Let’s talk more flooring. There are many options for your home, and one that continues to grow in popularity is luxury vinyl flooring. The abundance of options, styles and ease are a few of the reasons this flooring is gaining popularity. I talked with Derailed Commodity and Johnson Floor and Home Carpet One about what they are seeing in our community.

Luxury vinyl flooring or luxury vinyl tile offers ease of installation, less prep work, waterproofing ability and higher-end options that withstand a wide range of temperatures and high traffic. With so many options, it can fit into any design pattern. Derailed Commodity has seen a switch from selling about 65% carpet to now selling about 75% hard surface in area homes.

There are many ways to classify this flooring, but we are going to talk about three types of core or backing. There is WPC, or wood polymer core; SPC, or solid polymer core; and engineered stone core. WPC is for residential use and brings warmth and comfort underfoot but is less dent resistant. SPC is more rigid and has a higher dent resistance. Engineered stone core is almost dent proof and Johnson Floor & Home is seeing more stone core flooring being used in homes. The backing will also determine how much noise and “click” is heard from walking.

This flooring also has a wear layer. For your home, you want to look for a 20-mil wear layer. They can range from 4 mil to 40 mil, so 20 is a good place to start for your home. In higher traffic areas, the higher mil wear layer will obviously work better. Again, the higher wear layer you get, the more you should expect it to cost. However, the flooring will be more durable and will come with a longer warranty.

We can also look at the more aesthetic characteristics of flooring. Higher-quality LVF will have many faces and embossing to match the face. Your cheaper vinyl flooring will have one color, look or stain and will look like one giant piece over and over. It will also be a flat surface. You want to look for an embossed in register pattern on the pieces. This will mimic real hardwood or tile with grooves matching the grain or pattern.

Hardwood floors are still a great option. You will need to watch the humidity, scratching the floor, and who lives in the home — do you have any pets? LVF can be waterproof and is less susceptible to scratching. I’m not knocking hardwood floors — if you have it and love it, keep it! If you are looking for an alternative though, LVF is a good option.

Looking at a price point in LVF, it can range anywhere from $2.49 per square foot to $8 per square foot. The price will depend on the core, faces and wear layers to the flooring. Like everything, you get what you pay for. Nice, quality flooring can add value to your home. Do your research, visit our members, and enjoy your new floor!

Valerie Searcy is chief executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri.