LUXURY VINYL: THE INSTALLER’S PERSPECTIVE
Let’s continue sharing why we don’t often recommend luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT).
Think about this … if a floor installer needs to wear a mask when they cut luxury vinyl, why would you want that flooring material in your home?
It’s a VOC thing … Volatile Organic Compounds. VOCs are toxic chemicals, and luxury vinyl often have high VOC levels. And yes, VOCs are carcinogens.
Phthalate, what? Phthalate is a PVC softener (and is toxic). This is added to luxury vinyl to make it bendable. Phthalate can leach from LVT and LVP. Leaching toxins may be an unexpected outcome with scratches through daily living.
In the News
Earlier this year, a train derailed in Ohio. One of the chemicals released was vinyl chloride which is used to make polyvinyl chloride, commonly referred to as PVC (remember phthalate?). After this accident, people complained of headaches and eye irritation and animals died including 3,500 fish.
“Exposure to high concentrations of vinyl chloride, for example, can cause cancer and immediate symptoms like dizziness, irritation to the skin and eyes and coughing, said Juliane Beier, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Beier’s research in a lab setting suggests that exposure to low concentrations of vinyl chloride could exacerbate pre-existing damage in the liver, such as for those who are in the early stages of liver disease or cancer.”
For the full article: What we know about the chemicals aboard the train that derailed in Ohio | PBS NewsHour
Bottom line, if you definitely want luxury vinyl for your floors, make sure it has zero or low VOC levels and is phthalate free.
When you are choosing a flooring material, it’s easy to focus on how it will look when it is first installed. But we highly recommend that you think about the future too, specifically, when repairs are needed.
It’s very difficult to repair luxury vinyl, especially if the damage is in the middle of a room. If the damage can be repaired, that area will continue to be a weak spot. As a result, it may need to be repaired again and again. And remember, chemicals may be released during the repair process (refer back to the section called Air).
In our earlier blog post, we talked about how luxury vinyl is water resistant. It is not waterproof. This means that it is one of the worst types of flooring for bathrooms. Luxury vinyl cannot handle the amount of water exposure it encounters in an environment with so much water. Bathrooms have the highest failure rate for luxury vinyl floors!
When you realize that LVT and LVP are not the longest lasting flooring materials, it’s not the most comfortable to stand on, and it’s not eco-friendly at all, should the word “luxury” really be included in its name? We don’t think so.
What flooring is really best for you?
Remember, talk to a professional installer, not just a salesperson. At Seer Flooring, we prefer to have a conversation with you about your goals for your floor, how long you anticipate the floor to last, how many people are in your home, what types of pets you have, etc. With that information, we can discuss what flooring materials would be best for your situation.