Luxury vinyl was originally introduced in the 1930's as a flooring solution intended to stand up to the abuse of areas of high-traffic activity; where there was likely to be high humidity; or even the expectation of standing water.
Back then, though it was an effective and durable solution for those problems, it really lacked the aesthetic appeal required for consideration as a viable flooring option outside of those particular applications. For many years it was considered to be a sort of consolation prize for homeowners who couldn't afford the higher price tag of its natural counterparts.
However, with recent advances in digital printing and imaging technologies, luxury vinyl has experienced a renaissance of popularity, due to the fact that manufacturers are now able to produce strikingly crisp and realistic recreations of a number of natural flooring options, such as stone, wood, and ceramic or porcelain, tile while still maintaining the famous affordability of luxury vinyl when compared to its counterparts.
Nowadays, luxury vinyl is able to recreate the look of these highly desirable natural materials so well that even a trained eye can be easily fooled.