Pros and Cons of Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVP and LVT). And, what is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring? What about Engineered Vinyl Plank?
This article explains what Luxury vinyl is, the pros and cons for luxury vinyl, the different types/forms of the product as well as the acronyms/abbreviations used in the industry (e.g. LVP, LVT, EVP, EVT).
As you’ll see, vinyl has come a long way since its original introduction in the 1930’s. There are now options that look and feel so real, many mistakenly think they are hardwood.
Please note that this article may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
What does LVP stand for? What does LVT stand for?
First, LVP stands for Luxury Vinyl Plank and LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile. As the name implies, Luxury Vinyl Planks look like planks of hardwood floors; and Luxury Vinyl Tile looks like Tile (or natural stone). They are individual pieces of vinyl (not sheet vinyl), so they look very similar to the real thing. Most luxury vinyls are waterproof (or highly water resistant).
Now, there are multiple types/forms of Luxury Vinyl and different grades, as I’ll discuss below. (The cheaper ones are often water resistant rather than waterproof.) And, you are more likely to find cheaper ones and knock-offs in the big box stores, so don’t be fooled.
This is the fastest category and in the market and the innovation in this area has been exploding. There are more and more color and form options, so it makes it very exciting.
What is the definition of EVP?
EVP stands for Engineered Vinyl Plank. It’s a segment of Luxury Vinyl Flooring. Engineered Vinyl Plank (EVP) has an incredibly realistic hardwood look (and feel) and is exceptionally durable. It’s waterproof and has a strong high density fiberboard core.
Engineered vinyl plank is much thicker than the typical glue down vinyl. It’s usually 8 mm thick, so it’s similar to an engineered hardwood (or laminate flooring). Like engineered flooring, it’s constructed in layers. The top layer is vinyl, the middle is a high density core board and usually there is an attached back underlayment (e.g. cork) for more cushioning. Like laminate, these floors are clickable so they are easy to install.
As I mentioned, it’s similar in form and look to an engineered hardwood (and in my opinion looks better) and laminate flooring, but it’s much more versatile and resilient. The biggest difference is that engineered vinyl plank is WATERPROOF.
Coretec Plus is an example of an engineered vinyl plank. Coretec Plus is the originator of this segment of the market and the biggest player. You can read a full review of Coretec Plus here.
Engineered vinyl plank has become a new alternative vs more expensive engineered hardwood flooring, and a more attractive (and more resilient) option vs. the cheaper looking vinyl floors and laminates (both of which can curl up over time).
What are the different forms of luxury vinyl flooring?
Years ago, luxury vinyl was only available in a glue down form. These vinyls could be glued down directly to a concrete sub-floor or plywood. They are thin so they when they are glued directly to a concrete sub-floor, they just lay on top of it without providing any cushioning, so it’s almost as if you are walking on top of a concrete floor (hence, it can be hard and cold).
Also, because the vinyl is thin, imperfections in the sub-floor can telegraph through (and show the imperfections of the sub-floor). So, it’s critical that you smooth out the floor before installing vinyl (usually you would do 2 skim coats to prep the floor).
Years later, they started to come out with variations on these vinyls where the vinyl was “floating.” Floating means that the floor wasn’t glued or attached to the sub-floor. This made it easier for novices and do-it-yourselfers to install. And, if you wanted to replace the floor, it was much easier to rip up.
They have some of these versions available at the Big Box Stores. The problems with these initial entrants is that they weren’t very durable. Many would curl up over time and delaminate (especially if the area got damp or wet), and if your sub-floor isn’t even, the pieces wouldn’t line up, and then over time as the floor was used more, the pieces would separate and create tripping hazards.
Then, in 2012, US Floors came up with the unique solution of an engineered vinyl plank (Coretec Plus). These are WATERPROOF (like most glue down vinyls), but they are thicker and click together. So, they look much nicer and feel like a real floor. They provide a bit of a cushion and insulation from the sub-floor below. They also stay in place.
These engineered vinyl planks look and feel amazingly realistic. Unlike laminate flooring, they look and sound very real. And, they are available in super stylish colors.
In my opinion, I prefer the engineered vinyl plank flooring as it looks and feels more real. But, there are definitely some circumstances where this type of product doesn’t make sense (see below) in which case I would then recommend a glue down luxury vinyl. I would generally eliminate the other thin floating options as they do not hold up well (and often have issues within 6-12 months).
What are the advantages of an Engineered Vinyl Plank such as Coretec Plus?
- Looks and feel very real – It’s incredible how real Luxury vinyl looks, especially engineered vinyl plank. Many of my customers mistake it for hardwood. Also, with the thicker/more rigid planks, it feels more like a real floor.
- Waterproof – Yes, this is a huge benefit as it holds up to moisture and water. So, engineered luxury vinyl is a great selection for areas prone to water, such as kitchens, basements and mudrooms.
- Can be installed on top of virtually any surface (as long as it’s flat). Engineered luxury vinyl can go on top of concrete, plywood and tile. It can even go on top of radiant heat. Engineered Vinyl Plank can go on top of concrete, plywood, vinyl and even tile.
- Saves you money – Generally, this is less expensive vs hardwood or tile, And, you can often avoid tile rip up which can add a lot to your labor costs)
- Gives more insulation and sound proofing vs glue down vinyls and laminate.
- Easier on your feet. Yes, Coretec Plus and other engineered vinyl planks are much more comfortable on your feet, and it feels as if you are walking on a real floor. And, Coretec’s cork underlayment helps give he floor a bit more give. (Note: While most engineered luxury vinyls have an underlayment some don’t (and I would avoid these) and some have alternative cushioning.
- Does not require tile removal. You usually do not need to rip up tile or other surfaces (unless they are crumbling or falling apart). If there is a height restrictions (e.g. due to appliances), you may consider ripping up what you have, but it’s usually not necessary.
- Fits into kitchens with cabinets already installed – It’s easier (as it’s thinner), so you usually won’t run into height restrictions with appliances (especially dishwashers). Sometimes, solid hardwood or tile adds too much height if you already have the cabinets installed before the flooring.
- Easy to install; It’s a great Do-it-Yourself job, if you are very handy.
