I was literally born in the tile and stone business. My family's roots go way back, even before 1910 when our original company was founded. I was taught ceramic/porcelain tile and natural stone was the only flooring product you should use except for the bedroom where wood or carpet was acceptable. Vinyl, linoleum tile, and even Pergo type floors were absolute junk and completely inferior, both aesthetically and in quality to ceramic/porcelain. Ceramic/porcelain tile and natural stone were indestructible and would last a lifetime if installed properly. There was no need to carry cheap inferior products to compete with the high-quality items we sold.
Fast track to 2018 when we get a visit from a ceramic tile sales rep. that we have known for many, many years. He told us he has a vinyl line that he thinks we could sell. I laughed and told him never ever will we sell vinyl. We only sell high-quality products at Westchester Tile, and vinyl is not high quality. That's a cheap Home Depot product! He proceeded to bring in a box of LVT despite my reaction. He opened the box of wood look vinyl, clicked together 5 pieces, and asked what I thought. My mouth gaped open. I was in shock and speechless! The product looked as good as the wood look tile on the floor right next to it. He looked at me and said that it was a click together system with a backing. There was little prep time and the contractor could be done in a day. Best of all you can walk on it right away. Oh, and it's waterproof! The salespersons continued to talk but my mind was already thinking of the endless applications.
Once the initial excitement wore off and I came back down to earth. I needed to decide exactly how to market this product. Whenever I sell a product I think personally where would I feel comfortable using it. Given the product is relatively thin it's perfect if you want to cover an existing old, tired floor. LVT is an excellent choice for a new floor or to cover an old floor, in a bedroom, bathroom, family room, foyer, den
or kitchen. Basement or garage, in my mind, I have some concerns. The product is essentially a floating floor, like Pergo, and I wonder if there would be mold issues in a below-grade damp or wet environment. I personally believe porcelain/ceramic is still the way to go in those types of areas. LVT is definitely something to consider given its durability, appeal, ease of installation, and ease of replacement. When comparing it to porcelain/ceramic aesthetically they are almost identical. As far as wear rating and durability porcelain has it beat hands down but I don't see the vinyl needing to be replaced before ten years. LVT does have the advantage of not chipping or cracking plus is softer to walk on.
Vinyl re-branded as LVT is now something we are offering as part of our product line. We recently installed 3 wood look colors over an existing tile floor plus have a good selection on display. We will be adding more designs as they become available and will expand our selection into this new and exciting world of LVT.