How They’re Made
LVT is 100% vinyl. This gives it superior strength. It’s also got a visual layer and a protective wear layer. That visual layer can be used to make LVT flooring look like a number of other materials – more on that in a second.
VCT flooring is made up of some vinyl mixed with limestone and a variety of other fillers. This makes VCT a very porous surface. It’s also flat compressed, which means it has no embossing options in its design. It’s less durable, less stain resistant over time, and requires much more frequent maintenance.
Durability and Maintenance
VCT isn’t without its use. For a long time, it stood as a staple flooring option for commercial spaces. Technology has since passed it by. Both types of floor will withstand a high amount of foot traffic, but VCT flooring requires regular applications of wax, finish, and polish in order to stay protected.
Compare this to LVT. It’s very easy to clean and maintain. Its wear layer is tremendously durable, as is the material itself. It’s less porous, so it doesn’t need that constant cycling of wax applications.
LVT flooring has a visual layer – called a color or photographic film layer. This is protected by the wear layer and accurately emulates wood, marble, stone, or other looks. Alternately, you can opt for a modern or artistic design. Essentially, the options are whatever you can imagine: any pattern, any color.
VCT flooring has a number of limitations in its look. Its patterns are limited and less complex. VCT doesn’t emulate other materials well the way LVT does. Texture and embossing are difficult to pull off.
VCT is a lower-cost option. It costs $2 per square foot or under. Unfortunately, the amount of maintenance it requires serves as a hidden cost. Know that you’ll be paying your maintenance department more to keep your VCT flooring looking good.
LVT flooring is favored across most commercial industries, particularly in applications with more foot traffic. Over several years of use, LVT may come out as less expensive overall. It’s very inexpensive compared to other materials at $2-$5 per square foot, yet can offer the same look as many of them.