There are two main criteria to consider when selecting the right flooring type for your project; Subfloor Condition and the Installation Setting.
Subfloor Condition – Cracks, divots and high/low spots are all common in concrete subfloors. Joint unevenness, raised or depressed fastener heads and plywood knot holes are all common in wood subfloors. These imperfections can cause “telegraphing” or “show through” of the condition of the subfloor through the floor covering. Without question, the best installations are those that take care of the subfloor irregularities prior to installation of the floor covering. With that said, there are better materials to use than others when the subfloor is less than perfect. A rigid core SPC product, like Sound-Tec, will mask the gentle unevenness in the subfloor by “Floating” over the top of the surface and not adhering to it. Due to the rigidity of the planks, minor imperfections are smoothed over and will not show through to appear “wavy”. Glue down LVT, however, will telegraph the subfloor imperfections through to the surface and the final installation will take on the unevenness of the surface beneath. To secure the best installation outcome, ensure the subfloor is prepared properly to receive a flawless finish. Portland cement-based floor patches should be used to fill in divots, holes and low spots to bring the subfloor up to a flat, level surface.
Proper subfloor preparation is an important and sometimes costly process. In some cases, it might be prudent to choose a rigid core Click/Floating Floor to float over the top of the existing flooring. While the rigid core products themselves may cost more per foot, the total installation may be less costly when compared to an extensive floor demo with a less costly floor covering option.
Installation Setting – The installation site and intended use of the floor will have a determining factor as to what type of floor covering should be installed. When considering the right product with the right application, have the following considerations in mind:
- How much foot traffic is expected? The wear layer, the uppermost layer on the floor covering, is produced in varied thicknesses and measured in “Mils”. The thicker the wear layer, the more foot traffic it is designed to handle. Typically, 8 mil wear layers are rated for Residential environments and 20 mil wear layers protect floors for Commercial applications.
- Is the installation a commercial or residential application? In high traffic commercial areas, a more permanently fixed solution is required to handle the increased demand put on the floor. Glue Down LVT is a smart choice as the flooring is “locked” down to the subfloor providing a superior base of support.
- Will rolling loads be present? Glue down LVT withstands pressure from rolling loads much better than a Clip/Floating Floor. Rolling loads are either machinery or equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, pianos, mail carts, bellhop carts, furniture dollies, busboy carts, office chairs, etc.
- Will oversized or extremely heavy furniture be stationed on top of the flooring? If so, be mindful of the weight of the stationary furniture piece. Click/Floating Floors need to be able to expand and contract based on atmospheric conditions, and if there is a furniture piece that is effectively locking it down to the subfloor, then floor failure can occur around those furniture pieces.
- Will pets be living on the floor? Pet claws can cause damage to flooring with thin wear layers. Look to install thicker wear layers where pets are present.
All three vinyl flooring options; Glue Down LVT, Click/Floating Floor and Loose Lay Flooring can be installed below grade (basement level), on grade (ground level), and above grade (second floor or higher). Being naturally waterproof vinyl products they can also be installed in wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms as well as in commercial spaces.