- Relatively easy to repair and super easy to clean. Most all purpose cleaners will work. If you get damaged planks, you can pop them out and replace them. Compare this to cracked tiles which are is next to impossible to repair. And, if you decide in 20 years to replace the floor, it is easy to rip up (I don’t mean to imply that you will need to replace them at 20 years, but if you want a color change, this flooring is easy to rip up an replace). Coretec actually comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Great stylish colors – They have many great options for grays, as well as farmhouse or distressed looks. In these colors/styles, it’s often more challenging and/or expensive to find in hardwood and tile. Coretec Plus has super looking options at a much more affordable price.
What are the downsides to Engineered Vinyl Planks?
- It doesn’t improve the value of your home in the same way that hardwood or tile does. But, it’s certainly a preferable and longer lasting option vs laminate flooring or your basic cheap vinyl.
- It can scratch, especially with heavy objects such as appliances. It’s more scratch resistant than hardwood and bit less resistant than laminate. Note: you can replace pieces if they get scratched, so keep the extras.
- May require a lot of floor prep if your floor is uneven or wavy. If your floor is very uneven or wavy, Engineered vinyl planks (which are rigid) will not line up well, and they can bounce (just as any floating floor can). So, if your floors are wavy or uneven, you will probably want to either add self leveling mix (which can be a bit costly) or consider a glue down installation.
When does it make sense to do a floating engineered vinyl plank rather than a glue down luxury vinyl?
- When your floors are flat and level, you can use whichever type of vinyl (or other flooring you want). In these circumstances, most customers prefer an engineered vinyl plank such as Coretec as it looks and feels nicer (and it often costs a bit less, too).
- When you want a floor that is water proof and moisture resistant. Engineered vinyl plank is perfect for this, and a way better option vs laminate (or engineered hardwood) that can become ruined just from moisture, let alone a floor or water leak.
- When you’re looking for more stylish colors. Because the engineered vinyl planks are newer and more popular, they are rapidly expanding their lines and color selection. It’s often easier to find more options in the more recent hot trends for grays, weathered woods and farmhouse looks in the engineered planks. There are generally fewer options in the glue down versions.
- Engineered vinyl plank is generally better over tile than a glue down vinyl. If you install a glue down vinyl over tile floors, the shape beneath can telegraph through and you would need to fill all the grout lines. This can get expensive. It usually works better to install an engineered vinyl here (plus it’s easier on your feet).
- If you have asbestos tile, then engineered vinyl plank is a great option. (And, glue down vinyl is a terrible option…as you should not glue flooring to vinyl asbestos tile…because when it’s ripped up in the future, the asbestos can become airborne, and then it can be dangerous. But, using a floating floor, such as engineered vinyl plank is a great option as you are not disturbing the asbestos and you are encapsulating it.
What are the advantages of Glue down luxury vinyls? When would you use a glue down vinyl?
- When you have a very wavy or uneven floors – A glue down vinyl can be installed without the need to do self leveling mix. This reduces the cost for floor prep. But please note that the glue down vinyl will still show the waves in the floor (unless you level it).
- When there isn’t enough clearance – If you have very tight height restrictions (e.g. due a metal door or appliances), a glue down option may be better as it’s thinner and can easily fit.
What are the downsides to Glue down luxury vinyls?
- Imperfections in the floor can telegraph through, so you will need to do some floor prep/smoothing
- Can be colder and harder on your feet, if it’s installed directly on top of concrete
- Very hard to remove (adhesive bonds with concrete). And, after you remove it, you will likely need to smooth the floor.
- Most are waterproof, but some of the cheap ones are just water resistant. Some of the super cheap ones may have adhesive issues over time, especially if they get wet.
Which Luxury Vinyls are higher quality?
- US Floors Coretec Plus
- Armstrong Luxe with Rigid Core
- Armstrong Alterna Tile (glue down)
- Karndean (glue down)
- Amtico (glue down)
Luxury Vinyls to avoid
- Coretec One (this does not have the cork underlayment; instead, get the regular Coretec Plus)
- Most that you will find in Big Box stores, especially Allure. These do not hold up.
- Konnecto – This is the same as Allure (private label). Adhesive that attaches this floating floor doesn’t last and edges curl up (usually within 6 months).
- Super cheap ones, especially ones that may be $1.99 or less. You do get what you pay for. And, most of these are imported from China.
- I would be skeptical of NuCore. This is private labeled and mysteriously there are no product reviews. You should note that this is a thinner and flimsier product (it’s only 5.5 mm vs Coretec Plus is 8 mm).
- Home Depot’s Lifeproof. This is their private label brand and it’s thinner than Corectec Plus (it’s only 6.5mm thick) and I know some installers that have reported that it’s not actually waterproof (even though they claim it is). Most likely, it’s just water resilient.
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Where can you buy Luxury Vinyl?
- You can order samples on Amazon (and they have some colors available to buy in bulk)
- Your local flooring store (most carry them; avoid Big Box stores as many have lower quality products that are thinner and NOT waterproof, even though they claim to be.
- Online at FlooringInc
- If you’re going for super cheap (and quality is not a concern), you can check out Home Depot’s Lifeproof (see notes above).
Frequently asked questions about engineered vinyl planks
How do you clean engineered vinyl planks?
One of the great things about vinyls is that they are easy to clean and virtually any all purpose cleaner will work. But, I have head of a few people having some challenges, so I called US Floors (makers of Coretec Plus) to see which product they recommend. They recommend Bona Tile and Laminate cleaner (which you can purchase on Amazon following that link or clicking on the picture)..So, I think you’re safer with this one, especially for engineered vinyl planks.
How does the luxury vinyl stay in place if it’s a floating floor?
Engineered vinyl planks are clickable (in the same way that a laminate is). The more you lock together, the heavier the flooring becomes, so the weight helps it hold it down. And, very importantly, it’s secured around the edges with either base molding or quarter round. They come with matching transitions for the edges for doorways if you need them.
Do you need a vapor barrier underneath the floor?
You will see conflicting information about this – both on the web and in store, because the truth is it DEPENDS. Coretec Plus comes with an attached cork backing, and the product itself is waterproof when water is on top of the floor.
HOWEVER, if you are installing luxury vinyl plank on top of a concrete slab that is isn’t sealed, you are much safer installing a a vapor barrier. Why? Because if you have an unsealed slab (e.g. in the basement or on the ground level of your home, it’s possible that at certain times of the year, due to hydrostatic pressure from the ground water, water may enter your home from below the ground.
