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A Brand New Kind of Vinyl Floor? Loose Lay Waterproof Vinyl Planks!




** Update – we’ve changed the name! We used to call it Tuff Guy. Now we call it Supreme Elite. Same stuff. Enjoy!

We just got in something new, and I mean new as in a brand new kind of flooring. It’s vinyl, which is not new, plus it’s 100% waterproof, which is also not new anymore. What’s the big deal with this, then? It’s the feature which gives it the “Loose Lay” name. Check out our new Loose Lay Vinyl Flooring here, and you can see Brian demonstrate this in the first video.

It needs no glue, but it also doesn’t have a clicking mechanism. This floor just lays down. You lay each piece on the floor, snug together… and we call that “installation.”

What holds it in place? First, gravity itself. Second, it has a special backing that increases friction on a floor, gripping it. Each plank is designed not to move once laid in place. When you put many planks together, they support each other and add to what I’ll call “lateral stability”. In addition, this floor is installed right up against the wall, as snug as each piece is to each other. With most floors that are not glued or nailed down, especially wood based ones, you leave an “expansion gap,” a 1/4″ to 1/3″ space between the edge of the flooring and the wall (or other vertical surface). This gap is always hidden by the trim pieces. Nailed to the walls, they sort of float over your floating floor. This is to accommodate the material expanding or contracting in response to changes in temperature and humidity.

Tuff Guy Freedom Waterproof Loose Lay Vinyl Plank does not do that. We even tested it ourselves. Check out this Freezer Test video. We put it out in the sun, trace it, then stick it in a freezer and see if it changed. This perfect “Dimensional Stability” means that you can put this floor right up against the wall. This basically gives these planks nowhere to go, regardless of the friction already holding them in place.

What does this mean for installation? Is it as easy as it sounds like it would be? The short answer is “yes.” It is very easy to install.

 
It’s thick. It’s waterproof. It has real wood looks. Right now we have four, with more coming in. It’s very durable – this comes right off the box:

Icons

This is a definite advancement in flooring technology, and kind of a big one. It’s probably, as Brian said, the biggest since laminate hit the U.S. in 1994.

 

– – – –
David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’) and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty’s Google+

 
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About

David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in 'play with Beatles multi-tracks') and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty's Google+

Posted in Vinyl Flooring, waterproof Tagged with: , , ,
27 comments on “A Brand New Kind of Vinyl Floor? Loose Lay Waterproof Vinyl Planks!
  1. Shawn says:

    How is this waterproof if the seams aren’t glued? I’ve been looking at loose lay planks locally, but they all have a glue tab that they interconnect with. How are these installed so that they’re completely waterproof?

    • David says:

      Hi, Shawn,

      I see what you’re asking about. The floor as a whole is water resistant, not impermeable, as we say above in the graphic. That resistance is still good, because the sides of the planks are cut at an angle. This makes the tops lay snug against each other. It’s quite a tight fit.

      The planks are waterproof. Like the click together vinyl planks, if your room floods, water is going to get to your subfloor. What will not happen is that your planks will not be destroyed, nor even harmed by such a flood. They dry off, and then go right back down once your room has been taken care of. Any wood or laminate would be ruined, as would any glue or tape, if your flooring had those.

      Also, these are much easier to get out of the way so you can contain the damage to the room more quickly. They just pull up. Any kind of glue, tape or nail down floor will essentially need to be ripped up before you could take care of the flooding.

  2. Jamie says:

    What happened to this product? My husband and I were really excited about refinishing our basement with this product (utilizing the darker distressed version) and can not find it anywhere? Most people don’t even know what we are talking about when we request “loose lay” vinyl waterproof planks. Are there new cons or has the company just gone another direction? Or (fingers crossed) is it simply so popular, they just can’t keep up with the demand?

    LOVE your blog! You guys are the reason my kitchen floors look amazing!!!!! :)

    Thanks!

    • David says:

      Hi, Jamie!

      What happened is we sold out! We sold out way fast, no less, and it caught us by surprise. We have more coming in, hopefully this month, and by more I mean a lot more. There have been products before with unexpected cons, click together vinyl comes to mind – it was really thin, but that is not the case with these, nor have we gone another direction. It is gone at the moment for the reason you hoped. Also, I’m not surprised that you get quizzical responses about loose lay. It is very new, and not everyone knows about it, let alone has it available.

      Thank you for your compliment on the blog too! I hope to ramp it back up a little soon. I confess that I have done less with it this year than I had hoped to do.

      I’ll post when we get more Tuff Guy in – now called Supreme Elite!
      David

  3. Angela says:

    Hi, this product says “very durable” but I have specific concerns for whatever I lay down and wonder if this really is tough enough. It’d be for our basement where we have a home business with two desks.

    1. The office chairs have been VERY hard on the laminate we’d laid down. I’m afraid nothing will be tough enough except tile, but we don’t want the grout line bumps which will be annoying for rolling chairs.

