NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring – 2022 Buying Guide

By Fortino Rosas / April 15, 2022 / 134 Comments

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    NuCore Vinyl Plank Review

    Wondering if you should purchase NuCore Vinyl Plank flooring?

    If you are looking to install new floors in your home, and you want a real wood or natural stone look but don’t have the budget, you may want to consider NuCore Vinyl Plank flooring as an affordable alternative.

    In this article, we will provide you with an in-depth review of NuCore Vinyl Plank flooring across 9 criteria to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.

    Our Overall Rating of NuCore Rigid Core Luxury Vinyl Plank

    Check out our ratings for NuCore flooring products across 9 criteria below:

    NuCore Vinyl Plank Overall Rating

    Pros and Cons of NuCore Flooring

    – Resembles hardwood
    – Easy installation
    – Cost effective ($2.69 to $4.79 per square foot)
    – Can be purchased online or at more than 100 Floor & Decor retail locations nationwide
    – Reported to scratch and dent relatively easily despite the wear layer
    – Grooves between planks tend to hold on to dirt and grime, making them difficult to clean
    – There have been some cases of the floor losing its sheen
    – Styles appear to change frequently, which means it may be difficult to find matching replacement planks in the future

    NuCore Waterproof Flooring Manufacturer Overview

    NuCore is the in-house LVP brand of Floor & Decor – a national chain, frequented by both contractors and consumers. The company was founded in 2000 in Georgia and is one of the fastest-growing Fortune 500 companies.

    Take note that Floor & Decor is not a manufacturer but a retailer of flooring products, including NuCore, at factory prices. Although the product’s design is from the US, it is manufactured in China but the company didn’t specify who is manufacturing the planks.

    The Complete NuCore Flooring Buyer’s Guide

    1. Selection: Styles & Colors

    Floor Critics Rating: 5.0

    NuCore vinyl planks come in numerous colors in different shades, finishes, thicknesses, and widths including wide planks. Thus, we can assure you that you’ll surely be able to find a style that will complement your existing decor with NuCore’s tons of styles.

    NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Kitchen

    If you prefer a flooring brand that can give you a wide array of options to choose from, then NuCore might be among the best options for you. Many reviewers including us love the gorgeous colors and authentic look of the planks that mimic real wood, especially the textured and EIR finish options.

    NuCore can give you what you are looking for through its two variants:

    • NuCore Waterproof Flooring
    • NuCore Performance Waterproof Rigid Core Flooring

    Below are the key features and differences between these two lines:

    NuCore FlooringNuCore Performance
    QualityStandard LinePremium Line
    Major ColorsBrown
    Multi Color
    High Variation
    High Variation
    StyleWood look
    Stone look
    Wood look
    Hand scraped
    Approximate Thickness5.5 mm
    6.5 mm
    7.5 mm
    6.5 mm
    Approximate Dimensions12 x 24 in.
    16 x 32 in.
    24 x 48 in.
    3 to over 8-inch widths
    3 to 8 inches
    Wear Layer20 mil and aboveTechtanium Plus

    What Styles Are Available?

    One of the benefits of NuCore Vinyl Planks is that there are over 100 different SKUs to choose from. NuCore Vinyl Planks come in a variety of 35 different colors and patterns. Your choices of finish include high gloss, smooth, textured, authentic texture (EIR), and hand-scraped. Styles range from airy whitewashed gray tones to deeper mahogany shades.

    As for the different finish options, below is a brief description of each so you’ll know their differences:

    • Smooth

    NuCore planks with a smooth finish have a subtle glossy effect and offer the fewest options.

    • High-Gloss

    High-gloss options have a more noticeable glossy finish but only the original NuCore line has limited options for these.

    • Hand Scraped

    Although not really scraped by hand, these options have added texture to the planks but not as defined as NuCore’s textured and EIR-finished options. Again, only the original NuCore line has hand scraped planks.

    • Authentic Texture (EIR)

    EIR, short for Embossed in Register, creates more realistic looking grains which intensifies the appearance, depth, and texture of your flooring. Majority of NuCore Performance planks have an EIR finish but original NuCore options still offer more EIR choices.

    • Textured

    Lastly, the textured option takes up the majority of the original NuCore plank options. It also imitates the source material’s real texture like EIR, but Floor & Decor didn’t really specify its exact difference with EIR options. Textured variants, though, are a little cheaper compared to EIR which is considered the premium option.

