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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    252 thoughts on “SmartCore Ultra Vinyl Plank Flooring Review”

    1. Not only was this the hardest stuff I have put down (wouldn’t click together, kept coming apart all across the floor) etc… but also, I bought 2 cases of the same color number and they were totally different colors, one was light, the other darker.

    2. I would like to start by noting that although I am not a professional I have installed laminate, ceramic tile, ceramic plank, hardwood, engineered hardwoods, and now luxury vinyl…and I will never buy LVT again.

      Maybe there is a better brand but designs seems to be very close upon various inspections.

      I bought 500 sq. foot from Lowes of the smart core brand, but I wish I would have just bought the cheaper option at lumber liquidators and saved MY money. I cant imagine it could have turned out any worse than it did.

      Where do I start:
      -Subfloors must be near perfectly level to get seams to align
      -Edges don’t drop and lock, its more like drop and pop and persuade with a leather mallet in hopes that this piece doesn’t blow out the corner in the process.
      -The plastic “bump block” that they recommend does help a lot, but I had better luck using it to lock in the previous row ends than the current row itself.
      -Even after flooring is installed, the pieces can come apart on their own. Although only one piece has came apart so far on my install, it was on the 11th row so I’m not very excited about tearing it back to make it right. (after reading these reviews I am guessing that the issue is something petty like a piece of debris, a pebble, or a wrinkle in the underlayment seam that is causing the separation)

      1. I read that it can go over any type of floor. I have a kitchen, hallways and 3 bathrooms that have Saltillo tiles floors with wide (1″) grout lines. My living room & dining room ,about 600 sq feet has porcelain tile with 1/4″ grout lines. Do either of these floor types require special treatment first?

    3. If you have “loose joints” it is because you are not tapping them together. You can’t just put them together using your hands and force. I would say that the hardest part about laying this flooring is my back aches from crawling around and getting up and down because I am almost 60 years old. I have never layed flooring before but I followed instructions and used common sense and well….. anyone that has seen it thinks a pro did it and now wants me to install their flooring but like I said I’m getting too old to be doing this stuff

    4. The flooring is great. Although I have installed floors before, I did not install the Smartcore Ultra simply because Lowe’s won’t honor the lifetime warranty unless it is “professionally” installed. That being said, I can’t speak to the installation issues others have had. My installers knocked out the entire house including concrete leveling in 2 1/2 days with no issues with the product & very little waste, so if you know what you are doing, it apparently installs easily. The texture on this product is what sold us over Home Depot’s brand, which was smooth with no texture & gave us concern about potential slipping accidents, not to mention it just looks better and not so cheap.

    5. I was told by Lowe’s not to use anything but 100% cotton. Like a bath mat. I found one to put by each doorway but my 1 year old puppy loves to mess it up. Life is exciting!!

    6. Valerie Horton

      Bought Smartcore Clayton Hickory flooring. I only wish I had read the reviews before I bought this. It was a Nightmare to put down. The pieces would not stay locked in place. After awhile the piece that attaches to the other piece would break off. I have purchased the flooring tools that were suggested, so that was not the problem. I will never buy this flooring again. Lowe’s should consider not to carry this line. I finally had to borrow a neighbors braid nailer and nail it in place!

      1. My sentiment sentiments exactly! Hard to work with and its not as durable as the carton says it. Installed took three times
        longer than normal.

        1. Over the 4th if July weekend we had a professional home builder, my husband & brother-in-law install 600 sq. feet of Trivoli Travertine. It took these guys, plus 3 women opening cartons & bringing tiles to them, 3 long grueling days. The floor fought them every step of the way. The tiles were often warped from side to side. They were not straight. Some were almost 1/8″ off. They bowed very badly. The home builder is a friend of ours & he said it was “the” worst floor he had ever put down & would “never” install another one. One the other side of this I absolutely love it once it was installed. It looks absolutely beautiful. I hope I will be
          very happy with it for many years & it will hold up.

          1. All you cheepees that think just because they sell you on the fact that it can be a do it yourself project and you all fall for sales pitch. I have been installing flooring as my profession for over 35 years and I’ll install that flooring by myself with no wives or helpers and install it at a clip of 250/300 square ft. A day no sweat but it will cost you the going rate 2.50/300$ depending on size and layout and that is the fact of the matter.

            1. Lowe’s estimate is for $4,900 + tax for installation of 1,425 sq ft.
              Seems too high even with moving furniture.

      2. I’m 70 years old and just installed 3 floors with Smart Core Sennia Stone. Not exactly easy. I noticed once you install 2 or 3 pieces go back and hit seems with a rubber hammer. Helps to lock them in.

    7. Went down easy looks good put it down in kitchen and dining room . Wanted to put Dow in living room found out columbia oak is discontinued . Bought it in Jan. 2019 . Hope I don’t need any replacement pieces !!!!

