Review of Coretec Plus | Waterproof luxury vinyl – Looks like hardwood and holds up to water

Coretec Plus Review - Waterproof engineered vinyl plank

What is Coretec Plus?

Coretec Plus Alabaster OakCoretec Plus is the perfect blend of form and function. It’s a high quality luxury vinyl that looks (and feels) real, and it’s designed to hold up in spaces that may have moisture (such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms).  Coretec looks like hardwood (the planks look like engineered hardwood…and look much more real than laminate)…in fact many of my customers don’t even realize they are looking at vinyl when they see the product – that’s how real it looks.  This is probably the most innovative flooring product of this decade.


Gold Coast Acacia Coretec PlusCoretec Plus comes in luxury vinyl planks that look like hardwood and luxury vinyl tile that looks like tile, natural stone and concrete.  Personally, I prefer the hardwood plan options as they are more stylish and look more real.  Here in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast, hardwood is strongly preferred over tile.




Coretec Plus Luxury vinyl gold coast acaciaThese high end vinyl planks (and tiles) are individual pieces with beveled edges and real texture and graining, so they look real (unlikely sheet vinyl or cheaper vinyls or laminate which has simulated graphics).  The planks are installed in a randomized way so they also look more like real hardwood.


Coretec Plus gives you a high end look and provide the perfect solution when you want a hardwood look, but don’t want to worry about moisture/water.  It’s a great product because you it solves many challenges at once so that homeowners don’t need to compromise.  My installers love it because it’s a great product for customers and it’s one that you can really stand behind.


clear lake oak coretec plusCoretec holds up to water and cleans up easily, so if you don’t need to worry about water issues in the kitchen (e.g. from moisture from dishwasher, spills while cooking, pet spills from water dishes).


Coretec Plus is made by US Floors, and they are a very reputable manufacturer.  They make Coretec Plus, Natural Cork, Natural Bamboo and some specialized high end oiled hardwood floors.  The product has a limited lifetime warranty and it’s GreenGuard certified.  They really stand behind their product.


How is Coretec Plus constructed?

coretec plus construction - 4 layersCoretec Plus is a rigid luxury vinyl constructed in 4 layers – 3 you can see and 1 you can’t.  The top layer you can see is the luxury vinyl.  It’s designed well from a color, graining and texture standpoint, so it looks and feels real.  On top of this, there is the clear wear layer (.5mm) which protects against excessive wear and makes it easier to clean.  The middle layer is recyled limestone, wood and bamboo dust and the bottom layer is an attached cork underlayment.



All 4 layers are waterproof (including the cork). 


The cork underlayment helps in a few different ways.  First, it adds a bit of cushioning.  So, the floor has a bit more give and is easier on your feet.  Also, it can help camouflage minor imperfections in the floor (note: it will not hide sloping or major unevenness…see below about that).  It also gives a tad of insulation due to the air pockets in the cork.  Cork is naturally antimicrobial so it’s resilient to mold/mildew.  And, the attached cork backing will also help with sound absorption.


How is Coretec Plus installed?

red rock hickory coretec plusCoretec Plus is floating floor, meaning that it clicks together (in the same way that a laminate is installed) and is secured at the edges of the room via the base molding/shoe molding.  You can read more about a floating floor here:  What is a floating floor?  Because it’s a floating floor (and does not need to be nailed or glued), it has more flexibility as to where it can be installed.


vinyl telegraphing subfloor belowIt can be installed directly on top of concrete, and if you have minor discrepancies in the floor, you don’t need to worry about floor prep and smoothing the area out.  This contrasts with a glue down vinyl which does require smoothing (usually via a couple of skim coats) as glue down vinyl will telegraph all the imperfections (i.e. you’ll see all the dimples and imperfections in the floor…see picture on the right).  Because Coretec Plus is rigid and thicker than glue down vinyl, it will hide the minor imperfections in the floor.  The attached cork underlayment helps with this as well.


Coretec Hudson Valley Oak waterproofWhile I would recommend professional installation, talented do-it-yourselfers could install Coretec, since it’s a floating clickable floor.  If you feel confident installing laminate, you could probably install this floor as well.  That being said, the tricky part with all floating floors are the edges.