    2. ALSO, we have an older cat with bladder problems that has a favorite corner to pee in the office. That corner is carpet and the immediate reason we’ve got to redo the flooring. Cat urine is strong stuff, and while I don’t intend to let it sit, if it’s in one spot repeatedly will I need to worry about
    a) staining, or
    b) it leaking between the planks?
    They look tight; they will allow me to clean under easily if needed but I’d prefer not to need to of course.

    3) One last question- under the carpet is glued on tile, I’m assuming the floor will need to be extremely smooth and flat for the loose lay planks, right?

    Thanks for you expertise, I am extremely impressed by the personal replies to to the comments.

  4. Iva says:

    I am looking at the loose lay vinyl and have a question. We are planning to install it in the basement where the existing concrete floor is slightly sloped. My biggest concern is that the seams might not be even or open up at places. I am thinking that a little but of glue would fix that problem if it is happen. Are there other potential problems I am not thinking of?
    Thanks!

    • David says:

      Hello, Iva! You definitely have the right idea for putting vinyl over a slope. As our demonstration video shows, while this is a Loose Lay floor, it certainly can be glued down. It is even recommended over very long areas, and can be done where a floor slopes. What comes to mind is the warranty. According to the installation directions, the subfloor should be level to 1/8” across any 10ft span. This is a standard number for most of the the rigid floors – laminates and hardwoods. Floor warranties almost always state that the floor must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instruction. This doesn’t mean that they can’t do what you want, just that the manufacturer has a conservative warranty. I don’t know how much slope you have. Loose Lay is pretty pliable, very “bendy”, if you will, but if you put it over a greater slope than 1/8″, you may not be able to make claims on the warranty should anything arise.

  5. Joe says:

    Hi, I wanted to ask if this product is sold locally?
    Thanks

    • David says:

      Yes, if you’re near Indianapolis, Indiana. If we’re not local to you, then we ship nationally, and pretty quickly at that. If you give us a call, our people can see what shipping would cost – usually it’s free.

  6. andy says:

    I ordered some of this stuff and am prepping to put it down on concrete. I put down one box of it just to test it out and I gotta say I’m impressed…even laid in just 4 rows in the middle of the room, it hardly budges.

    That said I’m still going to need to secure the outer rows, as the space beneath my basement drywall isn’t completely even. Would double-sided tape suffice? It seems like tape would be easier to manage than glue should flooding occur and I need to pickup/re-lay the flooring.

    • David says:

      Our Installation Expert says that double face tape is OK as long as the width of tape is 6” minimum. The perimeter should have a 12” band of tape, and then a 6″ strip can, and sometimes should, be used in the room every 8-10 feet.

  7. Michelle says:

    Wow, I had no idea this product existed! We are buying an apartment which has 1960s parquet floors. The seller just spent a couple of thousand dollars to sand and refinish them in preparation for selling. They’re not fancy, but they’re in good condition. However… I just don’t like the look and feel of the heavily-beveled edges. (What a first-world problem, I know!) I was afraid I’d have to pay $10,000 to have the floor ripped up and replaced with plank hardwood… until I found this!

    Would your installation experts recommend installing the loose lay vinyl OVER the parquet floor? (It’s Bruce K Block tiles, if that helps.) As the floor has already been sanded, I believe it should be pretty level. We can work with our doors to get the requisite 4mm of extra clearance. Is there any other reason it wouldn’t be a good idea to do this? Anything else we should know about or be wary of? Will the fiberglass nonslip underlay eventually ruin the varnish on the parquet tiles?

    Thanks for any feedback you may have! I owe it to your blog for educating me about this product!

    • David says:

      Hi, Michelle,

      I checked with our installation expert. Here’s what he says:

      1. Is the presence of bevels a deal-breaker for Loose Lay Vinyl Plank?
      He says that if the bevel depth exceeds 1/8” then the vinyl plank would not work unless you have the bevels filled in so that the floor becomes smooth, flat and level.

      2. Will the fiberglass nonslip underlay eventually ruin the varnish on her parquet tiles?
      Yes it will. He says that the polyurethane would be damaged once any new floor is laid over it, and I would add that since the bottom of the loose lay is designed to grip while you walk over it, that this is even more likely with Loose Lay Vinyl Plank. If you put this down and then later removed it, you would want to recoat the hardwood flooring underneath.

      3. Is there anything else she should know about?
      He says that a smooth, flat, and level subfloor is key, and added nothing else as a concern.

      4. If the bevels do kill the loose lay option, would she be fine with a click-together vinyl plank?
      That was an extra from me, and he says that the same install specs apply to both products, so if your floor is ready for click-together, it’s just as prepared for loose lay which you’ve already gotten excited about.

