Luxury Vinyl Tile; Floating vs. Glue Down

Luxury Vinyl Tile is the new buzzword in flooring.  We were super excited when we moved to our rustic beach cottage that the entire home (minus a small bathroom) had it.  Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is supposed to be super durable and water proof. I’ve heard so many great things about this new vinyl flooring I couldn’t wait to try it out. 

Luxury vinyl tile glue down

Since it’s been a few months since our move and all the “dust has settled,” I figured I would share all about my thoughts, frustrations, and recommendations about this new vinyl tile.

Keep reading to find out the good, bad and ugly when it comes to luxury vinyl plank flooring.

Disclosure: I’m not a flooring expert or tile installer, this is just a post about my experiences with glue down vs. floating LVT. This post shares my opinions and experiences only.  My purpose in this post is to share my opinions and experiences with glue down LVT in hopes that it might be of  help to some of you! Always discuss with a flooring professional before you make any final decisions. 

My thoughts and experiences with Luxury Vinyl Tile; glue down vs. floating

I would imagine that if you’re reading this that  you are either considering purchasing Luxury Vinyl Tile or you already own it. I didn’t know a ton about it before we moved into our new home. My mother and father in law had the floating type of luxury tile put down and  I LOVE their floor. It looks very similar to regular wood or laminate, but it’s a lot more durable and water proof.

Unlike my in laws floors, our LVT is the glue down type.

I figured our new vinyl planks would be very similar to theirs as far as looks and maintenance even though they were not installed the same way.  This is mostly true, but I want to share with you my thoughts and frustrations about the “glue down” LVT.

The first thing I noticed was the “glue remnants” that were not properly wiped up during the installation process.

Luxury Vinyl Tile; glue down vs floating
glue remnants from LVT
Luxury vinyl tile with glue remnants

This has been a real pain for me. We have over 2,200 square feet installed and there are glue remnants everywhere.

As far as removing the glue remnants, I have been very unsuccessful so far. I’ve mopped and applied pressure to the “glue remnant” spots and I’ve still been unable to remove them. I’ve taken a Clorox wipe and scrubbed the area, which most of the time works, but it’s very labor intensive and not recommended by the manufacturer.

Spoiler alert: I “stumbled” over a common household product that removes the old glue with little to NO effort on luxury vinyl tile.

How to Clean Floor Glue and Heavy Dirt off Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Since cleaning products didn’t work for me, I decided to use a glue remover called Goo Gone. I’ve shared an affiliate link below.

I’ve used this product and it worked great, but when you’re cleaning a very large area it’s rather labor intensive. You have to spray the area with the product, wipe up the residue and then use a cleaning product to remove the Goo Gone residue.

I’ve considered adding a little Goo Gone to a mop bucket so I could cover a larger area in a shorter span of time. Has anyone tried this? Leave me a comment below if you have any ideas on this.

Now that I’ve shared my frustrations with the glue residue from glue down luxury vinyl tile, let me share my second frustration.

Can you see what I’m talking about?

Those large gaps between the planks are an eye sore and a dust collector!

As the weather changes and the LVT shrinks and expands, the gaps do the same! Unfortunately our entire bedroom looks like this.

Could this have been prevented? According to the guy that laid the flooring, he installed it during the coldest winter months and as the weather changed so did the lengths of the planks.

Could he have waited until the weather warmed and potentially prevented this problem? Yes, but tell a flooring contractor to stop working during the coldest months and see what he says……LOL.

Long story short; Glue down LVT will always be subject to “gapping” from weather changes.

Now let’s discuss the floating Luxury Vinyl Tile.

As far as I can tell, if you install the floating type of LVT you will not have to worry about glue remnants or the “gapping” issue that I’ve dealt with.

My honest opinion so far is that I would choose the “loose lay” or floating Luxury vinyl flooring any day over the glue down in a residential environment.

I know there are many reasons why some people would choose the glue down over the floating floor (I have read that it’s better in a commercial setting?) and I would highly suggest discussing this with a flooring professional before making a decision on which to buy.

I hope my opinions on the subject of “LVT; glue down vs. floating” can shed some light on which to choose.

Just because I prefer the floating LVT, doesn’t mean it’s the best product in every situation.

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Luxury Vinyl Tile; glue down vs. floating

Thanks for letting me share my opinions and experiences with y’all.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy seeing more in my home tip category.


29 thoughts on “Luxury Vinyl Tile; Floating vs. Glue Down

  1. We got talked into vinyl tile and was told it lasts a “lifetime”! Wrong! Haven’t had it four years and it bubbled and peeled. Our tile was grouted like regular tile and the contractors did not clean this up well leaving clumps of grout on top of the’s like cement. Does not come off easily. I will probably never do vinyl anything ever again because of this experience.

