nucore vinyl plank flooring review

NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Like its name implies NuCore vinyl planks are the flooring of a new generation. It may be hard to believe but, today’s vinyl floors are often mistaken for real wood and natural stone. The latest technology has enabled companies to make these planks better than ever.

While it’s true vinyl planks have come a long way from the days of disco-balls, and flashy patterns, not all flooring is created equal. Always do your homework before spending your hard-earned dollars.

Here’s what you need to know about NuCore vinyl plank before heading to the stores:

Where Can You Buy NuCore?

NuCore is sold only through Floor and Décor stores. Floor and Décor is a national chain, frequented by both contractors and consumers. They also have a user-friendly site with a chat feature that allows representatives to answer questions immediately.

NuCore availability ranges from in-stock styles that can be picked up the same day to special order which usually ship within 7-10 days. The store also carries a line of coordinating moldings to go along with your NuCore Planks.

Be advised smaller items are not always stocked and may take longer to come in.

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

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

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What Styles are Available?

NuCore vinyl plank comes in a variety of 35 colors and patterns. Your choices of finish include gloss, scraped and hand scraped.  Styles range from airy whitewashed gray tones to deeper mahogany shades.

These planks are $2- $3 a square foot and are easy to afford. NuCore is sold in cartons that will cover between 19-30 square feet. The average plank sizes are between 6”-7” wide and 48” inches long.

NuCore is available in thicknesses of 5.5mm – 6.5mm. NuCore vinyl comes with a pre-attached cork backing, making it softer on your feet and more comfortable to stand for prolonged periods. The cork layer acts as padding and helps to reduce noise from pet nails and second- floor stampedes.

Some NuCore planks also feature an anti-microbial layer to help resist mold and mildew. All NuCore planks are water and scratch resistant: however, the exact levels may not be consistent across the brand.

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How is NuCore Installed?

NuCore vinyl planks install with a tongue in groove system. This system is DIY friendly and simple to understand. The key to a successful install is to prepare the subfloor adequately.

Make sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines and pay attention to the specific requirements for the use of vapor barriers. Be advised, the necessary acclimatization time listed on the website conflicts with the product’s warranty. Make sure you get a written clarification from the manufacturer; before you install the flooring.

After preparing the sub-floor, 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.

Work from multiple boxes so you can vary the colors and textures. Always buy about 10% extra 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.

There is nothing as frustrating as 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.

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The Pros and Cons of Nucore

NuCore flooring is a cost-friendly option. The price of these planks will fit into most buyer’s home improvement budgets. The floors thickness is also comparable to more expensive brands.

NuCore has a wide range of shading and finishes available for you to choose from. The company’s warranty also includes a pet-friendly clause and guarantees their vinyl plank won’t permanently stain if pet accidents are wiped up before completely dry.

However, it’s a bit concerning that there are no government certificates posted anywhere on Floor and Décor’s website. Information about where these floors are produced seems to be missing as well. It’s also puzzling that the company doesn’t openly display NuCore’s wear layer or level of scratch resistance.

The absence of any non-endorsed positive reviews seems a bit strange and discouraging.

There is no downloadable NuCore catalog on the website, which might mean that NuCore styles may change frequently. That could become a problem if you’re replacing existing flooring a little at a time. You may not be able to match the planks exactly when you’re ready to move on to the next room.

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The Final Verdict

NuCore vinyl planks may be good quality, inspected, and, certified, but there are no written specifics to be found. The good news is that these planks don’t have many customer complaints either. If you’re hoping to save some money, this plank may be worth talking to a specialist at Floor and Decor.

But, while the price is important, it’s not the only factor to consider when buying new flooring. NuCore vinyl isn’t your only choice. There are more transparent brands on the market that offer excellent value for the money.

Another way to find out how well NuCore holds up is to check the company’s social media profiles and talk to local installers. There are also independent flooring inspectors that may be able to shed more light on this brand. Contact Floor and Décor and ask them to supply copies of any certifications you might find useful.

One final thought–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 social media

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Jeanine Hintze

About Jeanine Hintze

Jeanine Hintze is a professional content writer, and home improvement enthusiast from Long Island.

39 thoughts on “NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring Review”

  1. I see a lot of posts here but none of them list the thickness of the product they settle on, 3 mil, 6 mil or 6.5 mil Nucore? To compare 3 mil and 6 mil is like comparing apple and oranges. Please list the thickness when you post. Thank you.