      I hope we’ve helped, Michelle! If the bevels are shallow you should be good, and if not I think you could find a leveling compound at any home store. Just be sure to check with a sales person there about how you would be using it so they can get you to the right product for your floor. – David (and Shawn with the really helpful stuff)

    • Neil Meyer says:

      I have purchased the gravity floor loose lay and am wondering if I can install that over my existing floor which is a floating engineered hardwood? It is in very good condition and smooth but am concerned with expansion of the hardwood. What is your recommendation? Thanks for your reply!

      • Meredith says:

        Hi Neil, yes, you can! Expansion shouldn’t pose an issue. The main things to worry about with your hardwood have to do with smoothness and giving the vinyl as level of a subfloor as possible. If your hardwood is hand-scraped, we don’t recommend installing directly over it.

        Your outer planks must fit snugly against the wall or any fixed items like cabinets. You can use vinyl take to help make sure they stick, as we don’t recommend gluing the planks directly to an engineered hardwood subfloor. Hopefully this helps, please ask if you’ve got any other questions!

  8. Mary says:

    I was wondering if this flooring can be put over ceramic tile in a
    basement. Would the grout joints need to be filled in somehow prior to installation?

    • David says:

      Hi, Mary,

      Loose Lay has the same requirements of hard surface flooring when it comes to going over other floors, namely that they have to be good and flat. I know that’s not terribly specific, but the specifics would be listed in your specific product’s instructions. Right now the Loose Lay products we carry specify no more than 1/8″ variance over any 10 foot area. This would include your grout areas – if they go deeper, you would need a leveling compound. To be honest it couldn’t hurt regardless, but you definitely need it if the grout, any other chips or notches, or any sloping goes more than 1/8″ This would be true of any plank floor that can also otherwise go over ceramic – which this can do.

      – David

  9. Wayne Welch says:

    Very interesting. When you say “waterproof”, I am guessing that the product itself will not absorb water or be damaged by water, but the butting against each plank seam doesn’t seek possible to be imperveous to water, seeping between the seams.

    But, if water gets under it, it would be simple to then pull it up, dry it out, and then reinstall.

    Let me know aobut delivery to area cfode 31406, Savannah GA and cost of the product.

    Also, the thickness, I am guessing will provide great sount deadening qualaities, very good for 2 nd floor in apartment building.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Am intereted in darker tones that are shown.

    Thanks, Wayne

  10. Janus Rossing says:

    Is this floor available in the Europe?

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Janus, we don’t ship to Europe but depending on your location you may very well be able to find a similar product that suits your needs. I would try searching by key words, “loose lay,” “vinyl,” things like that. Hope that helps!

  11. Sherri says:

    Can loose lay vinyl plank be laid over existing laminate click-together flooring? there are a few places that will have to be sanded or filled due to water damage but it is generally smooth, tight and flat.

    • Meredith says:

      Hi, Sherri. One floating floor cannot be put over another floating floor. When installing a new floor you want the most stable subfloor possible, and so using a floating floor like click laminate as a base is not advisable since both floors can shift in different directions. Laminate should not be sanded either; unlike hardwood it cannot be repaired in that way. On the plus side, click together laminate is easy to remove. If you’re looking for a floor that’s warm, quiet, and waterproof, might I suggest INNOcore WPC options? They’re essentially the love child of vinyl and laminate, with all the benefits of both.

      • Sherri says:

        To be clear, i wasn’t looking to sand the laminate to “Repair” it but rather to make it smooth where it has some water damage before installing other flooring on top. i didn’t think it would be advisable to lay LVT over laminate but figured it was worth a shot to ask. Removing the floor is easy, disposing of it when you live in a city is not!

        Thanks for the idea. I have a few samples of different luxury vinyl plank, i’ll check out the INNOcore!

        • David says:

          I appreciate your disposal issues. Want a tip? I don’t know where you’re living, but maybe look for someone like a Habitat For Humanity, who build homes for the needy. They probably accept donations, likely will pick the flooring up from you, and being in the industry, probably know exactly how and where to properly dispose of anything they don’t use. It’s just a thought. Whether to save you hassle or help out a neighbor, it seems like it could be beneficial.

      • Sherri says:

        Followup question: what are the benefits of INNOcore over the loose lay vinyl plank or Supreme Elite Click Gold Heavy Traffic LVT (swiss teak is currently the leader in the race to be my next floor)?

        • David says:

          Where they match up is in the material being 100% waterproof, and the surface being a vinyl. The biggest benefit the INNOcore brings over the vinyls is in its thickness. The standard vinyls are dense, therefore also comparatively thin, usually 4-5mm. The down side is one of insulation. We generally don’t recommend padding for the click together vinyl plank floors, and if one insists we will only sell a 1mm pad. Any more than that and the planks might unclick as you walk about. The loose lay needs to be placed directly on the subfloor, so padding is essentially verboten. INNOcore can have padding, and in fact ours come with a cork padding already attached, one of the best kinds you can get anyway. The layering of the product and the extra thickness, 8mm for INNOcore, lead to a much warmer floor underfoot.

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