Okay, so obviously rigid core vinyl doesn’t bend or flex like ordinary vinyl (it’s rigid), but what exactly does this mean? Easy! This premium PVC flooring is more durable and does a better job of imitating the feel of hard-surface floors like hardwood and stone (which aren’t flexible either).
Otherwise, rigid core flooring offers all the same benefits of flexible luxury vinyl, like waterproofing, a wide range of colors and styles, and the versatility to go just about anywhere in your home!
There Are 3 Types of Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring
There are 3 (common) ways to make vinyl flooring rigid.
The first way has a pure vinyl core that offers subtler improvements in texture and durability, while the other two have much more pronounced effects: WPC and SPC flooring.
What Is WPC Flooring?
WPC flooring uses a wood-polymer composite core, which offers a natural, almost bouncy feel that’s surprisingly comfortable for a hard-surface floor (it even gives the best cork flooring a run for its money).
What Is SPC Flooring?
SPC flooring, our featured topic today, has a stone-polymer composite core that dramatically improves the floor’s durability compared to ordinary luxury vinyl flooring. It’s less comfortable than WPC flooring, but this can be accounted for with a cushioned underlayment.
What Are the Layers of SPC Flooring?
SPC flooring is essentially layered the same way as other types of luxury vinyl flooring.
The mentioned SPC core layer offers heightened durability and serves as a foundation for the rest of the floor.
Additionally, the best SPC floors have high-quality wear layers that offer superior scratch and dent resistance. So, if you’re looking for the best flooring dogs, cats, or messy toddlers, SPC flooring fits the bill.
It’s Also Very Stable
Good SPC flooring brands make products that don’t react to temperature and humidity changes the way other types of floors do. If you live in an environment that’s notorious for high humidity, like Florida, SPC offers the look of the best hardwood floors, but in a more stable platform that won’t wither away in the excessive moisture.
Vinyl is completely non-reactive to water. In theory, it could be wet for days and survive without a blemish (it’s the seams you have to worry about). Even though SPC’s core is made of different materials, it’s still a type of luxury vinyl; therefore, it’s still waterproof vinyl flooring.
If you’ve been considering a wood-floor bathroom, SPC flooring offers a great way to achieve the look without the hassle of ensuring the floors are always dried immediately.
You can easily find high-end SPC flooring for as little as $4 per square foot, and the cost to install vinyl plank flooring (the core doesn’t really affect the cost) is a bit more digestible at $1.50–$6 per square foot.
As such, if you’re looking to save money, investing in floating vinyl plank flooring makes sense—and most SPC flooring brands make click-together products. A word of caution, though: we strongly recommend following your vinyl flooring manufacturer’s installation and instructions to a T, as you could violate the floor’s warranty otherwise.
It’s Slightly More Eco-Friendly Than 100-Percent PVC Flooring
SPC flooring isn’t purely made of PVC like ordinary luxury vinyl is, so it’s a little bit closer to being eco-friendly flooring. Admittedly, the difference probably isn’t significant, but it’s something.
For reference, VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) are harmful chemicals commonly found in flooring, and particularly those that are oil-based (like PVC) or wood-based. Fortunately, the industry has caught on to the negative effects of VOCs and low-VOC flooring is quickly becoming the norm.
The cons of SPC flooring aren’t as severe as ordinary vinyl plank disadvantages, but there are a few that are worth mentioning.
SPC Flooring Costs More Than Ordinary LVP
If you want the best flooring, don’t expect to find it in the bargain bin. Flooring is one of those things that you get what you pay for—and SPC isn’t much different.
Generally, SPC flooring runs at least $1 more per square foot than a brands’ ordinary LVP line. The good news is that this still places the cost of SPC flooring beneath the average cost to buy quality wood flooring.
It’s Not as Comfortable as Other Types of LVP
SPC flooring does sacrifice a bit of comfort in order to achieve its extreme hardiness. So if you’re looking for the comfiest bedroom flooring, you may want to look elsewhere.
However, it’s entirely possible to use a comfort-boosting underlayment with SPC flooring for the best of both worlds. Unsurprisingly, some of the best SPC flooring brands offer a pre-attached underlayment for this very reason.
SPC Flooring Still Isn’t Eco-Friendly
SPC flooring is partially made from stone powders (that are generally benign), but a significant amount of PVC is still used in its construction.
If SPC flooring is sounding like your deal, here are a few options carried by the best vinyl plank and tile flooring brands. Of course, you’ll notice that the number of SPC flooring brands is much smaller than the list of total vinyl plank brands.
Proximity Mills sells high-performance flooring for surprisingly reasonable prices. All of their luxury vinyl is equipped with an SPC core and comes in a wide array of wood looks, as well as a few stone looks.
In our Proximity Mills review, we said the floors aren’t the cheapest, fanciest, or easiest to find—but we’ve had a really hard time finding another brand that matches their cost-to-quality ratio. In other words, though Proximity Mills doesn’t necessarily excel at any one thing, they score very high across the board. Expect the same for its SPC flooring!
Our Newton flooring reviews point out that their SPC flooring is A) super durable, and B) protected by a polyurethane and aluminum oxide wear layer, which is virtually unheard of in a budget brand.
If you want runway-worthy floors that don’t sacrifice an ounce of quality, Doma is the brand for you.
The catalog of this top-tier SPC flooring brand is full of gorgeous—and in the best way, unique—designs. But don’t assume their products are flash without substance. Doma flooring is made with some of the best materials around, and their SPC floors are protected by thick, robust wear layers.
