Specifying Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) in Commercial Environments - Amtico International
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We hope you enjoy this Amtico CPD video on specifying luxury vinyl tiles in commercial environments.
Amtico international is a progressive design led flooring company. Since 2012 it's been part of the family run Mannington group which was established by the Campbell family in 1915 In New Jersey USA. Both Amtico and Mannington share the common values of commitment to quality customer service and innovative product design. As market leaders in the manufacture and design of luxury vinyl tile or LVT flooring. We strive to be the best in our industry. We are proud of our achievements over the last 50 years and have developed an agile approach to remain an authentic design flooring brand.
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As a company we have always strived to stand out through design, while meeting customers’ expectations. We do this by offering expert advice helping to make floor spaces different, individual and professionally finished. While we are based in Coventry, we regularly travel the world looking for inspiration and ideas to ensure we remain at the forefront of international design. That being said being based in the UK ensures short lead times and allows us to have a full UK designated Technical Support team.
Since we began manufacturing LVT at our Coventry factory, Amtico has continued to develop and evolve providing a wide range of products for domestic and commercial applications. Our products are robust and strong, as is our commitment to our customers and their needs. We care as much about how our floors perform in busy commercial environments, however large or small as the resources we use in their creation. The combination of state of the art manufacturing facilities, knowledge and experience ensures we can meet a wide variety of customer requirements, in terms of design, laying patterns and creation of logos. Our signature Spacia and Marine ranges also proudly boast a made in Britain logo.
At our UK manufacturing site in Coventry, we have control over our raw materials, waste management and recycling. Indeed, our production facilities in both countries are ISO 14,001 conforming to the environmental standards recognised worldwide. Wherever possible we aim to work only with other similarly certified suppliers, plus almost 100% of production and postproduction material is granulated and recycled back into the product.
We have also employed water waste and energy management systems as part of our sustainability strategy. This has seen water chemical usage reduced by almost 20%, cut the amount of waste sent to landfill by 93% and minimise electricity consumption. All packaging materials are recyclable with almost 100% of our internally used packaging recycled or reused, while all of our cardboard packaging material contains 60% recycled material. Environmental USPs relevant to the LVT product itself includes the fact that the PVC used to make the product is nontoxic material, composed of 57% salt, an inexhaustible resource and 43% oil, while readily recyclable. Furthermore, all LVT products are certified by a number of independent bodies across the world, to emit the lowest level of VOC emissions for indoor air quality. The Amtico signature and spatial range is verified and certified as a plus on the BRE global green guide online, for use in retail, domestic, education, commercial, healthcare, industrial, hospitality and leisure sectors. Amtico international products have also been awarded the CE mark confirming their compliance with EC directive 89106 EEC the construction products directive. Finally, Amtico is also certified ISO 9001 for quality management. Amtico international is approved as compliant with BS EN ISO 9001, standards by LR QA, Lloyd's register quality assurance in the UK, while the US arm of the business is certified by BSI.
Now we can move on to the main focus of today's presentation, specifying luxury vinyl tiles in commercial environments. The learning objectives are as follows:
- Why LVT the properties and benefits of a multi performance system.
- How LVT is manufactured.
- Why LVT is suitable for commercial specification.
- Technical benefits of LVT versus other types of flooring.
- How to install LVT. LVT maintenance.
- Technical standards, and sector specific features and benefits, for example office, retail, hotels and leisure, education etcetera.
Why LVT or what are the properties and benefits of a multi performance system. Flooring products have to fulfil a number of legislative requirements in sectors such as hospitality and retail, but will also have a big visual impact on the indoor environment. It can help a restaurant to create a welcoming atmosphere or a sister retailer to reflect the feel of the goods it is selling, whatever the application it's important that flooring is slip resistant and durable, as public areas face high volumes of traffic. Additionally, any flooring must be easy to clean for example, bars and restaurants often have to cope with unwanted spillages while adhering to strict levels of hygiene. Another example is contaminants such as mud, moisture or other foreign objects walked in on the shoes and clothing of customers visiting retail outlets.
