Emerging Trends in Luxury Vinyl Flooring
One trend starting to emerge in the luxury vinyl flooring category is the option of getting a rigid core product in a glue down format, the core being a version of the rigid core used in click products. The benefits of adding a rigid core include less indentation damage from static and rolling loads, less potential for telegraphing of substrate imperfections and roughness, and eliminating the process of back rolling adhesives to minimize trowel ridge show through when compared to traditional luxury vinyl flooring. On the negative side, be prepared to spend more time evaluating and correcting substrate flatness issues as rigid core glue down luxury vinyl products will not conform to out-of-flatness-tolerance substrates like regular resilient luxury vinyl flooring.
Luxury vinyl adhesives offering extended working times up to 12 hours are becoming more common. Installers have been using carpet tile type PSA adhesives to install luxury vinyl flooring for years but without a warranty, now that there are PSA type adhesives specifically for luxury vinyl flooring, we are seeing a lot of movement away from traditional hard set luxury vinyl adhesives. PSA type adhesives for luxury vinyl allow the installer to spread larger areas of the substrate without fear of the adhesive over drying before the flooring can be installed and are a great fit in most residential and multi-family applications. A word of caution though as they are not a suitable replacement for commercial grade hard set adhesives. Only hard set adhesives should be used in commercial applications and are required in areas that will experience heavier rolling loads. Also be aware of direct heat and sunlight restrictions (read the fine print). PSA type adhesives will not work as well as hard set latex/acrylics adhesives and epoxy adhesives when it comes to controlling gaps developing between luxury vinyl planks and tiles in direct heat (direct sun light) applications.
Although the products have been around for many years we are seeing more 4.5 mm and 5 mm loose lay tile (LLT) products used in commercial projects as well as multi-family buildings, it’s taken some time but more people in the industry are recognizing the benefits of LLT can in many ways outweigh the additional cost of the product when compared to traditional luxury vinyl flooring. Benefits over traditional glue down luxury vinyl are the option to install with a perimeter band of PSA adhesive only and loose lay the middle of the room or use a light application of long working time PSA adhesive that is troweled, rolled or sprayed across the entire floor. Either way you get a faster, easier and more forgiving installation, easy repair and replacement of damaged flooring. LLT products are generally much more resistant to expansion and contraction from direct heat sources than standard luxury vinyl flooring making them a better flooring option when gapping between planks from direct sunlight heat is a concern.