This sometimes happens when there has been excessive rain fall, a storm or lots of snow melting coupled with rain. When the ground gets over saturated, the water needs to go somewhere and if you’re on a slab, some of it may enter your home (no matter what type of flooring you have).
This doesn’t happen every year, and sometimes, it’s barely noticeable. But, it can happen.
So, if water enters the home and is trapped under the floor, this can cause mold or mildew (regardless of what type of flooring you have). So, you are much safer installing a vapor barrier in these cases.
If you are installing LVP on top of plywood or in apartments that have concrete sub-floors (provided you’re not on the ground floor), then, you do not need to install.
How do you install luxury vinyl planks (LVP)
As you’ll see from this video from US Floors (makers of Coretec Plus), you’ll see that it’s relatively easy to install these plank floors. If you’re a handy do-it-yourselfer, this project may be right up your alley and save you a nice chunk of change.
Can you install engineered vinyl planks on steps?
Yes, you can, but I would highly recommend against this Why? Because they not very safe and look sloppy. Engineered vinyl planks are floating floors and as a result, they are not nailed into the floor, so they can easily become detached and cause someone to slip.
These floors would need to be glued, and over time that glue can become detached, especially as the glue does not adhere very well to cork. Also, as the glue dries out, it can harden and also become detached. Further, you will need to install stair noses on the front of each tread, and these stair noses are raises (as these are floating floors and it’s the only way to attach them), and the height difference can create a tripping hazard. And, of course if the step underneath isn’t even, the flooring may bounce. And, you will also need to install shoe molding or quarter round around all of the edges, and this in my opinion looks sloppy and cheap on the steps
So, I would avoid installing these on steps. Instead use solid wood treads or carpeting.
Luxury Vinyl Planks are the fast growing segment in the market place, and the EVP (Engineered Vinyl Planks) are the most rapidly accelerating sub-segment. They provide an amazingly real and contemporary look, and they are higher durable and versatile. Customers love that they are waterproof, so they are great for water or moisture prone areas such as kitchens and basements.
Luxury vinyl tends to hold up much better than laminate and engineered hardwood and they can be installed on top of virtually any type of surface.
Related Flooring Articles:
- Coretec Plus engineered luxury vinyl plank review
- Is laminate flooring waterproof?
- Items that will help protect your floors
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101 thoughts on “What is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring? Pros and Cons of LVP and EVP.”
We bought our mattress based off the Old Bed Guy’s blog, and are super excited to have found your blog! We’re looking at EVP because we love the look of wood, and want one flooring throughout our whole house (except bathrooms). Wood in the kitchen makes us nervous, so would EVP be our answer? We also have cats, and work with a rescue so foster cats that are not always familiar with “house rules.” Would love some help getting pointed in the right direction!
Jason – Oh that’s so funny. What a creative name. I will have to check out his blog. Anyway, yes, Coretec is perfect for the kitchen as it’s waterproof. Since it’s a floating floor, it should be installed after the cabinets (and go up to the cabinets). It should not go under the cabinets.
Re: the cats, as a general rule, you should be fine, but I’d make sure I have some extra boards just in case. I suppose it’s possible that if they peed and some got through the cracks that might be an issue (and hence I’d have an extra box on hand just in case). I think that US Floors would tell you that once the boards are locked in place it’s waterproof, but I don’t like to take chances when it’s urine. So have a back up plan just in case.
BTW, if they peed, you would have the exact same issue w/ any flooring. laminate would be the worst and it would ruin the floors. tile would be a major problem due the grout (which is sand and would absorb it and you would never get it out. Hardwood has cracks too, but you actually could refinish the floors/replace boards easily. But, overall, Coretec is a great option and I believe will hold up. I hope this makes sense.
curious to why flooring can’t go under new cabinets ?
Debra – Because it’s a floating floor. So if there’s any minor expansion/contraction, you may have a major headache on your hands. Also, it prevents you from making furture repairs, if you have some damage (e.g. a pet accident).
Hi there, I have a question about EVP vs. LVP flooring. My son is disabled so he has a hospital bed, wheelchair and a Hoyer lift that we use to transfer him from his bed to chair(he’s a big kid 6’5″ 200lbs), etc. Also we have cats and a small dog. My son’s nurses bring their kids to work so we have a lot of traffic throughout the house . I am going to be replacing the floors in his bedroom, the dining room, living room, kitchen and small bath it’s a little over a 1000 sq. ft.. What would you recommend? Your advice would be greatly appreciated!
Stephanie – First, for the bathroom (assuming it’s a bathroom with shower and/or bathtub, I think tile is probably a safer bet. Make sure the tile has some texture/non slippery when wet surface. Make sure grab bars, etc.
For the regular areas your son goes in and you use wheel chair, it’s probably going to be easier with glue down LVP…as the EVP interlocking planks may move (and potentially detach) from the weight of wheelchair. This is very likely to happen if floors are uneven and way less likely if floors are perfectly flat (but they are rarely perfectly flat). I believe glue down LVP will be easier to wheel around as well vs. a floating floor. I noticed some of this when I broke my foot and someone lent me their wheelchair for a week…I only used a bit of the time, but it’s definitely easier to manuever on some surfaces vs others.
I hope this helps.
Hi Stephanie, We are in the same boat…My daughter is disabled too. hoyer. we are building a house and trying to figure out the best type of flooring. to pick
Kelly – As I’m sure you know, regardless of type of flooring you choose, minimizing transitions/height difference will help. From there, it depends on what the specific challenges are (e.g. walking challenges, challenges due to wheelchair, cushioning if there is a fall). I’m in process of trying to solve some fall issues for my dad. He is having a walking problem. We left the carpet in the MBR as that was cushioning his falls (as he was falling when he woke up in middle of the night). Now, he has an aide helping him (as well as walker and something else (I forget the name) that you can wheel him in (not a wheel chair, but something similar). We are making adjustments to the bathroom now.
If you’re building a new house, you can really customize things well (including entrances to rooms and bathrooms). There are some real good adjustments you can make to showers so they are just sloped inwards with no lips whatsoever (and seating areas). I really noticed some of these things 4 years ago when I broke my foot and everything was a challenge.
Hello! I run a daycare out of my home. Between the children and adults there’s 18-20 of us all day long. Will the LVP hold up to our traffic and kids spilling liquids everywhere all day long?
