What is LVP?

There are so many great flooring options on the market that it can be difficult to understand the distinctive features of each material. So I figured I’d take a minute to answer a simple question: what is LVP flooring?

We won’t explore the differences between LVP and other types of flooring right now, but will instead focus on what LVP is actually made of and why people like it so much.

The Name

LVP stands for “Luxury Vinyl Plank.” Some believe it is the same as laminate – it is not. As the name implies, it is vinyl. However, unlike traditional vinyl sheets, luxury vinyl plank comes in—you guessed it— individual planks, much like natural wood, so it better replicates the look of wood flooring.

The Construction

There are some variations of luxury vinyl plank flooring, but here are the basics. LVP consists of a wear layer, a vinyl image, a core, and padding. Let’s take each of these in turn.

Wear Layer

This is a thin coating typically made of a PVC film which ads protection over the vinyl image. Light scratches and scuffs that are bound to happen to your floor will be taken on by this layer to help keep your vinyl preserved for years to come. The wear layer comes in various thicknesses and are measured in a unit called a “mil” (approximately 1/40 of a millimeter). You can get a wear layer as low as 4 mils and up to 40 mils.

Vinyl Image

This is just under the wear layer. A high definition image is printed onto the vinyl to make it look like various types of wood (or stone in the case of LVT). This is what you see and feel when your floor is installed. The nice thing about this is that the options are nearly limitless in regards to what you can print.


Think of the core as the main body of the LVP. This provides the structure that gives the planks rigidity and durability. Some LVP has a wood-polymer composite (WPC) core, some have a stone-polymer composite (SPC) core and some cores are hardened vinyl (sometimes referred to as “rigid core”). The type of core you have will determine durability and whether or not your LVP is waterproof. Note that WPC core, while durable, is not waterproof and does expand or contract with temperature fluctuations.


Now, some LVP products have this attached, but some do not. If it is not attached you would need to purchase some, which can raise your cost to be near equal to the product with padding already attached. Underlayment, or padding, does a few things for your floor: it can soften the feel of the floor on your foot, dampen sound, and act as a moisture barrier.

Why People Like This So Much

Because of the way LVP is constructed, it provides a lot of desirable traits for homeowners. If you get one with an SPC or rigid core it’s 100% waterproof and you do not need to worry about it warping or buckling should it be exposed to water, so you can run it into your bathrooms as well. Maintaining LVP is easy as all they require is a simple cleaning solution, which are ingredients you likely already have access to.

Given the fact that virtually any image can be printed on the vinyl there are nearly endless possibilities with regards to the styling/color of the floor. That wear layer provides protection to the vinyl to keep your floors looking great for years and years.

I hope you find this helpful as you consider which flooring to install!

Kevin Lowe