Your best friend insists this Beaulieu vinyl plank flooring you never heard of before is the product you need to use on the basement floor. But you have seen other planks that imitate hardwood fail in wet areas and you are leery. Why would this particular product work where others cannot?
In the back of your mind, you hear the word vinyl and think of the old kitchen floor in your grandmother’s house. You picture your wife’s doubting stare if you even suggest such a thing and cringe. You trust your buddy’s judgment, but why is your best friend suggesting this Beaulieu vinyl plank product for your project?
These questions require some research to answer. Fortunately, we have already done the homework for you and summarized our findings below.
- Who is Beaulieu?
- What is “LVP” and Why Use It?
- Three Ways to Install Beaulieu LVP
- Why Not Use Beaulieu LVP Everywhere?
- Caution, Chemistry Ahead
- The Verdict
Who is Beaulieu?
A well-known Canadian carpet producer, Beaulieu Canada has manufactured and distributed floor coverings for 55+ years. In the middle of 2018, Beaulieu Canada merged with Beaulieu International Group (“BIG”), a Belgium conglomerate that produces raw materials and makes as well as supplies finished flooring globally.
One of the BIG divisions makes and distributes wall-to-wall floor coverings. Vinyl planks are an integral product within the floor coverings division.
Beaulieu Canada offers a number of “plank” options that look like or are wood and they offer a number of product categories; engineered hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl, and engineered luxury vinyl. Within these categories, there are a number of products lines to choose from which offer various colors and appearances.
If you pop over to the Beaulieu Canada website, it is quite confusing to figure out what products you should focus on. There are a bunch of products that all look and sound similar. But fear not, we are interested in discussing vinyl plank, so the luxury vinyl category is where you should focus.
The Beaulieu luxury vinyl category includes three lines; One2Floor, InterLuxe, and PermaLuxe. All three are vinyl plank product lines offering a number of wood grains/colors, as well as some other unusual colors and finishes. We will present more detail on each of these three product lines in a bit, but first, we need to cover a little background information.
What is “LVP” and Why Use It?
Vinyl plank products are a laminated composite that mimics wood and are generically called luxury vinyl plank, or “LVP.” In some cases, LVP will resemble other materials like tile, stone or concrete.
Today’s vinyl planks can impersonate wood so well that many walking on the floor do not realize they are not wood. To achieve this realistic appearance, the LVP uses a photographic layer protected under a clear wear layer. Therefore, LVP is similar to traditional laminate flooring and the two products are indeed competitors.
The big difference between LVP and laminate flooring is the core of the planks. Laminate flooring is made with a core composed of wood fibers and melamine resin. With an LVP, the core is vinyl, a type of plastic.
The wood fibers in a laminate flooring product can swell when wet, but since the core of LVP is a waterproof plastic, the use of vinyl plank in wet areas is appropriate where the laminate flooring is not. This waterproof aspect also allows you to use LVP on below-grade slabs, a place laminate flooring cannot dare to go. In addition, you can wet and steam mop an LVP floor, but you cannot do that on a laminate floor.
While LVP is not as “cushy” like a cork floor, it is comfortable to walk on. Some say it is not as comforting as a laminate floor, but that depends on the LVP you select. If you stand for long periods on an LVP, you might need fatigue mats.
Also, you do not need an underlayment with LVP. You can install it directly to a subfloor, or even over an existing floor has been finished, as long as it is flat. So, LVP is more “forgiving” and easy to install.
Finally, if you have an embedded floor heating system, no problem. As is the case with most vinyl products, you can use the Beaulieu LVP over radiant heat.
Three Ways to Install Beaulieu LVP
In general, you can install LVP as a loose lay, glue down, or floating floor. And Beaulieu covers all three options.
One2Floor is a loose lay floor. You need to adhere the perimeter planks, but in the field of the floor, you simply lay the planks with no glue or interlocking edges. This makes installation a snap and most DIYers will find this floor within their abilities to install.
InterLuxe is a floating LVP floor, installed almost identically to a laminate floor. It is a floating floor system with interlocking edges. This is an easy installation that most DIYers can handle.