    Available Sizes and Thicknesses

    For the original NuCore, the average plank sizes are between 6”-7” wide and 48” inches long is available in thicknesses of 5.5 mm – 8.0 mm.  On the other hand, most NuCore Performance planks are 6 to 8 inches wide and only have one thickness option – 6.5 mm.

    Also, the original NuCore flooring offers approximately three times more style options compared to NuCore Performance. So if you want the premium version, you’ll have limited choices.

    Design Services

    Floor & Decor also provides free design services where you can get product recommendations and help with understanding installation methods. You can request a free design consultation from them here.

    Product Visualizer

    If you can’t decide which style is best for your room, Floor & Decor offers a product visualizer where you can upload your own photo or use their existing room samples.

    2. Durability & Quality: NuCore Performance

    Floor Critics Rating: 3.5

    NuCore offers planks that are scratch, dent, water, stain, and fade resistant. However, there is not much information about the construction of the products and there are reviews that said NuCore might have exaggerated the planks’ durability performance.

    NuCore Flooring ConstructionNuCore Performance Flooring Construction
    Source: NuCore

    Proprietary Technologies

    Although Floor & Decor did mention that they used cutting edge technology and innovative ideas, we didn’t find further information regarding what these technologies are.

    Their NuCore Performance variants do use what they call “Techtanium Plus” which is what differentiates it from the original NuCore. This extra additive to the planks’ wear layers is supposed to provide an extreme level of protection from scratches and dents for a flooring that can withstand all damages.

    But then again, there is really not much information about Techtanium Plus which makes it sound just a mere fancy name that’s not special at all. In fact, we can’t actually tell the exact difference between the regular NuCore and Performance NuCore due to lack of information.

    What we are sure about is that NuCore Performance does provide more scratch resistance than standard NuCore. Floor & Decor also stated that Techtanium Plus is at least two times more scratch resistant compared to traditional LVP.

    Core Layer

    The material construction of a flooring product is among the most important determinants of its quality and performance, especially the core layer. Most vinyl plank manufacturers would specify the type of core their products are made of.

    Vinyl plank cores are either made of wood-polymer composite (WPC) or stone-polymer composite (SPC).

    • SPC Cores – These are popular for their durability and toughness which makes them ideal for commercial settings.
    • WPC Cores – These are quieter and softer so they are more comfortable to walk on.

    While SPC cores provide resistance against damages, WPC cores provide comfort. However, NuCore didn’t provide much detail about its core composition.

    Learn more about the differences between SPC and WPC.

    For the standard NuCore planks, they just specified that it is a thick rigid waterproof core. On the other hand, NuCore Performance has what they call a thick rigid stone and vinyl-based core which seems to imply that they used an SPC core. However, this is still unclear.

    Wear Layer

    As we’ve mentioned before, the major difference between the original NuCore and NuCore Performance is their wear layer:

    NuCore Flooring

    Standard NuCore Planks also feature an anti-microbial layer to help resist mold and mildew. Although most reviews say that these planks have a 22-mil wear layer, Floor & Decor only specified a “20 mil or greater” wear layer, so there is really no exact value.

    For comparison’s sake, vinyl flooring with 12 mil to 20 mil wear layers are enough for residential spaces. So NuCore still has a good wear layer thickness.

    NuCore Performance

    Instead of the original NuCore’s anti-microbial, scratch, and stain-resistant wear layer, NuCore Performance has Techtanium Plus which they say offers maximum resistance against stains and scratches.

    Does NuCore Wear, Stain, & Fade Easily?

    Floor & Decor guarantees NuCore planks to not wear through or fade due to sunlight. The floor is also stain-resistant, and although flooring is marketed as 100% waterproof, spills should be thoroughly cleaned and dried within 30 minutes to ensure no stains set in. 

    However, do take note that there are reviews that are complaining about the grout lines being easily stained and the flooring being susceptible to scratches. Also, they have mentioned the seams popping up under specific conditions which renders the flooring not waterproof.

    But not all reviews have reported the same problems. In fact, there are those who are satisfied with their flooring’s durability with stains being easily wiped off. This proves that the quality of NuCore planks is not the same for all of the products in the same line.

    Does NuCore Flooring Scratch And Dent Easily?

