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Evolution of wood flooring

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Evolution of wood flooring

Before we dive in, it’s helpful to look at the brief history of wood flooring and the drivers behind the innovation in materials. Real hardwood flooring is the real deal and still very popular. It can be easily sanded down and refinished, giving it a long life span. However, it is costly to purchase, install and maintain, requiring a certain level of humidity to prevent cracking. The demands on wood as a natural resource are also very high.

The industry begged for a lower maintenance, cheaper version of solid hardwood floors so engineered hardwood was born. This solution helped with lowering maintenance and care for the floors but was still fairly expensive for consumers.

Then came laminate floors – a wood particle blend with image layer on top to mimic the look of hardwood. As high definition prints and embossing techniques continue to improve the look of laminate, the biggest problem is its tendency to swell with moisture.

Porcelain tile caught onto this desire for wood-looking floors so there has been an increasing trend in wood-like tile. Tile is great because it’s very durable and water resistant but is cold to the touch and the rock hard surface can be tough on the feet. Tile also has a more complex installation requiring mortar and grout.

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) was the next big thing. LVT is vinyl constructed into planks to mimic a wood-looking floor and is waterproof, which solves the problem with laminate. It is cheaper to install with both floating floor click-system or glue down options but can shrink or buckle with cold and heat.

This leads us to the latest innovation in wood-like flooring – SPC.

SPC flooring, which stands for Stone Plastic Composite, is the latest innovative material in the flooring world. It is a premium type of LVT that is 100% waterproof and a much more stable material than traditional LVT.

The core of SPC multi-layered floor planks is created from a stone powder and pvc plastic combination that produces an incredibly durable dent-resistant material that doesn’t expand and contract with environmental changes.

One of the biggest advantages of SPC is that it is commonly installed with a click style system that is significantly faster to install than traditional tiles – making it a DIY homeowner favourite. No glue or nails are required to install, simply cut to size and click in place. Although it lacks some durability compared to traditional tiles, the speed of install drives down the labour cost so significantly that it makes a great flooring option.

While it ranges depending on the manufacturer, SPC planks are generally made up of the following layers:

  1. UV layer – Ensures stain-resistance, waterproof performance and prevents fading.

  2. Wear layer – Restores the authentic colour and embossing, protecting it from abrasion.

  3. Decorative layer – This is the printed wood-looking pattern.

  4. SPC Core – Durable rigid core of plank that doesn’t expand and contract with shifts in temperature or humidity

  5. Bottom layer – May be cork or foam backing material that gives some cushioning for a more comfortable underfooting.

Pros and Cons of SPC flooring

Pros:

  • 100% Waterproof

  • Low installation cost – cheap to do yourself or save significantly on labour and materials for a professional install. Tile usually costs between $5-10/sq ft to get professionally installed where SPC is $1.50-2/sq ft.

  • Easy installation – click system is easy to do with minimal tools, wait time and effort

  • Looks great – there are endless options of patterns, colours and grains to get the precise look and shade you want

  • Some are radiant heating compatible

  • Environmentally-friendly – avoiding use of real wood protects the earth’s natural resources and it can be recycled

  • Safe, better air quality – it is free from dangerous chemicals typically found in flooring such as formaldehyde , glues, benzene and phthalates

  • Some sound proofing – The multi-layered composition of materials provide some natural sound-proofing

  • Warranty – SPC generally comes with great manufacture warranties, where the length of warranty generally increases with the thickness of the wear layer and of the core of the planks

Cons:

  • Not super scratch resistant. While the core is highly durable, the wear layer on top can show noticeable scratches with excessive use. It’s very suitable for regular use in a residential home and light commercial use but is not recommended for high traffic commercial spaces.

  • Thinner material doesn’t have as much cushioning underfoot, compared to a hardwood or laminate.

  • Needs to be applied to a flat floor. The thicker the plank, the more forgiving on uneven surfaces.

  • Cannot be installed in outdoor spaces.

  • Can quickly increase in price as you add the bells and whistles like going with a thicker layer, more desirable print, extra UV resistance etc.

  • Not fade resistant – if you’re putting SPC in a spot that has a lot of natural light, it can fade over time. We don’t recommend it for sunrooms.