  2. Did one of the 3 rooms as phase 1 about 3 weeks ago with the 6.5mm Dune Rigid Core SKU 100494475, so far so good. I agree with what others mentioned that the planks are pretty thin thus require very flat sub-floors. Spent an entire day removing carpet and prep the wood sub-floor, removing every staple and patching every hole I could find. Also must handle the planks with extra care to avoid damaging the corners. The plus side is it’s very easy to cut and didn’t generate a lot of dust. I used a wood circular saw blade on a wet tile saw (not nearly as powerful as a circular saw/miter saw) to make some very long cuts, even a tile saw cuts it like butter.

    We have a metal frame king size bed putting all the weight on 4 tiny feet. Time will tell if the planks would dent over time…

    Phase 2 with the other 2 rooms will start next month, difference is they have concrete sub-floors. Will update here when done.

  3. If we already have tile down do we still have to install under layment? By the way, we’re in Az where we have almost no humidity.

  4. Can you use Nucore laminate planks (6.5mm) to support an 8′ pool table or will it dent and/or buckle from the heavy weight?

  5. Just went to floor and decor to check out their NuCore line after going to several local flooring companies and getting outrageous prices for vinyl plank. The look and feel of the flooring seemed on par with the higher end brands I’d seen at half the price. Was told it has a 22mil wear layer!

  6. Don’t understand why we had to order the transition pieces. They were special order and not available in the store. We were also charged around 20.00 for delivery to the store. These pieces should be available, you need them to install.

  7. Small project but am not at all happy with the effort going into making the seams not visible. Light color could be problem but I don’t feel this is a quality product. Snap in system is too thin and delicate. Aborting this product and going with tile. Not at all happy after 2 boxes. Would not recommend.

  8. I have over 12 years residential remodeling and painting experience. I have installed numerous hardwood floors and laminate floors over the years and with the exception of normal aggravations and things that go along with this type of work I have no real complaints… until now.

    I just installed some NuCore vinyl plank flooring (cityscape 12 x 24 x just shy of 1/4”) And within a couple of days corners are popping up and edges are coming loose especially in the main walkway of the room. I did have my doubts when I noticed how small the groove is that the flooring snaps into. I measured just shy of a 16th of an inch. Where it did snap together easy that part was true, but the tongue and groove is very fragile and would break with any slight adjustment. I do not recommend this flooring. It was a complete waste of time and money.

  9. We are trying to compare quality difference between Lowes, Smartcore Luxury Vinyl Plank/Cottage Oak and Nucore 6mm light gray plank with cork backing.

    Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. I must say, I am totally pleased with NuCore to date. My wife and I started installing our floor in our lake home in Michigan… colder winters than here in Ohio… and a lot of sand! We started putting the floor down in January and just now finishing up (with having to order additional product – no problem with matching or similarities which may cause concern). We have no complaints… a full summer of use… water, sand, moving items around during construction and at times 10 people and 3 labradoodles and one golden doodle!

      Price was in line and installation… once you get started, goes easier. I highly recommend using a scrap piece to tap pieces together… also I like the option of using glue if needed along some edges.. like the bath tub or by our kitchen island. We ran this floor throughout our entire house- bedrooms and all- love the ease of making it all fit together from room to room. RECOMMEND. Bought in Columbus Ohio… installed in NW Michigan!

  10. I purchased my flooring in Arizona from Floor and Decor who assured me that summer heat would not affect the product. NOT SO. It buckled under the heat and they now deny my warranty because the manufacturer said the room temperature should not have exceeded 80 degrees. I am a snowbird and I know of no snowbird that leaves their airconditioning below 80 when they leave. I would never recommend this for hot climates. Floor and Decor ignores my complaint and I am now left with replacing an entire floor in my house even though the product is less than a year old.

    1. First of all 80* is too high, I’ve been in HVAC for 37 years and I have recommended that. More so, my clients would do so. High temp equals high humidity. That was your problem, not the flooring.

    2. Also purchased Nucor flooring at Floor and Decor in Arizona and the flooring buckled the first summer when there was no air conditioning.

      Was not told by anyone that there was a temperature range that this floor needed to stay within or it would not be covered by warranty. Temp range is 60-80. Interesting that now this temperature range is talked about by the sales people at Floor and Decor. Be aware snowbirds, do not install this flooring in Arizona unless you plan to run your air conditioner during the hot summer.

  11. I used Nucore Driftwood Oak Plank on my rental 2 years ago and it still looks brand new. When I got a sample I wanted to see how tough it was compared to laminate. So I took my house key and rubbed it multiple times with pressure against the surface of the product to test its scratch resistance. It survived without a mark. The laminate samples had gouges and unsightly scratch marks after my little test. The Nucore has survived renters with dogs and kids.

