An elegant, hardwood floor would be a great addition to your home’s décor—if only it weren’t so expensive. Fortunately, there’s an alternative. Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring mimics the look of hard wood, at a fraction of the cost. But what is LVP? What’s it made of, and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about luxury vinyl flooring.

Making LVP

As its name implies, LVP flooring is made of vinyl. Specifically, it’s made from polyvinyl chloride resins (PVC), melted down and combined with a series of other elements, such as stabilizers and fungicides, to make it durable and resilient.

For vinyl flooring, that material is then pressed together into planks, in multiple layers. First is the backing layer, which is waterproof and prevents moisture from seeping into the subfloor below and causing mold and mildew. On top of that is the core. Also made of vinyl, it makes up the bulk of the plank. It’s strong and durable, but still flexible.

Then, a high resolution digital image is overlaid onto the core. In LVP, the image is usually of wood, but it can also be stone, tile, or just about anything else. This is what allows vinyl to mimic the look of other types of flooring.

Finally, a wear layer is applied on top of the plank. It’s transparent, so you can still see the image underneath, but also scratch resistant and stain resistant, to protect the plank from damage, make maintenance easier, and keep it from fading over time.

Benefits of LVP

The main appeal of LVP flooring is that it’s cost effective compared to real hardwood. However, there are plenty of other reasons to install vinyl flooring in your home as well. The stain resistant wear layer makes cleanup simple, needing only a quick mop for spills, and periodic sweeping for dust. That easy cleanup also makes it great for allergy sufferers. Dust and other allergens can be eliminated quickly, rather than lingering, the way it does in carpets and similar materials.

In addition to easy maintenance, the wear layer also gives the floor a non-slip finish. This is particularly helpful for homes with younger children or older family members, who are prone to falling. A vinyl floor in the bathroom can help keep them safe.

Vinyl flooring is also very simple to install. The planks are designed to fit and lock together, without the need for glues, solvents, and other chemicals. This makes it an ideal DIY project. Install the flooring yourself in about a day or so, rather than paying extra money to have a professional do it.

You should be careful, though, when buying LVP. Some vinyl is made using dangerous or hazardous chemicals. Be sure you look for environmentally friendly vinyl planks that avoid these chemicals and can be recycled at the end of their life, rather than ending up in a landfill.

These are just a few of the benefits of luxury vinyl planks. LVP can be a great and versatile addition to any home décor. If you’re looking for a high end aesthetic without the high end price, talk to your local flooring experts, and they’ll help you find the vinyl flooring that best suits your home’s needs.