Smartcore luxury vinyl plank review

SmartCore Ultra Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

By Fortino Rosas / September 18, 2021 / 252 Comments

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    We’re taking a closer look at a particularly popular vinyl plank brand: SmartCore Ultra Flooring.

    With so many different options in flooring, how do you choose just one? Even if you narrow things down to one type of flooring, you still have a TON of options.

    Even though luxury vinyl plank is relatively new to the flooring market, it’s now being produced by numerous manufacturers.

    As big brands have begun to recognize vinyl plank’s demand, a huge range of styles and features have become available.

    So, what is so great about SmartCore Ultra Flooring?

    This unique flooring brand has some stand-out features the company is looking to patent, and offers a diverse product line. Lets dive a little deeper into those features, and find out what consumers are saying about the SmartCore Ultra line.


    SmartCore Ultra flooring is a premium engineered vinyl plank flooring that is available exclusively through Lowe’s. It is durable, attractive, and very easy to install.

    It is a glueless floating floor that can be installed on top of most hard surface subfloors. So, you don’t have to remove old tile, laminate, or another flooring first.

    While there are many great vinyl flooring products on the market, what makes Smartcore unique is its patent-pending rigid construction. It is designed to hide the imperfections on your subfloor.

    This unique construction also prevents telegraphing, which sometimes happens if the subfloor isn’t clean and clear of debris. Unfortunately, many of the alternative vinyl flooring options can show even the smallest speck of dirt or debris left behind.

    Another great feature of SmartCore is that it is 100% waterproof and will not warp or swell if exposed to water. So you can install it in wet rooms like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.

    In addition to its waterproof core, SmartCore Ultra flooring has a resilient top layer of luxury vinyl plus a 12 mil. protective wear layer to prevent staining.

    It comes with waterproof, structure, and residential wear lifetime warranties. And there’s also a five-year warranty for commercial use.

    SmartCore also rates as an eco-friendly option, as it has the GREENGUARD GOLD seal of approval.

    Not only is this line a practical option, it is also a very attractive one. Let’s look at the different styles and options available.

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    Styles & Options

    This vinyl flooring comes in several different sizes of planks or 12” x 24” tiles. You can also order moldings and trim work to match for a finished look.

    The vinyl planks offer a number of wood looks in shades of brown and gray including Tahitian Walnut, Canberra Acacia, Rustic Hickory, and several variations of oak. You can also choose vinyl tiles that resemble stone.

    SmartCore has a variety of looks to fit different tastes and designs. So, whether you want a trendier look, or prefer something classic, you can find a style to suit you.

    Each carton covers anywhere from 15 to 28 square feet and costs between $3 and $4 per square foot. Of course, this can vary slightly depending on where you live.

    And with a reasonable price point, this flooring is a great option for most budgets.

    Even though SmartCore looks like wood flooring, it is as easy to install as laminate. So, you can save even more by laying it yourself.

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    Installation & Maintenance

    SmartCore’s 5” planks use drop/lock installation. They are fairly easy to install and only require a few tools such as a circular saw, rubber mallet, spacers, and a tape measure.

    Simply lay them over your hard surface subfloor in a staggered pattern. To make sure that your planks have a nice blend of shades, remove them from the box and shuffle them up before installing.

    The 7” planks are installed using the tap/angle method. You’ll need a crosscut power saw, tapping block, hammer, and a pull bar to install these planks.

    But the process is still relatively simple and can definitely be a DIY project.

    If you live in a colder area and want to install in-floor radiant heat, this flooring works well with it.

    Whatever type of SmartCore you choose, maintaining these floors is easy to do.

    Try to keep them away from too much direct sunlight and use floor protectors under your furniture.

    To clean them, a broom or vacuum with a hard surface setting works great. You can also mop them for a deeper cleaning, but avoid using harsh chemicals on them.

    With routine maintenance and a lifetime warranty, you can potentially enjoy your Smartcore floors for a very long time.

