So, have you decided to install luxury vinyl flooring for your home? Well, that’s a smart decision; luxury vinyl flooring is truly a praiseworthy invention. Since the 1930s, when vinyl flooring was first introduced, they have undergone plenty of changes and, of course, for the better.
Vinyl flooring gave rise to luxury vinyl flooring and this flooring further diversified into two flooring types: flexible core and rigid core. You might be wondering what the differences between these two flooring types are. Well, you’re at the right place! Let’s dig deep to find out!
Table of Contents
- What is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
- What is Flexible Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
- What is Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
- Engineered Vinyl Flooring Vs. Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring
- In What Ways Are Flexible And Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring Similar?
- In What Ways Are Flexible And Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring Different?
- Is Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring Better Than Flexible Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
What is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Made up of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), this material is cost-effective, easy to install, water-resistant, and is a high-quality imitation of real wood. Luxury vinyl flooring isn’t limited to wooden imitation and thus, also comes with various other prints, including stone and tiles.
Many often confuse between Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVPs) and Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVTs). While these items are fundamentally equivalent, LVTs are cut into tiles, and LVPs are cut into planks mimicking wooden planks. LVTs, on the other hand, are generally imitations of stone, concrete, or tiles.
Traditional Vinyl Flooring Vs. Luxury Vinyl Flooring
What makes luxury vinyl flooring special from its traditional counterpart. Both of these floorings are made up of the same fundamental materials, but the major difference between them is their thicknesses.
Luxury vinyl tiles or planks are almost 5 times as thick as vinyl. Due to this advantage in thickness, luxury vinyl flooring comes with a multitude of other benefits, including durability, ease of installation, and a more believable appearance.
Structure of Luxury Vinyl Flooring
The next layer is the wear layer, which protects the vinyl flooring from wear and tear and safeguards the design layer beneath it. The wear layer is made up of vinyl and, thus, is stain and scrape-resistant. The thicker the wear layer is, the better it is resistant to scratches.
Underneath the transparent wear layer is the design or printing layer, and this layer is which gives your flooring such mindblowing aesthetics. The texture, color, and markings in this layer mimic the real material.
Now, the next layer is the core layer, and here’s when flexible and rid core vinyl flooring part their ways. We’ll discuss more of it later on.
Finally, some LVPs and LVTs also come with an underlayment, which acts as a sound absorbent, moisture protectant, and adds luxurious comfort to the underfoot. Moreover, flexible luxury vinyl planks and tiles often come with a curling prevention backing layer.
What is Flexible Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Flexible luxury vinyl flooring has a vinyl core containing more plasticizers and is softer in comparison to the rigid core one. Due to this flexibility, many flexible core LVPs and LVTs come with multiple stabilization layers and a curling prevention layer.
What is Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring is, in many ways, better than flexible core flooring. Unlike flexible core, rigid core LVPs and LVTs come with hard and stable core layers. With this comes plenty of other advantages as well.
Types of Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring
There are primarily three types of rigid core luxury vinyl flooring for you to choose from, namely, Stone-Polymer Composite (SPC), Wood-Polymer Composite (WPC), and standard rigid core. Let’s discuss each of these rigid core vinyl floorings in detail, shall we?
1. Stone-Polymer Composite (SPC)
SPC cores, unlike flexible cores, not only contain polyvinyl chlorides and plasticizers but also contain 60% calcium carbonate. This feature makes SPC very rigid and durable.
The lack of foaming agents in the SPC core makes it relatively dense and heavy. This dense flooring is able to resist major impacts as well as wear and tear in high-traffic areas of your home.
2. Wood-Polymer Composite (WPC)
The core of WPC is made up of wood flour, around 25% PVC, and calcium carbonate. However, unlike SPC cores, WPC cores are injected with foaming agents, which adds a level of bounciness and comfort to this type of rigid luxury vinyl flooring.
Due to a relatively softer core, walking on WPC flooring feels like walking on real wood. However, WPC flooring is prone to dents when struck with heavy items, whereas SPC impressively resists such dings.
3. Standard Rigid Core
Standard rigid core is only a slightly improved version of flexible core luxury vinyl. The core in this type of flooring is 100% hardened vinyl.
The core, in comparison to flexible cores, is dense and hard. However, when compared side-by-side to WPC and SPC cores, the standard rigid core falls flat in terms of durability and comfort.
Engineered Vinyl Flooring Vs. Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Many are often confused between Engineered Vinyl Planks (EVPs) and Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Planks (RVPs). However, EVPs and RVPs are two different names given to the same product. So, engineered vinyl flooring and rigid core luxury vinyl flooring are basically the same.
In What Ways Are Flexible And Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring Similar?
Firstly, let’s discuss comparable or similar properties of flexible and rigid core luxury vinyl flooring. There are many similarities between these two than you think. Let’s get started!
1. Water Resistance
Since both fall under the PVC family, flexible as well as rigid core vinyl flooring is water-resistant. If you invest in a good brand of any of these two luxury vinyl flooring and follow the installation procedure meticulously, these floorings are waterproof.
So, when it comes to moisture resistance, be it rigid or flexible core flooring, both perform excellently relative to the hardwood flooring.
2. Cleaning and Maintainance:
We all know hardwood flooring can be demanding when it comes to cleaning taking care of it. But luckily, that’s not the case when it comes to luxury vinyl flooring.
3. Easy and Inexpensive Installation
Luxury vinyl planks are normally installed using the floating floor, glue-down, or peel-and-stick installation techniques. So, yes, both rigid and flexible core luxury vinyl flooring has the same and easy-to-do installation mechanism.
In What Ways Are Flexible And Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring Different?
So, in what criteria is rigid core luxury vinyl flooring is different from the flexible one. The four major criteria are comfort, durability, application, and cost.
Flexible core vinyl flooring might fool your eyes. But can it fool your feet? I’m afraid the answer is no.
The luxurious and comfortable feeling that rigid core luxury vinyl flooring gives, especially WPC, is similar to hardwood flooring. But that’s not the case for flexible core LVPs and LVTs, as you’ll even be able to feel the imperfections on the subfloor in these types of floorings.
Flexible core vinyl flooring, due to its softness, is more susceptible to dings and tears. So, it goes without saying that rigid core luxury vinyl flooring aces the game in terms of durability and stability.
Moreover, if you want to choose a more durable option among rigid core floorings, SPC is the best option for you. And always remember to purchase LVPs with a thick wear layer for more resistance to scratches and other surface damages.
For outdoor applications, high-quality rigid core luxury vinyl flooring is one of the best options available. On the other hand, one cannot say the same for flexible core flooring.
Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring costs you slightly more than the flexible-cored counterparts. However, you’ll still get rigid LVPs at an impressively lesser price range compared to hardwood planks.
Is Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring Better Than Flexible Core Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
If you’d ask us, we’d choose rigid core luxury vinyl flooring any day. The only downside of choosing rigid core luxury vinyl flooring is that the cost can be slightly expensive.
Nevertheless, in the price range of high-end flexible vinyl flooring, you can get plenty of rigid core options, i.e., the price difference is not that significant, and thus, you should go for rigid core LVPs regardless.
With this post, we hope to have made your decision on which type of luxury vinyl flooring to choose easier.
With advancements in technology and flooring systems, flexible core luxury vinyl flooring has already become the thing of the past. Between flexible and rigid core luxury vinyl floorings, a rigid core flooring system, undoubtedly, takes home the trophy!