One of the first things people will ask when shopping for luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and laminate is: “What are the mils on this product?” Mils is the thickness of the wear layer over the printed picture on each plank or tile to protect it. This term often is confusing to shoppers as they think it refers to the thickness. The plank thickness is measured in millimeters, whereas the wear layer is measured in mils.

The thickness of the wear layer will affect the pricing of the LVT or laminate. For reference on how much thickness on a wear layer you will need there are a few things to consider. Is the flooring area a high traffic area? How many people live in the home? Are there children and pets in the home? Is this flooring for commercial or residential use? Are there wheelchairs being used on the flooring regularly?

The rule of thumb is to look at the brand warranties. Usually a 12 mils wear layer has at least a 15 year warranty on a product for residential use. A product with a 20 mils wear layer is typically for commercial use, but can have up to a 30 year warranty in a residential home. When you understand what is required for durability in your home and where, it will help you to not “over buy” on your flooring for wear.