Hudson Valley Oak Coretec plus vinyl clickable planksThis product can be installed below grade (i.e. in rooms that are below the ground such as basements), on grade (i.e. on ground level) as well as upper levels, so it’s a very flexible product. 


Because it’s a floated floor (see above), it can be installed in any direction.  It can be done in straight lay, or diagonal and it’s not dependent on your joist direction.  Generally, I recommend following the longest length of the room as that is more aesthetically pleasing and makes your space look larger.  You can change direction of the floor in different rooms, but usually, it looks better to just choose one direction and stick with it.


Other advantages of Coretec Plus


  • Unlike engineered hardwood or laminate, Coretec Plus does not need to be dropped off for acclimation, so this shortens the timeline
  • Coretec Plus can be installed on top of radiant heat
  • It can also be installed on top of most surfaces (including concrete, tile and hardwood) provided that the floor is even/relatively even.


Color range and styles for Coretec

Coretec Plus has a wide range of colors – they have light (Rocky Mountain Oak, dark (see Deep Smoked Oak), reds (see Gold Coast Acacia), as well as some grays/white washes (see Ivory Coast Oak, Boardwalk Oak, Blackstone Oak, Alabaster Oak, Hudson Valley Georgetown Oak).  The 7″ line has more white wash/grays.


US Floors COREtec Plus 5 Deep Smoked Oak (Sample) Vinyl Flooring


Why is Coretec Plus better than laminate?

  • looks like hardwood but it's waterproof CortecLooks much nicer and more real.  Planks are individual pieces (while most laminates are 8″ wide with a picture that simulates several pieces together.)
  • Coretec Plus is waterproof and laminate is not.  Further, laminate warps just with moisture (and once it’s warped it can’t be fixed.  Laminate also tends to delaminate when it gets wet just from cleaning.
  • Less noisy.
  • More durable
  • Doesn’t require acclimation (so you can install it faster)
  • Disadvantage:  It costs a little more than laminate (but well worth it and lasts way longer)


What are the advantages of Coretec over Engineered Wood?

  • More durable, holds up better to scratchesweathered concrete coretec luxury vinyl tile
  • Waterproof and moisture proof
  • Costs less
  • Less noisy
  • Doesn’t require acclimation (so you can install it faster)
  • Disadvantage:  It’s not real hardwood.


What are the advantages of Coretec over Tile?

  • Easier on feet
  • Warmer on feet
  • Costs less
  • Won’t crack
  • Easier to clean


What are the Coretec Sub-lines?

Coretec Plus

boardwalk oak coretec plusThis is the original product.  It comes in 5″ and 7″ wide planks that are 4 ft long.  It’s also available in tile options which are either 12″ x 24″ or 18.5″ x 24″ for a nice brick lay.  (Note: as you go wider in the planks, it’s more important that your sub-floor is more even…the wider planks will show the unevenness more.)

Coretec Plus XL

Coretec Plus XL is a newer and upgraded option.  This line has extra wide planks (9″ wide) and extra long (they are 6 ft long (rather than 4ft).  They also have some very nice wire brushed styles.  These planks do cost more.  (Again, be careful if your floor is very uneven with the wider planks).

Coretec Plus HD

Coretec Plus HD used registered embossing (which means the surface follows the graining of the wood) for a more realistic look and feel.  The planks are 7″ wide and 6 ft long (vs. the base line is only 4 ft long).  In addition, the planks are a bit thicker (they are 8.5mm thick vs. the rest of line is 8mm thick.  These planks also have 4 sided painted micro bevel edges for an even more realistic look.  These planks do cost more.  (Again, be careful if your floor is very uneven with the wider planks).

Coretec One

Coretec One is a less expensive version of Coretec.  It excludes the attached cork and in my opinion, the designs aren’t as nice and look a bit fake.  This is NOT a product that I would recommend.  The cork underlayment makes a big difference.  It costs a bit less, but if you use it, you should buy a separate underlayment…and that neutralizes the cost difference.


Why does Coretec Plus XL cost more?