    All NuCore Planks are water and scratch-resistant; however, the exact levels may not be consistent across the brand

    NuCore has one of the best scratch-resistant ratings for this type of flooring. The styles have a 20 mil or greater wear layer, which means that it should stay in tip-top shape even under heavy use, such as from the paws of pets or in commercial areas.

    But scratch-resistant does not mean scratch-proof, and if something sharp and heavy abrades against your floor, it will get scratched. Some customers who have purchased the product have noted that it scratched more easily than they had anticipated.

    Fortunately, scratches appear brown rather than white, so they blend well with the floor. They probably won’t be obvious to see unless you are looking for them. But also be aware that high-gloss finishes are more prone to see scratches and dents than matte finishes.

    We feel that the style has a huge impact on the overall durability of the flooring. (Or maybe older products are just more durable compared to the new ones.) It’s just too bad, though, that not all reviews specify what type of NuCore flooring they had a problem with and vice versa.

    For instance, customers who used NuCore Driftwood Oak said that the flooring was able to handle scratches well including those caused by moving heavy furniture. It may be because the texture and pattern of the flooring can hide flaws better compared to other styles.

    Padding or Underlayment

    NuCore. NuCore Vinyl comes with a pre-attached cork backing, making it softer on your feet and more comfortable to stand on for prolonged periods. The cork layer acts as padding and helps reduce noise from pet nails and second-floor stampedes. It is also resistant to mold and mildew which prevents your flooring from producing bad smells.

    3. Warranty, Returns And Damage Policies

    Floor Critics Rating: 4.0

    NuCore and NuCore Performance have different warranty coverages with NuCore Performance covering more scope being the premium variant. However, despite the claim that they are scratch-resistant, scratches are among the many things not included in the quite frustrating warranty limits.

    NuCore Residential and Commercial Warranties

    Both NuCore variants have a Lifetime Limited Residential Warranty, but NuCore only has a 15-year limited commercial warranty while NuCore Performance has a 20-year duration.

    What’s Covered?

    NuCore offers a limited lifetime warranty on residential installations of their product. Standard NuCore planks only cover manufacturing defects, wear, stain, fade, and pet-friendly warranties.

    On the other hand, NuCore Performance covers all of these including pet proof, extreme dent resistance, structure, moisture, underlayment, and installation over a radiant-heat subfloor warranties.

    Below is a description of each of the warranties:

    • Manufacturing Defects: A guarantee that the floor will be free of manufacturing defects.
    • Stain and Fade Warranty: It will not stain or fade as the result of exposure to sunlight or artificial light.
    • Wear Warranty: It will not wear through; wear through is considered a total loss of pattern in a minimum area of two square inches – scratches and loss of gloss are not considered as wear through.
    •  Pet Friendly Warranty: The floor will not stain due to pet urine if the floor is cleaned immediately and the urine is not allowed to dry.
    • Pet Proof Warranty: The flooring will resist stains from pet vomit, urine, and feces but you should clean them within 24 hours.
    • Extreme Dent Resistance Warranty: The product will not dent deeper than 1/16 inches under normal residential use.
    • Structure Warranty: It will not delaminate.
    • Moisture Warranty: When installed properly, the planks will not lose their integrity, buckle, or swell due to normal spills and mopping. 
    • Underlayment Warranty: The product comes with a pre-attached underlayment and you shouldn’t use additional underlayment.
    • Installation Over A Radiant-Heat Subfloor Warranty: You can install the flooring over radiant-heated subfloors given that you follow the installation requirements. (More on this later.)

    NuCore will replace or refund the portions of the floor in question, but they do not cover labor. But if the claim is approved after one year of purchase, they will only cover a prorated percentage of the material cost, determined by the number of years from the date of purchase.

    The same warranty conditions extend to commercial installations for a period of 15 years for NuCore Flooring and 20 years for NuCore Performance, excluding “high traffic” areas such as entry foyers and food preparation areas.

    The warranty is also not transferable and applies to the original purchaser only.

    What’s Not Covered?

    The warranty specifically does not cover damage caused by:

    • Improper installation
    • Negligence
    • Water erosion
    • Abrasion
    • Extreme heat or temperature
    • Cleaning other than advised
    • Heavy rolling loads
    • Non-compliant casters of furniture
    • Loss of gloss
    • Scratches

    For NuCore Performance, the moisture warranty doesn’t include damage from prolonged exposure to moisture in addition to the exceptions above.

