Luxury Vinyl?

downtownerOctober 22, 2006

We are finishing the basment of our forever house. Something in the air in downtown Manhattan has morphed our tastes over the years from traditional antiques to zen minimalism. That said, this will be a classic rec room with TV, wet bar, games and exercise equipment.

We have a concrete slab that is about 4 months old. We were going to do acid etched concrete with 3 layers of urethane for durability, but DW wants something softer, so we are going with vinyl.

We want a floor that will last forever, endure incredible abuse, require no maintenance and look stunningly beautiful, yet have a little resilence under foot. Obviously, a 250 lb. foosball table will gouge anything when it is dragged, so the above is just an ideal.

What I am looking for a clear hierarchy of vinyl flooring. We've gotten some samples from Armstrong and Mannington. But we feel we have to go back and do research to make sure we get the best quality available for durability and low maintenance. I have found the following on the net:

"The luxury vinyl tile producers target the commercial market and the high end residential market. The product itself is either a solid vinyl or a VCT with a heftier percentage of vinyl. ItÂs also a thick product, with a wearlayer of 20 to 40 mils, which creates a product distinguished not only for its beauty, but also for its exceptional performance.

"The big players in LVT today are Amtico and the Nafco division of Domco Tarkett. TheyÂre followed by a series of smaller players, all with sales under $20 million: Toli, Centiva, Legend, Lonseal, Parterre and Solarbrite. While the medium and small specialty players dominate the LVT business, in the last couple of years both Armstrong and Congoleum have gotten into the category

We'd be grateful for any guidance in understanding this kind of flooring.

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Well, so far it seems you're doing pretty well with your research and observations.

Homogenous sheet vinyl, solid vinyl tile, LVT and any other product rated for commercial use will certainly be durable, but not indestructible. Installed on a concrete slab, they will give you just a very small gain in comfort. They are resilient materials, but somewhat 'solid' in their construction.

Someone who works in the condominium/high rise market may have some ideas for you on how you can use vinyl and achieve a more resilient result.

Have you considered products in recycled rubber or cork? Solid cork, although maybe not as durable as vinyl, is more resilient and can be refinished, much as wood flooring is refinished. Rubber can be had in 1/4" or greater thickness and is the kind of product specified for exercise rooms and such.

Also, I used to market a cushioned sheet vinyl from the Tarkett corporation of Sweden. It was called 'acoustafloor'. I don't know what is available in that line today, although I did just finish installing acoustafloor in my wife's pastoral parsonage in Pine Plains, NY.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Sohm Flooring Consultants

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 9:55AM
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Thanks, Glenn, for your thoughtful and informative comments.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 6:44AM
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I'd go for the acid stained concrete, with a little scoring to give it a big format tile look. The urethane topcoats will scratch though and gloss is just like a gloss wood floor, it will show every scratch. Satin or semi-gloss is a much better choice if the area/room is to be used and not just a showcase room.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:54AM
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I have Amtico light cherry planks in my kitchen. I had it put in over 2 years ago. I had vinyl before, first sheet vinyl and then vinyl tiles. The vinyl I had before got nicks and tears and was hard to clean.

Amtico vinyl is extremely easy to clean and I have no nicks, tears, or gouges. It is soft and comfortable to stand on. It fooled my brother(the wood snob), he thought it was hardwood. I don't worry about water.

I can tell it isn't real wood, but it looks more like real wood then laminates do. It does have repeats. I really notice them the first couple of days but for some reason after that I had to look for them.

I do have a few light scratches that I can see when the light hits it right, but I think real hardwood would have more.

My floor is on a slab and it took two days to prepare the floor. It took half a day for the men to lay it. The prep is vey important.

If you get Amtico, make sure you get the micro bevel. When my floor was first delivered someone had ordered it without the bevel and it looked terrible. The bevel is very slight and doesn't catch dirt and really adds to the look.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:41PM
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Thanks your your posts.

We are in decision mode. The Amtico web site is very impressive, although more information is available in the commercial section about the same tiles that are in residential.

Unfortunately, they closed their NYC showroom 2 months ago, but we will look at the samples they sent us tonight.

I've heard good things about their wood planks, (happyladi, your description is very helpful) and we will consider it for the master bedroom suite, if we ever finish the basement.

However, this is the basment rec room, and a chance to use a little imagination. So we are looking at Amtico's Innovations line, which is aimed squarely at us 'urban sophisticates." Our motto here is "Let vinyl be vinyl."

So we are looking to us Zinc Stud to form a platform around the stairs for the bar area. That platform, if we like the samples tonight, will then lead to a visual pool of water using the Aquatics line, whose reflections change as you walk on it supposedly as if on water. So the idea is that the treadmill and the foosball machine will be floating on water! The reality of this idea can never be as good as the imagining of it, but it might look ok.

