Engineered vinyl flooring encompasses several types of vinyl flooring including LVP or Luxury Vinyl Planks and EVP or Engineered Vinyl Planks. Engineered vinyl flooring is a type of flooring that has been engineered to replicate the appearance of natural materials like hardwood or stone while offering enhanced durability and versatility. Durability and easy maintenance have long been benefits of vinyl flooring.
The appearance of engineered vinyl flooring has seen significant improvement in recent years as the technology used to manufactured vinyl planks has progressed. This type of flooring material now looks very much like the material they intend to mimic especially with embossing technology. The fabrication of engineered vinyl flooring involves several steps during which various materials and several layers are incorporated and bonded together to create a high-quality final product that looks great. Below we explain what each layer is and its specific function.
Back layer of engineered vinyl flooring
The production of engineered vinyl planks typically starts with the creation of the backing layer. This layer serves as the foundation of each plank, providing stability and support. It is commonly made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or a blend of PVC and other materials. Flooring manufacturers may incorporate recycled materials into this layer to align with sustainability goals.
The backing layer plays a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity of the entire plank. The backing layer of EVP is a good fit for flooring applications where the subfloor is uneven as the the backing layer is engineered to conform better to uneven subfloors. Some brands of engineered vinyl flooring also incorporate sound absorbing materials into the back layer to dampen sounds when walking on it. There are also underlayment that can be purchased separately to add sound proofing capabilities to the vinyl flooring.
Vinyl core layer
Atop the backing layer, an important vinyl core layer is added. This layer is responsible for the plank’s strength and durability. It is produced by combining PVC resin with various additives, including plasticizers. Plasticizers contribute to the flexibility and stability of the material. The vinyl core layer ensures that the plank can withstand the demands of daily use and resist common sources of wear and tear.
Print film layer
The print film layer is where the lifelike wood or stone visuals are achieved. To replicate the natural materials accurately, manufacturers use high-definition photographs during the design process. These images are then transferred onto the vinyl layer using advanced printing technologies such as rotogravure or digital printing. The result is a detailed and authentic appearance that closely resembles the real thing.
A transparent wear layer is applied on top of the print film. This layer acts as a protective shield, guarding the flooring against scratches, stains, and general wear over time. Typically made of urethane or another clear protective material, the wear layer ensures the longevity of the LVP by preserving its aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. The wear layer will also protect against fading.
Surface Texture Layer
To make engineered vinyl flooring look and feel even more realistic, some manufacturers apply an embossing process to add texture to the surface of the vinyl planks. This process aims to replicate the feel of natural wood or stone, enhancing the overall realism of the flooring. The embossing process can create a variety of textures, from smooth finishes to textured grains, further contributing to the visual and tactile authenticity of the LVP.
Cutting and shaping
Once the various layers are assembled, the vinyl sheet undergoes precision cutting to create individual planks. The planks are often designed to interlock, simplifying the installation process and ensuring a secure fit. The precision cutting and shaping of the planks are essential to achieving a seamless and visually appealing final floor.
The finished luxury vinyl planks are then packaged and prepared for installation. Many LVP products are engineered for straightforward installation, often employing click and lock mechanisms or adhesive methods. This ease of installation contributes to the popularity of LVP as a flooring choice, making it accessible to both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
Engineered vinyl flooring is a multi-layered flooring solution that combines materials such as PVC, print films, and protective layers to create a visually stunning and resilient product. The manufacturing process, encompassing backing layers, vinyl cores, realistic print films, protective wear layers, and surface texture enhancements, results in a flooring material that convincingly mimics the look and feel of natural wood or stone. With its durability, water resistance, and ease of installation, luxury vinyl plank has become a favored option for those seeking a high-performance flooring solution with aesthetic appeal.
The Complete Kitchen and Bath Design Studio sells and installs engineered vinyl flooring in Charlotte and surrounding areas. We carry several brands of flooring including our own brands. Visit our showroom today to see samples of flooring and to speak with one of our designers. To view some of our recent work, visit our instagram page.