    8. Install over 1000sq ft of this in just 3 weekends on my own. I installed the Blue Ridge Pine on the entire main floor of our house and all bathrooms upstairs including the master. It went down very easily. Better than any other vinyl or laminate flooring I have layed. I am a DIY’er and these floors are awesome! Super easy to clean as well.

      1. Hi I was wondering do you have to have a moisture barrier down on the subflooring first? I have the Richmond Oak and I was told I didnt need an under layment and now I have 50% installed and found a article that said you need a moisture barrier and it’s too late for me to go back?

        1. I was told that under layment and a moisture barrier are two different things. With SmartCore you do not need an under layment but you do need a moisture barrier.

        2. It’s never to late with a laminate that’s one the benefits just lithely #them with a #2 pencil and lift them out from stop point to beginning put down your moisture barrier and always consult with a professional floor installer
          first Im sure we can work something out

        3. Moisture barrier is only when installing over concrete. Smartcore underlayment is also a moisture barrier. However if installing on top of wood subfloor no moisture barrier is not necessary and underlayment will help with comfort,, moisture barrier, uneven subfloors. It would not hurt you to put a moisture barrier on OSB board subfloor but it’s not necessary

    9. I am search for Smartcore stillwater oak. I understand that this item has been discontinued, Lowe’s no longer carry it. I need two more boxes to finish my dinnering room renovation. Any ideas????

    10. I just installed the Blue Ridge Oak in my bathroom and I love it! We have to replace our kitchen floor and we wanted wood floors but they are expensive. I’ve fallen in love with our bathroom floor that I’m going to extend it into the kitchen. And yes, it looks like real wood and feels like real wood, love it!

      1. I am trying to get a sample of the Smart Core Naturals Rivers Edge Oak and the Hot Springs Hickory engineered hardwood that is 100% waterproof. Lowe’s never has any samples left when we go there. Also the tiny little samples are not big enough to really show what the floor will look like. It is very difficult to choose a floor you want to be in the kitchen for a lifetime from tiny samples.

        I do wish you had an arrangement with Lowe’s that we could take a large sample home after leaving a deposit. I have seen too many samples look totally different from the pictures we see on the website. Also, I need rigid Core construction and the click together planks. No glue down floor.

        Thank you for any help you can give me

        Rebecca Shroyer

        1. We were looking at Smart Core Ultra Toasted Eucalyptus, which our local Lowes did not stock. I ordered one box of it so we could get a good look at it. It was worth $60 for us.

        2. The guy who helped us told us we could buy a box, take it home, lay it out, and bring it back if we didn’t like it.

      1. I want Vinyl Flooring to go over my tile! I will pay top dollar but only if it is a “Healthy Option”, such as one “FREE OF VOCS”! Is it even made? Cuz if not, I won’t jeopardize my familys health nor my animals for flooring that is not a healthy option. Thanks

        1. If you find out, please let me know ASAP. We are looking for flooring now. I’m trying to learn all I need to know before making a purchase.

      2. It’s was very difficult then and now to get correct instructions on how to clean these floors. When we initially purchased ours a few years ago there was only one option: Swiffer Wet Cloths. We live in a large home. Too time consuming and expensive. It appears that they have changed the instructions on cleaning. I need to know ASAP.

        1. I have a sample and I put it under my steam mop turned on and left it for 20 minutes. It seem to be fine after that. You could test cleaners on a sample also, I haven’t done that.

    11. We are putting this thoughout or house. We have tile in some areas. can we bring up other areas with plywood and put it right over the tile or do we need add some sort of under layment.

    12. Am installing this right now, decided to look for reviews after having issues installing this. It doesn’t “snap” together, joints are all loose, floating is a nice word when in fact it is always shifting around because the joints are all loose. Poor product, buyer beware! Would have been better using cheap vinyl tile squares. The product I am installing is gardena marble.

      1. The customer got this floor it looks very nice tried to get it to lock together and had all kind of problems we boxed it up and they are taking it back

      2. I am having the same problem with the same product Gardena marble, I have taken the floor up now and called Lowes to hire an installer. Would like to know if installers can make it look good like the sample at Lowes display?

        1. If you don’t use the the tools that they sell by the flooring itself (a tapping block $10 and a dead blow hammer $20) you can’t get the flooring to snap together perfectly. A rubber mallet left us with broken edges and just didn’t have the force to lock them. But if you use those tools it snaps together like a dream and is very tight and waterproof. After going back for the right tools, our 14 year old son was able to finish the flooring by himself. Spend the extra $30!

          1. We installed the Gardena marble as well? Love the color but horrible product. We had it installed professionally. After a few months of normal use it started separating, lifting and cracking. We replaced half of the floor with new planks and 6 weeks later, same issues.

