Tile vs. Luxury Vinyl


A new floor can make a dramatic transformation in any room and when we are talking bathrooms, not only do we have colour and style to decide on for flooring, but now we have more options for product as well. The technology behind Luxury Vinyl (LV) flooring continues to develop and many now actually mimic the look of real wood and real marble very well in addition to the enhanced performance from years past.

Taking into consideration cost, durability, installation, maintenance and the overall look of each product, today's consumer has a lot of research to do before making the final purchase. So let's compare!

Whether you are doing the project yourself or hiring a professional, the cost of the product has to be considered as well as the cost of the tools, any possible extra materials needed as well as the time to install. At Refined, we carry quality ceramic and porcelain tile suitable for flooring that range from $2.50 sq/ft and up and we have vast choices available. Cost for installing can run anywhere from $-$ depending on size and/or detail due to grout and the labour involved. A lot of consumers assume that the bigger the tile, the less the grout, the less the work so the less the cost...and that is far from the truth when laying larger format tile, so keep that in mind. The process of laying tile is quite lengthy as it has several steps. The floor needs to be prepped and completely level, then the process of mortar, spacers and cutting tile throughout the messy job. After it's laid, it then needs to be cured for 24 hours before grouting. Then cured again after grout so that's also a consideration when deciding on flooring as there are costs associated as well as inconveniences with the length of time it takes to complete the job.

The Luxury Vinyl we carry comes in a few formats, tile, plank, loose lay or click and we have collections starting at $3.89 sq/ft. Laying vinyl plank or tile flooring can be quick and easy if using a product like Fuzion's Smart Drop, you literally lay them in place with no special tools or skills required and you can lay it on top of almost any other surface without massive prep. Have a peek at this quick video to see if Smart Drop could work in your next application.

Clearly install time is substantially reduced with this type of flooring application, as are the materials and equipment needed. No mortar, no spacers, no grout and no messy clean up afterwards. And this particular flooring is definitely a DIY option!

Now LV also comes in plank format with a click lock system that requires more skill and time and a few more tools. But again, less mess, less prep, less time to start utilizing your room and in addition, much more comfortable to walk on than ceramic tile.


Now, let's compare maintenance and repair or removal. When it comes to tile, it's not only time consuming and messy to install, but consider the removal when you want to update or need to make a repair, it's definitely not an easy task with the necessity of even more equipment and sometimes a lot of muscle. With our lines of LV, repairs can be made simply and quite quickly to the individual damaged plank without having to remove the entire floor and with only a few tools required.

Now with proper care and maintenance, ceramic floors can last forever, but with the advanced technology, LV can continue to perform for years to come as well! Let's look at the durability and stability of both products.

Ceramic is definitely a hard and durable material, easy to maintain and stable as it won't expand or contract. As long as it's installed correctly and the mortar or grout doesn't fail, it should not be affected by moisture or environmental changes as long as the base is equally as stable. Looking at LV, the durability is also excellent with scratch and dent proof features, easy to maintain and clean, waterproof and again won't expand or contract. One added feature is the flex it has that allows it to absorb impact from dropped objects and dissipate it rather than break itself under the impact as tile can often do.

Now to look at the END of their life-cycle...so when you DO decide to update or replace, let's consider not only the method of removal, but where it goes after the removal. The typical method used to remove ceramic tiles is to break or pop them up using machines, hand tools and force resulting in product that is not only not reusable but not recyclable either and is usually just thrown into the landfill. It's a time consuming, messy and labour intensive process then then requires extensive cleanup and more prep for the next flooring job.

Luxury Vinyl can be removed and replaced easily, with little to no mess or cleanup afterwards. Few tools are required and the time to complete the job is considerably less with less exertion and man power needed. The tiles and planks are typically recyclable and most are made from recycled material causing less ecological impact.

Comparisons aside, it really depends on preference. Both durable, both waterproof, both easy to clean and maintain, both can be applied over radiant floor heating and both available with endless options for design, style and colour.

Find what speaks to you, make an educated decision and refine your space with confidence.

Kelly Hammond