Aimee – I would think that it would. It’s used in commercial environments all the time. The liquids are no problem at all. I suppose that when you get more traffic all flooring surfaces wear down faster. You may want to check into the length of time for a commercial warranty. ALL products have a shorter commercial warranty. But, yes, I would think that this would be an excellent choice.
We are planning on getting new flooring in our entryway, kitchen, dining area, and bathroom, basically all high traffic areas. We are wanting LVP or EVP. We have 4 kids, no pets, and just want something that is easy to maintain and clean, and doesn’t scratch easily. I don’t want to worry about it getting wet or anything. Which one do you thing would be the best for us?
The only place we have even seen EVP is at lumber liquidators, no one at the other stores has even heard of it, so that also makes me nervous to try a new product that hasn’t been out that long. Also what do you think about the products at lumber liquidators?
First, I think EVP is a great choice for all of those areas except the bathroom, provided that the area is flat/level (otherwise it will bounce). You should do tile for the bathroom (unless it’s a powder room). Tile is MUCH better for bathrooms, given all the transitions with bathtub, shower and toilet. It would probably look sloppy in bathroom and most especially if you have any tile on the walls.
I’m surprised that no one in your are has heard of Coretec Plus. It’s not new new. It’s been around for at least 6 or 7 years. It is the best EVP out there. Do NOT buy a product from Lumber Liquidators. I’m sure it’s very low quality as they only tend to sell low quality items and I’m sure it’s not waterproof. They have cheaper and inferior versions for everything. Same w/ Home Depot. Their products are thinner and they are definitely not waterproof, even though they claim to be.
If you can’t find locally (which I find surprising), you can easily order online. (see my links above…you can even get some on Amazon.) Make sure to get Coretec Plus (and not coretec one which is lower grade and doesn’t have cork underlayment).
We are thinking about vinyl to replace our carpet because of our dog. Which would you recommend for a family with dogs LVP or EVP?
In general, I would recommend EVP over LVP unless your subfloor is wavy/uneven. EVP is a much nicer looking and feeling product. Looks more real, easier on your feet and warmer.
We are building a new home. We are very interested in a LVP type floor for our main level-great room/entry ways/bedroom and bathrooms. We are building in New Brunswick, Canada. I have not been able to find Coretec products locally. Do you know if they are available? I have seen “Drop & Done” LVP by Flexiplank (www.xlflooring.ca) and this looks very nice but quite pricey. Are you familiar with the product? We like the idea of being able to simply remove a damaged plank if the need ever arose. The other product available locally is Mannington’s Adura Distinctive Plank. Thoughts on it? Thanks!
Heather – Coretec Plus can be bought online in many places, even on Amazon. I would think that they ship to Canada, esp on Amazon. I’m not familiar with the Canadian product you mentioned. Coretec is better than Mannington. I hope that helps.
Have you heard about the Pergo Max Premier line at Lowe’s? Is it what you would consider to be an LVP? Any word of caution on this line of products?
Christy – That’s a laminate, not an LVP (luxury vinyl plank). Laminate is not waterproof…in fact, it can absorb water and moisture like a sponge. I would not use it in areas that are prone to moisture or water (e.g. kitchens, basements, bathrooms).
For what it’s worth, it look like it’s a higher grade laminate. If scratching is your primary consideration, it will hold up better to scratching. but, it will not hold up to water.
We are closing in our deck and adding a screened in porch. Would the LVP or EVP work since it will be exposed to a lot of moisture?
Lynn – The moisture is not a problem (although to be safe I would do a plastic underlayment underneath in case the bottom isn’t sealed well. But, temperature could be an issue. I’m not sure if this product is approved for temps below 50 degrees…or maybe it’s 40 degrees. I would call the tech department at US Floors. And, BTW, if this is an issue, it would also be an issue for other LVPs. and, it would certainly be an issue for laminate and hardwood. If you have it heated and insulated or if you are in warmer location, this might not be an issue. Also, BTW, I also would not to ceramic tile (which is not frost resistant). I suppose you could do porcelain tile which is frost resistant. But, if you were to do that, make sure you have cement board or concrete underneath so it won’t crack. Anytime you have an area that can get cold, your flooring can get damaged.
I found this to be informative, but think you are missing discussion of a couple of key characteristics that consumers should be aware of.
First, the engineered vinyls can have different wear layers, e.g., 12 mil (suitable for residential) and 20 mil (good for commercial). Wear layer, measured in mils, should not be confused with overall thickness of the plank measured in mm.
Second, the rigid core used in EVP may be WPC or SPC. SPC is the latest technology that uses stone (limestone dust) in the core rather than wood. WPC has micro air bubbles that could make the plank susceptible to denting. Also, there have been concerns that WPC could curl in high heat or direct sunlight. SPC avoids these issues and provides more rigidity, so you can have a thinner EVP with SPC that is every bit as good, if not better, than a WPC product that is thicker.
Finally, go easy on big box store bashing. In many cases they offer the same, or even better, products at a competitive price because of their buying power and more efficient distribution channel. My big box stores only sell first quality materials and we take pride in selecting the best products for our customers at the best prices and making sure our customers, and sales associates, have the knowledge to make the best purchasing decision.
Most EVP comes from China so the key is to buy from reputable brands. There are some LVT manufacturers in the U.S., but it is generally the same technology and raw materials. Even if made in U.S., the backing will likely come from China. The good news is that the vinyl products don’t have the same potential formaldehyde issue like some laminates do and are “green” in that they do not have to tear down forests to create the products.
Just a few cents worth from a flooring guy (not in the LVT business…yet).
Warren – Excellent points. It’s funny that you wrote this now as I was planning to expand this article this week and was hoping to get to wear layer as well as several other points that you’ve made. The one area I would not agree with is Big box stores as our experience has been incredibly poor with their products as most delaminate and the EVP in HD is certainly not waterproof. In general, in most categories I have seen, their products are inferior and there is a reason they cost less. It’s simple; it’s lower quality. I have found this in many types of flooring, plywood, molding, paint, counter tops. You are right about the scale and buying power. The one area that I’ve found that they have comparable products for less is in carpet, because those are literally the same products private labeled. You can get those for less. They have scale on that and shipping. However, their labor (i.e. carpet installers) are much lower quality (and under paid). Same with the carpet place you see on TV. Now, that aside, it may be different in your area or with a different big box store.