Cortec Plus XL has wider planks (9″ vs the basic line is 5″ or 7″) and longer planks (6 ft long vs. 4 ft for the base line).  The designs are a bit more contemporary.  All that aside, I think the basic Coretec Plus line looks amazing and it’s not necessary to upgrade (note: warranty/durability are the same).  And, with the wider and longer planks, it’s super important that your sub-floor is flat/even as it will show more (see below related to floor prep/downsides).


Coretec moldings and trim

Coretec has matching moldings (reducers, t-molding, baby threshold, stair cap and stairnose).  Importantly, they also have matching quarter round (which really comes in handy if there are build in cabinets or paneled walls.  Note: most vinyl and look alike products don’t have matching quarter round and only 1 option for steps, so this is another plus for this product and gives it a more finished look.


Is Coretec Plus really waterproof?

coretec plus product reviewAccording to the manufacturer, it’s “100% waterproof,” so the floors can be installed in “wet areas and will never swell when exposed to water.”  Coretec is dimensionally stable and won’t expand or contract under normal conditions.


Please note that if you have a major floor or standing water, Coretec Plus (like ANY flooring) should be removed.  Standing water can do a lot of damage to your home when it’s sitting there and being trapped.  So, if you do have a major flood, I would recommend removing the Coretec Plus (carefully).  Then, let it fully dry out and then reinstall it.  (Virtually every other flooring would be destroyed, but Coretec Plus is resilient so it generally can be reinstalled.) 


The one exception we have seen to this is if you have a sewage issue.  If you have sewage, you want to remove the flooring…no matter what type it is (even tile needs to be removed).  I think this is obvious (and goes without saying), but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.  We did have a customer who had a sewage back up in their basement.  Half of their floor had to be removed, but the remainder was fine and then half of it was replaced.


What are the downsides and watch-outs for Coretec Plus?

coretec plus nantucket oakThe biggest downside (in my opinion) is that Coretec Plus doesn’t work well when your floors are very uneven.  Because it’s a floating floor (and clicks into each other), if your floor is rather uneven, the planks will depress/move a bit when you walk on them (in the same way that a laminate flooring or engineered hardwood floor would). 


If this doesn’t bother you, it’s not a problem.  If it does bother, then you would want to level out the floor before installing it (generally with self leveling mix and this does get expensive/adds extra costs).  Note:  If your floors are extremely uneven and you don’t invest in self leveling mix, the planks could snap apart.


mission oak coretec plus XLThe other minor downside is that the vinyl can scratch when you move heavy items (e.g. refrigerators) on top of it.  Now that happens for virtually every other flooring surface.  The thick wear layer gives it extra protection, but it’s good to avoid dragging sharp objects or very heavy items over these floors.  Also, it’s relatively simple to replace a piece of two if you need to later.


Do-it-Yourself Installation for Coretec Plus – Video

For do-it-yourselfers, check out this video from US Floors to see how to install Coretec Plus.  Soon, I will be adding links for the tools mentioned in the video.


DIY Tools mentioned in the video

If you click on the items below you can buy them Amazon. You can add them to your cart, even if you buy later.


How do you clean and maintain Coretec?

Coretec Plus is easy to clean and you should use a neutral pH cleaner.  The manufacturer recommends Bona stone, tile and laminate cleaner, and you buy that on Amazon. They also have a gallon refill bottle.




Overall Conclusion:

coretec plus review lux vinyl plank that's waterproofCoretec Plus is an innovative product that is durable and looks great.  It solves many issues and it’s a wonderful option for areas that may get wet and have minor moisture.  You know it’s a great product when your installers love it and recommend it.  We have installed Coretec Plus in many basements (including high end $1-$2 million dollar homes), kitchens and whole apartments.  We haven’t had any complaints about it from our customers (well except for the customer with the sewage issue – but that had nothing to do with us or the product.   I highly recommend it.


Where can you buy Coretec Plus?

You can buy Coretec Plus in most local flooring and carpet stores.  I don’t believe they are available in Home Depot or other big box stores, but that may change in the future.  You can now buy some of the items very cost effectively on Amazon and I’m sure they’ll be adding the other colors soon.  They also have samples you can order on Amazon (they only cost around $1).  You can also check out FlooringInc.   They are reasonably priced and have free shipping (which will help you for when you actually order them as shipping on flooring can get costly).


