The Floor Design Guide to Luxury Vinyl Tile Costs
Every year thousands of people from across Harrogate, Leeds and York visit our showroom in Wetherby to speak to our dedicated team of flooring experts. One of our most popular products is Luxury Vinyl Tiles or LVT. You may have heard of Amtico or Karndean which are two of the biggest names in the LVT market but there are others such as Harvey Maria, Westex, Moduleo or Invictus LVT.
Lots of different names for what is essentially the same product type but each manufacturer has their subtle variations in price, quality and specification.
When customers visit our LVT showroom, fairly early on in the conversation the topic of price comes up. In fairness there is a very wide range in price between lowest and highest LVT ranges and variations in cost of installation. This guide should help you understand what sort of costs are involved in an "average" installation and issues to be aware of when designing your new floor.
What is LVT?
It's a very popular flooring product that is durable and low maintenance. It is made from a tough vinyl and suitable for all areas of the home and many ranges will also have a commercial wear classification.
LVT can be designed to look like a wide range of natural woods or stones and cut into different sized planks or tiles depending on the natural material it's designed to look like.
In the image below you can see the different layers that make up a standard LVT plank.
LVT is different to sheet vinyl, lino or cushion floor. It is far more durable and doesn't come on a sheet, instead LVT comes in packs of individual planks or tiles. Each plank or tile is laid by the installer individually giving a great deal of flexibility when it comes to style and laying pattern.
How is LVT installed?
LVT tiles are generally 2.5mm to 3mm in thickness and are fully stuck down to the sub-floor. As they're so thin we need to ensure that the sub-floor is very smooth or unsightly lines or bumps may show through after installation.
If you have a concrete sub-floor then the installer will first smooth the concrete using a smoothing compound. If you have a timber sub-floor (floorboards/chipboard) the installer will overlay with a minimum 6mm flooring grade plywood and then smooth the joints with a smoothing compound.
The tiles can then be individually cut and stuck down in the desired laying pattern.
Moisture under the tiles is a potential issue for the longevity of the installation, this is more often a concern when fitting over concrete sub-floors in older properties without an integrated damp proof course or new properties or extensions with a new concrete slab containing residual construction moisture. These sub-floors must first be treated to suppress moisture prior to the application of a smoothing compound. Failure to do so may result in moisture being trapped under the vinyl tiles, causing the adhesive to fail and the tiles to lift.
How much does LVT cost?
Most LVTs will range from around £30m2 to £75m2 for the tiles, depending on the specification. For Amtico's most popular Spacia range of tiles, the recommended retail price is £45.99. Spacia is a good benchmark product as it has a very popular colour bank, a good specification and can be considered to be a good mid-range product.
However there are several other considerations beyond the headline price per tile. The extent of subfloor preparation will vary from project to project and the complexity of the laying pattern will also influence the price due to the additional labour time for fitting more complicated patterns such as herringbone or parquet.
To give you an idea of price of these additional elements:
Smoothing compound: £8m2
Premium flooring grade 6mm plywood: £14m2
Installation including a standard floor preparation:
Straight lay plank or tile: £25-30m2
Herringbone or other complicated pattern: £30-35m2
This means for a straightforward installation of Amtico Spacia plank into a 20m2 lounge with a timber sub-floor you can expect to pay around £87m2 all in, or £1,740 for the project.
Bear in mind that whist the floor preparation and installation will be the same regardless of the product specification, if you choose an entry level product such as Karndean Knight Tile which is £31.99m2 the price will reduce to £1,610. Or you may select the top range Amtico Signature at £75.99m2 so the price will increase to £2,350
Is Click LVT any good?
We're often asked about Click LVT, favoured by builders, DIY stores and discount flooring stores. Click LVT is an alternative LVT product, when installed it looks like normal stick down LVT but is a bit thicker and comes with a click mechanism on each plank. It's supposed to be installed as a floating floor, a bit like laminate flooring.
It is marketed as being a quick and easy install without the level of floor preparations required for normal stick down LVT.
We do not recommend this product! After 40 years in the flooring industry we have seen a wide range of products come and go. Click LVT is a product we have experimented with over the years but as we cannot be confident with it's performance we do not recommend it to our customers and will not install it.
The main issue is normally that the click mechanism is often not strong enough to withstand the inevitable strains of expansion and contraction of a floating floor. This means there is a high failure rate with this product. To avoid failure a large amount of work needs to go into floor preparation, so if you're doing that you might as well install the real thing and go for a stick down LVT!
If you undertake the correct floor preparations for Click LVT there is normally not a significant price difference between the two products.
How do I compare LVT quotations?
At Floor Design Wetherby we have been supplying and installing carpets and flooring for 40 years to customers across Yorkshire. Most of our business comes from repeat customers and recommendations.
We know that we are competitive in pricing so if you've had a significantly cheaper price elsewhere then the chances are it's not a like for like quotation and we'd love to help you understand why.
Generally the big difference in price will be either in the labour charge or the sub-floor preparation. Not all smoothing compounds or plywoods are the same and to ensure you qualify for the ongoing protection of a Manufacturer's Warranty the sub-floor preparation and materials used should meet certain standards.
We ensure that the products we use are of the highest quality and exceed the minimum requirements.
Equally, installation by a skilled and experienced fitter is crucial. LVT installs are often complex and require the skills of a trained installer. The fitters we use have been vetted and we ensure their work is up to standard, so a markedly different installation charge is a red flag that something is amiss.