Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring, such as Amtico, has grown in popularity over the past years. Homeowners appreciate the high-quality, durability, and broad range of design options these tiles provide.
From solid colours to abstract patterns and realistic replicas of natural materials, they can suit a variety of interiors. However, all that glitters is not gold.
Common problems with Amtico flooring include scratches and scuffs, staining, and discolouration. You may also observe colour or pattern inconsistencies among tiles, especially if they are from different batches. Installation and maintenance can also be a problem, and the tiles may even suffer water damage.
So, before hitting the market, here are some Amtico flooring problems that you should know about.
1. Prone To Scratches And Scuffs
Amtico flooring is popular thanks to the variety of designs and materials it can imitate. However, it is still made of vinyl.
While this material is resilient, it is not as durable as hardwood or ceramic tile. One of the most common issues is a cosmetic one, and refers to scratches and scuffs.
Vinyl tiles are not as resistant to wear and tear as glazed tiles. Foot traffic, pets with sharp claws, and furniture can easily scratch or scuff the material.
To keep your Amtico floor in top shape for longer, you should avoid wearing shoes indoors, trim your pets’ nails, and use rubber or felt pads for chairs. Without these precautions, you can expect the surface of the Amtico tiles to become dull relatively fast.
2. Prone To Staining
Amtico flooring is advertised as immune to staining, due to the protective layer on each tile. However, it is more susceptible to this problem than expected.
Spills left unattended can potentially seep into the seams between the Amtico planks or tiles and soak into the inner layers. Water stains may dry out and leave no visible damage, but coffee, wine, and even juices may leave a permanent mark.
For this reason, you should clean out spills immediately, even if the material itself is waterproof.
Beyond spills, staining can also occur as a result of a chemical reaction. For instance, vinegar can dull the surface of the vinyl and leave stains. Bleach that is not properly diluted may also leave yellowish stains on your floors.
Mats with a rubber or latex back are also a problem. Rubber and latex can react with the plasticised vinyl, leading to yellowing or staining.
3. Colour And Pattern Inconsistencies
Like all vinyl flooring, Amtico uses digital printing to create the various styles and designs. This process is typically precise, but slight variations can occur.
Colour and pattern inconsistencies can also occur during the manufacturing process. For instance, there could be slight shade differences between the tiles in various batches. The patterns may also differ between one batch and another.
While these inconsistencies happen in most flooring types, they can be disturbing if you have to use tiles from different batches or if you have to patch a damage and don’t have any tiles left from the original batch.
4. Prone To Discolouration
Another common problem with Amtico flooring is the risk of discolouration. Prolonged sun exposure is the main culprit here, but not the only one.
Damage, such as discolouration, fading, and staining, can occur due to UV exposure or excessive heat (that can happen when light that passes through a window hits your vinyl floors). In coloured tiles, you may notice the hues fading away in exposed spots.
In white or light coloured floors, the tiles may develop yellow spots that are difficult – if not impossible – to treat. Bleaching might get rid of these spots, but remember that concentrated bleach solutions can damage the floors.
Discolouration can also happen due to exposure to hot appliances or space heaters. For instance, you may find faded spots under a hot water radiator or around an oven installed in a bottom kitchen unit.
5. Installation Issues
Like all vinyl flooring, Amtico is perceived as easy to install. However, this is not a DIY-friendly floor type. From proper subfloor preparation to correct adhesive application, all steps must be executed flawlessly to ensure a quality result.
For this reason, Amtico flooring is almost always installed professionally. This drives up the costs, that aren’t all that affordable to begin with – this floor can set you back around £57 per square metre.
If you do want to give DIY installation a try, some of the most common issues you might face include:
- Improper acclimation: Like many types of flooring, Amtico needs to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity levels before installation. If this step is skipped, the flooring can expand or contract after installation, leading to gaps, buckling, or other issues.
- Cutting errors: Cutting the tiles or planks incorrectly can lead to gaps or an improper fit. This not only affects the appearance but can also compromise the integrity of the installation.
- Incorrect layout: If the tiles or planks are not laid out correctly, it can lead to pattern inconsistencies or an unappealing appearance. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for layout and pattern selection.
- Not allowing enough time for the adhesive to set: After installation, it’s important to allow enough time for the adhesive to set before walking on the floor or placing heavy furniture on it. Failure to do so can lead to shifting, lifting, or adhesive failure.
- Mismatched batches: As with most flooring, there can be slight variations in colour and pattern between different manufacturing batches of Amtico flooring. Mixing tiles or planks from different batches can lead to noticeable inconsistencies.
6. Prone To Water Damage
Amtico is a vinyl floor brand, and vinyl is a waterproof material. However, this doesn’t mean that your floor is immune to water damage.
On the contrary. Water can seep under the tiles through improperly sealed seams. However, the unbreathable material doesn’t let moisture dry once it seeps through, which could damage the adhesive or the subfloor.
In the first instance, the tiles might pop out, and you’ll have to fix the gaps. In the latter, your subfloors may rot or develop mould and mildew.
Likewise, moisture coming up from the subfloors can also cause problems. Typically, subfloor moisture leads to adhesive failure.
7. Repairing Difficulties
As explained, Amtico flooring is difficult to install. In the same way, it is difficult to repair.
One of the major problems is the construction of the flooring, which is made of glued down tiles or planks. Removing individual tiles or planks without damaging the surrounding pieces is nearly impossible.
Over time, the colour and pattern of your Amtico flooring may fade slightly due to wear and tear or sunlight exposure. If you need to replace a damaged tile or plank, the new piece may be much brighter than the surrounding pieces.
When removing a tile or plank, adhesive residues may also make it hard to fit the new tile or plank in the old spot.
Moreover, pattern disruption and other inconsistencies may occur if you’re using a different batch.
8. Poor Comfort
While good looking, Amtico flooring is not the most comfortable of them all.
The main disadvantage is the hard surface that doesn’t offer the same softness or cushioning that you’d find in carpeting.
The comfort of Amtico flooring can also be influenced by the state of the subfloor. If the subfloor is not perfectly level and smooth, this can be felt when walking on the floor, leading to an uneven or harder feel.
Insulation is also poorer compared to other materials, such as carpeting or hardwood flooring. Moreover, the floor doesn’t absorb sounds as well as softer materials, which could affect the overall comfort of the house.
Amtico flooring offers a range of benefits such as versatility in design, durability, and water-resistance, but it’s important to be aware of the potential issues that can arise.
Problems such as susceptibility to scratches and scuffs, potential staining, discolouration, pattern inconsistencies, and issues related to water damage or incorrect installation could counteract all of this flooring’s benefits.
However, many of these issues can be mitigated with proper care, maintenance, and installation techniques.