Whether you are a designer or a contractor, choosing luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) or vinyl composite tiles (VCT) in your next project requires careful and thoughtful comparison. LVT has many advantages, especially for projects driven by cost and durability.
However, there is a need for some comparison between the two flooring solutions - particularly in terms of their characteristics, and how each flooring type is used in the commercial interior design industry. Before comparing the two, it should be noted that although LVT and VCT are often used interchangeably, they are actually quite different in composition, design integrity and overall performance.
For example, LVT is a hard surface flooring material that consists of 100% vinyl (giving the floor excellent strength), a layer of color or photographic film, and a protective wear-resistant layer. VCT, on the other hand, is a porous flooring option consisting of a small amount of ethylene, limestone and other filler materials. Although VCT has existed for decades, initially considered by some people as a necessity of the commercial floor industry, LVT, as a multi-functional and reliable floor solution, is still popular, providing endless design options and durability.
The best way to clarify the comparable characteristics of LVT and VCT is to divide the floor into the following quantifiable qualities: appearance and style, durability and stability, application and cost. Undoubtedly, this will help you choose the flooring solution that best suits your next design project.
Appearance and style
With the development of the photographic technology used to create LVT, there are few flooring options comparable to the versatility of LVT's design because it can replicate the natural appearance of wood, stone or other unique finishes in design and texture.
On the other hand, VCT is regarded as a "common" floor solution, which means that the design possibilities of VCT are limited due to limited color and pattern selection and sometimes overly strict design structure. The composition of the VCT means that, because of its composition, you may not be able to guarantee the style purchased. From a design point of view, the mixture of limestone and the added filler material makes it prone to complications. Moreover, VCT is a flat compression product, which means there is no embossing in its overall design.
Limited design and pattern options for VCT
Limited texture and embossing options
LVT can naturally reproduce the appearance and style of various floor materials, such as wood, concrete, marble and stone
Easy to design with endless choice of patterns and colors
Durability and stability
In weighing the durability and stability of LVT and VCT, it is important to understand the composition of the two flooring solutions and to assess the expected human flow on the floor and across the space.
VCT, as mentioned before, is a composite floor. Due to the irregularity of the floor preparation, the floor is easy to become brittle. Considering the porous composition of VCT, it is also important to use local wax, which makes it easier to penetrate moisture than LVT. When waxing or polishing the floor surface, regular maintenance and polishing will be required. When working overtime, the VCT must be stripped and resealed.
LVT, on the other hand, has ingredients made entirely of vinyl - making it a solid, durable and flexible flooring product. Vinyl is a non porous material that makes it an ideal floor solution for areas susceptible to moisture, without the need for additional wax or finishes. The variable wear layer thickness allows you to customize the floor for high flow areas, and excellent design functions can help cover the dust in daily pedestrians. However, due to the low maintenance requirements such as daily maintenance or daily mopping, LVT becomes a low-cost option over time.
Finally, VCT products typically have lower static load resistance than most LVT options.
VCT is suitable for high flow environments if properly maintained
Conventional wax / surface treatment / polishing applications are required to provide protection
VCT has low static load resistance
LVT is easy to clean / maintain
Well withstand high flow
Patterns and textures mask dirt
There is no doubt that LVT and VCT are both popular floor solutions. However, it is essential to study not only where each element is used in today's industry, but also in similar types of environments.
For example, although VCT is considered a popular product in high traffic areas, this does not mean that you will find it in every retail or corporate space. VCT is actually most commonly used in education and healthcare applications, especially in K-12 schools. As mentioned earlier, it is a common flooring option due to the low cost of the original material.
LVT, on the other hand, can be found in most indoor business environments, including hospitals, corporate office space, multi family space, retail and supermarkets, hotels and restaurants (to name just a few). LVT is designed to meet the unique needs of various applications, not only because of its low material cost, life cycle value and overall design aesthetic. Its outstanding design versatility means it can adapt to almost all design options - comfortable, simple, fashionable and modern.
VCT is often used in education and healthcare applications, especially in K-12 schools
LVT becomes the first choice floor solution for the commercial industry with large flow of people
Before comparing the cost of LVT and VCT, it is important to ask a question: what is the short-term goal of the floor?
Although VCT was a low-cost option at first, with installation costs less than $2 per square foot, more long-term costs still need to be considered, such as ongoing maintenance required to properly maintain the VCT.
The initial cost is not included in the cost of wax and polishing over the years, but increased cost, which may cause users to be unable to apply the finish on time, thus making the floor more vulnerable to damage.
At the same time, LVT is usually priced at $2 to $5 per square foot, including installation costs for commercial products. With the passage of time, the minimum maintenance and service requirements for LVT mean that you will pay more at first, but in the long run, it will undoubtedly cost less.
VCT reduces upfront costs
Continuous maintenance cost
LVT is cheaper than other flooring materials such as ceramics or wood
Reduce maintenance costs and get more value over time