Wear Layers: What they are and why they are important.

Living in the upper Midwest we often times ‘layer up’ in the winter. Meaning, we put on a t-shirt, a long-sleeve other that, and possibly even a light jacket to stay warm. Hard surface flooring is very similar to this concept. Not to keep the flooring warm, but to protect the flooring from all the feet, paws, knees, and hands that walk, crawl, slide, and run across it every day.    

WEAR LAYERS is what we refer to this as.  And they are almost invisible to the eye when looking at your flooring from the top down. A wear layer is easier to see if you have a cut piece of your laminate, LVP/LVT, or WPC/SPC flooring. You can take that piece and look at it from the side and see the layers that make it what it truly is. And on top, you can see the near invisible wear layer.

Why is a wear layer important? This is what protects your floor from you and others wearing it out. If our floors did not have wear layers, you would wear your floor out REALLY fast. The wear layer protects your floor from becoming worn out.

Now, with LVP/LVT types of flooring we use the thickness of the wear layer to validate the type of application for it and how long the warranty is good for. So, you hear things like 6 MIL, 12 MIL, 20 MIL, and so on. What they mean by MIL is how thick it is. It doesn’t exactly match up to Millimeters but think of MIL is a layer. So, 6 MIL’s has 6 coats of the wear layer applied. 12 MIL has 12 coats, 20 MIL has 20 coats, etc. The more MIL’s a product has the stronger the wear layer is. So, a 6 or 12 MIL product will work for your home, but not for a commercial setting. A 20 MIL product will work for your home, AND work for a commercial setting. The higher the MIL’s the higher the warranty in years, and vice versa.

90% of the floors stocked in our stores will be 20 MIL products. The other 10% will more than likely be 12 MIL products. We try not to go lower than 12 MIL wear layer products because we find that most homeowners value the 12 and 20 MIL wear layer products more than the lower ones. At the big box stores (like Home Depot and Lowe’s) you will find primarily 6 MIL wear layer products and lower. This is how they can get the price down so low on LVT/LVP products. The thinner the wear layer, the cheaper the price. However, as you go lower in wear layer you sacrifice longevity of your floor. That is why we prefer to stock higher wear layer products. We believe our customers will be happier in the long run with a floor that will last longer at a value price point.

Let us know your thoughts on wear layers and what you value more, price or longevity?

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