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    So what do people think of SmartCore Ultra flooring? On average, these floors have received 4 stars across the sources we assessed.

    Many people who purchased and installed this flooring were extremely pleased with the results. They loved the look of these floors.

    A number of people even felt like they closely resembled wood.

    SmartCore Ultra received mixed reviews on installation. Some felt they were very easy to install while consumers had more trouble.

    However, many people noted how forgiving these floors were with imperfect subfloors (thanks to their patent-pending construction).

    Overall, most people who purchased these floors were very happy with the result.

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    Is SmartCore Ultra a good product?

    Yes, SmartCore Ultra is a good flooring product because it’s 100% waterproof and has a 12mil wear layer. Additionally, SmartCore Ultra has interlocking technology so the planks are easy to install yourself. These luxury vinyl planks are affordable and come with a lifetime warranty.

    What is the difference between SmartCore and SmartCore Ultra?

    The difference between these two products is the material used for the core of the luxury vinyl planks. The SmartCore Ultra planks are made with a wooden plastic composite that gives the flooring extra bounce. On the other hand, SmartCore features a stone plastic composite core for extra durability.

    Is SmartCore vinyl flooring toxic?

    Thankfully, SmartCore’s Ultra and Pro lines are low-VOC options. Unfortunately, many vinyl floors are rich in VOCs, chemicals that can be harmful to your health. If you’re looking for a non-toxic alternative, you should opt for non-VOC or low-VOC vinyl planks.  

    These two collections are Greenguard Certified, which means that they are tested for VOC emissions and more than 10,000 different chemicals. Since they showed low emission levels, the Ultra and Pro lines are an excellent choice for your home if you’re looking for vinyl flooring.

    How long does SmartCore vinyl plank flooring last?

    Although it’s really tough to tell how long the SmartCore vinyl plank flooring will last, it’s safe to say that this is a highly durable product that will last for at least a decade. In addition, the brand offers a lifetime warranty when you purchase their vinyl planks, so that’s a huge advantage.
    SmartCore vinyl planks have a thick wear layer, are waterproof, and can withstand a lot of traffic; they are considered a high-quality option that will be in your home for a very long time. Once you receive your vinyl planks, you have to read the manufacturer’s care instructions and follow them to avoid losing the warranty.

    How to install SmartCore vinyl flooring?

    Start by ensuring that the room is clean and dry and the subfloor is flat. Next, get the first plank and place it with the tongues facing the wall, making sure that there’s a ¼-inch gap between the wall and the planks. Finally, lock each plank on the short side before you continue with the second row.
    Start the second row with a plank that’s more than eight inches long and place it at an angle to the planks from the first row. When you hear a clicking sound, it means that you’ve installed the plank properly.

    How to clean SmartCore vinyl plank flooring?

    To provide proper care for your SmartCore vinyl plank flooring and to ensure longevity, you should sweep it and vacuum it a few times a week. The next step is to deep clean the flooring once a week or once every two weeks using a damp mop and a cleaning solution for vinyl planks.
    You should never use a steam cleaner on your vinyl floors because they can cause damage. Another thing to avoid is abrasive cleaning solutions, bleach, harsh chemicals, vacuums with scrubs or brush extensions.

    The Verdict

    If you are in the market for a long-lasting, durable flooring that can hold up to a variety of elements, then SmartCore Ultra could be the right choice for you.

    It comes with a lifetime warranty, is reasonably priced, and is touted as being 100% waterproof.

    It looks like hardwood, without the price or hassle of true hardwood. And it is relatively easy to install.

    SmartCore works on most subfloors and is designed to avoid telegraphing. It even has a patent pending on this feature.

    You can find it in several sizes, including a tile option, and there are some really nice wood species and colors to choose from.

    However, you can only find them at Lowe’s. So you may have to order online if there is not a store in your area.

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    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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