Global Gem Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Global Gem Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

April 18, 2019 / 9 Comments

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Is Global Gem Vinyl plank flooring a diamond in the rough? Or is it closer to the gems in your junior high jewelry box?

Being an adult is tough enough with bills, bosses, and homeownership. Trying to find a high-quality vinyl plank floor for your active family can seem just as difficult. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to find a good value.

Let’s make this part of your adulthood easy and look at an online value flooring brand that speaks volumes of sophisticated style and durability — unlike your old tacky mood ring that broke in a week.


Global Gem Vinyl plank flooring comes in three collections of different plank widths and wear layers that define the collections. The style of this flooring would be well-suited for a modern or contemporary space and is specifically designed for modern farmhouse or coastal style interiors.

Want a reclaimed floor without the hassle of varnish or splinters? Farmsted Tets features a 20mil wear layer and like the name implies, this style is reminiscent of a farmhouse. The reclaimed looks in this collection are remarkable and have an alternating two-strip appearance even though the plank itself is 7” wide.

The 20mil Coastal Collection is ready for a beachside bungalow retreat. These wire-brushed oak, hickory, and olive styles have an airy, beachy appeal with plenty of character. The multi-tone hues and knots are kept streamlined by the wide plank and neutral color palette.

If you find the Coastal is a bit out of your price range, you can still get beachy on a budget. Global Gem’s value series is the Carolina Coastal collection. The main difference here is the thinner 12mil wear layer and 1mm less in overall plank thickness.

However, the Carolina Coastal collection is not lacking panache. This collection is hallmarked by a sophisticated coastal contemporary look featuring a mix of tonal plank, character-grade, and wire brushed styles.

Perhaps one downside here is the overall lack of diverse color options. It doesn’t go beyond your typical brown and gray color palette and there are no tile or stone looks offered.

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Construction and Durability

You could easily drive yourself crazy comparing the specifications between different products. Specifications give important information regarding the construction and durability of a product.

However, it’s important to understand how those little numbers on the back of the flooring sample add up to a floor that will meet all your needs versus paying through the nose for a product that’s overkill.

For example, Global Gem vinyl plank offers two wear layer thicknesses: 12mil and 20mil. The 20mil wear layer is thicker, but does it make for a more desirable product? That depends on your expectations for performance.

In this case, the Farmsted Tets and Coastal collections with the 20mil wear layer are great choices for rental properties, offices, and places that see above average wear and tear. However, the 12mil wear layer of the Carolina Coastal collection is more than enough for a typical residential setting.

Each collection features a rigid core construction with attached pad. The value series is the only one that has an SPC or stone powder core. These types of cores make the flooring more impact and dent resistant than standard fiberglass and vinyl composite cores.

Global Gem has an impressive warranty package for their vinyl plank products. All collections have a lifetime residential wear, lifetime structural, limited lifetime waterproof, and 10-year limited light commercial warranty.

It’s important to note that warranties cover things like delamination, defects, and product failure. It does not cover damage, wear, discoloration, or malfunctions due to improper installation.

We can safely say that Global Gem vinyl plank flooring is very durable in its construction and is appropriate for active households with kids and pets as well as light commercial settings with high foot traffic.

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Ease of Installation

Vinyl plank flooring is an ever-popular interior finish choice partly due to its easy installation. Both homeowners and seasoned pros can appreciate how quickly this floor can come together with minimal tools, time, and training.

Global Gem vinyl plank flooring features their “2G Locking System” which is a glue-less floating drop-and-lock install. This is arguably the easiest and fastest type to install. The bonus here is the attached pad which makes it go even faster.

One amazing thing about rigid core products like these is that they can be installed over a variety of existing surfaces such as linoleum and sheet vinyl. It can also go over ceramic tile if it is properly prepared with a leveling compound to create a flat surface.

However, SPC and rigid core may not be installed over existing floating floors, carpet, or any surface that isn’t flat or dry.

So, whether you choose to do-it-yourself or hire a professional, you can expect a straightforward install that takes less time than some other hard surface options. Plus, the lack of adhesive and minimal subfloor prep means you will have access to your space again faster. No one likes to cook breakfast in their living room.

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So far, we have determined that Global Gem vinyl plank has a lot of desirable features. Could it also be a great value?

It’s somewhat of a challenge to track down pricing for this product and get a straight answer on availability. A web search will bring you to a handful of online-only flooring retailers that make you either fill out an online form or call their customer service hotline before they will reveal their price to you.

You might ask yourself, what’s the big secret?

There isn’t one. It’s more so that salespeople would like your information so that they can contact you again.

That said, Global Gem flooring will run you around $3-$6 per square foot depending on the retailer and if they offer large bulk or other discounts.

Buying online usually means shipping costs. These can be difficult to estimate and are usually added to your cart at checkout. If you are trying to budget, it doesn’t hurt to call ahead and ask for a freight quote.

Another thing to consider when shopping online is this disclaimer from Global Gem’s Website:

“Global GEM cannot and will not guarantee that flooring purchased over the internet is ‘first-quality’. Only first-quality merchandise is covered by Global GEM’s product warranty. Keep in mind that a price that seems ‘too good to be true’ probably is.

Whether you choose to DIY or hire a pro, vinyl plank installation costs for this product won’t break the bank due to its simple click together installation and minimal tools or sundries required.

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The Verdict

Global Gem Vinyl Plank has a lot of great features. The flooring itself is stunning and the durable rigid core construction with thick wear layer options are also fantastic.

However, it can be difficult to track down accurate pricing and samples of this project. When something is only available to special order, it’s important you know exactly what you’re getting because you may not be able to return it or have any recourse if the product fails.

With so many great rigid core vinyl plank options on the market, it doesn’t make sense to settle or gamble your money with a sketchy online retailer for a potentially great deal. You might want to keep shopping.

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About Sarah Williamson

Sarah is a self-described “flooring nerd” with over a decade of building industry experience including installation, estimation, and sales. She thrives on finding unique solutions to interior design challenges and sharing her love of creating inspired spaces through writing.

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