A TRUE ALTERNATIVE TO WOOD FLOORING
SPC Flooring is a luxury vinyl flooring with a stone composite core. It's more stable and durable than a wood core and costs much less to install.
It was said that vinyl flooring was first featured at the 1934 Chicago World Fair and was popular among the fairgoers. World War II ended, and the military demand for petroleum subsided. That's when vinyl flooring began appearing in American kitchens, basements, and living rooms. Homeowners liked its durability and water resistance, yet not its synthetic look.
Manufacturers responded with luxury vinyl tiles, engineered in layers and closely resembling hardwood, stone, and other natural materials. Vinyl flooring became popular in Europe and Asia in the ’80s and started trickling into North America.
The original luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and luxury vinyl planks (LVP) were entirely vinyl throughout. Around 2010, manufacturers began reinforcing the core with plastic composite to produce rigid core flooring. That core typically consists of wood plastic composite (WPC) or stone plastic composite (SPC). SPC is what we see today.
WPC is a type of high-density fiberboard. Although sealed by layers of vinyl, it can be as vulnerable to moisture as wood. But an SPC core contains no wood.
Let's take a look at SPC Flooring.
SPC flooring is a luxury vinyl plank with a stone-plastic composite core. Also known as rigid core or engineered vinyl flooring, it’s manufactured in four or five layers, depending on whether the backing is foam or cork. The backing is often added for comfort and insulation.
Manufacturers and Wholesalers produce and supply the SPC core, typically from 3.2- to 7 millimeters thick, by combining limestone powder, polyvinyl chloride, and stabilizers. SPC is thinner than typical WPC because the stone is denser than wood. Owing to the limestone core, SPC floors are durable, with typical warranty periods running more than 25 years.
PROS and CONS of SPC
SPC flooring shares the benefits and drawbacks of rigid core flooring. In most cases, SPC Flooring is what you see in most homes today.
Easy to install: SPC flooring boards snap together like laminate boards and float above the subfloor. There is no glue or nails required.
Durable: A wear layer protects the designed layer, resisting scratches and damage from ultraviolet light.
Comfortable: Most SPC flooring planks and tiles feature an underlayment cushion for comfortable walking and some heat and sound insulation.
Many design choices: Designs mimic various types of hardwood and stone flooring, as well as geometric patterns reminiscent of old-style linoleum and vinyl sheet flooring.
Undeniably imitation: No matter how realistic the design layer, SPC flooring still looks like vinyl. That’s not a massive issue for geometric design patterns or faux stone, but a wood pattern will never look like natural wood.
Colors fade: Despite the UV protective coating, SPC flooring fades over time in direct sunlight. There has been a lot of improvement in this area.
Not scratch-proof: The wear layer is scratch-resistant, not scratch-proof. Heavy foot and pet traffic eventually make it look worn.
Can’t be restored: Once your SPC floor loses its luster, you can’t refinish it. The only option is a replacement.
SPC flooring also has numerous pluses and one big minus compared to WPC. On the plus side:
More stable: SPC flooring won’t expand and contract with changing temperature and moisture conditions because it doesn't contain wood.
More impact-resistant: SPC flooring is denser and resists impact more than WPC.
Less expensive: SPC is generally more affordable.
On the minus side, SPC features a thinner core layer than WPC. It feels less comfortable to walk on and doesn’t provide as much thermal and sound insulation. These problems can be remedied by installing underlayment or selecting a flooring plank with a cork underlayment.
Appease Builders LLC and Croucier International Imports LLC created this post.