Luxury vinyl plank flooring is an excellent choice for its durability and wood-like looks without breaking the bank. But will it put up with your pets, kids, and general foot traffic without scratching?
Luxury vinyl plank is scratch resistant and incredibly durable. Its topmost layer is made of aluminum oxide that prevents light scratching and scuffs. Additionally, it includes a transparent film layer that protects it against scratching from shoe heels, pet nails, and children’s toys.
This article will discuss how scratch-resistant luxury vinyl plank is and how to protect it from scratches. We will also go through the possible causes of damage to luxury vinyl plank flooring. Let’s get into it.
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What is a Luxury Vinyl Plank?
Luxury vinyl plank, or LVP, is made from compressed vinyl layers. It mimics the look of hardwood flooring and comes in long, narrow strips. It is also produced in the form of tiles called luxury vinyl tiles or LVT.
Luxury vinyl tiles are typically made of four main layers of PVC vinyl. The manufacturing process of LVP has been perfected over the years, and various compounds are mixed with the PVC to improve its durability.
Although luxury vinyl and vinyl flooring are similar in many ways, for example, in layers and materials, luxury vinyl is five times thicker and has higher quality. The printing technology and textured embossing resemble real hardwood and natural stone like no other flooring options.
LVP Flooring Layers
UV layer: The UV or aluminum oxide layer is the anti-scratch wear-resistant layer that protects the luxury vinyl from light scratches. It is often considered part of the wear layer. It also prevents fading due to UV exposure.
Clear Wear Layer: The wear layer is the topmost layer in LVPs that don’t feature a UV layer. The durable transparent layer protects the luxury vinyl plank from rips and tears. It also gives the LVP excellent clarity, color stability, and design depth to the printing.
Print Layer: The print layer is the primary visual layer of the product that gives LVP its natural look. It uses different printing techniques to create realistic visuals or abstract looks.
Inter-core Layers: These are the middle layers of luxury vinyl, making up most of its thickness. The inter-core layers consist of PVC and other inorganic fillers. Depending on the product design, some LVP can also include a face layer on top of the inter-core layers that add to the visual of the product.
Backing Layer: This is the bottom-most layer of luxury vinyl made of PVC to create a solid, flat backing. It also provides dimensional stability. This layer is typically textured to enhance adhesion bonds in glue-down installations.
Is Luxury Vinyl Plank Scratch Resistant?
If you have kids and pets, your floor must be designed to cope with the tolls they put it through. Pets have long nails that can scuff up the floor easily. Kids jumping around or dragging their toys on the floor can also damage the floor.
Even if you have neither, you might still want scratch-resistant flooring — especially in high-foot traffic areas such as doorways, hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms. If you wear shoes indoors, the friction between gravel and dust at the bottom of the shoe and your flooring can scuff up the floor. Also, scrubbing bathroom and kitchen floors can damage the flooring surface.
Luxury vinyl plank is incredibly durable and scratch-resistant. The scratch resistance in LVP comes from the protective wear layer that protects it from staining, scuffing, denting, and other daily wear and tear. The UV layer or the aluminum oxide coating also contributes to scratch resistance. However, keep in mind that not all manufacturers include this coating.
Luxury vinyl planks are suitable for busy areas and even children’s playrooms. It is also waterproof, making it a great flooring option for bathrooms, basement and laundry rooms. You can also use it in sunrooms and outdoor areas but remember that you will see some fading over time, even with UV protection.
How to Protect Luxury Vinyl Plank from Scratches
Although luxury vinyl plank is scratch-resistant by design, here are a few things that you can do to protect it further from scuffs and dents –
- Lift heavy furniture before moving them, as dragging them can leave deep scratches or even dent the sturdiest floor. Vinyl flooring can chip off or break from dragging heavy furniture on the floor.
- Use floor protectors under furniture legs and appliances to avoid scratching up the floor when they naturally shift and make small movements. Floor protectors also provide traction and keep the furniture fixed in its place.
- Apply protective coating regularly. It saves your vinyl plank flooring from scratches. Even if your vinyl flooring comes with a protective layer, it may wear off over time.
- Clean the surface of the floor regularly as sand, debris and dust particles can drag on the surface when you step on them and damage the wear layer.
- If you use a vacuum cleaner, use the hard floor setting on the vacuum to avoid scratching the flooring surface with the brush roll.
- Place a doormat at the entrance or front door to limit the dust and debris entering your home.
- Avoid rolling casters — the small rotating wheels at the legs of chairs, tables, and trolleys pose a significant risk of scratching vinyl floors. If you have rolling casters, place a rug underneath to avoid rolling them on the luxury vinyl directly.
What Can Damage Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is highly durable with excellent scratch-resisting properties. However, you can still damage it if you abuse and mistreat it.
Cleaning luxury vinyl planks using harsh chemicals can break down the protective coating and the wear layer and leave the plank exposed to possible damage. Cleaners with ammonia eat away at the coating and even fade it. Wood-safe cleaners only with neutral pH are best to clean LVP flooring.
Steel wool, abrasive scrubbers and sponges can also wear out the topmost layer and leave scratches and indentations on the luxury vinyl planks. Use soft microfiber clothes for regular cleaning. If you have a tough stain, scrub the area gently to avoid damaging the vinyl.
Dragging heavy objects and equipment will leave deep scratches and indentations even on the sturdiest floor. It can also chip off or break vinyl flooring beyond repair. Even heavy furniture naturally shifting and making small movements can leave deep scratches.
Now that you know luxury vinyl plank is, in fact, scratch-resistant, keep in mind that you should still be careful and gentle with it to prolong your flooring’s lifespan. If you have any other questions about luxury vinyl plank, comment below and let us know!