  • It’s not wood – ultimately these hardwood alternatives will never match the value of real solid wood so the resell for your home will be lower with SPC than true hardwood floors.

SPC WPC Flooring: What They Are, Pros/Cons Best Brands

Interested in SPC or WPC flooring? Comparing the pros and cons of WPC vs. SPC for your home? Trying to find the best WPC and SPC flooring brands?

Whatever the reasons you’re here, you’ve come to the right place!

WPC is some of the best vinyl flooring around. It’s comfortable, robust, and relatively inexpensive—at least compared to the many types of flooring it can mimic (particularly hardwood). SPC is just as fantastic, but for slightly different reasons.

But: what is WPC vinyl flooring, exactly? Is it a good fake wood flooring option? Is it a brand of flooring? Is it a type of flooring? And why is it always compared to SPC flooring?

Have no worries! In this article, we’re going to answer all of your WPC and SPC flooring questions.

We’ll explain what WPC flooring is, how it compares to SPC, and show you why so many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands on the market are SPC and WPC flooring.

Then, we’ll examine some common SPC and WPC flooring reviews, and share our list of notable SPC and WPC vinyl flooring brands. By the end, you’ll know why these types of flooring are so popular in the world of vinyl plank!

WPC flooring stands for wood-polymer composite or wood-plastic composite (the terms are interchangeable). Basically, WPC is a type of luxury vinyl plank flooring.

Again: WPC isn’t a distinct flooring category like hardwood or tile. Rather, it refers to a specific kind of LVT or LVP core. We’ll go into more detail on that below. But in the meanwhile, that brings up another question:

What is Luxury Vinyl (LVT and LVP) Flooring?

Luxury vinyl is a type of PVC flooring (aka vinyl). It’s waterproof, relatively inexpensive, and very durable. It’s made primarily of plastic—or PVC, to be more accurate.

Luxury vinyl is often designed to mimic the look and feel of hardwood planks. This is generally called LVP (or luxury vinyl plank).

However, it can also mimic the look and feel of tile. This is called LVT (or luxury vinyl tile).

Still with us? Great!

Most often, luxury vinyl (LVP and LVT) products are made up of 3 distinct layers:

  • core layer that provides a foundation for the rest of the floor. This layer can be rigid or flexible, depending on the product.

  • design layer that mimics the look and texture of wood or tile.

  • wear layer that protects the floor from fading, scratches, dents, and so on.

Again, LVP and LVT are essentially the same thing. They’re both luxury vinyl products that can come with a rigid or flexible core.

The only difference is that LVP comes in planks, while LVT comes in tiles!

To make things even more confusing, though, many people call all luxury vinyl products “LVT”. This is not an accurate descriptor, but it is a common one.

LVT vs Laminate Flooring

Here, we discuss the key differences between luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and laminate flooring, this will help you decide which is best for your home!

At first, they can both seem pretty similar but below the surface there are actually a fair few differences between them.

What is laminate flooring made of?

Laminate is made from High-Density Fibre boards - tiny pieces of recycled wood pulp pressed together under extremely high pressure. This is a very environmentally friendly method of production which makes laminate practical and affordable.

What is LVT made of?

LVT is made from PVC-based materials, which makes it incredibly tough. Because of this, LVT often has longer warranties and is generally quieter and warmer underfoot when compared to laminate floors.

Which is waterproof?

Whilst there are ranges of laminate floors which are guaranteed waterproof including these Quick-Step waterproof laminates, all other laminate boards can be damaged from water sitting on them for prolonged periods of time so it's best to mop up spills as quickly as possible.

Every LVT range is made from PVC which is 100% waterproof - it's why they're so popular in bathrooms. This also gives you more freedom over design choice.

Durability

LVT and laminate flooring are both extremely durable. Both floors are brilliant at resisting scratches thanks to the tough wear layer that each board/tile is coated with. This means both floors are perfect for areas with high traffic.

The difference between the two is that it is possible to completely recoat a LVT floor with a new wear layer, which isn't possible for laminate floors. However, in most cases, if you scratch or dent a small area of it's often possible to replace that tile or board.

Installing LVT vs laminate flooring

All laminate floors are joined using a built-in locking mechanism and laid over an underlay (known as a floating floor system) with no need for glue or nails. This makes installing laminate floors a potential DIY job. Vinyl floors, meanwhile, are mostly glued down, which is a more involved process that needs a lot more skill - therefore we recommend a professional fitter for LVT.

