One of vinyl’s main selling points, regardless of whether you go roll, plank, or tile, is the ease of installation. There are two main ways to install vinyl – Glue down and Click. But which is the better option?
Read on to find out the pros and cons of each method.
LVT Click – Pros and Cons
Ease of Installation – Not only is click LVT easy to install, but it’s also fairly fast and simple. The way LVT click comes together is simple – you lay it down on the ground and you click them together at the edges.
On top of that, the installation takes a lot less preparation than glue-down and is compatible with more subfloors. Although you should always clean the subfloor, sometimes there will be some unevenness that has to be sorted out before you put any flooring atop it. With LVT Click that doesn’t matter, as it’s called a “floating floor”. A floating floor is a flooring plan that is not glued or nailed to the subfloor. This means that it’s slightly less stable than a glue-down plan.
Unsecured – One fairly sizeable drawback of its ease of installation through its free-floating format is the fact that this makes it less secure. In areas of high foot traffic, the friction and weight of people using the room may cause the flooring to shift underfoot. This is more likely the less experienced the installer.
Similarly, click flooring in large rooms suffer from a similar lack of security, due to the midsection being further from the much more secure wall areas.
Underlay – The con that comes with the reduced stability also comes with a plus, the underlay. Thanks to the fact that it’s not directly stuck to the subfloor, you can place the material between the floating floor and the subfloor.
Underlays add thickness to the already thick LVT click. Even without an underlay, LVT’s thickness has plenty of advantages in and of itself.
Thickness – Leading on from the last point, LVT Click is thicker than glue down. This makes the floor a lot more comfortable to stand on. You also can’t feel any bumps and unevenness in the subfloor due to the cushioning, and you would feel completely comfortable and natural barefoot.
Another advantage this gives is enhanced thermal insulation. In layman’s terms, the insulation provided by LVT means that it’s harder to chill the temperature of the tiles overall. So even if the room temperature is low, the floor itself will not be unduly uncomfortable. Conversely, LVT in general is heat resistant, so heat will not warp the tiles and will simply pass through both glue down and click.
Aesthetics – LVT has the same design capacity no matter whether they are glued down or Click. But only one of them has the advantage of hiding imperfections in the subfloor. Due to the click being a free-floating floor, there are no real imperfections that can be seen, due to both the thickness and the fact that it’s not secured flat against the subfloor.
Additional materials unneeded – Due to the click lock system, there’s little reason to buy much of anything else to install LVT.
LVT Glue Down – Pros and Cons
Security – Glue down LVT sticks directly to the subfloor. The entire point of a subfloor is to provide a solid foundation for the flooring to be secured. As a result, glue down vinyl’s powerful adhesive guarantees that your footing won’t shift from beneath you. This is a particular concern if you’re needing flooring installed in high-traffic areas of your house, or in large rooms, where the Click system has a danger of coming out of place.
Underfloor heating – Underfloor heating refers to a heating system that runs under your floor through either pipe (water heating) or electrical cables (electric heating). They are growing in popularity and some homes completely replace the traditional radiator systems. Whilst underfloor heating is entirely possible in free-floating flooring, the heating output is less because it’s not directly attached to the subfloor (which the heating runs through).
More solid – Due to glue-down LVT being thinner than Click, you’re going to be feeling the subfloor beneath the vinyl. This will create a slightly less comfortable experience compared to the more springy and soft free-floating floor type. It may also be cold, due to the subfloor being made of hard, cold material (usually concrete). That being said, this can be negated through underfloor heating, but that’s a fairly big undertaking.
Less noise – To be fair, Click isn’t necessarily a noisy flooring type. That being said, glue-down flooring is almost always less noisy than flooring types that aren’t directly attached to the subfloor through adhesive. Nailed-down flooring, for example, is likely to come with a lot of clicking and creaking. Even inefficiently installed free-floating floors can make noise when used.
Temperature – Rooms that have temperatures that fluctuate high and low are better suited to glue down floors. The reason for this is simple. Temperatures that some forms of LVT Click can’t handle will cause them to warp under the pressure. This is because the free-floating nature of LVT elevates it somewhat from the subfloor, creating a space underneath that enables the warping to take place.
With glue down, the LVT is attached directly to the subfloor, and therefore there’s no room for the material to expand.
Easier repair – Partially because it comes in tile form, repairing glue-down LVT is much easier than repairing free-floating floors. If you somehow manage to damage the highly durable LVT material, you can simply cut out and pry out the tile and replace it. You can also do this with free-floating floors, but you have to remove some of the surrounding tiles to get them loose. This can be particularly aggravating if the tile is in the centre of a room, the larger the room the more work it will be.
Subfloor Compatibility – Glue-down floors are compatible with a wide variety of subfloors, including the most common ones you’ll find in a house. It’s safe to say the only types of subfloors that won’t be compatible have not been treated. For example, you should make sure to clear up any moisture from a subfloor if you don’t want your floor ruined. That being said…
Installation is harder – There are quite a few things to state regarding the installation of glue-down LVT. For one, the price. Whereas you may read everywhere that glue down is cheaper than LVT Click (and this is true), what you might miss is that installation is difficult even for the most competent DIY enthusiasts.
Whilst most any subfloor material is compatible with vinyl, subfloors must be both smooth and level. Imperfections, such as bumps, will prevent proper attachment to the subfloor and also ruin the aesthetics. They are best sanded down to retain a level floor.
You then have to mark the room, creating borders and quadrants for the installation phase, before applying glue ready in each area. The glue has to be manufacturer-approved and laid until it takes on a hazy look. However, too long and the glue will become dry, losing its fixing effect.
When the glue is ready, lay down your flooring up to the walls, where you’ll need to take unique measurements to fill in the borders around the room. If all of this sounds like too much for you, then you’d be much better off having a professional install the floor. This is especially important because even if you manage to do it right, the longevity or overall look will be highly dependent on how well you’ve done the job of installation.
We hope this guide has given you an idea of the pros and cons of glueing down LVT and click LVT. Both have their benefits and are suitable options in most rooms and situations. When making your choice, you should take into account both foot traffic and the installation proficiency of the person who is fitting your flooring (more important if you are planning to do it yourself). Nonetheless, we hope this guide has given you an idea of what’s possible with both types of installation methods.