Loose Lay Vinyl Plank/Tile – Pros & Cons

Credit Source: homeflooringpros.com

So we recently saw that Reward have added some new designs to “an innovative format of luxury vinyl flooring” that requires no adhesive. What’s so innovative about that? I wondered out loud, after all most of the luxury vinyl plank or tile products currently in the market use the ClickLock system than doesn’t have to be glued down… But then I took a closer look and realized that what Reward (and a few other manufacturers) are offering is an entirely different kind of vinyl plank/tile: one that is so incredibly simple to install that it’s hard to believe it’s true!

So what exactly is Loose Lay Vinyl Tile?

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But it is true! The new Looselay – or sometimes written Loose Lay – tiles do not use glue or staples or any kind of ClickLock system. Instead the backing of each tile is made with materials that use friction to effectively grip the subfloor beneath; furthermore Loose lay vinyl tiles are completely dimensionally stable which means that they will not expand or shrink depending on moisture levels, so when you install them there is no expansion gap between the tiles and the wall, and therefore – as described beautifully by the team at Floors to Your Home – “once you’ve got your floor in place, it just has nowhere to go”; and finally, Loose lay vinyl is also super thick and heavy which adds to its ability to stay put.

Of course, as with all flooring, there are certain provisos when installing these products. You will need to follow the advice from each manufacturer about correctly preparing the subfloor so that it is level and offers the right kind of friction, and also the super-simple installation of Looselay tiles is best suited to smaller spaces.

Larger spaces will likely require the addition of a grid of adhesive tape applied to the subfloor first to ensure that the tiles stay put. Again, follow the advice from the manufacturer to get it right. Either way, the brilliant simplicity of this product means that most proficient DIYers will be able to confidently install a stylish looking floor!

Other Benefits of Loose Lay Flooring

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Clearly – even with an adhesive grid – the other major advantage of Looselay vinyl is that it is just as easy to get it off the floor as it is to lay it down: if you move home and would rather like to take your floor with you, you actually can! As most flooring options represent a fairly large investment, what this really means is that you can easily replace any tiles in the unlikely event of serious damage (make sure to keep a few surplus tiles, just in case).

The removability aspect of Looselay is also useful in office or high-tech home environments where you might have power sockets embedded into the subfloor that you don’t necessarily want to always have visible: tiles placed over such power sockets can easily be removed when you need access.

Other benefits include the fact that modern vinyl techniques mean that most Looselay tiles are pretty durable with manufacturers offering guarantees of up to 15 years, and they are also extremely low maintenance; click here for other durable flooring options. New technology also means that the aesthetic design of Looselay tiles is usually just as detailed, textured and authentic-looking as other vinyl such as LVT. Vinyl is both more waterproof and tends to be better at absorbing sound than real flooring products, so it is a great option for pretty much any room in your home. Plus it is warmer underfoot than real stone and softer than real hardwood, and certain manufacturers are offering Looselay tiles that can be used with underfloor heating.

Loose Lay Prices

Comparatively speaking, Loose lay is also pretty affordable, retailing between $3 – $8 per square foot depending on the brand. And when you factor in that you can DIY install it and the low maintenance costs over the years, you really start to see the long-term gains in opting for this innovative flooring.

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Any Loose Lay Flooring Drawbacks?

The main disadvantage of Looselay at this point is that it hasn’t been taken up by all vinyl tile manufacturers yet, so the ranges available are still relatively limited (in comparison to LVT, for example).

The main options are wood and stone looks, and mostly in aesthetics that will broadly appeal to most classic design styles, such as traditional oaks and slates. A few brands do also offer abstract, color block or textile look tiles. Below we have reviewed a few of the manufacturers offering good Looselay collections, and it can only be hoped that as this product gains popularity that more interesting designs will come to the market.

Another possible drawback is that some of the main Looselay manufacturers are actually based outside of the USA, so you may need to track down dealers in your local area.

Beware Linguistic Confusion

If you’re interested in researching Looselay further, then be ready for a bit of linguistic detective work because there is a general confusion surrounding the wording of these products. Quite apart from the fact that some write it as Looselay and others as Loose Lay, different manufacturers are using the terms “loose” and “lay” in various ways to describe totally different products.

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For example Gerflor has two product lines that cause serious confusion! What they refer to as their LVT Looselay (Senso Clic, Senso Lock and Senso Lock Plus) is actually a Click-Lock floating floor; while what they call LVT Removable (Senso Adjust) is what we would actually call Looselay, as there is no Click-Lock or glue or staples involved. Gerflor also has a line they refer to as Vinyl Rolls Looselay (Home Comfort, HQR, Texline, Solidtex and Primetex), and while these floors indeed do not require glue, they are in fact vinyl sheet not tiles or planks!

And that’s another lingo thing to point out – Looselay vinyl can be in tile or plank format depending on whether you’re going for a stone look or a wood look, even though it is mostly referred to as tile!

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