    If you receive damaged goods, contact Floor and Decor’s Damage Specialists to arrange for the return of the product and a replacement shipment.

    Floor and Décor also accepts returns but requires the customer to cover the cost of the return shipment.

    Proration Schedule

    NuCore also has a proration schedule which determines the amount of money you’ll get back when you file a claim.

    For the residential warranties, the amount will be determined by the following formula:

    Prorated Percentage = (50 – # of years from the purchase date) / 50

    If you make a claim after 50 years, NuCore will only give you a 5% discount for your next purchase.

    For the commercial warranties, the formula below is used:

    Prorated Percentage = (Length of Commercial Warranty – # of years from the purchase date) / Length of Commercial Warranty

    For more information, read the complete warranty details for NuCore Flooring and NuCore Performance here.

    4. Price

    Floor Critics Rating: 5.0

    The price of NuCore planks is more affordable compared to other brands, so you’ll get a lot of savings in addition to the tons of styles you can choose from and it’s good performance.

    How Much Does NuCore Flooring Cost?

    Original NuCore planks cost between $2.69 and $4.79 per square foot while NuCore Performance ranges from $3.19 to $4.29 per square foot at the time of writing. The cost will depend  on what style you go with, with the top quality textured wood finish being at the top end.

    But really, these planks should comfortably fit into most home improvement budgets. NuCore flooring is at the lower end of the average cost for floors of this type, making them highly affordable. They are sold in cartons that will cover between 19-30 square feet. 

    In addition, Floor & Decor offers financing options to make completing your project more affordable and easier.

    5. Availability

    Floor Critics Rating: 4.0

    You can only buy NuCore planks in Floor & Decor stores nationwide. What’s great is that you can pick up your products the same day since they always have stocks. However, they don’t provide free samples. But when you do buy them, you’ll get discounts on your next purchase.

    Where Can You Buy NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank?

    NuCore is sold exclusively through Floor and Decor stores. Floor and Decor has over 100 retail locations nationwide. They also have a user-friendly website with a chat feature that allows representatives to answer questions immediately.

    Items can be either shipped to you or can be picked up in store, usually within 5-10 days. NuCore’s availability ranges from in-stock styles that can be picked up the same day to special order lines. The store also carries a line of coordinating moldings to go along with your NuCore planks. Be advised, smaller items are not always in stock and may take longer to become available.

    Make sure you allow for enough time to receive everything before scheduling or planning an install.

    Before ordering anything, read the store’s policies on shipping, damages, and returns. You can find these listed on their website.

    Where to Buy Samples

    We highly recommend getting samples before making a purchase. Floor & Decor offers samples on most flooring options. The price for each flooring sample is $3.00, including shipping, and these samples are three by six inches.

    You can order samples online, up to 10 options at a time. Floor and Decor also offers a $30 discount off your next purchase over $150 when you purchase samples.

    Plus, you can return the ones you don’t like and they will give you a refund.

    6. NuCore Flooring Installation

    Floor Critics Rating: 3.5

    NuCore can be easily installed through a tongue-in-groove system, but you need to prepare the subfloor properly to avoid issues after the installation that many customers are complaining about.

    NuCore Vinyl Plank Installation Review and Guide

    NOTE: You need to follow specific guidelines when installing NuCore planks to prevent voiding the warranty and to make sure that your flooring will provide its expected performance. If you want to ensure the success of your flooring project, we highly recommend hiring a professional instead.

    Where Can You Install NuCore LVP?

    For the original NuCore flooring, you can install them on specific subfloors only like tile, plywood, vinyl, and concrete. But with NuCore Performance, the company says that they are suitable on all types of subflooring. You can find the recommended subfloors under the specifications of each product.

    A special note: if you are installing in areas of direct sunlight such as a sunroom, the manufacturer recommends that planks be glued down in those areas.

    Where Can’t You Install NuCore LVP?

    • Heavier traffic areas like commercial food preparation areas and entry foyers
    • Areas with heavy rolling loads
    • Areas affected by repeated condensation
    • Exterior applications
    • Improper/unstable subfloors
    • Areas prone to ground and excessive topical moisture

    Unlike some other lines of LVP, they also shouldn’t be used in wet room spaces.

    How Is NuCore Installed?

    NuCore Vinyl Planks are installed with a tongue-in-groove system. This system is DIY friendly and simple to understand. The flooring comes with an integrated cork underlayment, which means there is no need to purchase and install an additional underlayer.