Flexibility is also crucial in cases where businesses require a change of interior décor. This may be for branding or promotional purposes or simply refreshing or modernising the space. As a result, flooring products need to be easily replaced and fortunately luxury vinyl tiles are one such product. LVT is easy to specify and ideal for commercial spaces, offering flexibility of choice over natural products in terms of colours available, flexibility of design with striping borders and motifs plus, flexibility of installation in terms of speed, maintenance, replacement and durability. LVT flooring is a great option for any room or application where natural wood, stone or ceramic flooring would be considered. There are two types of LVT flooring available, the first type are click products. A click mechanism which allows tiles and planks to be locked together on installation and semi-permanent known as tacky fire. The other type is dry back or stick down floor, where planks and tiles are glued to a subfloor upon installation with permanent adhesive. Whatever type is used no welding is required which is good news as this can often fail and collect dirt. As well as being easy to replace, LVT offers the realistic aesthetics of natural wood and stone floors, while providing the advantages of strong and durable vinyl, including warmth under foot, sound absorption properties and toughness. Given its durability, ease of maintenance and inherent moisture resistance, vinyl flooring is preferred for use in residential kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in healthcare facilities, and commercial and retail establishments.
Luxury vinyl tiles are available in a range of finishes including wood, stone and abstract visuals. Each of these innovatively combines texture, colour and patterns to create a vibrant range of products suitable for a variety of surroundings, and commercial interiors.
The Manufacturing Process
Advances in manufacturing technology have also resulted in luxury vinyl tiles becoming more affordable and versatile than ever before. Performance levels are now exceptionally high. Luxury vinyl tiles consist of laminated layers plus a urethane coating, providing a high Fidelity and extremely durable flooring product. In order to create each layer PVC plasticizers and stabilizers are mixed together before being exposed to heat and high pressure, prior to passing through a series of rollers. This produces a flooring material that is extremely tough yet, very thin.
Let's look at these multiple layers in more detail.
Firstly, the backing layer provides the foundation for LVT. This is manufactured from 100% recycled materials. Indeed, the whole product is 100% recyclable with zero manufacturing waste. This layer provides support for the aesthetic layers, guaranteeing high performance and longevity. The aesthetic layers which is created by our in house design team, sits above this and utilise the latest imaging, texturing and finishing technology, to provide remarkably realistic and clear aesthetics. Next is the high density performance wear layer two, which is engineered to withstand indentations and protect against everyday wear and tear. This is then covered by performance wear layer one, which is ceramic infused for improved slip resistance and durability. It's important to note the thickness of the wear layers varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The thick of the layer, the higher the level of durability. These layers are then finished off with the protective polyurethane coating, a proprietary surface treatment which provides exceptional wear resistance, ensuring the floor retains its authentic aesthetics for years to come. It also allows for an easy maintenance regime requiring only a mop and bucket with no need for additional treatment later in its life.
LVT in Commercial Aplications
So, moving on to the next learning objective, why is LVT suitable for specification in the commercial environment? Floors take more punishment than any other surface in the built environment yet LVT retains its appearance for a considerable length of time, no matter how to where the location, making it perfect for any commercial application. Vinyl floor tiles present commercially attractive alternatives to natural flooring products, such as stone, carpet, sheet vinyl and laminates, as a highly durable surface they are suitable for use in a range of projects. Luxury vinyl tiles are quicker and cheaper to install than the natural products they mimic. Plus, imaginative designs can be created simply. LVT is also much lighter than its natural equivalents as well as softer under foot. It is more forgiving should substances be dropped on its surface, due to a resilient coating resistant against staining, UV fade, water and general spills. Cleaning is also made a lot easier; only a mop and bucket is required as opposed to a costly lengthy or disruptive maintenance program.