    As for divets from walking or heavy furniture use I haven’t seen any. But then again the Driftwood Oak Plank pattern and texture maybe hiding those flaws better than other types.

  12. We installed NuCore in our home under the guise that it was very durable. However, there are many “divets” in the floor. It also has scratched easily. It was installed only a few months ago. We have no pets and are extremely careful with the flooring. I don’t ever post reviews, but we spent so much on this flooring plus the installation that I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake. We bought Red Mahogany High Gloss. The color is stunning–the divets, not so much!

    1. My guess is that because it’s a high gloss finish, any dents will easily show. With the reviews for their matte textured finished flooring, this doesn’t seem to be as much of problem or at least it’s not as noticeable.

  13. We are looking at Coretec Pro Plus – Galveston Oak or Shaw Floorte Antica HD Plus -Tempesta. Coretec is cork backed and Shaw is rubber backed. What is the difference/pros-cons of the two types of backing? This is for our bedroom and we are on a concrete slab.

  14. We installed NuCore throughout our 2100 sf home in Austin, TX. It was installed over a year ago. We have children, a labradoodle, and a pool that could have impacted these floors but happily we have no issues to report. In the past, we have had hardwood floors but this time decided to try NuCore. We are very happy with our decision..

  15. I just bought Nucore for my entire house and having a difficult time putting it in. It’s hard to cut small areas around air vents and post etc. Any tips on what to use to make better cuts without messing up the planks? Some of the planks break on the sides when I take them out of the box. Can I exchange for more? Thanks

    1. You need to contact Floor and Décor where you bought the flooring about returns and how to install the flooring. This website is just for consumers looking for information, it is not the manufacturer.

  16. Spent almost $4,000 on 1200sq ft of flooring and I’m not satisfied with the product at all. Took me and a friend that’s laid many laminate and hardwood floors over 8 hours to do 2 rooms. Not only was it hard to work with but we took our time when making sure every joint and seam was perfect. (Especially being on my own house). I had told my wife who is just as picky as me to look it over. After 3 days the floor in the second room started to split at the 4’ seam. Looks to me the planks are warped. Now I realize why it was so hard to lay. I made sure the subfloor was properly screwed and nailed down on my hands and knees and level. Also swept and vacuumed several times in the days leading up to the project! I followed every step on the website side of the box. I tapped every piece in 3 different spots. Not only that it was on the second room of the day in the 8 hours. And it was only about 400sqft. I have contacted the manufacturer and I’m still waiting for a response, and I have to pay for a licensed contractor to come out and inspect the job I did. I did another 600 the 2 days after and have no problem. Just the one room. I was told by them I have to stop laying the floor and keep my house torn apart so they can inspect. It’s getting to the point where I just want a complete refund and they can take their product with them and I’ll go with something of better quality for the price I spent!

    1. Hello, We are considering NuCore. Were you told by Nucore or your contractor to stop? Did you get a reply from NuCore? Any other issues, or what point are you at?

    2. Hi Joe
      Were you able to get a response or refund from the manufacturer? I have the same problem with the splitting of the 9″ side and corners are popping out everywhere (2000 sq ft). My contractor ripped it out and redid the subfloor and installed new flooring, and after 2 months, same thing is happening and they said that there my be an issue with the tongue because it so thin. Thanks for your info.

  17. Love it. Easy to install with a beautiful finish. Highly recommend. No issues with scratching from our large dog.

  18. Marlene Crep

    I have Nucore throughout my home. Although I like it, it seems a little dull. Can I add anything to my cleaning methods to give the floor a little shine?

  19. I’m about to lay NuCore throughout my condo. It’s on-grade slab in Florida and the carpet I’m replacing had an issue with mold. There are cracks in the slab that were sealed prior to me moving in. I’m about to do a calcium carbide test to see the moisture levels but I can’t find the acceptable levels for NuCore. I plan on sealing the flooring and using liquid leveler. We’re you able to find the acceptable levels of relative humidity or moisture?

  20. I installed it on a cement slab, (because of the cork backing no other underlayment is needed) in my living room, entrance, kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom. I’ve had it for almost 3 months and love it. Soft to walk on with the cork backing, and spills wipe right up, even stains!

    Use either a dry Swiffer to get dust and stuff off the floor or once a week I vacuum. I have an attachment on my Shark for floors. Had contractors working in the house and just had to wipe up snow prints, even dried up salt from boots wiped up with a damp paper towel! It was also easy to install.

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