    The key to a successful install is to prepare the subfloor adequately.

    The planks should not be installed over the carpet or an additional underlayment (except Sentinel Protect Plus Underlayment. Also, a poly-film moisture barrier is required over concrete). Make sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines and pay attention to the specific requirements for the use of vapor barriers.

    After preparing the subfloor, lay the planks out from left to right, starting at the longest wall. Make sure you lay out the entire room before beginning the installation. You’ll want to see where you need to make any adjustments or cuts before you start working.

    Remember to handle the planks with care as the tongues and grooves are pretty delicate. Work from multiple boxes so you can vary the colors and textures.

    Always buy about 10% more than you think you’ll need. It’s better to have additional material on hand in case you run short or need to make more cuts than you initially anticipated than run to the store or order more every time you are short.

    There is nothing more frustrating than running out of planks a few feet shy of finishing your project.

    When you’re ready to install the planks, lock each board to the next at the edges. You can secure any seams by tapping them down with a scrap piece of vinyl and a rubber mallet. Don’t forget to leave ¼” for expansion around walls and obstacles.

    Don’t worry if it’s slow going at first. You will get the hang of it. The flooring will go down easier and you will be able to move faster once you become more comfortable with the procedure.

    If you need installation services, Floor & Decor has partnered with Installation Made Easy to help you find certified floor installers. If you book with them, you’ll get a 5% discount.

    For more information about installing NuCore planks, you can find specific instructions under the INSTALL & PRODUCT DOCUMENTS on the product pages of your selected NuCore style.

    Also, check out the video below for installing NuCore flooring:

    Acclimatization Tips

    Be advised, the necessary acclimatization time listed on the website conflicts with the product’s warranty. Make sure you get written clarification from the manufacturer before you install the flooring.

    Although acclimatization is often not required, you need to do it if the boxed planks have been exposed to extreme temperatures below 50˚F or above 100˚F. Keep the unopened planks under room temperature for 12 hours or more. Room temperature must remain in the range of 60°F to 80°F. 

    Temperatures outside of that range may cause the product to expand or contract and lead to visual defects, which are not covered under the warranty.

    Other Installation Tips

    • DO NOT use a poly vapor barrier as the flooring material must be adhered directly to the subfloor.
    • The surface needs to be clean, stable, and most importantly, meet the installation guidelines. Also, screwing in your subflooring into the joists and sanding it to remove imperfections before installing your flooring will make a big difference to the outcome.
    • In case your flooring was exposed to moisture for a prolonged period of time, the company suggests uninstalling your flooring and drying the planks before installing them again.

    NOTE: A lot of customers have reported problems with the click-lock joints breaking and won’t fit properly, planks curling up, spaces forming between the boards, and others. But take note that the majority of the problems encountered after installation is due to an improperly prepared subfloor most of the time.

    7. Care & Maintenance

    Floor Critics Rating: 4.5

    NuCore doesn’t have special care and maintenance instructions, but cleaning and maintaining it is pretty much the same as other vinyl plank flooring. Also, they are easy to clean through mopping or vacuuming.

    NuCore Care and Maintenance Guide

    How To Clean NuCore Flooring

    In order to keep NuCore floors looking their best and lasting as long as possible, it is vital to clean them frequently and appropriately. According to the advice provided by NuCore:

    • The floor should be swept or vacuumed daily using soft bristle attachment.
    • Damp-mop regularly as needed with cleaners that do not contain wax or oil.
    • Clean up water spills immediately and do not allow water to sit.
    • Steam cleaning with residential steam mops is permitted, but it is recommended to use the lowest setting.

    Remember that failing to follow these cleaning guidelines can void your warranty.

    NuCore also advises owners:

    • Not to drag or slide heavy objects across the floor.
    • Not to leave the floor exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time.
    • Use felt protectors on furniture and mats under rollers.
    • Place exterior and interior door mats to prevent collecting moisture and dust at entrances.
    • Wipe spills immediately and don’t allow them to dry.
    • Not to install fixed objects or cabinets on top of your flooring.

    Again, the specific care and maintenance instructions are specified in each product page.

    8. Health & Environmental Safety

    Floor Critics Rating: 3.5

    NuCore planks are GreenGuard Gold certified and have a hypoallergenic cork backing which makes them safe for your home and family.

