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Feb 28, 2022

What Wear Layer Thickness Do I Need for My Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

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Home and business owners looking for high-quality flooring should consider investing in luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or plank (LVP). Luxury vinyl flooring comes in a diverse array of visual styles, from traditional hardwood plank patterns to luxurious stone. The affordability of luxury vinyl flooring doesn’t mean it’s not a resilient and long-lasting flooring solution. The topmost wear layer on vinyl helps minimize wear and damage, ensuring your LVT or LVP lasts for years.

What Is Luxury Vinyl and Why Does It Have a Wear Layer?

In recent years, luxury vinyl has become a popular flooring option for residential and commercial spaces. LVT and LVP are an improvement over clumsy and less-realistic sheet vinyl. Both offer better water resistance than many other floors, but LVT and LVP look and feel far more realistic.

Although luxury vinyl floors come in a variety of shapes, styles and colors, they are generally divided into two categories: luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP). Luxury vinyl tile resembles stone or porcelain tile flooring, while luxury vinyl plank looks like natural hardwood flooring.

The photorealistic visual design layer on luxury vinyl is overlaid with a clear, durable vinyl wear layer that protects the design layer from all types of damage. These wear layers vary in thickness and features. Thicker wear layers tend to last longer and are usually recommended for commercial settings with high traffic, while thinner layers are usually recommended for residential settings.

Choosing the Right Thickness for Your Luxury Vinyl Floor

Although luxury vinyl consists of many different layers, such as the solid polymer core that offers the perfect amount of rigid strength, it’s the wear layer that’s responsible for its excellent surface durability. The wear layer protects LVT and LVP from typical wear and tear.

The wear layer is most commonly measured in mils, but is also occasionally shown in millimeters (mm). A mil is one-thousandth of an inch, while a millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter.

Thickness isn’t the only defining feature of a wear layer. Different lines of flooring may have additional protectants or treatments combined with the wear layer.

For example, Metroflor’s Inception Solid Polymer Composite (SPC) floors have an additional FX2 Surface Protectant, an advanced polymer finish that offers enhanced stain fighting and abrasion resistant attributes.

Genesis has an even more advanced FX3 Surface Protectant that adds Ultra Fresh treatment, a mold and mildew growth inhibitor and odor protector.

It's important to pay attention to wear layers when choosing a luxury vinyl flooring. Make sure to find out what other features your wear layer offers, especially if your LVT or LVP will be exposed to potentially wet, high-traffic conditions.

What Level of Thickness Should I Go With?

This depends on the level of traffic in a particular area. Residential flooring with moderate traffic may benefit from a wear layer of 6, 8 or 12 mil, while commercial flooring prone to high traffic may need a wear layer of 20 mil or thicker.

The thicker the layer, the more expensive the floor will be. It’s also worth noting that floors with wear layers thicker than 28 mil may have to sacrifice aesthetics for extreme durability, as the thick wear layer may reduce the visibility of the flooring’s intricate design.

Pay Attention to Different Warranties

Before completing your purchase, familiarize yourself with what the flooring warranty covers and for how long. The length of a warranty and the types of things covered may be affected by the flooring’s wear layer thickness.

You may assume the warranty includes things like staining of your floor, only to discover that’s not the case. Find out if your LVT or LVP flooring is rated as residential or commercial, as this could drastically affect the details and length of your warranty coverage. For example, Metroflor’s period of coverage for residential flooring is generally five to 15 years longer than for commercial flooring, depending on the product. For example, a floor with a 20 mil wear layer may have a 15 year commercial warranty, but the same floor will have a lifetime residential warranty.

What Are the Other Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Flooring?

  • Can withstand high traffic without fading or suffering scuffs or dents
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes in a wide range of colors and patterns
  • Doesn’t tax natural resources like trees or stone
  • Doesn’t harbor dust, pollen and other allergens
  • Cheaper than hardwood and natural-stone flooring
  • Warmer and more comfortable underfoot than other types of hard surface floors
  • Easy to install, with several installation options (droplock, glue down and magnetic attachment technology)
  • Water resistant – good for bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements
  • Many of Metroflor’s luxury vinyl floors are ASSURE CERTIFIED™

Shop Metroflor for Residential and Commercial Luxury Vinyl Flooring

At Metroflor, we offer a diverse array of durable and high-quality flooring options to match your unique style, practical needs and budget. Explore our various flooring solutions or contact a dealer near you for more information.

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