Furthermore, there is no risk of splintering, there are no changes in elevation and due to the stability of the product, it doesn't shrink, expand or curl. This inherent resistance to changes in temperature also makes LVT suitable for use with underfloor heating systems. LVT also offers a wide variety of formats laying patterns and designs due to its availability in either tile or plank format. Additionally, the embossed finish with micro bevels realistically replicates the look and feel of real wood, stone and or abstract designs. Plus, no welding is required, which is beneficial not only because it can often fail and collect dirt, but also as it means there are no bold lines replicated every couple of metres. LVT also offers benefits in terms of sound deadening properties when fitted alongside the recommended multi acoustic underlay. It becomes acoustically superior to other products, providing 22DB noise reduction when used in conjunction with Regupol 4515 soundproof underlay, which compares very favourably to would and natural stone.
Economically speaking LVT is a much cheaper alternative to most good quality carpet tiles or sheet vinyl. This in turn reduces the overall labour cost, in comparison to sheet material, wood or ceramic flooring. It is also less labour intensive on site as it's boxed up for ease of transportation and handling. There's less waste than sheet material, LVT has only 3% waste, in contrast to the 20% waste from 2 metre wide sheet flooring.
However, in terms of practicality care should be taken during a commercial installation when it comes to choice of texture. A textured product is more forgiving than one with a smooth surface, most LVT products will be scratch resistant but not scratch proof, as a result colour, pattern and texture are all important considerations according to differing locations and traffic requirements, for example a mid-toned and patterned resilient floor, will tend to be more sympathetic to soiling than a pure white floor. Also, darker colours are more prone to showing scratching and marking. Bear in mind that issues of this nature rarely related to product quality, but are more likely to be a reflection of poor product selection, specification or maintenance, or the omission and lack of maintenance of suitable barrier matting.
Specifying LVT ahead of alternative flooring products
Overall LVT products retain their looks and are harder wearing than other flooring materials, while the surface urethane coating requires no initial dressing or time consuming maintenance. For instance, LVT can be 2.5 mm thick, have a 1MM wear layer and be R10 compliant. PU coated products benefit from high quality print, great flexibility and bevelled edges, as well as various size and texture options.
But how does LVT compare when pitted against other flooring materials?
LVT vs Stone
When compared to stone LVT offers numerous benefits, including a quick and easy installation, as well as being simple to repair and replace, resistant to staining. It is easier to create designs and different laying patterns while boasting a smooth finish without any noticeable variations in elevation. It is also acoustically superior when compared to stone, plus LVT doesn't chip or crack, and there are no difficult to clean grout lines either.
LVT vs Ceramics
In comparison to ceramics the overall supply and installation costs of LVT can be up to 2/3 lower than some ceramic finishes. The actual speed of installation itself is also 2/3 faster, with less disruption noise and mess. LVT is also acoustically super, quiet and softer than ceramics plus it can also be used with underfloor heating systems.
Not only does LVT make it easier to create designer floors it is also easier to maintain, thanks to its non-porous mop-able finish. There are no cracks, dangerous edges or trip hazards, and should any repairs be required, this is easily done with very little downtime. The lead time is also minimal on LVT when compared to ceramics. Plus, some LVT has a reassuring commercial warranty period of 20 years.
LVT vs Sheet Vinyl
LVT also boasts a number of benefits when pitted against sheet vinyl, firstly LVT only has a 3% wastage factor, as opposed to sheet vinyl which can be up to 20%. As alluded to previously LVT is much easier to repair while no welding is required. Also, unlike sheet final there is no shade variation from batches, plus from a practical standpoint LVT is much easier to manoeuvre on site, as it is supplied boxed rather than in heavy rolls.
LVT vs Wooden flooring products
LVT weather solid engineered or laminate also has a number of advantages over wooden flooring products, including being acoustically superior, resistant to foot traffic and indentations. LVT is easy to clean and maintain while impervious to stains, spills and water ingress. Also, product stability under variations in temperature ensures the product doesn't shrink, expand or curl. In addition, the overall supply and installation cost is lower than either engineered board or solid wood. While if any repairs are required these can be carried out with ease due to LVT not having a tongue and groove construction.
