Luxury vinyl plank flooring has become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in Alpharetta looking to update and enhance their living spaces. With its realistic wood or stone looks, waterproof construction, and easy maintenance, vinyl plank offers a durable and stylish flooring solution. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of installing vinyl plank floors in your Alpharetta home and tips for choosing the right product.
The Appeal of Luxury Vinyl Plank
Vinyl plank flooring in Alpharetta GA provides the warmth and charm of natural wood or stone floors with added resilience and flexibility. Here are some of the reasons vinyl plank has become a top flooring choice:
Luxury vinyl plank replicates the look of genuine hardwoods, tiles, and stones with great attention to detail. Advanced printing techniques capture the variations in grain, knots, coloring and texture. Planks are shaped with beveled edges to emulate authentic wood planks. Whether you want a light oak, dark walnut, slate stone or other natural look, there is a luxury vinyl plank to match.
Vinyl plank is designed to stand up to busy households with kids and pets. The vinyl wears layers are stain- and scratch-resistant. Planks lock tightly together and resist dents. Waterproof construction prevents swelling and damage from spills or moisture. Many vinyl planks carry warranties of 15 years or more.
Comfort and Noise Reduction
Vinyl plank flooring has a slight bounce or give underfoot, unlike solid hardwood or tile. The planks install over a resilient underlayment that creates a quiet, comfortable walking surface. Vinyl helps absorb noise and impact within the room.
Keeping vinyl plank floors looking like new is simple. Sweep regularly and occasionally damp mop with vinyl floor cleaner. Planks resist staining from spills and foods. Unlike carpeting, there is no need for frequent steam cleaning.
Vinyl plank flooring provides the luxurious look of wood or stone at a fraction of the cost. Vinyl planks start around $2 per square foot installed. Durability and easy care also make them a budget-friendly option.
Benefits of Vinyl Plank for Alpharetta Homes
Vinyl plank flooring in Alpharetta GA is an especially suitable choice for homes in the Alpharetta area for several reasons:
Vinyl plank is 100% waterproof, making it ideal for kitchens, baths, laundry rooms and basements. The waterproof core and sealed edges prevent moisture from seeping underneath and damaging the subfloor. This moisture resistance helps protect against leaks, flooding and high humidity.
Floor Temperature Stability
Unlike solid hardwood, vinyl plank maintains its shape and size in both cold and hot conditions. The floors won’t buckle on hot sunny days, even with large windows. In winter, planks stay flat rather than shrinking and leaving gaps.
Low Maintenance Lifestyle
Busy Alpharetta families appreciate vinyl plank’s easy care and durability. There’s no need for refinishing or waxing. The low-maintenance floors suit Alpharetta’s active culture with kids, pets and entertainment. Spills wipe up easily.
Healthier Indoor Environment
Vinyl plank flooring harbors fewer allergens like dust mites and pet dander compared to carpeting. The smooth floors are safer for kids and seniors who could trip on nubby carpets. Better indoor air quality offers relief to allergy and asthma sufferers.
With vinyl plank underfoot, rooms stay blissfully quiet. Vinyl dampens sounds between floors and also cuts down on echo and ambient noise within rooms. Home theaters, bedrooms and home offices all benefit from vinyl’s noise reducing properties.
Vinyl plank flooring offers the natural beauty of wood with added resilience and waterproof properties that make it perfect for Alpharetta’s homes and healthy, active lifestyles.
Types of Luxury Vinyl Planks
There are a few main categories of luxury vinyl plank flooring to consider:
Stone Plastic Composite – SPC
SPC vinyl plank consists of a stone powder core layered with a clear vinyl wear layer. The stone core makes SPC planks highly durable and dimensionally stable. Many are backed with cork underlayment for a cushy feel. Brands like COREtec and styles like wood-look and stone-look SPC planks are excellent options.
Wood Plastic Composite – WPC
WPC vinyl plank has a core made from wood fibers or powder mixed with plastic polymers. An outer vinyl layer protects the wood-based core. WPC vinyl is affordable but not as dense or durable as SPC. Popular brands include LifeProof and SmartCore.
Rigid core luxury vinyl plank contains a dense composite core made from materials like porcelain powder or polyvinyl chloride. Top layers mimic natural looks. The planks offer maximum durability, scratch resistance and sound dampening. Major brands include Mohawk and Shaw’s RevWood.
Flexible Vinyl Plank
Flexible vinyl plank floors have a foam or plastic core rather than a rigid composite. An attached underlayment offsets the core’s susceptibility to damage. Flexible planks are the most affordable vinyl option. Leading brands are Protec and Karndean’s Korlok.
Within each vinyl plank category, there are hundreds of style and color options. Many collections accurately recreate the look and texture of specific wood species or stone types. Be sure to view lots of samples to find your perfect floor.
Shopping Tips for the Best Vinyl Plank Floors
Follow these tips when shopping for luxury vinyl plank flooring:
- Focus on quality – With vinyl plank, you get what you pay for. Opt for mid-range to higher-end products, especially for high traffic areas.
- Check the wear layer thickness – Thicker wear layers of 20 mils and above provide better durability and lifespan. The top layer resists scratches, dents and fading.
- Make sure planks are 100% waterproof – Vinyl flooring should be waterproof, not just water resistant. Flooring that’s prone to water damage won’t hold up in kitchens or baths.
- Select low VOC products – Look for floors with little or no VOC off gassing to maintain healthy indoor air. Major brands like Shaw and Mohawk offer low VOC options.