What should I expect with resale value with EVP? I really like the line from Provenza-I know hardwoods are preferred for resale….I’m just wondering what your opinion is-Thank You
Melanie – You really need to ask a local realtor (or appraiser) about this. Everything can vary based on what you have and what’s expected in your neighborhood. Clearly hardwood will improve your value more (as you know). But, if you have carpet, this should improve your value and certainly reduce your selling time, but I don’t know how much. Also, I would think it would do that this would be preferred to laminate from a value perspective. I hope that helps. ROI is very difficult to measure or predict as there are many factors involved. And, while hardwood will improve value more, it also costs more.
What do you think about Adura Max by Mannington?
You only find this at flooring show stores (not box stores) or online through a dealer.
How does this compare to Tarkett or Coretec?
Ms Gray – I’m going to have to look into this further as we have not used it. In general, Mannington has some great products that are comparable with Armstrong. Coretec Plus seems to be a bit better/stronger than Armstrong’s (although sometimes, for some color options, I prefer Armstrong’s Luxe with Rigid Core). This product looks pretty good and it is 8mm thick. I’m not familiar with Tarkett’s product, but virtually all of their other products seem to be inferior to others out there, so I would expect the same here. Looking tarkett up on line, it’s a thinner product and has a shorter warranty. This is consistent with their other lower quality offerings.
First of all I wanted to thank you for your great informative blog. I have already lots to thank you for your info on how to stain red oak gray!
My question now is on what luxury vinyl plank to install in my basement.
My builder is recommending Shaw Classico plank which has a 12mm wear layer. But I am also swayed by your recommendation of Corerec Plus.
What do you think and are there any other high quality luxury planks I should consider?
If you’re going to do luxury vinyl plank, I would recommend Coretec Plus as it’s the best. Classico is part of Shaw’s floorte line, and I haven’t heard good things about that (i.e. it’s not waterproof). This is one of the reasons Shaw recently bought Coretec Plus/US Floors.
Also, it is NOT 12mm wear layer…it is 12mil…very different.
Hello there! I found your blog to be very informative. I do have a question though…would this type of flooring hold up in a home that is not temperature regulated? We have a vacation home near the Michigan/Indiana line and we do not keep it heated during the winter months. During the spring, summer, and fall months the home is closed up til we get there on the weekends. My husband wants to eventually redo the flooring in the kitchen, hallway, and laundry room area of the home and he has been researching the LVP and EVP but I’m wondering if we need to look at different flooring options for our situation. Thank you for your input!
Michelle – I don’t think this flooring is approved for temps that go below 50 degrees, but you can check with the manufacturer on it. BTW, you will have this same issue with almost all types of flooring including hardwood, regular vinyl, glue down vinyl and laminate. Also, ceramic can crack if it goes below 32 degrees. I would think that carpet and porcelain tile would both work, and that’s probably about it.
Can I use a floor steamer on EVP or LVP?
Heather – No, I would not recommend a steam cleaner on EVP or LVP. There is too much heat. I just called US Floors to confirm and they would not recommend it for either the floating or glue down options. The issue is that it make delaminate or loosen, due to the heat.
Thank you for a very informative blog. We are considering a Colorado Springs Water Proof Flooring, that has an SPC Core. The specs say it has a 30 mil wear layer, and 6.5 mm construction. It does have a lifetime residential warranty and lifetime moisture warranty. I would be very interested in your thoughts on this product.
Also, I would be very interested in any information you have on “off-gassing” and VOC’s. This product would be installed in the bottom floor of a bilevel house.
Thank you very much
Tom – I’m sorry, I haven’t heard of this nor did it come up on an internet search. It’s most likely a private label line of another product. Do be advised that’s it’s thinner…only 6.5 mm vs Coretec Plus is 8 mm, so this will be flimsier and sounds like a cheaper and less durable product. I can not comment on off-gassing, but you can try to find manufacturer and speak with their tech department. Also, realize that it’s probably made in China (as virtually all of these products are). When you get cheaper items, you’re more likely to have an issue and as the standards are lower.
How does Corelux engineered vinyl planking and Grand Junction LVP compare to coretec
Grand Junction is a private label from Empire, so I can’t comment on it, as I don’t know what they’ve used. But, Empire tends to overcharge customers. If it is 7.5mm, it sounds like it’s lower grade than Coretec Plus which is 8mm.
I am looking to replace a fair amount of black and white tile with VP. I have been researching. I was given what I thought was an ok price on installing Grand Junction 20 mil/7.5mm LVP. I’m just not convinced that it is the brand I should go with. Just a gut feeling.
Hi! I am considering putting LVP into my kitchen, laundry and half bath, and saw some rave reviews for Flooret Modin. I was looking at their new Rigid Vinyl Plank, which has a 40mm wear layer: Have you heard of this product, and do you have any suggestions? The rest of my first floor is hard wood, but I don’t want to deal with maintaining hard wood in my kitchen, and have ruled out tile for comfort reasons.
Suzanne – I have not hear about it until today. That product is thinner (it’s 7mm vs coretec is 8mm). Also, I just spoke w/ US floors and the 40 mil wear layer sounds suspicious…not really physically possible. Coretec’s wear layer is only 20 mil. The vinyl is 1.5mm in total…and 40mil = a bit over 1 mm…so something sounds wrong. It sounds that that would be physically impossible…and 2/3 of the vinyl layer is wear layer and 1/3 vinyl. I can see their website says that, but there seems to be something very wrong. (oh and mil and mm are different).
What do you recommend using on stairs if using luxury-vinyl for the upstairs. What looks better for the transition carpet or wood?
If you have wood treads, that’s best and I would sand and refinish them to match. You may also want to consider adding a carpet runner on top for both safety and decor. That’s what’s most stylish and safest. Alternatively, you could just do carpet…which is less expensive, but doesn’t look as upscale.
No, I don’t have wood treads and don’t want carpet runners. I like a very contemporary look so I guess wood for stairs is better than the Lvt choice for stairs?
How about for commercial use on stairs?
Is the Roppe VCT tile durable? Not the rubber treats but the smooth tile.
Also, I would like to install LVT for parents hall and bedroom because it’s easier with the walker and wheelchair but one salesman wasn’t recommending saying the wheelchair would put a groove in the floor.
Do you agree with that statement?
Alicia – Yes, wood is MUCH safer and looks MUCH better than LVP or LVP for stairs. I’m not familiar with Roppe VCT.