    When searching for NuCore vinyl plank flooring reviews, you should also consider environmental and health risks associated with the flooring. The good news is that NuCore is GreenGuard Gold certified which is the highest standard for VOC emissions in addition to having a hypoallergenic backing.

    This means that NuCore is an eco-friendly and low-VOC flooring which makes it totally safe for your family. However, we didn’t find other information about sustainability on their website.

    9. NuCore Vinyl Plank Vs. The Competition – LifeProof, COREtec, Pergo, And SmartCore

    Floor Critics Rating: 4.0

    NuCore’s selection is almost the same as that of the competing brands and seem to have thicker wear layers which makes it more durable. However, if you are looking for flooring that has stood the test of time, there are better options out there.

    NuCore vs LifeProof, COREtec, Pergo, and SmartCore

    While NuCore is one of the leading new vinyl plank flooring brands on the market, it is certainly not the only option for affordable flooring that looks authentic. Let’s take a look at how NuCore compares to some of the other leading vinyl flooring brands.

    NuCore Vs. LifeProof

    LifeProof, previously known as Allure, offers a similar range of LPV flooring that is designed to look and feel like authentic wood flooring. They offer a similar flooring selection to NuCore, including designs that are more deeply embossed than standard wood-look flooring to ensure they resemble natural grains such as oak, hickory, and pine.

    Both brands also feature a soft cork underlayment for comfort and to dampen noise, as well as microbial protection that helps prevent mold. Where LifeProof stands out is that it is 100 percent waterproof, which means it is a better option for wet rooms than NuCore. LifeProof is also formaldehyde and phthalate-free, which will be reassuring to anyone conscious about bringing harsh chemicals into their homes.

    LifeProof has a wear layer of 6, 12, and 22 mils, which means it shouldn’t pick up any scratches or skid marks under normal use.

    If your floors need to put up with a lot of use, you probably want to invest in at least a 12 mils wear layer.

    NuCore Vs. COREtec

    COREtec, a line of luxury vinyl plank flooring, is manufactured by US Floors and probably looks and feels more like authentic wood than any other vinyl line currently on the market. They even look like beautiful wood planks when you take them out of the box!

    They combine real texture and graining and a micro bevel edge for the most authentic hardwood finish. While COREtec’s range looks more authentic than NuCore’s, you can also expect to pay a little more for it.

    When it comes to maintenance and durability, COREtec and NuCore are very much on a par. COREtech features a 20 mil protective wear layer, compared to NuCore’s approximately 20 mil layer, which means that both will stand up to heavy traffic, including the kind of traffic you might see in commercial spaces. Both lines use cork underlayment for walking comfort and they also mute any sounds.

    If you are planning to install your flooring yourself and you are not a DIY expert, then NuCore is your best choice. It uses a simple tongue-in-groove system. COREtec is quite a bit more complex and will require a crosscut power saw, and this may be best left to the professionals.

    But if the surface you are intending to lay your floor on has imperfections, then COREtec is your best option, as its underlayer helps hide and protect against subfloor imperfections.

    NuCore Vs. Pergo

    Pergo is probably one of the most trusted brands when it comes to laminate flooring, since they did invent the stuff about 35 years ago. They have an extensive range of hardwood-style flooring, which matches NuCore’s, but has a slightly more impressive range when it comes to other textures, such as stone or ceramic styles.

    So, if you are looking for something a little bit different, you may wish to start your search with Pergo.

    Pergo and NuCore are very similar in terms of the durability of their LVP flooring. Both offer a top of the market wear layer so your floor won’t pick up scuffs and scratches and will continue to look good, even if it is dealing with heavy traffic. Both floors are also water-resistant and won’t stain after spills if they are cleaned up within about 30 minutes.

    If your design project is ongoing and you think you may need to go back for additional flooring of the same style, then Pergo is a good choice. They are a well-established brand that is likely to have back-catalog stock available.

    NuCore seems to change their designs more frequently, which means it may be difficult to match your floors if you leave it too long. Both brands are a little unclear on the specifics of their warranty, so clarify this with your retailer before purchasing.

    NuCore Vs. SmartCore

    SmartCore certainly has fewer design options than some of its competitors in the market, including NuCore, but their design is packed with features that make it a highly desirable flooring.

    The high quality of this flooring does mean you need to pay a little more, but it is still highly affordable and you are paying for quality and innovation.