- Consider attached underlayment – Many planks have pre-attached cork or foam underlayment for comfort and sound absorption. If not, use high quality underlayment during installation.
- Envision the entire room – Bring home samples and view planks in the space with your paint colors, furnishings and lighting. Make sure the tone and style harmonize.
- Plan adequate acclimation – Let vinyl plank flooring in Alpharetta GA acclimate in the installation room for 24-48 hours before installation. Room temperature should be 60-80°F during acclimation and installation.
Consulting a professional designer or installer can also help narrow down products and specifications that work best for each room in your home.
Installing Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Proper installation is key to getting the most from vinyl plank flooring. Here are some tips:
Choose an Experienced Installer
Vinyl plank flooring seems easy to install, but using a qualified flooring contractor is recommended. They understand the quirks of each vinyl product and how to prep the subfloor correctly. DIY mistakes can lead to imperfections or planks coming loose down the road.
Plan the Layout
Achieving the look you want requires some planning. Draw the room to scale and lay out planks directionally. Offset end joints in each row by at least 6 inches. Stagger plank lengths so seams don’t align across multiple rows. Account for borders and transitions.
Existing baseboards usually need to be removed before installation. This allows planks to be slipped partially under the wall for a seamless look. Quarter round added after installation covers any small expansion gaps.
Prep the Subfloor
The subfloor must be flat, clean and dry. Fill any dips or flaws with floor leveler. A smooth subfloor allows the planks to lie flat and prevents bumps from telegraphing through the floor later on.
Use Adhesives Judiciously
Click-lock vinyl plank flooring floats freely rather than being glued down. But use perimeter adhesives around the edges to anchor the floor. Rows may also be adhered in certain parts of the floor, like transitions between rooms.
Stagger End Joints
End joints are where two planks meet end-to-end within a row. Staggering the joints from row to row keeps them less noticeable. Space joints at least 6 inches apart. Avoid H-joints where planks match up across rows.
Allow Proper Expansion Space
Vinyl plank expands and contracts slightly with temperature swings. Leave 1/4 inch space between flooring and walls to allow expansion without buckling. Undercut wood door trim and casings to provide space.
Roll and Inspect Floor
Use a 100-150 lb roller over the entire floor when installation is complete. Roll diagonally across planks to seat them tightly. Inspect for any raised edges or gaps and correct them. Clean the floor thoroughly before replacing trim.
Hiring professional vinyl plank flooring installers in the Alpharetta area can ensure your new floors get off to the right start.
Maintaining and Cleaning Luxury Vinyl Floors
A smart maintenance routine keeps vinyl plank flooring looking like new year after year. Here are some vinyl floor care tips:
Frequently sweep floors with a microfiber mop or soft-bristle broom to prevent a sandpapery grit from accumulating. The abrasive grit can dull and scratch flooring. Vacuum planks occasionally use the hard floor attachment.
Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals
Avoid cleaners with chlorine bleach, oil soaps or abrasives that could damage vinyl flooring, even models with tough wear layers. Instead use specially formulated vinyl floor cleaner from reputable brands.
Damp Mopping is Best
For deeper cleaning, use a sponge mop only dampened with vinyl floor cleaner and water. Wring out excess liquid thoroughly first. Too much moisture can seep between planks and damage the joints or subfloor.
Watch Out for Spills
Promptly wipe up spills, especially oils, paints or harsh cleansers that could stain or etch vinyl plank. Use a clean, damp cloth and gently rub the spot. Harsh scrubbing can scuff floors.
Add Protective Mats
Place mats in front of outside doors, at sinks or workstations to guard against dirt, sand and excessive moisture that wears floors. Use furniture leg pads as well to prevent scratches.
Don’t Wax or Buff
Vinyl plank floors have a tough clear wear layer that doesn’t require waxing or stripping. Wax or polishing products could actually leave a hazy film. The polyurethane coating resists wear without extra buffing.
Avoid excessive heat or moisture buildup indoors from weather, large groups or activities like cooking. Use humidifiers or dehumidifiers as needed so the room stays around 60-75°F and 35-55% humidity year-round.
Repair Damage Promptly
Inspect flooring regularly for gaps, raised edges between planks or damage to the protective wear layer. Use vinyl plank filler products to re-adhere loose planks or patch small nicks and scratches to prevent further damage.
By taking the right precautions, luxury vinyl plank flooring can stay looking pristine for over a decade in the average Alpharetta home. Proper installation paired with vigilant care lets homeowners enjoy vinyl plank’s durability and decorative look.
Maintaining Healthy Indoor Air Quality
Vinyl plank flooring has grown popular partially thanks to its reputation as a healthier alternative to carpeting. But there are still steps you can take to maximize indoor air quality when installing vinyl plank flooring:
- Choose low or no VOC vinyl flooring – Many leading brands now offer “green” collections with recycled content and safer adhesives.
- Add oblique vents along baseboards – Improve airflow and ventilation near the floor where VOCs linger.
- Use exterior-grade plywood underlayment – Avoid particleboard and MDF which off gas formaldehyde.
- Install right away after delivery – Letting flooring stacks sit releases more VOCs before installation.
- Open windows during installation – Air out the work-in-progress space to dilute adhesives.
- Wait 72+ hours before occupying – Give flooring ample time to off gas before moving in furniture and occupants.
- Consider air filters and monitoring – High-quality air filters actively remove VOCs while monitors alert you if levels rise.
Focusing on indoor air quality ensures your family can breathe easier in your beautiful new space enhanced with luxury vinyl plank flooring.