Luxury Vinyl Flooring: Seal It for Performance

Luxury Vinyl Tile and Plank (LVT and LVP) flooring has been popular for several years as a smart option both in new construction and in existing buildings, but to get the best performance throughout its lifespan, LVT and LVP need to be sealed with a high-quality finish that resists physical and chemical abuse.

Originally introduced in the 1970s, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Luxury Plank Tile (LVP) are individual easy-to-install vinyl tiles or planks that mimic natural materials such as wood and stone. They were designed to serve as an aesthetic upgrade to traditional water-resistant sheet vinyl and are available in several tile sizes with a seemingly limitless number of varying patterns and textures. With proper installation and care, luxury vinyl is an economical, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly option for schools, medical facilities, hotels, homes, and commercial settings. However, whether it comes with a factory finish or not, it will eventually need protection from physical and chemical damage.

“Core” Characteristics

Performance of all types of luxury vinyl flooring is determined by its materials. Each engineered vinyl plank and tile is crafted with one of three main core types: WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) core,  PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) core, or a SPC (Stone Plastic Composite) core. Both WPC and PVC core products produce a softer underfoot feel. Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) core is the toughest of the three core types and often referred to as Rigid Core or Engineered Vinyl Tile or Plank flooring (EVT or EVP). Due to its rigid core (composed of a 70% stone powder + 30% PVC core), SPC-formulated planks and tiles are especially popular in commercial settings, though less forgiving underfoot.

Other Key Benefits

EPIC High-Performance Floor Finish in Semi-Gloss Sheen

When selecting flooring, it is helpful to be aware of a few other attractive benefits that LVT and LVP offer. First, they are suitable for application over in-floor heating systems due to limited expansion and contraction. Plank-style vinyl can be quickly and easily installed over existing flooring (as long as it is completely flat) with a tongue-and-groove process. Second, most types of vinyl flooring come with an overall lower price point when compared to wood or stone flooring. Additionally, they are typically easier to clean than their natural counterparts. It is always best to dry mop or sweep them regularly to keep them free of debris.

Challenges

Luxury vinyl products are comprised of another key component, the wear layer. This top transparent layer (ranging from 4-40 mils of thickness) may or may not be coated with a factory-finish coating that is marketed as “no wax” or “maintenance free”. However, the finish is apt to gradually wear away with time from foot traffic and damage from furniture. Plus, because LVT and LVP are highly textured, they can be more difficult than VCT to clean and maintain. Acrylic wax has been used in the past, but the shine dulls within weeks after application and needs to be stripped and recoated often, requiring a tremendous amount of labor, product, and time. Additionally, stripping and recoating is a nasty process that has a terrible impact on the environment.

Protecting Your Vinyl Plank and Tile Flooring

Alternatively, Ultra Durable Technologies recommends sealing floors with EPIC High-Performance Floor Finish. The sheen can be customized with three different options. First, EPIC’s matte sheen preserves the natural look and texture of vinyl. Second, a semi-gloss (EPIC High-Gloss mixed with UDT’s Ultra Grip additives) provides a bit of a more subtle, toned-down shine. Third, to achieve a more dramatic effect, a gorgeous high-gloss sheen is also available. Just one thin coat of EPIC will protect, rejuvenate, and last 3 to 5 years or longer! EPIC provides an impenetrable membrane, as well, which makes routine cleaning a breeze.

Once again, It is crucial to remember that although luxury vinyl flooring is often touted as “maintenance free”, LVT and LVP need to be sealed at some point. Switching from wax to EPIC High-Performance Floor Finish protects your investment for years to come! 

EPIC High-Performance Floor Finish in Matte Sheen

“We tried several products for a 7,000 sq. ft. gymnasium & settled on Ultra Durable EPIC. We chose Matte & absolutely love it. The finish is Rock Hard! Zero adhesion problems. Flowed & leveled flawlessly. Customer service was meticulous in coordinating the coating process. Chris was concise & prompt. I can’t recommend highly enough.” 

     -Joshua Raphael (Raphael Sport Floors – Lodi, CA)

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