Our luxury vinyl flooring install was a long time coming. You might even say long overdue. Our basement flooded and we lost our beautiful engineered hardwood floor. Collateral damage of course was my craft studio, Hubs’ man cave and our laundry room. Despite doing all the right things, and even recovering from a previous flood, we knew we were taking a risk by installing real wood. After the incident, our dimpled membrane did not save us a second time. But that’s now water under the bridge (or I guess under the floor!).
Now with the flooring out, we’re down to bare concrete again.
It’s gut wrenching for anyone who encourages sustainability to send all that material to landfill! Not to mention hard on the pocket-book.
So we did what any DIY’er would do and got to work researching the market extensively! This time around, we’re not taking any chances and our research paid off. We found the most amazing flooring that just happens to be rated for commercial use with the best wear layer in the industry (30 ml). You might think that kind of quality comes with a big price tag – but that isn’t the case in this instance. It cost us less than half of the engineered wood install and still less than comparable luxury vinyl planks of the same quality.
Nothing could be easier to install. If you can peel a bandaid, you can install it! It’s also waterproof and goes down fast (the planks are 9″ x 48″). But you know the best thing about it for a DIYer? You don’t need glue, or even fancy tools to install it. So what is this wondrous product? It’s loose lay luxury vinyl plank from a brand called True North Luxury Vinyl.
What’s revolutionary for DIYers, is using it in combination with True North LVMax tab.
What is True North LVMax?
True North LVMax is a peel and stick tab system that connects loose lay vinyl planks so you don’t need glue around the perimeter of the room to keep the floor from shifting. The best part for us is that the product is eco-friendly. There’s absolutely no odour, and more importantly, no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That means no migraines for me on this install!
True North LVMax comes in a roll with pre-perforated tabs.
Remember I said it’s as easy as peeling a bandaid? You just place the plank on the floor, add three tabs along the length, peel off the backing, then butt the next plank beside it. When each row is complete, lift the ends and tab them too. Roll the seams and you’re done! And without even breaking a sweat! You can walk on the floor right away. Be sure to watch the video near the end of this post to see my ‘butt ‘n roll’ method of laying the planks.
To speed things up even more, I pre-tear the tabs into individual sheets first and pop them into a box so we can just grab and go.
Why Install Loose Lay Luxury Vinyl Plank?
We considered a luxury vinyl click system from True North before settling on the loose lay offering from the line. That’s because if we ever damage a piece, we can simply insert a utility knife between the planks and cut the tabs. If you’ve ever tried to replace just one piece of flooring, you know it isn’t easy. With True North LVMax, it is!
After cutting the tabs, we can simply lift the vinyl plank and replace it. Or, in the case of a leaking washing machine for instance, you can lift an entire floor, dry it out and re-install it. Just set it back in place with new tabs. You can’t easily make repairs, or disassemble a floor without possible breakage, with any other flooring on the market!
Hindsight is 20-20, but I really wish we discovered the True North LVMax tab system when we initially finished the basement. Surprisingly, True North LVMax tab is still a well kept secret. But we’re so impressed by the many advantages of using it that we can’t help but get the word out for the sake of anyone who will ever experience water damage!
So allow us save you from the same pitfall. As beautiful as engineered hardwood is, don’t be swayed by it’s charm. I’m not one to ever say never, but I’m saying it now: NEVER install engineered hardwood in wet areas like the basement, kitchen or bathrooms. Why ‘wood’ you when you can have a beautiful, waterproof floor that’s worry free with a system like True North LVMax?
Sustainability of Luxury Vinyl Flooring
True North Luxury Vinyl is Floorscore Certified. With brands like like McDonald’s and Amazon mindful of sourcing sustainable products, if True North specs stand up to those spaces, it’s something we feel good about using in our own home.
As DIYers that tout upcycling and sustainability as a lifestyle, you might not be thinking that Luxury Vinyl Floor is a sustainable choice for us. However, when you consider that our previous wood flooring is now in landfill, LVT makes the best sense. It’s reusable and there’s nothing organic to mould. I can’t help but emphasize that after any kind of water issue, you can just lift it, dry it and put it back with new tabs.
