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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