Love the look of hardwood or natural stone but not the price tag? These days, that’s not a problem. By choosing luxury vinyl for your home, you can install a floor that looks just like hardwood or stone for a fraction of the cost. That’s why it’s becoming an increasingly popular alternative to natural flooring materials.
But if you’ve ever researched luxury vinyl, you know that there are many different types to choose from. You can select traditional luxury vinyl tile, wood plastic composite tile, or stone plastic composite tile. They’re all waterproof and typically more affordable than their natural counterparts.
What are the key differences between them and which one should you choose? Here’s what you should know about luxury vinyl tile, wood plastic composite tile, and stone plastic composite tile:
Luxury vinyl tile
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a type of floor that’s made up of multiple thin layers, including a core layer and a decorative layer that looks like the natural material it’s supposed to mimic. LVT has a simple rubber core, which makes it flexible and soft. This means that heavy furniture can dent it easily.
You can install LVT on a variety of surfaces, including cement, plywood, and existing floors. However, it needs to be placed on a smooth, dry surface. And because LVT planks come in many forms (for example, glue down, click-and-lock, and loose lay), you might not be able to install it yourself.
When to choose it: An LVT floor may be right for you if you’re looking for an inexpensive option that offers moderate durability and relative comfort.
Wood plastic composite tile
In wood plastic composite (WPC) tile, the core is made from a wood plastic composite. This stronger material makes WPC feel more solid and stable than LVT. It’s also why WPC is more resilient to dents from heavy furniture and regular wear and tear.
The core of a WPC tile contains a foaming agent that creates more give. As a result, WPC is more comfortable to stand on than LVT. And because WPC is typically made with more advanced technology, the planks look even more similar to their natural counterparts.
WPC floors tend to be easier to install than LVT floors. This is because you don’t have to worry as much about laying it on a smooth subfloor. In addition, most WPC tiles come as click-and-lock planks, which make DIY installation easy.
When to choose it: Choose WPC tile if you want a floor that’s more solid, stable, durable, and comfortable than an LVT floor.
Stone plastic composite tile
A stone plastic composite (SPC) tile is even more solid and durable than a WPC tile. This is because the core of an SPC plank is made of an ultra-strong stone plastic composite that absorbs sound well. In fact, the core of an SPC plank is so tough that this floor is durable enough for commercial spaces and does well in rooms with temperature fluctuations. This strength also makes it a great fit for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.
Because SPC planks are made with the most advanced technology, they offer the most convincing hardwood and stone looks. However, because of the material’s durability and quality, it’s pricier than WPC and LVT. It’s also less comfortable to stand on because the core layer is so solid.
Like WPC floors, SPC floors are easy to install. Most tiles are click-and-lock planks that you can install on almost any type of subfloor.
When to choose it: Choose SPC tile if you’re looking for a vinyl floor that’s virtually indestructible and don’t mind paying a higher price for it.
Choose the vinyl floor that’s right for you
LVT, WPC, and SPC floors may seem similar on the surface (no pun intended!). But if you examine them more carefully, you’ll notice that they differ in important ways. Although LVT tends to be the cheapest of the 3 options, it’s less durable and may be harder to install. WPC and SPC floors are tougher and tend to have the most convincing decorative layers. However, whereas WPC wins on comfort, SPC is superior in durability.
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