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Commercial & Residential VCT & LVT Vinyl Flooring

Whether you’re a designer or contractor, choosing between Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) or Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) in your next project requires a careful and thoughtful comparison. LVT in particular has many benefits, especially for projects where cost and durability are driving factors.

There are, however, several comparisons to be made between the two flooring solutions — especially when it comes to their characteristics, and how each flooring type is used in the commercial interior design industry. Before comparing the two it’s important to note that LVT and VCT, though often used interchangeably, are actually quite different in regards to composition, design integrity, and overall performance.

For instance, LVT is a hard surface flooring material comprised of 100% vinyl (which is what gives the flooring superior strength), a color or photographic film layer, and a protective wear layer. VCT, on the other hand, is a porous flooring option made up of a small amount of vinyl with limestone and other filler material. While VCT has been around for decades and was originally considered by some to be a necessity in the commercial flooring industry, LVT continues to grow in popularity as a versatile and dependable flooring solution, offering durability with endless design options.

VCT Vinyl Flooring

VCT Vinyl Flooring

LVT Vinyl Floring

LVT Vinyl Flooring

The best way to illustrate the comparable characteristics of LVT vs. VCT is to break the flooring down into the following quantifiable qualities: look and style, durability and stability, applications, and cost. This will undoubtedly help you select the flooring solution that’s best for your next design project.

Look & Style

With the advance in photo technology used to create LVT, few flooring options compare to the design versatility of LVT as it is capable of replicating the natural look of wood, stone or other unique finishes in both design and texture.

VCT on the other hand is considered to be a “common” flooring solution — meaning it is somewhat confined in its design possibilities due to limited color and pattern options and the, at times, prohibitive design structure. The composition of VCT means you may not be guaranteed the pattern you pay for due to its composition. From a design standpoint, the mixed composition of limestone and added filler materials can make it susceptible to complications. Not only that, but VCT is a flat compressed product meaning it has no embossing in its overall design.

VCT

  • Limited design and pattern options
  • Limited texture and embossing options

LVT

  • Can replicate naturally the look and style of various flooring materials like wood, concrete, marble and stone
  • Easily designable with endless pattern and color options

Durability & Stability

When weighing the durability and stability of LVT vs. VCT, it’s important to look at the composition of both flooring solutions, as well as assess the amount of foot traffic that is expected of the flooring and overall space.

VCT, which as mentioned earlier is composite flooring causing the floor to brittle easily due to irregularities in subfloor preparation. It is also important to apply a topical wax given VCT’s porous ingredients making it more susceptible to moisture penetration than LVT. When applying a wax or finish to the surface of the flooring, it will require polishing in its regular maintenance regiment. Overtime, VCT must be stripped and resealed.

LVT on the other hand features composition fully made of vinyl — making it a sturdy, durable and flexible flooring product. Vinyl, being a non-porous material makes it an ideal flooring solution for areas that are susceptible to moisture, and requires no additional wax or finish. Varying wear layer thicknesses allow you to tailor your flooring for high traffic areas, and superior design capabilities can help disguise dirt from day-to-day foot traffic. With minimal maintenance requirements, however, such as daily sweeping or dry mopping, makes LVT a low cost option over time.

Finally, VCT products generally have a lower static load resistance than most LVT options.

VCT

  • Suitable for high traffic environments if maintained properly
  • Requires routine wax/finish/polish application for protection
  • VCT has a lower static load resistance

LVT

  • Easier to clean/maintain
  • Withstands high traffic well
  • Patterns and textures hide dirt

Applications

There is no doubt that both LVT and VCT are popular flooring solutions. However, it’s crucial that you look into where each is being used not only in your industry today, but across similar type of environments.

For instance, while VCT is known as a popular product for high traffic areas, this doesn’t mean you’ll find it in every retail or corporate space. VCT is actually most commonly used in education and healthcare applications, notably K-12 schools. As mentioned earlier, it is a common flooring choice for its initial low cost for material.

LVT on the other hand can be found in most commercial interior environments including hospitals, corporate office spaces, multi-family spaces, retail and supermarkets, hotels and restaurants (to name a few). LVT is designed to meet the unique demands of a wide variety of applications, not just a few for its low material cost, lifecycle value, and overall design aesthetics. Its superior design versatility means it can fit into almost any design scheme — whether it’s comforting and rustic or sleek and contemporary.

VCT

  • Commonly used in education and healthcare applications, notably K-12 schools

LVT

  • Becoming the preferred flooring solutions across commercial industries with high traffic areas

Cost

Before doing the cost comparison of LVT vs. VCT it’s important to ask the question: What are your immediate goals for the flooring?

Though at the outset VCT is a low cost option, there are more long-term costs to consider, like the continual upkeep that’s required to properly maintain VCT.

This initial cost does not factor in the money spent on wax and polishing over the years — an added cost that can lead users to hold back on regularly applying a finish and therefore make their flooring more susceptible to damage.

LVT meanwhile is priced generally higher per square foot including the cost of installation for commercial products. The minimal maintenance and upkeep LVT requires over time means you’ll pay more at first, but will undoubtedly spend less in the long run.

VCT

  • Lower upfront costs
  • Continual maintenance costs

LVT

  • Lower cost for material than other flooring materials such as ceramic or wood
  • Reduced maintenance costs, greater value over time

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