    1. my experience hasn’t been quite as bad as yours, but I agree, I don’t think I will do the LVT glue down again. Maybe the floating or just a different type of floor all together. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Lindsey, I was wondering what kind of foundation or sub flooring that is under the LVT. This could make a difference in the shrinkage. Thanks for the info that you shared.

  3. I had mine put down, floating method. No problems-so far! Love it! Got an Eufy and Effie cleans very well. All I have to do is pick rugs up and let Effie get under them. Very pleased!!! Sorry you have had issues.

    1. I put down luxury vinyl planks in my kitchen and bathroom that are 8mm thick. The planks have there own padding attached to them. I used life proof brand from a big box store. They installed very
      easily. No complaints so far other than I wish they had more texture.

  4. Very helpful. Thanks for the details. My only question is what are the temperature variations where the Vinyl planking is installed. Is the variation greater than 50 degrees to 90 degrees farenheit?

      1. Sorry to hear that your contractor did this to you. Lamanite flooring needs to be acclimated to it’s “usual temprature” before installation. Poor business practices by shady home-builders who like to cut corners. 🙁 Sham on them.

  5. I’m not sure if you are comparing the locking vs the peel and stick or the locking vs adhesive. I’m just looking into this product and I see that these 3 terms (locking, peel and stick, adhesive) are how this product is described.

  6. Hello. I install glue down vinyl sheets and tiles professionally and I’m sorry to hear that you had a poor experience. To remove glue you may want to try a little mineral spirits on a rag (never pour directly on the floor), and be cautious using products like goo gone.. they may wear the finish. Problems with gapping may be due to using the wrong adhesive or installation techniques which is common when the installer isn’t really a vinyl professional. Vinyl flooring is a specialty which requires many years to learn.
    The notion that gapping/shrinking occurred because installation was in winter months is backwards.. if anything, this could produce expansion and peaking when heat is introduced.

    1. This is really good to know! The previous owner was told BY the flooring guy that the gapping was due to cold weather, so clearly he had no clue what he was talking about. You live and learn right? Thanks for the info. I’ll try the mineral spirits!

    2. Hi Brian so what kinda of glue and trowel should be used on glue down vinyl tiles, and what time of weather

  7. Floating vinyl floors were installed 1.5 years ago and looked great in basement and ground floor of my home. I chose this product because the manufacturer guarantees it is waterproof and good for basement installation. The sales staff at the flooring store assured that this product was the best thing in wet and damp environments. Things went well until we had very strong rains this Spring. We experienced flooding, about 1-2″ of water in the basment, and the second time a little water seeped into some of ground floor. The water was both below and above the floating floor, so I realized the promises that this is “waterproof” is ridiculous. Yes, water does nor penetrate into the product, but vinyl floor has to be removed in order to dry the water underneath! Mold grows under the floor because of standing water! The spaces between planks are tight, but water seeps through! Ceramic tile would have been colder, but with a strong glue down product it would have been a mere mop up or wet vac situation. Don’t believe the hype on floating vinyl for basements and low lying areas of the house.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. To have to lift up the tiles and dry the floor, then reinstall is a lot of work! Better use wood plank look ceramic tiles in the basement!

  8. Had the same problem with glue down. I used dryer sheets to rub the glue off. Time consuming but worked for me.

  9. I had the vinyl glued down put in my garage just this past May. I was told it had to be installed in warmer weather. I did have some glue bits that were on vinyl and I used a small brush my contractor left with the mineral spirits he left to. This mineral spirits is a cloudy liquid not the normal spirits. He contacted the supplier because he needed to know how to clean the grout off some tiles that got into the grooves of the vinyl. Yes he did grout some pieces and I was fine with it. It came out beautiful. Now I am doing my kitchen and utility room and am not sure which floor to go with now.

  10. We have an old home with an unlevel floorb and peaks and valleys in the subfloor. Level the floor would be a huge and skilled job and don’t want to even try. By pure logic, the click LVT needs a very flat floor, or you might have problems with movement of installed floor, unclicking, etc. In addition, any damage/stains will inevitably happen in middle of room…have fun unclicking the floor starting at a wall, or you might find a pro who can cut out a section and glue down replacement planks.

    So, for uneven/unflat floor, and for easy replacemnet of damaged planks, IMHO glue down LVT is often the wiser choice. If the job is done carefully, there will be no glue residue at the end of the job!!!!!!! That is simply installer laziness/carelessness!

    1. That’s very good to know! I’m partial to the click LVT because I think it looks more seamless and it doesn’t seem to “gap” like the glue down does. That being said, it makes sense why you couldn’t lay the click LVT on an uneven floor surface (like ours).

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