You may find these articles helpful:


Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors, whether they are light or dark



Buy me a coffeeDid you find my tips helpful? If so, feel free to buy me a coffee and support my blog.


If you’re looking for a good local contractor, check out Home Advisors. They’ll help you find a licensed and reputable contractor. You can read their reviews, too.



Coretec Plus Luxury vinyl planks Review – the marriage of hardwood and waterproof flooring

33 Response Comments

  • Becky  January 18, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Do you consider this brand better than other LVP lines?

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 24, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Yes, it is the original and seems to be higher quality in construction.

  • Kelly  January 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Hi – Is there a neutral colored vinyl wood you recommend? And I see you can put it over tile – do you have experience with this?

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 25, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Kelly – For Coretec Plus, I feel that most of the colors are neutral. If you like dark, I would go with Deep Smoked Oak. If you like light, I would go for Rocky Mountain Oak, if you want mid brown, dakota walnut. I’d avoid the red toned colors. I also think that gray is neutral, so you could try Boardwalk oak, or several in the 7″ range such as Alabaster oak, Blackstone oak or Hudson Valley oak. Or for very dark gray, Georetown oak.

      Yes, you can install this over tile and we have, but you want to make sure the tile is secure (not cracking/breaking) and it’s pretty even (or else the floor will bounce).

  • Lyle Lanes  January 31, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Is this something i could possibly install myself, or will I need to have it done professionally. Any idea what it costs to have installed per foot or yard (roughly)/?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 3, 2017 at 4:49 am

      Lyle – If you’re into do-it-yourself and you’re handy, yes, you can do it yourself. Or, you can hire a professional. A professional can probably do faster and better and has the right tools on hand. The cost per sf will vary based on area of the country. You are best asking some local flooring stores to get this information. I would guess may $2-4/sf…pending on what’s included (e.g. trim, transitions, etc. It can vary based on local rates and whether molding is included or not.

  • Lyle Lanes  January 31, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Is this something i could possibly install myself, or will I need to have it done professionally. Any idea what it costs to have installed per foot or yard (roughly)?

  • Ginny Einfalt  February 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Can u comment on why to stay away from the reds? I would like to have the entire floor in my waterfront condo done and my kitchen has cherry cabinets. I was thinking of Red River Oak but was a little nervous with the color throughout the rest of the condo. Can you suggest something more neutral that will not clash with the cherry?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Ginny – Reds are more polarizing and will often clash with other reds.

      That being said, the Red River Hickory may be light enough (and it’s not too red) that it may work. I would order a sample and look it next to your cabinet. You can also try Rocky Mountain oak (which is lighter, no red) Norwegian Maple could also work.

  • EMarie  February 9, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Hello–Lumber Liquidators installed laminate in my condo dining room, living and hallway about four years ago. Unfortunately, some of the panels depress(?) especially in the winter months. Because I live on the terrace level (ground floor), I sometimes have water issues–reason I wanted laminate instead of carpet. I now want to have both my bedrooms done and I am encouraged by your article on Coretec Plus. I guess my question really is–if you don’t have good, experienced installers–won’t this make for trouble with the flooring in the future.? Also, do you recommend this product for a kitchen? Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 10, 2017 at 2:42 am

      Yes, Coretec is a much better option for you for laminate – both for the bedrooms and the kitchens. And, yes, you do want to have experienced installers. That is ALWAYS important. I would try homeadvisor or angieslist or yelp or ask your realtor or your friends who they would recommend.

  • Jeff  February 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Hi how does Mohawks Solidtech compare to this product?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      I’m not familiar with it. It sounds newer and hasn’t stood the test of time. Most of the knock-offs have been inferior quality. Some don’t have good backing and are having difficulty with water.

  • Jo  February 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    What is the average cost per sq ft?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Jo – This will range based on which line you select and where you buy from. And, installation costs will vary across the country. In general, this will cost you a little more than a cheap laminate and about equal to a good quality laminate and generally less expensive than hardwood.

  • Pam  February 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Have you had problems with denting in the floor where heavy furniture is placed? I am thinking about redoing my rentals with this product.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Pam – No, I haven’t and I wouldn’t expect there to be a problem. Also, You can buy an extra box (or you’ll have left overs) in case you have issues. It’s a great option for rentals.

