Rigid Core Vinyl Plank Flooring - has a core that delivers rigidity & strength and looks almost identical to its more expensive options like hardwood but without the warping, without the water damage, without the scratching - For less money & a lot less maintenance.
Most vinyl planks are available in "Click Lock" or "Glue Down". Click Lock contains an attached pad and can be installed over existing surfaces including concrete, tile, wood and vinyl with a simple tongue-and-groove click-together technique. Glue Down will not contain a pad and be attached to your sub-floor with adhesive.
There are 2 main categories of vinyl plank flooring:
(SPC) Stone-Plastic Composite: A vinyl flooring material that has a rigid core made from powdered limestone, polyvinyl chloride and stabilizers. It is dense, dimensionally stable, quiet and strong.
(WPC) Wood-Plastic Composite: A vinyl plank or vinyl tile flooring with a rigid core that's made from either recycled wood pulp and plastic or polymer composites that are expanded with air.
Look & Style
There is not much difference between SPC and WPC in terms of what designs each one offers. With today’s digital printing technologies, SPC and WPC tiles and planks that resemble wood, stone, ceramic, marble, and unique finishes are easy to produce both visually and texturally.
Aside from design options, recent advancements have been made regarding different formatting options. Both SPC and WPC flooring can be made in a variety of formats including wider or longer planks.
Durability & Stability
Similar to dryback luxury vinyl flooring (which is the traditional type of luxury vinyl that requires an adhesive to install), SPC and WPC flooring are comprised of multiple layers of backing that are fused together. However, unlike dryback flooring, both flooring options feature a rigid core and are a harder product all around.
Because SPC’s core layer is comprised of limestone, it has a higher density in comparison to WPC, though is thinner overall. This makes it more durable compared to WPC. Its high density offers better resistance from scratches or dents from heavy items or furniture being placed on top of it and makes it less susceptible to expansion in cases of extreme temperature change.
Rigid core products including WPC and SPC were originally created for commercial markets because of their durability. However, homeowners have started using rigid core as well because of its ease of installation, design options and durability.
Another highlight for both SPC and WPC, aside from their easy-to-install click locking system, is that they do not require extensive subfloor prep prior to installation. Though installing over a flat surface is always a good practice to be in, floor imperfections like cracks or divots are more easily hidden with SPC or WPC flooring due to their rigid core composition.
Recycled Vinyl VS 100% Virgin Vinyl
Before purchasing your vinyl floor consider whether your vinyl is made of pure virgin material, or if it consists of recycled materials. Recycled vinyl on the front end could mean your being value-conscious and would imply a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative; the truth is more complicated.
It’s important to understand what recycled actually means in regards to vinyl. The standards for vinyl recycling are not the same as for other recycled products.
Recycled vinyl is a mix of vinyl and any other materials that might have been combined with it as part of the previous production. Some waste that is often included in recycled vinyl are old tires, power lines, and even copper wires.
Recycled vinyl can have numerous negative effects; both on performance, and on your health and safety. When other materials are mixed with vinyl, many of it’s major advantages (durability, waterproofing, and stability) are compromised.
The issue of safety is of equal concern. Everything from lead to phthalates can be found in recycled vinyl, and over time as the wear-layer wears down these dangerous materials are released in a process known as gassing.
Gassing from recycled vinyl has been known to cause serious health conditions and some environments like healthcare won’t even accept products with recycled content because they don’t know exactly what’s in it. As the industry develops, the hope is for more rigorous standards around which waste materials are allowed.
Choosing a 100% virgin vinyl means there is no recycled vinyl content in the construction of the floor and it is Phthalate free, and free of heavy metal contaminants (Non-Toxic). This is very important to look for when buying vinyl floors.