LVT vs Carpet
Finally, when LVT is compared with carpet it scores highly in terms of durability as well as stain resistance and its ability to withstand high levels of footfall. It also removes the need for chemical steam cleaning while retaining a more hygienic surface with no trapped dirt, dust mites or bacteria. LVT products offer greater longevity when compared to carpet, which notably has an average life cycle of just three years within this environment. In contrast products such as our signature range boast a 20 year guarantee. Please note LVT should not be specified for external use or in clinical healthcare environments, due to the number of joints. Additionally, LVT should not be used in consistently wet areas showers or around swimming pools etcetera. There are different more specific materials for such applications.
Now we move on to the installation process which is straightforward and follows the same guidelines that apply to all quality resilient tile floors. Subfloors and site conditions should be surveyed and assessed beforehand to check they meet manufacturers guidelines and national standards. Prior to installing LVT surface preparation is crucial. Although this in itself depends on the floor construction. There are many products available for this, each differing depending on the applications in hand, for instance a cementitious smoothing compound should be used on concrete and sand whereas plywood overlay should be used to prepare chipboard or floorboards.
New concrete floors should be cleaned and dried to remove any contamination such as paint or plaster. Floated concrete floors require abrasion while any existing coverings including quarry tiles, mosaic, terrazzo, or ceramics should be decreased and abraded. Asphalt should also be degreased and then primed.
Sub floors must be tested for moisture content and relative humidity, in accordance with the technical guidelines and BS82O1, BS82O3 and BS82O4. The subfloor may be considered dry when the relative humidity is 75% or below. Actual installation of LVT should not begin until all other trades have finished. The appropriate adhesive should be used and selected according to the conditions on site, then before flooring is laid all materials should be checked to ensure there are no defects. Installation must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the relevant national standard and each product's technical manual.
The latest information on our commercial LVT products is available on our website. The surface must be flat, smooth, dry and fit for purpose. Levelling compounds should be used as recommended. Tiles and subfloor must be allowed to stabilize to a constant temperature between 18 and 27 °C for a period of 24 hours, prior to during and 24 hours after installation. Underfloor heating must be switched off for 48 hours before, during and 48 hours after installation. The tiles should also be stored flat. The recommended adhesive should be used. The completed installation should be rolled with a 45 kilogram roller before the adhesive hardens.
There are different methods of subfloor preparation each varying depending upon the type of substrate, as a result it is important to note the variance in installation requirements for solid subfloors, timber floors and other types of subfloor, such as metal, stone tiles and raised access floors. Each application needs to be checked beforehand in order to determine its suitability for LVT.
To ensure longevity it is important LVT products are well maintained and looked after once they've been installed. All maintenance should be carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer’s technical manual, while the latest information is usually available online. The urethane surface treatment facilitates the removal of scuff marks. Cleaning products and entrance matting designed for use with LVT are available from its manufacturer. Maintenance should involve simple dust mopping, wet mopping, spray cleaning or scrubber drying with a neutral detergent. The application of a floor dressing is not necessary although, this can be carried out to provide additional protection if desired.
Specifiers should note that as well as the many benefits outlined so far, luxury vinyl tiles also adhere to a number of technical standards, these include BS EN649 which covers homogeneous and heterogeneous polyvinyl chloride floor coverings. ISO 10582 which specifies the characteristics have non-cushioned heterogeneous floor coverings, based on polyvinyl chloride PVC, supplied in either tile or roll form. To encourage consumers to make an informed choice this standard includes a classification system based on the intensity of use, illustrating where floor coverings give satisfactory service, while also specifying requirements for marking, labelling and packaging. The health and safety executive HSE advises and recommends using floor surfaces that meet the European safety standards floor slip R-ratings for environments, where shoed-feet are found. The higher the rating the more a tile can be considered anti slip, generally R9 is the accepted minimum for use of a tile in public areas with LVT achieving an R-10 rating.