With luxury loose lay vinyl you’ll also have the least amount of waste. Because there is no click system along one side of the plank, loose lay can be positioned on the floor at either end leaving practically nothing as waste. Although we ordered an additional 5% to account for waste, we literally have none; just a handful of scraps. I’m sure I’ll even think of a way to upcycle those in a Craft Rehab post!
How to Install True North LVMax Flooring
If you think installing flooring is too challenging for a beginner, think again. Loose lay plank is not only the easiest vinyl flooring to install, but the easiest floor to install – period.
I have chronic back pain and even I can demonstrate it for you! I’m taking a short-cut by installing the tabs for each plank right on a table top. However, for those of you that are more able, you’ll easily apply the tabs when the vinyl plank is on the floor. Just apply three tabs to one long side (one every twelve inches).
The end of each plank gets a tab after each row is laid. That’s because you want to butt against an edge without adhesive so you can position the plank and get a tight seam before making contact with the rest of the tabs. You’ll see what I mean in the video (two pics below).
Then roll the seam with a hand roller to ensure the adhesive makes contact with both sides of the back of the vinyl plank. Or if you’ve put on weight during lock down, like me, just ‘walk the planks’. Just kidding of course :).
Luxury Vinyl Flooring Sneak Peek
We’ll have more reveals of our luxury vinyl flooring installation in the basement in upcoming posts. However, I’m sending this post out first because if you’re considering renovating or upgrading your basement, True North LVMax needs to be on your radar! We don’t have any affiliation with True North; innovations like this just need to be showcased!
For now, we’ll leave you with this video on how to install the True North LVMax luxury vinyl flooring system:
How to Install True North LVMax
I’ve installed just about every kind of flooring there is; solid wood, engineered wood, porcelain tile etc. As you see in the video above, nothing goes down as quickly as these loose lay planks go down! You’ll be able to install an entire basement in just one weekend. That sure didn’t happen when we did our engineered hardwood!
Here’s a sneak peak of the before and after of our True North luxury vinyl installation.
Bare concrete and furniture on dollies is a look we couldn’t wait to leave behind.
After being without a craft studio for what seems like an eternity, I’m happy to show you how gorgeous our finished vinyl flooring looks in my office!
I don’t think my VW desk has ever looked better! The colour we’re using from True North Luxury Vinyl is Aged Stirling Oak and I think it really brightens up my workspace. With the year we’ve had, it’s wonderful to have a cheerful space to work in again :).
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I know how stressful that was to have the flood, but the floor looks beautiful! Nice craftsmanship too.
Nice to know misery has company – lol! We’re really pleased with it. And of course, I’m so happy to have my craft room back again. Now if I want to make a dark DIY video outside in the garage, it’ll be by choice :).
So sorry about your flood. You must have been devastated!! This floor is absolutely fantastic! GREAT JOB!
Thank you so much Leslie. Yes, it was a really tough pill to swallow when the basement was ruined! Hopefully it’s a lot like childbirth and we’ll soon forget about the pain – lol!
I have had several areas of broken pipe, leaking toilet, or just plain dampness. My antisipation was to install the same product in bathrooms and mother-in-law once the renter moves out. When will he move? Too comfy for him now. My daughter had installed the dark grey with doubt, but has fallen in love with it since. Nice job.
Water issues are so common; we’ve experienced all those that things too.
It can be tricky with a tenant and these days people are staying put!
I didn’t think I’d love a floor as much as we loved the previous hardwood, but it won us over! Thanks Vicki!
I’m so sorry you had to go through all that mess. But your new floor looks amazing! I can’t believe how easy it is to install. We’re researching flooring now for our whole house, so I’m showing this to my husband.
And that desk is too cute!! I love it!
Oh, ugh! Sorry about the water damage. Glad for you that you have been able to DIY the renovation!
Thank you Michele! Honestly, it’s a blessing to be able to DIY :).
I’ve experienced flooded basements before and it’s heart-wrenching! Your floor looks beautiful!
