Duraclic vinyl plank flooring: unbranded bargain treasure or big-box store buyer’s remorse? This unassuming vinyl plank from Lowe’s has recently garnered attention from homeowners and builders alike.
When something is unbranded or generic, most people immediately think “cheap” or “poor quality”. In many cases, this proves to be true. However, many frugal folks swear by these products and claim they deliver all the performance of their branded and advertised counterparts.
When it comes to purchasing a quality floor, it pays to look at the best brands and Duraclic may not be one of them. There are some clear advantages that make this floor seem attractive at first glance, but let’s dig a little deeper and see if this product is worth the vinyl its printed on.
If we are going to all the trouble and expense to replace a worn or damaged floor, we want our new one to look good. When most shoppers fall in love with a floor, it’s often a simple snap judgement based on appearance, the concern with performance comes later.
At that most important first impression, Duraclic’s visuals and color palette aren’t much to write home about. The color choices are limited to a range of five neutral shades in, you guessed it, grays, browns, and beiges.
It is what most would consider a medium color variation with the pattern being somewhat monochromatic. This is not a high-definition printed visual, so you may end up with several plank patterns repeat if you plan to install this in a large area with minimal furniture.
While the floor is textured to mimic a light hand-scraped look, the wear layer is not embossed and registered—where you see a knot, you feel a knot. True embossed and registered texturing can mean the difference between a vinyl plank that looks like wood and a vinyl plank that looks more like a wood-patterned vinyl sheet.
Duraclic also features a low-gloss finish and four-sided micro bevel that gives it a more realistic edge. This somewhat makes up for its lack of realistic texturing. Yet, it isn’t enough to disguise it from looking like vinyl.
It looks decent, but what lies beneath the pretty printed picture?
Surprisingly, Duraclic has an impressive urethane 20mil wear layer. If you are new to the world of vinyl plank, understand that 20mils is a very thick wear layer. It’s meant to resist scratching in even commercial applications.
The core construction here is also nothing to scoff at. Duraclic has a solid composite core construction made of PVC, resins, and wood fibers. This type of PVC core is truly waterproof.
Unlike many vinyl plank options on the market, Duraclic does have an attached pad. This one is a 1mm noise reduction foam pad underlayment. Underlayment used with vinyl plank is completely optional but is recommended for instances where noise reduction is desired, such as an upstairs area or room with vaulted ceilings.
These three layers combined create a total of 6mm overall plank thickness. This is on-par with similar vinyl plank products in this price range such as Coretec Plus from USFloors and Mannington’s Adura Max.
Ease of installation
Duraclic advertises their “5G” locking mechanism. It, for all intents and purposes is really a standard angle tap and lock mechanism. This differs from a true drop and lock mechanism seen on more premium products.
If it’s your first time installing a vinyl plank floor, the angle-lock installation can take some time to get used to. It’s very tempting to overdo it with the rubber mallet and tapping block when you come across a stubborn plank. There are several customer reviews mentioning that the tabs break or separate after what they described to be a “difficult installation.”
This is a common issue with this type of locking mechanism. It’s good practice to buy more than you think you’ll need so that you have extra to cull the odd stubborn plank rather than attempting to use it and making more work for yourself in the long run. No one likes to have to pull the baseboards off and redo the floor because it starts to separate at the joints.
If this sounds like a headache, you may want to spend a bit more money on a higher-quality product with a drop and lock mechanism instead.
Then again, you can always hire a pro. Hiring a professional flooring installer for your luxury vinyl plank can be a project of its own. If you want to know how to spot a legitimate contractor, there are consumer resources available to you at NASCLA.org.
Duraclic has many desirable attributes that indicate it is a durable product. It’s waterproof, pet-friendly, has a solid PVC core, attached foam underlayment, and is topped with a 20 mil wear layer.
Duraclic offers a lifetime residential and limited light commercial warranty on this product. It’s important to note here that warranties cover product failures such as delamination—an undesirable process where the layers come apart. However, warranties don’t cover damage such as scratches and gouges or failure due to improper installation.
Another thing to consider is aftercare. The products you use daily to clean and maintain your vinyl plank floor can have a significant impact on the durability. To clean Duraclic, use a pH-neutral cleaner that is especially for vinyl floors.
If that you install the Duraclic correctly and take care of it properly, this flooring should last until long after you are tired of looking at it and are ready for a change.
For more information on flooring specifications and how they affect the durability of your floor, check out ASTM.org
Compared to other similar products from Lowe’s competitors, Duraclic is more expensive on average. This may be due to the enhanced wear layer, attached pad, and solid core construction.
The fact that it comes with an attached pad adds to its value. A quality foam underlayment can cost upwards of $0.75 per square foot and companies often only sell it by the full roll. An attached pad saves time during installation and reduces waste from partial rolls.
Duraclic currently costs $4.49 per square foot and there are 30 square feet in each case. Duraclic is only available for purchase on the Lowe’s Canada website and deliverable within Canada. When purchasing flooring online like this, the freight charges can make even the cheapest flooring a costly order.
The unbranded Duraclic vinyl plank flooring from Lowe’s has some good features, but also leaves a lot to be desired from a floor in this price range.
This floor will hold up to your pets, messy children, and everyday wear. Plus, the attached pad makes for a quicker installation and a quiet floor.
On the other hand, the limited color range, lackluster patterns, and history of difficult installation with broken tabs and seam separation are not issues you should expect from a vinyl plank flooring price of $4.49 per square foot.
Just about every major flooring brand on the market has their own version of luxury vinyl plank. So, why compromise on a floor that’s only doing half its job?
Have you installed Duraclic vinyl plank in your home? How do you like it? Sound off in the comments.