For you parents, it is likely that the wheel chair may put grooves in the LVP. You may also have issues with transitions (or the transitions breaking). You will have have less of an issue with a walker creating streaks (because the wheel chair has the weight of a person in it).
I want to address the comments about not buying from Lumber Liquidators or other big box stores. After extensive research, I have found the Lumber Liquidators EVP line is actually quite comparable to anything on the market. One of their top lines is 7mm and 28mils, waterproof, and has a lifetime warranty. I understand that you want people to buy your product line, but a good business doesn’t bash other businesses to get customers. Compare apples to apples. All flooring stores have varying quality levels of flooring, buy cheap floor, get cheap floor, from any store. You just have to know what you are buying and do your research.
CarolAnn – Thanks for your comment, but I will have to respectfully disagree with you. The quality of LL products is inferior…and I know as we’ve installed them and been brought in for many inspections. Just to be clear, this is NOT my product line. I do not have a product line! This store cheap line of stores has also had many lawsuits and many problems with their products including high levels of formaldehyde.
I’m giving my honest professional opinion. And, for what it’s worth, that product is thinner.
I agree that you get what you pay for, so there you have it. If it’s cheaper, there’s a reason for it!
Well, the floor you suggested, Coretec, is only 6mm and some 7mm, with a 20mils wear layer, plus considerably higher in price. Whereas, the LL EVP is 7mm and 28mils, and is cheaper. Like I said, apples to apples. Higher price is not always an indicator of quality either. Sometimes people think paying for a name means something more than what it really means. I compare specs. Why pay more for a lower quality floor? And no, I don’t work for LL either. You, in my opinion, are no expert. Experts don’t need to bash companies to make themselves look more knowledgeable.
CarolAnn – You’re entitled to your opinion.
Just to clarify, Coretec Plus is 8mm, not 7. With wear layer, there is a big difference between 12 and 20mil, but in normal household use, you would not notice a difference between 20 and 28mm. You would notice it more in commercial applications or hospitals if you were driving a forklift or gurney over it. And, there are more factors than just the thickness – there is the locking mechanism and construction and density of the core.
And, yes, I do believe you get what you pay for.
Thank you so much for all this very helpful info!
Timmy – You are welcome. I’m so glad to hear it’s helpful.
Hi, I have been shopping for flooring at a local flooring store. They are recommending LVP with rigid core by Hill Country, Highland Hills. I am unable to find any reviews. Are you familiar with this brand? Their website states waterproof and 25 yr residential warranty.
Melissa – THis sounds like it’s a private label. It may be a private label by Armstrong which has a similar name. I would ask them who the manufacturer is. then, you may be able to find reviews.
Could you please help us choose the correct flooring for a cellar basement that has glue down tile on it now. It Also has a slight decreasing slant / slope in it due to the french drain installed. A little bit of water does get through the existing
seams of 5 tiles when it rains very heavy. It dries up on its own as its not that much water. Would LVP be correct?
We have a contractor that wants to use a floating vinal plank set up with no sub layer. The other contractor wants to glue tile over the existing tile. (we are looking for the least expensive way because we are selling the house on 2 – 3 years.
Thank you in advance for your help!
Ed – I sent you a detailed email on this, so I hope you got that.
Sounds like you have water from hydrostatic pressure (under the concrete), so you will
You do NOT want to install a floating LVP on top without a vapor barrier. If you do, you may develop mold from the ground water that penetrates your home and that will get trapped and feed off the cork. If you do a floating LVP, then add a vapor barrier. Note: if your floor is uneve (as it sounds like it is, your floor will bounce, so be aware of this. It depends on how level and even the floor is. And, leveling it will be prohibitively expensive, if you’re selling.
Glue down LVP sounds like a better choice as the adhesive will be a vapor barrier and you won’t have to worry about the floor being uneven. But, if it is uneven, it will still be uneven.
Alternatively, you may want to consider rubber flooring which is waterproof and you can get puzzle pieces. It is thicker and softer and may help camouflage the unevenness of the floor.
Thank you for the quick response. We were told by the contractor NOT to use a vapor barrier because the little water we do get would not evaporate like it does now, and would then be trapped between the old existing glued down tile (and mess the glue and tile up) and the Vapor barrior. We looked at the new Life Proof Vinal Floating 100% water proof floor at HD. He said that this type doesnt require a water barrier. . He also said we shouldnt worry about mold because mold wont grow on the old tile or the new life proof 100% vinal floating floor he wants to install. Thank you again for the help. I included my email address as I did not get the email you sent. Thanks so much for the help!
Ed – I would recommend that you speak to the real experts…call the tech department at US Floors/Shaw and tech experts at Home Depot (if they have any). My advice comes from the tech experts. I agree the mold won’t eat of the tile, but they can eat of the cork. It’s possible that Home Depot’s Lifeproof is made completely with synthetic products and there may not be much for them to feed on, but I would check that info. And, also, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Lifeproof product is not waterproof, even though they claim it is. One of my installers experimented with it on one of his rentals, so he could try it out and it is not waterproof at all, so he refuses to install it for customers that ask him to do it. There are many other products out there that also make this claim and aren’t and I know this from other installers. If you see a product that is significantly lower, there is usually a good reason for it. this is one of those reasons. Other issues can include thickness of top wear layer (which is invisible to the eye), thickness of product and locking mechanism.
Also, BTW, if you have a vapor barrier, no water should get in from below, so it’s really not an issue. So, not sure I get what your contractor is saying.
Also, could we just use peel and stick tile in our basement and go over the existing glued down tile? If we do get water (very little as i described above) wont it just evaporate as it does now because nothing is covering it like the floating LVP
Ed – Yes, you could do that, but glue down LVP is same idea…but the adhesive is better and more resilient to water. I have seen many peel & stick tiles come undone due to water and/or moisture. Either way, make sure you have some extra as it appears you have a water intrusion issue.
Hi Debbie! Thanks for all the helpful info about EVP.
What do you thing of mannington’s Adura Max? Our top two choices are betwen Coretec Plus XL (atlas oak) vs Adura Max (Sausalito Sunrise). We were a little worried about the WPC (wear..) since we’re putting this throughout the whole house, living room, kitchen, bedroom and stairs. Appreciate the help from an expert!