Thanks Ann! The more I speak to people, the more I discover that basement flooding is the norm and not the exception. Just yesterday our neighbour told us that his water tank leaked and he had to replace his flooring in the basement too (but he had carpet which really holds the water – ugh!).
Sara, the floor turned out wonderful and I love your VW desk. Thank you for this tutorial.
So sorry for the flood, Vinyl flooring is amazing its very popular. I left my laundry room faucet on by mistake and ruined my dining room floor. Expensive way to learn to make sure Ialways shut the water off.
Thanks Maria; so many expensive lessons are learned with water experiences, aren’t they? Sorry about your dining room floor too!
Oh Wow!!! When you said it was easy, I thought, it depends on what you define as easy 😀 but wow, this looks really, really easy. I’ve been dying to put some flooring over our terracotta tiles through out our home but just couldn’t see myself doing such a large area without ending up in a back brace. I sure these guys are in South Africa or that we at least have something similar here. It looks stunning
You can try contacting them; I think it would be a perfect solution to go over an old floor. Keeps it all from going into landfill. I’m tempted to go over the tile on our main level too!
Where did you find this interesting product. Did you have to order online? I have water damage from leaking dishwasher, 2nd time. I am ready to try something you can pick up, dry , & replace. /phyl
Oh no Phyllis! I’m sorry to hear that’s happened to you twice. I found it in a flooring shop. I don’t know where you’re located, but you can contact the company for availability in your area. You can either email or call through this link: https://truenorthlvt.com/contact/. Let me know how it goes 🙂
I hate that you had the water damage but the new floor is beautiful.
Always a lesson to learn. Now I’m on a mission to let people know not to use wood – even if it’s engineered – in a basement. It’s just not worth taking a chance now that hindsight is 20/20!
I cannot imagine taking that on yourself! Kudos to you for living through that huge project. Great tip about the luxe flooring vs. wood.
Thanks Cat! We had practice with our original floor so this one was a piece of cake in comparison – lol!
Beautiful. I know the mess. I redid the kitchen last year. I have a post about it on my blog. We had water damage. And mold! Not fun. What a mess that was. Your floor looks absolutely beautiful. Great job. Good luck.
Thanks Doreen. Ugh – your experience sounds just as bad; so sorry you had to go through that too.
It looks stunning. My daughter is busy having this installed at the moment. I walked on it the weekend and love how you don’t hear the shoes clicking like on the wood ones.
Thanks Anita! Yes, that lack of click clacking is a real added bonus!
I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to have a flood in your home and have to replace everything. Including the flooring. Wow! What a huge task.
You definitely chose the best flooring. And it looks fabulous!
PLUS! The dresser looks incredible.
Thanks Meegan; we’re so happy to have it behind us now 🙂
Wow! What an ordeal! We are looking at LVP for our family beach cottage. Definitely checking out this brand!
We really couldn’t be happier with it. I never thought I’d like a floor as much as I liked the engineered hardwood so it was a pleasant surprise 🙂
What a great idea! Perfect for a space where water might just show up!
I’m starting to believe that’s just about every space – lol! You just never know if a pipe is going to burst or a dishwasher is going to leak. Water is both a blessing and a curse :).
Am sorry for the tragic water damage but the new one is, I imagine, much better. Your ingenuity precedes itself. I am wondering, how you got that dynamic picture of the front of the 1960(ish) car under your craft table?
Thanks so much Desiree. It was a picture from our wedding day. A friend helped us install it onto the drawer fronts that Hubs made. You can read more about it here: http://birdzofafeather.ca/diy/upcycled-kitchen-cabinets/
Just saw this video and am I impressed! I have vinyl planks in my kitchen (son-in-law installed about 14 years ago) and they have held up nicely as far as wear, but this type is even easier than what I had him install!! I am wanting to re-do my floors to a lighter color and am absolutely going to look into this brand for sure!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
So happy to hear you’ve found it helpful Karolyn! We have a new video out now that goes into more detail if you’re interested: https://youtu.be/sf9Ultc33A4
Good luck with your flooring install!