Best of all: you won’t find another brand in Doma’s price range that offers such a charming array of styles.
However, the high-end vinyl brand eventually caught on and their Advanced+ series of SPC flooring is actually pretty exceptional. Unfortunately, and as our COREtec flooring reviews point out, that “exceptional” quality comes with a seriously hefty price tag at around $10 per square foot—which is comparable to real hardwood.
Flooret is newer to the LVP scene, but their Modin SPC flooring enjoys great reviews.
Modin is unique in that the premier version combines a relatively thin SPC core with a massive,40-mils thick, pure-vinyl wear layer that’s topped with an aluminum oxide coating.
Mannington Adura Rigid
Mannington is one of the largest flooring companies in the world. Consequently, Mannington vinyl flooring is fairly popular and generally well reviewed. Their Adura Rigid line of SPC flooring is comparable to Proximity Mills’ vinyl plank in terms of both performance and price.
Raskin isn’t exactly a household name in the flooring industry, but their Acrylx SPC flooring is noteworthy for its imitation of various wood floor patterns (chevron, herringbone, etc.).
Montserrat is another obscure LVP brand but they sell a huge variety of SPC flooring. Finding reviews of their floors is fairly difficult though, so if you find a design that you like, you’ll have to take the company’s word on quality.
Shaw Floorté Pro
Shaw is one of the largest flooring companies in the world so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they have an SPC flooring line: Shaw Floorté Pro.
Taking a step back, Shaw vinyl plank flooring has an excellent reputation in general; however, it’s also known for being pretty expensive for LVP. Their SPC flooring is no different and while we love its quality, the pricing is steep.
SmartCore flooring is a Lowes exclusive, but generally regarded as a decent option. The Pro line features an SPC core and decent style and wear layer options. However, we tend to advise against big box store brands because their product selection is so limited compared to what local flooring stores carry.
Phenix Tempo & Tempo Stone
Phenix makes two lines of SPC flooring: Tempo and Tempo Stone. Their floors should feel pretty familiar because Phenix is actually owned by Mannington, which we mentioned above. In fact, Phenix floors offer nearly the same specs as their Mannington counterparts.
CoreLuxe is kind of in the same boat as SmartCore Pro in that it makes for decent SPC flooring, but there are better options out there. Additionally, LL Flooring, the company that makes CoreLuxe, has faced numerous lawsuits and complaints in the past for containing unsafe concentrations of VOCs.
As far as SPC flooring brands go, we might steer away from this one.
SPC Flooring FAQs
Before we finish up, let’s cover a few SPC flooring FAQs!
Is SPC Flooring Better Than LVP?
It depends. In terms of durability, SPC flooring is much more durable than ordinary LVP. However, that extra durability does come at the price of reduced comfort.
So: if you want flooring that can withstand one heck of a beating on a daily basis, SPC flooring is perfect. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that only needs to withstand light traffic, ordinary LVP may be a more cost effective solution.
In other words, the “better” choice really depends on your needs.
What Are the Differences Between WPC and SPC Flooring?
The only critical difference is the core construction. WPC flooring uses a wood-polymer composite core for enhanced comfort while SPC uses a stone-polymer composite core for enhanced durability.
How Is SPC Flooring Made?
Without getting too technical, most SPC flooring brands follow a similar manufacturing process.
Materials for the SPC core are mixed together then super-heated to A) eliminate any moisture in the mix, and B) ensure the stone powder and polymers are properly combined. This ensures even performance across the entirety of each plank or tile.
The design layer is applied (this can happen a number of ways) and then each plank or tile is cut to size and boxed up for shipping.
Most SPC flooring requires a vinyl flooring underlayment. Since this type of LVP is so hard, we recommend an underlayment that boosts comfort to balance the floor’s features.
How Much Does It Cost to Install SPC Flooring?
SPC flooring generally costs the same as ordinary LVP to install: $1.50–$6 per square foot.
Is SPC Flooring Cold?
SPC flooring can be a little cold underfoot, though we’d argue that it’s no worse than tile, stone, or concrete flooring. Some SPC flooring brands offer an insulation-boosting backing layer that helps to combat cold feet.
Reviews definitely change depending on the SPC flooring brand, but it’s probably safe to say that SPC flooring has “generally good” reviews. However, we can’t stress it enough that not all SPC flooring brands are the same.
So What Is SPC Flooring? It’s One of the Best Types of Flooring Available!
Again, what is SPC flooring?
Well, few types of flooring are as durable, and even fewer offer the same collection of benefits. It’s relatively affordable (at least compared to hardwood), waterproof, and super stable even when facing odd temperature or humidity changes. Plus, the best SPC flooring brands make superb-looking floors fit for any decor style.
Aside from its mediocre eco-friendliness, the only real downside to SPC flooring is that it isn’t as comfortable as ordinary luxury vinyl or WPC flooring. Of course, a nice underlayment can account for this to some degree.
So if you’re sold, what’s the next step? We’d suggest checking out your local, top-rated flooring stores for the best SPC flooring! Local stores have the best flooring ideas and actually employ experts (unlike the big box stores). You can trust that your local flooring stores will be able to show you a much wider selection of products and they can generally give you a better deal than your local Lowes or Home Depot.
On the other hand, if you’re not sure if SPC flooring is the right choice for you, the articles below have plenty more ideas to explore!
Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).
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