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LVT: So much more than the safe option

Mark Griffin explains why LVT is becoming more popular with its flexible benefits for different applications.

LUXURY vinyl tile has firmly established itself as the solution of choice for rugged or high-traffic areas of commercial spaces and has reliably lived up to the task. But LVT is more than just a safe pair of hands; manufacturers’ latest designs do much more, vastly increasing the scope of application for LVT and multiplying the value the right flooring solution can add to a project.

Many flooring contractors will already be installing LVT in areas that need added durability, but will be unaware of its other advantages, partly because they’re not always clear right away.

We sometimes hear from clients who’re discovering fresh new benefits months into a project, or even years down the line. Whether it’s as an architect explaining specifying decisions, or as an installer handing over to a facilities or maintenance manager after a completed job, highlighting how LVT will keep performing will be a serious confidence builder.

Tougher than tough
Admittedly, durability is a quality of LVT that probably isn’t flying under the radar, but it does deserve revisiting in the context of some of the applications it makes LVT suitable for, and how it contributes positively to other benefits. The latest LVT systems are made with next-generation surface finishes to enhance scratch and scuff resistance while providing a hard wearing, durable product.

At Interface, the stability of the product is further enhanced by adding a layer of fibreglass between the two core sheets to add extra strength to the core. This is as much about maintaining the overall aesthetic of the installation as it protects the tiles to make them last longer. There’s also inherent sustainability value in a solution that stays on the floor for as long as possible.

LVT is often used in busy corridors in commercial spaces where they’d previously have had to settle for a more industrial alternative that disrupts the aesthetic.

Volume down
Acoustics have huge impact on user experience and are a key concern in commercial designs, particularly as organisations look to create workspaces that support employee wellbeing and entice staff back into the office.

There are acoustic solutions for everything from furniture to furnishings, but flooring, as a space’s biggest furnishing, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. LVTs capacity to reduce impact sound is particularly valuable on hard floors, where sound often travels to rooms below. Some LVT products have backings designed specifically for sound reduction, such as Interface’s Sound Choice backing, which reduces impact sounds by 16dB, compared to just 1-6dB for hard surface floor. In the workplace, this sound reduction is worth its weight in gold when it comes to creating peaceful, focus-driven working environments.

Sustainable by design
The latest LVT solutions can also make a significant contribution to the sustainability of a project, built with significant and accessible end-of-life options often directly facilitated by manufacturers. Contractors have several options available for reuse, repurposing and recycling they can advise on, as well as recommending how the new flooring can be responsibly disposed of when it’s replaced in future. In fact, many take-back schemes also provide certificates to those who provide used flooring, which helps contractors to boost their own sustainability credentials.

Natural flexibility at the installation stage is another sustainable benefit of LVT, particularly of loose lay systems. Because LVT is installed tile-by-tile, there’s almost always less wastage, if any at all, because spare tiles can easily be swapped out for damaged tiles if needed. It makes maintenance a much less resource-intensive job and extends use life, furthermore, tired tiles can be cleaned and reused in lower traffic areas.

There are more than a few reasons that LVT has been getting a lot of love in recent years. In workplaces in particular, a focus on the social aspect of office working means tea points and kitchens are now places people spend more than a minute on a cup of tea, so they need spaces that can look the part as well as do the job and LVT’s credentials tick boxes across the board.
Mark Griffin is head of product management at Interface

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