I'm with you, floorguy, on acid stained concrete, although I would "let concrete be concrete" as well and not use scoring to imitate stone. However, DW does not want a concrete floor, and she has not complained about getting the foosball machine or the 70" rear projection TV, so who am I to argue, especially with the Amtico so urban and so cool.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 7:47PM
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So we are looking at Amtico's Innovations line, which is aimed squarely at us 'urban sophisticates." Our motto here is "Let vinyl be vinyl."

So we are looking to us Zinc Stud to form a platform around the stairs for the bar area. That platform, if we like the samples tonight, will then lead to a visual pool of water using the Aquatics line, whose reflections change as you walk on it supposedly as if on water.

I got samples of some of Amtico's line -- Zinc Stud was one of them; the etched glass was another. Fabulous stuff, and I only wish the budget would have extended to let me buy it. I haven't seen the water, though. I think the idea of "interactive flooring" is pretty neat. I wonder if anyone would sell a "mood floor" made of the same stuff they made mood rings out of? :-)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:12AM
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I have 18" square Centiva Event, color Mesa. Got it for the terra cotta color and because it is durable. The floor store I talked to in a high end area told me they quit carry Amtico. As soon as anyone heard the price and compared it to a similar look, they never when with Amtico. I like that this is warm(ish), doesn't break anything dropped and water damage will not be a problem.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 5:17PM
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downtowner, I think it sounds wonderful. You might also check out Karndean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Karndean

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 4:27PM
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We built a new house and were sold on the Mannington Adura luxury plank floor as being one of the best on the market. It is supposedly treated with scratch resist technology. We moved into the house in September, 2006. It's just my husband and me and we are very, very particular about the care of the house. Unfortunately, we have found that the Mannington Adura floor scratches more easily than anything we have ever seen. We thought we protected the floor against everything by putting sliders on all furniture legs, always taking shoes off at the door, etc. But the floor still is already very scratched up in the dining area. Considering that we rarely use the dining table and the house is only 5 months old, we are extremely disgusted with the Mannington Adura product and do not have one good thing to say about it's durability!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 1:22PM
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Could you please post pictures of your Adura? We are currently planning to order about 1000 square feet of it (the LVT planks) in a couple of weeks. It would be very helpful to see pictures of what you do not like about it. The reviews are SO variable here--some people like it and some people hate it. Based on my research and taking home multiple samples, it SEEMS to be the best choice for us. Our dealer has a plank he has let people take home and "abuse"--with Goof-Off, gun black (?), permanent marker, cigarette "burns" etc. Nothing affected it except paint stripper. I took a key and scratched it REALLY hard and there were some extremely MINOR scratches that were only visible in certain light and looking at it right up close. I also tried to scratch it with the dogs' nails and the edge of a quarter. That is what really sold me on this brand--how little that plank reacted to all the things people were trying to do to it (it was a leftover plank from part of that showroom floor that had Adura planks installed on it). Oh, and the showroom floor looked great as well. [I am not questioning your experience, but would be very interested to see photos due to our plan to spend a lot of money on this stuff. Thanks.)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 7:25PM
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How did you go with this flooring? Did you go ahead with it? I am looking at putting the Adura wood plants down and was told it would not leave furniture impressions, was scratch resistant and would not fade. It is probably just as expensive as real wood but I understand survives better from occasional accidents by small dog.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 8:37PM
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Were most of the Amtico luxury vinyl planks realistic? Is it still looking good? Do you have animals? I have not liked any of the vinyl planks I've looked at, but the stores just have a tiny thing to look at. I don't think I've seen that brand anywhere that I've gone yet. What kind of prep. is necessary. I'm a single woman and not handy. I have a 30 year old home with cement under my carpeting. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:39AM
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Missylin -- Just passing along a brand to check into if you haven't already. We've been impressed with the Earthwerks line. The woodgrains look very realistic and they offer quite a variety too. The product also seemed to be pretty scratch resistant to our 'test'. :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 2:09AM
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Thanks so much, M2day, I have read about that line online, but have not seen it in a store. What kind of place did you find it in? Maybe I can find their website and do a store locator. Is it very expensive? I'm a retired single teacher, so if it's too expensive.... I read about one type that is made in America. If this is it, that would be good. The person said that the ones made in China, who knows if they are poisoning us like with a lot of other products. Yikes. That's one reason I was thinking of hardwood- more natural. Til I read it does not mix well with animals.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Hi Downtowner, I'm wondering what floor you went with and how it's working out for you. I need a new floor for my kitchen and dinning area.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 5:25PM
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