PermaLuxe is a glue down product designed for installation in high traffic or battered areas. Glue down floors are a bit more complicated and some DIYers may shy away from this option. But a glue down floor does offer a sturdy floor that can take rolling loads without gaps opening or planks lifting.
All three Beaulieu LVP product lines employ a durable polyurethane wear layer that is resistant to pet stains and antimicrobial. For the heaviest traffic, the Permaluxe products also incorporate ceramic beads into the wear layer, for added durability.
Last, but not least, all three options are great options if you are looking for the hardwood look on a budget. LVP is more affordable than hardwood, but in general, it does cost slightly more than a laminate floor.
Why not Use Beaulieu LVP Everywhere?
The Beaulieu LVPs appear to offer a number of advantages over other types of flooring, including its competitor laminate flooring. The obvious question then is why not just use it everywhere?
Well, as just noted, vinyl flooring will cost a little more than laminated flooring. The project budget is almost always a concern and tight budgets may make laminate flooring attractive.
Further, LVP is a plastic material, or more precisely polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”). It can be made from various feedstocks, but it is most often made of crude oil and natural gas. It also requires a large amount of heat during the manufacturing process.
For these reasons, companies do not consider PVC to be a green material. In fact, those who insist on green products often view plastics as a problem since they consume large amounts of fossil fuels and energy. Plus, it can be hard to dispose of them after use since many plastics are not biodegradable.
If you are the type who insists on having a product that is at least a little green in your home or office, vinyl flooring can consist of recycled PVC. The Beaulieu One2Step is made with recycled PVC for those who would like to use a recycled product.
Also, sharp objects easily puncture vinyl. In areas where you need puncture resistance, LVPs are not a good choice.
The Beaulieu products use a polyurethane wear layer. This type of coating can take traffic well, but it does yellow when you expose it to UV. So, for those sun-soaked areas, you may get some discoloration.
Finally, under heavy objects with small feet, impressions or dents can form in LVP. You may want to avoid point loads like this or place pads under the feet of heavy furniture or appliances.
Caution, Chemistry Ahead
There is an important safety point that involves the chemistry of plastics and how companies make them. They are in general rigid, and that includes many plastics in the vinyl family of products.
PVC is the rigid material they use to make the white plastic pipes many of us have used. Believe it or not, companies use this same plastic to make vinyl flooring.
To make PVC into a more flexible material suitable for flooring, they mix a chemical into the plastic during the manufacturing process. They refer to this additive as a plasticizer, and phthalates were once the plasticizer of choice for vinyl flooring products.
However, phthalates may affect a person’s health, especially children and pregnant women. You need to touch the flooring often for it to become an issue, but kids often play on floors so children, in particular, are of concern.
LVP manufacturers have responded and are phasing out the phthalates. A good rule of thumb is that any vinyl flooring you consider in areas where children play should be phthalate-free. Fortunately, Beaulieu does state the One2Step is phthalate-free on the product page, but the InterLuxe and PermaLuxe pages are silent on the subject.
If you are looking for the beauty of a hardwood floor without the large price tag, in an area prone to wetting, Beaulieu LVP is a great choice. It may cost a bit more than a laminate floor, but it is more affordable than hardwood.
You can wet or steam mop to clean LVP floors (along with any hard floor friendly vacuum), and it can be used in just about any space you want. Plus, Beaulieu offers three different options to install their LVP products, two of which are very DIY-friendly.
The polyurethane wear layer used by Beaulieu is durable and can withstand foot traffic. If you have a high-traffic area, you may want to consider the PermaLuxe line which beefs up the wear layer with ceramic beads. Further, the PermaLuxe is glued down and can take rolling loads best.
For those with pets, there are no worries since all the Beaulieu LVP lines are resistant to pet stains. However, if you have children, be sure to use the One2Step product that is the only one to state explicitly on the product page that it is phthalate-free.
If you have something to add to this discussion, we would love to hear from you in the comments or on our social media pages.