl floor is much more straightforward. Due to the protective wear layer of LVT flooring, all you need is a quick sweep/hoover to keep dust at bay as and when needed, and a neutral floor cleaner (you can add antibacterial cleaner or diluted bleach for added peace of mind) for regular mopping.

Luxury vinyl tiles and planks come in literally thousands of different colours, styles and sizes. Choose a floor that looks like a specific species of tree or pick a stain colour that complements the rest of your interiors scheme. Opt for traditional herringbone parquet or ultra-realistic hand-scraped wood textures for the ultimate stylish, practical solution for your hallway, kitchen or living spaces.
LVT is one of the fastest growing flooring types in the world with a wealth of flexible design options and product variety that are robust, practical and easy to install. When it comes to flooring solutions for our homes, the bar for interior design has truly been raised.

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