BS EN 14041: 2004 details the requirements for CE marking of textile laminate and resilient floor coverings, using three of six possible attestation systems. The systems given in EN 14041 are 1, 3 and 4. To understand which attestation system to follow you must apply the following rules. If the product is manufactured to enhance its fire performance for example by the addition of flame retardants, limiting the organic content or by precise control of the chemical formulation, then you must follow attestation system 1. In all other cases where reaction to fire testing is necessary the stated level of attestation of conformity would fall under system 3. If you wish to make a claim for reaction to fire euro class F FL flammable product or euro class E FL, without further testing then you will be able to CE mark under attestation system 4.
Common Commercial Uses
So, what examples do we have of instances where LVT flooring has been installed. Well commercial areas where LVT is commonly specified include breakout rooms, reception areas and kitchenettes, tea points, it is a product also popular in educational environments, where it is utilised for accommodation areas, dining halls, main halls, classrooms, lecture theatres and bar areas. LVT is also frequently specified throughout the health and leisure markets, in dining and bar areas, receptions, lounges and boutique hotels.
High Traffic Areas
There are a wide variety of LVT products which have been developed for such a wide range of differing applications, the properties of which depend upon the intended use and commercial environment they are to be applied. For instance, high traffic areas such as healthcare, retail, office, education, hospitality and leisure, commercial housing, government buildings and commercial spaces require a flexible type of tile, allowing the creation of bespoke designs. In these particular instances flooring also needs to be slip resistant and durable, especially in public areas which experience a high volume of traffic. Other variants are available with enhanced slip resistance which may be prone to spills amidst high footfall.
Some LVT products have been designed with quick installation in mind and can actually be fitted without the need for a permanent adhesive. These versions are often installed in the office, education, healthcare, hospitality and leisure and retail sectors. Elsewhere more economic budget priced variance can be used, for example in the light commercial sector by specifiers and fitters that are seeking a high level of performance but offering value for money. We frequently see this type utilised in spaces such as student accommodation, assisted living, sheltered housing and military housing, floors that are specifically designed for marine vessels. These should comply with modules B&D of the marine equipment directive and achieve the wheel mark approval issued by Lloyds register. Slip resistant offers enhanced slip resistance without compromising aesthetics.
So, let's look back at our original objectives and confirm what we've learned about LVT including, the properties and benefits of a multi performance system. How LVTs are manufactured. Why LVT is suitable for commercial specification. Technical benefits of LVT versus other types of flooring. How to install LVT. LVT maintenance and technical standards.
Why LVT the properties and benefits of a multi performance system. LVT meets all the necessary legislative requirements for commercial applications. LVT is a long lasting, durable and high quality product. It offers an economic and flexible alternative to wood, stone or ceramic flooring.
How LVT is manufactured. LVT is made from a combination of PVC, plasticizers and stabilizers. These elements are used to create multiple layers, a backing and aesthetic layer, followed by two performance wear layers then topped with a polyurethane coating.
Why LVT is suitable for commercial specification. LVT possesses great longevity, retaining its appearance while coping with heavy traffic, spills and any changes in temperature. It is also quick and straightforward to install, as well as available in a wide range of designs suitable for all manner of commercial interiors.
Technical benefits of LVT versus other types of flooring. LVT is acoustically superior to other types of commercial flooring. It is also R10 accredited in terms of slip resistance. It is simple to repair and replace and has no noticeable variations in elevation. Also, LVT does not expand, shrink or curl, plus it is more hygienic than carpet and much easier to clean.
How to install LVT. The installation process is straightforward as long as the subfloor is suitably prepared, that's why it's vital to check the subfloor complies with the technical guidelines, plus don't forget to adhere to the manufacturer’s standards, and use the correct adhesive.
LVT maintenance. LVT is easy to maintain usually by simply mopping or by using neutral detergent, if in doubt refer to the technical manual for guidance.
Technical standards. LVT conforms with all necessary technical standards including BS EN649, ISO 10582 and BS EN14041 in terms of sector specific features and benefits, there are different LVT options for healthcare, retail, public sector and offices.
Different types of LVT products are available for a wealth of commercial applications. It's important to consider each project's requirements on an individual basis, then specify the LVT accordingly.
That completes this Amtico CPD presentation on specifying luxury vinyl tiles in commercial environments. You can now take the CPD quiz.