    SmartCore’s vinyl plank and tile flooring share NuCore’s easy tongue-in-groove installation system, but installation is made even easier by its patent-pending rigid constructions, which means it can smoothly overlay any imperfections in the subfloor.

    Among other things, this means there is no need to remove other flooring before laying SmartCore on top. Their product is also 100 percent waterproof, so unlike NuCore, it can be used in wet rooms.

    However, if you are laying your floor in a high traffic area or one which may need to put up with the abuse of children or animals, NuCore is your best option.

    SmartCore offers a nice 12 mils wear protective layer to prevent staining and scratches, but with NuCore, you get an ultra-durable 20 mil or more wear layer. Nevertheless, while the warranties on NuCore are a little unclear, SmartCore comes with a lifetime warranty on residential wear and a five-year warranty in the case of commercial use.


    Is NuCore Luxury A Vinyl?

    If you browse the internet for images of NuCore, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a hardwood floor line. But in reality, it is a line of vinyl floor planks designed to mimic the look and feel of hardwood floors, at a fraction of the cost.

    But cost is not the only reason some people prefer vinyl flooring to hardwood. Vinyl flooring is easy to clean, comfortable underfoot, and can reduce the noise of feet on hardwood. This can be important to people with houses full of kids and pets or commercial spaces with a lot of foot traffic.

    Vinyl flooring is certainly not as durable as hardwood. It can get scratches and scuffs, and it has a tendency to get damaged by sunlight, heat, and water. So, vinyl is not ideal for all locations.

    Is NuCore Flooring Good?

    When it comes to luxury vinyl plank flooring, NuCore is an affordable brand that provides a genuine hardwood floor finish upon installation. It is also comfortable to walk on thanks to its cork underlayment, which also helps muffle any sounds.

    NuCore comes with an impressive 20 mil or higher wear layer to provide durability, stain, and scratch resistance. However, despite promises about long-term durability, some customers have found that it is more susceptible to scratches and stains than the wear layer would suggest.

    Customers have also noted that dirt tends to build up in the grooves between the planks, which can make the floor difficult to clean. The warranty that comes with the floor should also be reviewed closely so you know what is covered.

    Overall, this is a nice affordable option for areas where it is unlikely to need to deal with heavy items of furniture that might cause scuffs and scratches and where it isn’t going to be subject to heavy-duty dirt. The price point and easy install certainly make it an option worth considering.

    Does NuCore Flooring Need Underlayment?

    While all floors require an underlayment, NuCore comes with attached cork underlayment, so there is no need to purchase or install this separately. However, if you are laying the flooring directly onto concrete sublayers, you should still install an added vapor barrier layer.

    While NuCore has additional anti-microbial protection against mold, skipping this additional layer on concrete may still result in related issues.

    This cork underlayment is a lot softer than the plastic underlayment that is used by many other LVP lines, which means that it is both comfortable to walk on and reduces noise. People walking around in shoes upstairs shouldn’t sound like a stampede from below.

    Can you glue down NuCore flooring?

    Yes, you can glue down NuCore but use an adhesive that has been approved for installation cork flooring such as Sikabond T-21.

    Final Thoughts

    NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is an affordable LVP option for those who want a hardwood look in their home but are working within a tight budget. The planks are affordable and the installation is easy; it is something you should be able to do yourself with care. Therefore, it is worth speaking to the specialists at Floor and Decor.

    But despite promises from the company in terms of their wear layers and their warranty, some customers have found that the floor is not as durable as it appears, and the warranty contains many exceptions, suggesting it might be difficult to make a claim.

    For this reason, NuCore should not be used in high traffic areas, where it is likely to get scuffed or in wet rooms as where it may become stained if not properly cared for.

    If you are looking for something more durable and versatile, there are a number of other LVP options on the market that are worth investigating.

    Whenever you buy this type of product, always shop around, get details in writing, and know what you’re buying before the money leaves your hands.

    If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with NuCore flooring, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

    About Fortino Rosas

    Chief Floor Critic, 32 years of experience in flooring installation and sales

    Fortino Rosas is an independent flooring contractor with 32 years of experience in residential and commercial flooring installation and sales. He joined the Floor Critics team to share his expertise with our readers. Fortino has acquired vast knowledge and skills in the areas of product selection, space planning, and installation. He has installed flooring in residential, government, and commercial office projects in the Midwest. Visit Website.

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