Luxury Vinyl Plank vs Luxury Vinyl Tile: What’s the Difference?

Like many other sectors of the home-improvement industry, the flooring world is filled with all sorts of technical terminology that describes the products and processes you’ll be shopping for. Some are pretty self-explanatory, like “solid hardwood flooring.” Others are impossible to dissect if you’ve never heard the term, like “frieze.” And then there are a bunch that kind of fall in between, like “luxury vinyl tile” and “luxury vinyl plank.” You probably know what each of those individual words means, but still might wonder what exactly are either of the products are, and how those similar-sounding materials differ.

So, What Exactly Are the Differences Between Luxury Vinyl Tile and Luxury Vinyl Plank?

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring are two high-end subsets of the larger vinyl flooring category. Both are light years beyond the flimsy vinyl floors of yesteryear, with significant advancements in durability, versatility, and style. And they both offer notable improvements over even modern sheet vinyl.  Though they are quite similar in construction and tend to offer nearly identical feature sets, there are a few key distinctions that might affect your decision when choosing between LVP and LVT.

The most evident differences between these two products are the shape of each flooring piece and the surface visuals.

As the name suggests, luxury vinyl plank is built to mimic the look of a wood plank. That means it will be manufactured in a rectangular form factor, with one dimension significantly longer than the other—just like a plank of real hardwood flooring. Additionally, the photorealistic image that graces the surface of the luxury vinyl plank will be that of wood. Thanks to its man-made nature, just about any wood species, grain pattern, and “stain” color can be recreated in a piece of vinyl plank.

Luxury vinyl plank is nearly indistinguishable from real hardwood flooring.

Luxury vinyl tile, as you can probably guess, is a vinyl floor product that replicates the appearance of traditional tile or stone flooring. LVT’s surface image will often feature the artisan aesthetics of ceramic tile or the colors and veining of fine stone materials like marble or travertine. When it comes to dimensions, vinyl tile will often be crafted in a square format, though there are also some LVT products offered in rectangular formats that may be closer in dimensions to a vinyl plank but still feature the look of tile or stone.

How is Each Type of Luxury Vinyl Installed?

Though not always visually evident, there is often a difference in how LVT and LVP are installed. Luxury vinyl tile is installed with an industrial adhesive. Each individual vinyl tile gets glued directly to the subfloor in a method similar to traditional tile installation. If a customer chooses, LVT can also be installed with gaps between each tile to allow for grouting, again, just like a ceramic or porcelain tile floor. This option is almost entirely an aesthetic choice.

In contrast, luxury vinyl plank flooring typically uses a click-and-lock construction that interlocks each plank to its neighboring planks and does not require adhesive, nailing, or any type of securing to the subfloor. This installation method tends to be more efficient and cost-effective and allows for easy installation on nearly any type of subfloor material, including existing tile or hardwood floors.

Though the installation methods may differ, the range of applications does not. Anywhere one can go, so can the other. Both LVT and LVP are suitable for all areas of the home, including below-grade floors and directly onto a concrete slab. That means you can choose either for your bathroom, mudroom, or even the basement.

LVT vs LVP: Under the Surface is What Matters

When it comes to practical aspects like materials, durability, and flooring features, most luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile products from Empire Today® are practically interchangeable. If a vinyl tile product has particular features you are interested in, there will almost certainly be a vinyl plank model that offers the same set of features.

Beyond the superficial differences, luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile are essentially the same product by all other metrics. Both are constructed around a highly stable vinyl core, which gives them excellent overall durability, and they are both finished with a specialized wear layer that resists scratches, scuffs, and staining. And both vinyl plank and vinyl tile will usually be embossed with a texture that matches the wood grain or stone patterns on the surface.

All LVT and LVP flooring products from Empire® are built with Aqua Defense technology, which makes them a fully waterproof flooring choice. They will all also typically be resistant to mold and mildew formation. Their robust construction makes them equally easy to take care of, with neither requiring any routine maintenance beyond regular sweeping and mopping up of any larger messes.

All luxury vinyl plank and tile from Empire are fully waterproof, thanks to Aqua Defense technology.

Overall, the similarities between luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile tend to outweigh the differences. In the end, if you’ve heard about LVP and LVT but weren’t sure which would be better suited for your needs, the answer will usually be simple: pick which one you like the look of! Nearly any functional flooring need you have can be solved equally well by each product type. In the end, the main decision you’ll really need to make is what kind of look you want in your home. Schedule an in-home estimate with Empire and a flooring professional will bring a full catalog of LVT and LVP samples directly to you, to make the shopping process even easier.

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