Daniel – I haven’t installed Adura Max, so I can’t give you a fair assessment.
Hi Debbie, Great article. I have a couple of questions. I have read that furniture can leave impressions in LVP, is this true and is it permanent or will it spring back like carpet? I also have a couple of large dogs, how well will will this hold up for scratches? Thanks
Frank – Generally the furniture does not leave marks. But, it may be possible for extremely heavy pieces of furniture to do that (e.g. grand pianos, large fish tanks, pool tables), so in those instances I would recommend an area rug. I would probably recommend the same on a hardwood floor. Note: this is a guess, and you can call the manufacturer to confirm this.
The floors are vinyl and while they are fairly resilient, they can scratch. But, they do hold up very well. Also, you can have extra on hand, to pop in new boards if you need to.
Hi. I happened upon this blog bcI am searching for a site that can compare Mannington Adura Max to Modin Rigid Core EVP. I know this was posted > 1yr ago but do you have an opinion on these?
Hi Debbie – Sorry, I haven’t used Mannington Adura Max, but I have heard good things about it from other stores/installer. I have NEVER heard of Modin Rigid Core EVP, so that’s a watch out.
Hi Debbie — We live in Central Texas and have the typical foundation here: concrete slab on clay soil. The slab expands and contracts throughout the year depending on temperature and ground moisture. Gluing LVP doesn’t seem viable. Will EVP work in this environment? Thanks.
Jean – Oh yes, EVP will be perfect. It’s a floating floor, so there shouldn’t be a problem.
Hi Debbie, we had Armstrong Luxe Plank with Ridge Core & cork backing installed in our living room, dining room and hallway this past April. It’s developed air pockets in several places (between the living room and dining room). Can you tell us what has caused this and how would we fix it? Installer says moisture is not the problem because the house is off grade and they did not use any prep because the installer said we did not need it because the sub floor was satisfactory.
What is underneath the luxury vinyl? Most likely the floor or subfloor is uneven. since this is a floating floor, it would bounce unless floor is leveled out.
We have been considering vinyl flooring for our bedrooms but I have read that they are toxic. What are these made of? And are they toxic?
Vivian – No, vinyl floors are not toxic. But, I think that some of the very cheap imported ones may off gas a bit for a few days. But, if you’re considering an engineered vinyl plank such as Coretec Plus or Armstrong Luxe with Rigid Core, those are perfectly safe and meet all of the US safety standards. Always go with a reputable company, and then you’ll be safe, no matter what type of flooring you’re thinking about.
Oh, and I just realized you may have heard about problems with cheap laminate (from Lumber Liquidators and the 60 Minutes interview). Laminate is a different type of product than vinyl. And, there were problems with the cheap laminates made in China. But, this is a completely different product.
You state that vinyl flooring is easy to repair since damaged pieces can be “popped out” and easily replaced. For click-type engineered vinyl do you have to cut out the damaged strip, remove the engineered edges and glue the new piece in place? Or, do you need to disassemble the floor up to the damaged piece and then reassemble?
John – Unfortunately, you need to dissemble it up to the damaged piece and reassemble. the same would be true with a floating laminate or engineered hardwood floor.
Thank you for all the great info. Do you have any insight on the Metroflor brand called Engage Genesis 2000? Our flooring contractor has recommended it to us.
Shelly – I have never heard of this nor used it. It sounds like either a new brand or a private label brand.
I live in Phoenix Arizona and was wondering what flooring is best for a mobile home.
Oh gosh, Barbara, to be honest I have no experience with mobile homes, so let me get that out of the way. So, you can take my advice here with a grain of salt. I don’t know what the subfloor is made of. That being said, I would think that Luxury vinyl (LVP) would be a great option as it’s not dependent on the type of subfloor and should be able to work with the movement/vibrations when in driving mode. It’s just important that the surface is pretty level/even (as it’s a floating floor and could bounce if parts of the floor are uneven. I hope that helps.
Debbie, thank you so much for these Coretec posts and the information you share. I am rennovating a 60s mid-century modern 816 square foot condo. While I don’t want a mid-century time capsule, I do want the spirit of mid-century modern. I’m torn between 2 Coretec products: Coretec Plus Dakota Walnut and Coretec Plus XL Highlands Oak. I want a mid-brown, even patterned, fairly neutral color that won’t limit me in other color choices. My preference is the XL Highlands Oak because I prefer the lighter color. However, here’s what I don’t know: is the XL 9″x72″ size too large a scale for my small condo?
I think the 9″ is probably too wide. But, if it were me, I would order samples of both to see what you think so you can visualize the width. Also, Dakota walnut looks more neutral to me so I think you’ll have an easier time with furniture and paint colors (the highlands oak is a bit yellow). I would go lighter on the walls…remember, there are 4 of them vs 1 side of the cube is the floor and you can get lighter area rugs. But, look at them in person.
Hello, Thank you for a great blog post and blog in general, glad to have found it and think it’s incredible that you continue to reply to comments so long after the original post.
Just wondering if you have had any experience with Shaw’s Repel line of laminates. From all the searching I’ve done, Shaw seems to be hit and miss. The repel line seems to be a good quality laminate but I’d appreciate any thoughts might have on it.
Franco – As this is a new product, we haven’t used yet (and laminate is less popular in my area). You should know that’s it’s NOT waterproof; it’s just water resistant. Laminate is made with recycled hardwood so it’s can’t be waterproof. If you’re looking for waterproof or putting in a water or moisture prone area (e.g. basement, below grade areas, etc.), I would avoid it. But, if it’s for main living areas (e.g. LR, DR, bedrooms, etc.), it looks like a great option. the product looks nice and has registered embossing. It’s 12 mm, so the thickness helps it feel more real and will camouflage imperfections on the floor. I hope that helps.
Thank you for the reply!
I’m choosing a floor for my upstairs landing area and 2 bedrooms so the moisture resistance isn’t a great concern. I just really like the look of Shaw’s repel line, specifically the carriage house.
You’re welcome, Franco. It’s a great choice for upstairs!
Consumer Reports consistently ranks Armstrong, Pergo, and Lumber Liquidator’s higher end products at the top of their list for recommended flooring. Other than the affiliate revenue, why the singular focus on CoreTech? Is there really only one brand to install across any type of home or Bridget? Applying a blanket condemnation for all box stores that inevitably carry dozens of brands and styles across all different quality scales seems a bit like saying I don’t shop at Walmart because I don’t like Fruit of the Loom underwear.
