The word “waterproof” is one hot topic in the flooring world today. Along with that label comes the acronyms LVT (luxury vinyl tile), WPC (wood plastic composite), and SPC (stone polymer core). This leads customers to ask a lot of questions: What does that mean? What's it made of? Is it wood or plastic? Is it waterproof? Let's take some of the mystery out of these flooring categories.
Good: Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
LVT is a vinyl-based plank flooring that mimics the look of stone and wood and consists of several layers. The top layer consists of a finish that protects from light scratching and shoe scuffs. Next is a clear film that protects against rips and tears. Then comes the design layer--this is your stone or wood print. Under all that is a flexible PVC core and then the backing. The PVC core makes LVT waterproof, but there are a couple of drawbacks. Because of its thinner, flexible nature, LVT can often reveal any imperfections in a subfloor. LVT is also more susceptible to dents or damage from heavy objects like furniture. For installation, LVT can be glued down or “floated” with a click-together locking system over an existing hard surface floor or subfloor.
Better: Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC)
WPC is also a vinyl-based flooring that mimics stone and wood. Like vinyl, WPC consists of a protective wear layer, decorative layer, vinyl layer, and core. The core is made of a wood-plastic polymer, making it stronger and denser than LVT, and also waterproof. The stronger core found in WPC makes it more rigid and less susceptible to dents and damage. Another advantage of this type core is that it conforms less to a subfloor, making it softer under-foot while concealing subfloor imperfections. WPC is usually installed as a click-together locking system and can also easily be laid over an existing hard surface or subfloor.
Best: Stone Plastic Composite (SPC)
SPC definitely comes out on top for durability in the waterproof flooring category. The core is literally made of a stone (usually limestone) and plastic composite. This hardy core makes it highly impervious to dents and damage and hides imperfections in subfloors. SPC also consists of a wear layer, style layer, core, and some products come with an attached backing. Like its LVT and WPC cousins, SPC is waterproof and comes in a variety of wood and tile looks. It too can be installed with a click-together locking system over existing hard surfaces.
Whether you choose LVT, WPC, or SPC, they’re all easy to clean and relatively easy to install if you’re a do-it-yourselfer. They all come in a wide variety of realistic tile and wood looks to suit any décor. Our flooring professionals can help you decide which one is right for you.