On the surface, SPC, Vinyl and Laminate floors all look similar but they are very different. I hope this article gives you clear information to not only differentiate these products from each other but also to make a sound decision about the product to get the more secure and safe installation of the flooring.
Laminate flooring is manufactured from wood and consist of a melamine surface. These floorings are well-established in the market for the last few years. But there are few variables that you need to remember when you consider a laminate floor. Laminate flooring contracts and expands because they are susceptible to water.
Laminate produce a click sound, however, there are things that you can do in installation to negate the sound. Your soft furnishings within your install space absorb the reflective sound. Also, the underlay plays a crucial role and becomes important in producing sounds as the floor is independent of the substrate and it acts as a total floating floor.
So any lumps and bumps that create little hollows underneath the floor and then the density of the underlay and the transfers and bounces produce sound around the room.
Laminates are easier and simple to install. Obviously, it’s a floating floor. You put your underlay down, click the planks together, which create a beautiful end result. It’s a lot easier to do than going through the whole glue down methodology.
Let’s talk about vinyl flooring:
Originally vinyl started in the market in slightly thicker 4 to 6 millimeters. They have several joint mechanisms and the square edges where they are just loose laid on the floor, pretty much like the laminate. Vinyl flooring is susceptible to heat. If you are living in a heated area, that is not climatically controlled and lake double glazing in your building then the heat is able to cause expansion. The heat causes expansion in the vinyl flooring.
However, the flooring industry evolved and the manufacturers made the product a bit skinnier and bond it to the substrate. But now the glue methodology is used for installing the vinyl flooring to hold this in place and to bear the heat. There is quite a high desire for glue methodology which is that actually bridges between the two.
There are various interpretations of what SPC stands for: S stands for solid or stone P stands for plastic or polymer, and C stands for composite or core. But ultimately, it is very similar to a vinyl component. It consists of a key ingredient of calcium carbonate on the inner core which is limestone. It is very dense and solid because of the minimal air component which makes the product very rigid.
This rigidity is essential because you can mill in your joint structures. You can click and install SPC flooring similarly to a laminate floor. It can bridge slight undulations in the substrate so you don’t behave to be as pedantic as you would with vinyl and traditional vinyl products. Because those little lumps and bumps or like the grout lines on tiles not going to be able to telegraph through.
SPC flooring is a bit expensive and because it’s so dense the sound and the feel of the product can be a little bit hard on the ear and on the foot. Generally, all products of SPC comes with a built-in underlay. There are various options available from cork, IXPE or various rubber components, however, it is a lovely product. In cleaning and maintenance, all of the mentioned products are much the same.
The SPC flooring is rigid which is why have much more resistant to heat and temperature, therefore, very suitable for the area with high temperature. It can be installed easily and quickly, and you don’t have to worry about the sun bearing down on the product.
What to look for when purchasing?
When you look at purchasing one of the products mentioned above, you need to consider how resistant it’s going to be in your conditions. Laminates flooring have been very resistant to the sunlight and have proven itself. There is a high UV resistance, colour retention, and high scratch resistance in Laminates flooring. That is why these sorts of floors become so popular.
When you start looking at vinyl, they change colour with direct sunlight. You have got to be more careful when you are considering vinyl. They can fade out. Direct sunlight for a couple of hours everyday cause problem in vinyl flooring. You will need to consider either UV protection on the windows, a pagoda, some kind of screening or closing of the blinds during the main sunny periods of the day. And that is a bit restrictive so think about it carefully on what’s going to be suitable for your install.
When you look at SPC flooring, although it’s using very similar technologies to the vinyl, it’s been much more resistant to UV discolouration or fading. Extra ceramic bead protection for scratching and the higher quality UV coatings is definitely something to consider when you are looking at your various options.
When you consider scratching for laminate, vinyl, SPC, then laminates have a melamine finish with an aluminium oxide coating. The laminates planks are rigid, and their surface is really good and intense.
When you start looking at the various vinyl’s though, they have been quite flexible. Vinyl’s flooring has a thin layer of clear plastic that has been sandwiched on the surface and then they have various UV polyurethane lacquers that are then coated on top. UV lacquers or scratch resistance lacquers, the vinyl do very well regards to scratch. But the Vinyl are not as strong as laminate. You may need carpet coasters when you moving furniture around.
You should know that not every product is bulletproof. Every product has various scales for scratch resistance and this definitely falls underneath laminates. Laminates are much stronger regarding scratch.
When we consider SPC, obviously it’s a more rigid product. They have got various ceramic bead or silica bead coating systems. They are highly scratch resistant but they are not bulletproof as well and not as good as the laminates.