Cliff – Pergo is a laminate, not a luxury vinyl. Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators brands are inferior! Consumer Reports recommends these and many other products because THEY earn affiliate income! I’m not really making affiliate money on Coretec plus – maybe $5 or less per month – often $1 to $2. I recommend Coretec Plus because it is the BEST out there and they invented the category and they really stand behind their product. we’ve installed hundreds of these floors. Also, I love Armstrong’s Rigid Core and have used that and recommend as well. I recommend products that hold up the best (and they also stand behind their products. I earn money by making sure my customers are happy and have good quality products so that they recommend us to their friends as well as call us later for their next flooring product. (By the way, I also do not support brands I know fail and aren’t waterproof when they claim to be. I also avoid recommending brands that put the consumer’s health at risk and have unethical practices).
Great info here! I work for a company that I can receive a discount on all Shaw flooring products. I am interested in transitioning from tile to EVP or LVP. I think EVP would be best. It will go in MB and living. Can you recommend which product within Shaw to go for? Or at least the minimum specs I ought to be looking for?
Brenda – I would use Coretec Plus. Shaw bought US Floors. This product is better than their other options. Just use the basic line – Coretec Plus.
Hi, I am doing a medical office and would like to use LVP. Coretec Plus is not fire rated, so I cannot use it by code. Our GC has recommended Shaw LVP Floorte Pro Series 5 for our light/moderate commercial use. I am concerned about wheelchair/chair damage/scratches. Thoughts? I have heard good things about Floorte Pro from professional floor suppliers. I see you don’t love Shaw, but if I cannot use Coretec Plus, what’s your next preference and why? Thank you!
I think you should call the Shaw tech department. They own both products. Floorte was not waterproof. It did not perform as well as Coretec Plus and that’s why Shaw bought it. Now that they have Coretec’s technology, it is possible that they improved Floorte.
I don’t know that either will be great for wheel chairs nor any LVP/EVP. I would call their tech department.
Also, Coretec has a commercial grade one…and this is probably more likely to hold up to wheel chairs and other things than Floorte. But, ask the tech department. They would be able to answer this question much better than I can as I focus on residential.
hi debbie…your article is so thorough, helped me understand the differences. i’m looking into the EVP to replace my current square vinyl i’ve had for 15 yrs. im not crazy about having different flooring in the bathrooms or the laundry room. what is your opinion? as a single mom, i don’t want future headaches. since EVP is 100% waterproof, do you think having in the bathrooms/laundry room is ok?
also, your thoughts on CORELUXE, CORELUXEulta & CORELUXhd? it states it’s 100% waterproof. my house is 1600sq ft and realize this will be pricey but would like to save whereever i can. oh, i also have a small dog that has occasional accidents.
i’ve only seen 1 place in miami with the COREtec plus you mention which is dolphin carpet & tile. thank you debbie! 😉
Hi Sonny – Thx so much for the kind words. I really appreciate it. No, I would NOT use EVP in bathrooms. You can get away with it in powder rooms, but not regular bathrooms that have bathtubs or showers. The reason for that is first, it will look sloppy around the edges as you can’t nail in quarter round to the tub, shower or other tile areas. And, using glue for these transitions just doesn’t hold well over time. Second, while the product itself is waterproof, water can drip around the edges/transitions and then get trapped underneath, and that can cause mold. So, no I would never recommend it.
Also regarding looks, most people are accustomed to seeing tile and a different look in bathrooms (and you need tile in the shower bathtub area anyway, so I would recommend that as it will look much better.
It is probably fine to use engineered vinyl plank in laundry rooms, as long as the sub-floor is fairly level.
I am not familiar with Coreluxe. but, perhaps you have a typo and meant Coretec PLus. You can read about that here, and I do think it’s an awesome product.
What do you think of Armstrong Pryzm and Armstrong Vivero Best?
What about Flooret’s Modin Rigid Vinyl Plank?
Stuart – I’m not familiar with Amstrong Pryzm. It’s probably a new product. Armstrong does make good products. Vivero is a good product and easy to install since it’s just peel and stick. But, you need to make sure the floor is prepped or every bump will telegraph through. I don’t have any info on Flooret. There are just so many me-too products coming out that it’s hard to keep up. Most are completing on price, so they are probably making quality sacrifices elsewhere.
A couple of others have asked you about off-gassing, and you only replied about Lumber Liquidators and other cheap Chinese products / formaldehyde off-gassing with laminates. I have been reading about vinyl products off-gassing phthalates, which I haven’t seen brought up. Can you advise about how to determine which products might have this phthalate ingredient? Thanks!
Eric – For specific info like this, I would recommend that you call the tech departments of each company. I do not want to mislead or misinform.
I have a rental that needs new flooring. A contractor is suggesting Multiclip 12. 6” x 48” 3.2mm. I dont know if it’s a glue or float. Will it last or upgrade? Suggestions?
Conrad – I’m sorry, I’ve never heard of that but sounds like it’s engineered. In general for rentals (assuming you’re holding on the property for a while), solid hardwood is best as it will last the longest – through many renters and improve the value of the home when you sell it in 20-30 years. With engineered, you may need to keep replacing with every tenant. But, I’m saying this out of context as I don’t know what you have on the subfloor, value of home, where you live, long you plan on holdng on to the property or what this wood is. the dimensions sound odd and very chunky. Hopefully, you have looked at the wood.
Very well written article !!
We just bought a condo in ground floor that has concrete subfloor. Wondering what to pick between EVP and Engineered hardwood. We plan on living in this unit for 2 years and then rent it out.
Thanks in advance !!
Krishna – I think LVP is much safer since you’re on ground floor and may get water due to hydostatic pressure from ground water.
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Can you please help with our concerns? We would like to install Coretec Plus or Armstrong Vivero or Pryzm through out our rental 1360sf highrise unit. Our HOA has very specific requirements for acoustic underpayments, which is 2 brands of 12mm or one brand of 10mm rubber. Would these be suitable to have under Coretec Plus or Armstrong Pryzm? We appreciate your time and expertise!
KC -Honestly, you should you should call the manufacturers and speak to their tech department. I am not sure if these underlayments have too much give. If they do, then the boards may come apart. And,I believe their real concern is sound transmission which is a bit more complicated than just the thickness.