Room suitability

All laminate floors are joined using a built-in locking mechanism and laid over an underlay (known as a floating floor system) with no need for glue or nails. This makes installing laminate floors a potential DIY job.

Vinyl floors, meanwhile, are mostly glued down, which is a more involved process that needs a lot more skill - therefore we recommend a professional fitter for LVT.

What Is The Most Durable Garage Floor Covering?

Whether you use your garage as a car parking area, laundry area, or home gym, you want a floor that sustains your uses. A durable garage floor is an asset because it saves costs on floor repairs. It also gives you the freedom to maximize garage usage. A floor that sustains high traffic, resists damage and offers easy cleaning is crucial. While most garage floor finishes are durable, not all may match your needs. With this list of garage floor coverings, you can find the perfect floor finish. The right floor covering transforms your boring garage into a modern, inviting space.

Epoxy is one of the most durable garage coatings. You can lay it on your concrete subfloor to liven up your garage. It provides unique colorful hues, metallic and natural stone finishes. Once dry, the epoxy forms a hardened and thick coating. This layer protects your floors from scratches, dents, chemical spills and cracks. No matter what you drop on your garage floor, the epoxy will resist damage.

The installation process may take 3-5 days or longer, depending on the floor size. You need to find alternative parking, but it's worth the wait. A professionally installed epoxy floor serves you for 5-10 years. However, it may last longer, depending on usage. For instance, commercial garage flooring wears faster than a private garage at home.

An epoxy floor expert prepares your floor before applying at least three coats. The preparation and layers provide the best durability. The primer is the first layer, followed by the base coat and, finally, the topcoat. As you can imagine, the finished coat is thick and hard enough to resist impact and chemicals. The base coat lets you play around with colors and designs. Lastly, the final coat gives you a smooth glossy finish.

Epoxy is also great for commercial garage flooring because it resists wear. You can park cars and walk over the years. With a non-slip additive, the floors resist slipping to prevent injuries. The thick coating also seals cracks and imperfections. You can enjoy a durable and smooth floor finish.

Garage Floor Tiles

Interlocking garage floor tiles are popular among garage owners. They offer versatility, durability and comfort. Snap-together tiles offer a variety of designs and colors and are easy to install. Unlike epoxy, tiles can take a day to finish. The choice boils down to the material- plastic or PVC.

Hard Plastic Tiles

Hard plastic tiles are the most popular, offering a broad range of colors and flexibility. The tiles are also anti-slip and durable. They're made from a thermoplastic polymer called polypropylene. Manufacturers also add rubber to make the floors anti-slip and comfortable. No more painful knees when working on your bike, vehicle or gym exercise.

The tiles come with a peg and loop system that snaps into place, which is excellent for durability. You can replace one tile if it's damaged and keep the rest of the tiles without incurring high costs. The high-impact polypropylene resists staining because nothing sticks. You can clean up quickly without losing any of the material's strength. You can pour oil, grease, chemicals, and water on the tile, and it retains its firmness.

With high-quality tiles, you can park your cars, bikes and use equipment as you deem fit. The tiles also resist breakdown by mold, mildew and UV rays. Warranties for hard plastic tiles vary depending on the quality. Offers can be between 5-15 years.

PVC Tiles

Polyvinylchloride (PVC) tiles are an alternative to hard plastic tiles. They're softer and are often called rubber garage flooring tiles. In terms of commercial garage flooring, it's not uncommon to see them in warehouses and lifts.

Most tiles have an interlocking jigsaw pattern that provides a watertight barrier. The material makes the tiles heavier than hard plastic tiles. Parking and working on these tiles is, therefore, possible. The tiles also absorb sound. You can use them to reduce noise in your garage.

Unfortunately, their appearance may change depending on the usage. Car tires leave a black or yellow stain on lighter-colored tiles. Generally, anything with a rubber sole such as a shoe, chair, desk or toolbox may leave marks on your tiles. The stains are impossible to remove, which means that you're limited to dark colors.

Lastly, it's crucial to avoid dragging sharp items and heavy objects on tiles. Welding on the tile also compromises durability.

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