There are many terms that currently fly around the flooring world as options adapt and change. Terms such as LVT, LVP, SPC, WPC, and Floating Floor are incredibly common and are understood or are easily researched by today's informed buyer. The term "Wear Layer" is a term that is not as prominent on the internet, but that is incredibly important when selecting flooring for your home.
A plank's wear layer is a film that protects the plank from...you guessed it, wear and tear. The wear layer is a thin plastic film that is sealed on the top layer of the plank that acts as a barrier from foot traffic, moisture, dirt, grime, and any other material that would otherwise damage your plank. There are varying thicknesses of wear layer consisting of 6, 8, 12, 20, 22, and 30. A wear layer's thickness is incredibly easy to understand; the higher the number, the thicker and more durable the wear layer.
You may be asking yourself, "What is the best wear layer for LVP in my home?" or, "Which wear layer should I choose?". In a residential luxury vinyl plank application, you will commonly see an 8, 12, or 20 mil wear layer. I would never recommend choosing a product with a wear layer less than 8 unless you are only looking for a temporary 1-2 year flooring option as these thin wear layers will wear thin incredibly fast. In areas prone to high foot traffic such as a family room, kitchen, or hallway, I would most definitely recommend a 12 or 20 mil wear layer. This thickness of wear layer will protect against day in and day out foot traffic and will protect against the constant scratching and clawing of pets. We currently have many options of 12 mil and 20 mil waterproof plank options that are perfect for these applications.
In a commercial flooring application, you will most definitely see a 20, 22, and 30 mil wear layer due to the increased foot traffic on a day in, day out basis.
Although wear layer is not as commonly mentioned in flooring conversations, it is an incredibly important factor to consider when selecting the flooring for your home to last a lifetime. We made a short video to explain this in further detail if you are interested!