One of the biggest advances in modern flooring has been the introduction of rigid luxury vinyl planks and tiles. As the name implies, rigid vinyl is more dense than traditional luxury vinyl, which gives it a higher degree of dimensional stability for floating floor installation over uneven surfaces. This rigidity also makes for smoother alignment and, together with secure click-to-lock connecting mechanisms, easier installation than gluing down tradition luxury vinyl.
Rigid luxury vinyl has opened up new possibilities for trade professionals and homeowners alike with its exceptional durability and good affordability compared to other flooring types. On the surface, this rigid vinyl flooring offers beautifully detailed wood and stone looks that rival the real thing. However, not all of this flooring is the same at its core.
Hardcore Distinctions: WPC vs. SPC
There are two primary types of cores used to create rigid vinyl flooring. And the different way they’re constructed gives each one its own unique benefits which make it better suited than the other for particular applications.
One is WPC, or wood plastic composite. In its simplest terms, WPC is a combination of wood flour (very fine sawdust) or wood-like materials, fiber, a thermoplastic resin and a foaming agent. The resulting core is relatively thick, due to the foaming agent, and yields a rigid vinyl plank or tile with good sound absorption qualities, more resilience or give underfoot for better comfort when standing on it for long periods, and more warmth.
The other is SPC, which is stone plastic composite. It features a high percentage of limestone (calcium carbonate) dust with polyvinyl chloride and plasticizers. This produces a thin, dense core that is hard with little resilience, which makes it highly resistant to dents, but not as comfortable to stand on. It is also unaffected by extreme variations in temperature, although it does conduct cold easily.
Core Considerations: A Decision Guide
One of the key points in evaluating which type of core to select for different applications is to separate what traits are common and those that are different across the board with rigid vinyl regardless of core choice.
Waterproof. Both WPC and SPC cores are considered waterproof in handling everyday spills and moisture, making them ideal for rooms where moisture looms such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. Just note that neither is designed to be submerged in water.
Thickness. WPC floors, with their added fillers, is usually the thicker product. It tends to be five to eight millimeters thick, while SPC floors fall between three and a half to seven millimeters.
Durability. The toughness of the rigid vinyl’s wear layer determines its resistance to scratches and scuffs. In terms of stability and resistance to dents from heavy furniture or equipment, an SPC core has an edge, especially in commercial environments in applications where the flooring will be exposed to a lot of direct sunlight and/or extreme temperatures. However, rigid vinyl with a WPC core is more than durable enough for most residential uses.
Comfort. With its sound absorbing qualities, warmth and comfort underfoot (especially in spaces where people often stand for extended periods, such as the kitchen), the advantage goes to a WPC core.
Beauty. The printed layers’ realism and variety of elemental looks made possible by today’s advanced imaging and embossing technologies help create absolutely stunning floors, regardless of the core used.
Core Solution: Talk To ProSource
Whether you’re a trade pro or a homeowner, talk to your ProSource Wholesale® team today for more details and recommendations on the best rigid vinyl core solution to meet your specific project needs.
Luxury Vinyl Floors, Whether They Have An SPC or WPC Core, Offer Style and Performance in Entryways | Photo by USFloors
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