  • Mary Beth Wolanin  February 14, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    We are considering this for our basement instead of carpet. Do you think it would support a full size old and heavy pool table? Should we use any type of protective pads between pool table feet and floor? The pool table will be reassembled onsite after floor installation. Thanks

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Mary Beth – Yes, I believe it should be fine for a pool table. I think it’s a good idea to put some support under there to be safe, and I would recommend that for any flooring. I’ve seen that for hardwood floors and carpet.

      The other thing you may want to consider (before you put the pool table back in) is getting a nice area rug for this section. I’m saying this not due to the floor, but rather because it may be more comfortable for the family/guests having carpet in this section as you are standing for a while. And, once you have that pool table in place, it may be challenging to get an area rug in afterwards.

  • Becky  February 16, 2017 at 7:35 am

    We are looking for a floor for our screened porch, which is open to the elements summer and winter. Screens extend all the way to the floor. Currently covered with ugly old indoor outdoor carpeting. Would this type of flooring work considering that it would get rain and snow from time to time?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 17, 2017 at 8:05 am

      I would recommend that you contact the manufacturer on this. I don’t know if they put a warranty on “outdoor” items and snow/ice is not the standard of what you see in a home. This sounds like it would go to temperatures below freezing so there is a good chance that you may have an issue with any flooring surface. Note: ceramic tile would not hold up either. Porcelain supposedly can hold up to freezing, but I have even seen issues with that. And, if you have wood underneath, you’ll probably have issues with any tile as the wood underneath will contract.

      • Becky  February 18, 2017 at 6:57 am

        Thank you. That’s helpful. We will probably do something like Trex decking material instead.

        • TheFlooringGirl  February 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm

          Becky – Yes, that is probably much safer and designed for that.

  • Laura  February 21, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Thank you so much for the validation. Coretec Plus is the line of flooring I am seriously considering for a home we are about to build. Have you ever seen their Carolina Pine installed?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 22, 2017 at 5:49 am

      Laura – Yes, I have and it’s great if you want a rustic look with warm tones.

  • Kim  February 21, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I’m looking at the Coretec Montrose have you installed this color before?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 22, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Kim – No I haven’t. That must be a new color. I’ll need to check that out.

  • Anthony  February 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    We’re redoing a large portion of our house, a bathroom, kitchen and new dining room and we want to redo the floor across most of the house, living room and bedroom, using area rugs. I see where this product is waterproof and my specific question is would this product stand up to dogs and grossly not scratch? Thank you in advance, your website is very helpful and informative.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 22, 2017 at 5:47 am

      Anthony – Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Coretec does hold up well with dogs. Laminate is probably a bit more scratch proof, but the laminate won’t hold up to the water. Coretec will also be a bit quieter. I would just keep an extra box on hand in case you need to replace a few boards. It’s a good insurance policy. You can just pop out a few boards if you need to.

  • Donna Hubbert  February 22, 2017 at 9:44 am

    laying cortec on diagonal/how do I go the other way with cortec in center.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 25, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Hi Donna. I’m not understanding your question. But, yes, you can install coretec on a diagonal. You may find that you need to install transitions if you change direction in different rooms as the pieces may not lock into place and you’ve cut off the edges where the locking mechanism is. I’ve never seen it with 2 directions in the same room. I have a hunch that is not physically possible (like it is in solid hardwood). I doubt that would ever work with any type of floating floor.

  • Shelley  February 23, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I am struggling with what flooring to use throughout my first floor. I can’t decide between the cortex, a laminate or bamboo. We have a 60 lb golden and I am worried about scratches. Any suggestions? Also, have you seen a floor done in cedar lake oak in the coretec. I like a brown/gray somewhat rustic look.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 25, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Hi Shelley. For sure, I would stay away from bamboo. That is your worst choice out of all 3 and especially with dogs. It will not hold up well at all – it will both show scratches and will not hold up to water (including spills from water bowls) or paws when it rains. I would probably go with Coretec Plus because it looks, feels and sounds better and it’s waterproof. But, in all honesty, the laminate will probably hold up a bit better to the scratches. But, laminate looks and sounds much cheaper, many dogs slip on it and it’s not waterproof. There are trade-offs in everything.


Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter a message.