      3. I agree, junk. Installed 700 sq ft of their “premium engineered vinyl flooring” and the joints are loose and don’t stay connected. Filled a claim and it was denied by the manufacture do to moisture. So much for the lifetime warrantee, and 100% waterproof claim. Now I’m out $2,000 and have to replace the floor.

        1. If the joints are loose it is not installed correctly. Read the directions and get the right tools. Once you get the hang of it you will find it goes to together fairly quickly and the floor will be solid.. I take my time and make sure each piece is right. It helps to have keen eyesight and use a playing card as a feeler gauge.

      4. I have used this floor twice now and it has no loose joints. It absolutely does snap together. It takes a little effort to get it to snap correctly sometimes depending upon how well you lined up the pieces. Maybe you didnt install it correctly. Saying it floats just means it isnt nailed to the floor. I love this flooring and am about to get more to put in my master bedroom. Already used it in my master bath and a secondary bedroom.

      5. I have that Gardena Marble in 3 rooms. I did hire some one to put mine in and he did not have any trouble.

      6. I agree, we had this put down two years ago and the joints are coming loose and some of the ends are curling up. I’m very disappointed with this floor.

      7. You are mistaken sir. This is a very high quality product and it’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools. Ask anyone who is a professional and they can install this floor without any issues. Poor installation can bias people on a product. Don’t blame your tools. Do a better install.

    13. I was seriously considering this flooring in several rooms. However, after reading so many negative results I have changed my mind. The potential problems are obviously not worth the risk. Thanks to all for your help.

      1. Mr. Ramey,
        I appreciate your taking the time to share important information. I am a research scientist and engineer when it comes to a decision to invest a major amount of cash and especially when I will be walking on and maintaining flooring. I did a major amount of research and testing to determine first and foremost should I even consider put down vinyl flooring and what would its cost and functional value be compared to other even more expensive products. I found two issues with all vinyl flooring planks, except Home Depot’s Life Proof: (1) scratches easy and does not wear well, and (2) not truly water proof that can lead to microbial issues, stink, and human or animal health issues. Now I am not in love with Home Depot at all and don’t agree with everything they do, but the Life Proof product after my very thorough extensive testing is the only product that is worth the investment. I might note that I absolutely hate having to do things twice and in my estimation Life Proof was the only product I would select over expensive tile. I installed the Life Proof and it functions as I expected and even better. I had some other work done by a contractor and thought that some of the things they did, like drag the table saw over the Life Proof flooring, but nothing happened. This stuff is tough and interestingly looks good and a lot like wood. Thank you Mr. Ramey for reaffirming the decision I made. Wallace Weiss

    14. Just installed the SmartCore Oak in my kitchen, living room and hallway. It looks faboulous! Our installers had no problem what so ever laying down this flooring. It snapped together easliy and we do not have any issues with the flooring! I would recommend this product to everyone!

      1. Love this product!! Went from concrete floor we stained ourself to this product! Took installer 2 days to install. Went from I hate my house to I love my house in those two days. Easy to vacuum and clean with a bucket of warm water. It was a bit expensive but well worth it. Love how the colors flow and looks like real wood.

    15. I just installed the Canberra Acacia in my 7 x 6 foot bathroom over a cement floor and it looks beautiful. It was a little tricky to get snap them at first, but once you get the hang of it, it goes fairly quickly. The important part was the tapping block and a mallet. I saw another you tube video where the guy snapped the long edge then whacked the short edges with a mallet to get them to snap. Worked like a charm. They also cut fairly nice with a straight edge and a utility knife. I can send pictures for anyone interested. I am very pleased with the results and hope this lasts for many years.

      1. Yes please send pictures. We are considering purchasiNg. We’re doorways Troublesome to cut. Did you use an additional moisture barrier. Thanks.

      2. I am new to lvp flooring and i am concerned about the voc toxicity of this product being it is made with pcv material i have asthma

    16. I wish I had read these reviews before buying smart core pro, it doesn’t lock together like it should and Yes it does look cheap due to not fitting correctly. I will never buy it again!! Actually, I wish I hadn’t purchased it the first time.

      1. I watched a few you tube videos of other people who installed it and practiced a bit. It is tricky but if you can get it, it looks great. Maybe it was a bad batch?

        1. Just installed mine 2 weeks ago and I’m in love. I have 4 large dogs and they are seeming to hold up to their nails very well and clean easily.
          I can’t seem to attach a picture though. If you want to send me your email I’ll be glad to attach 🙂

          1. please send me pictures of your 4 large dogs and any scratches they made. I am very seriously ready to purchase the Smartcore Pro and want real-world review

          2. We are worried about scratching. From kitchen chairs or dogs nails. We are replacing our xP Pergo after exposure to water from dishwater failure. Lifted at edges.

            1. Ye olde dishwasher failure. I had that. What a nightmare. It caused us to have to change our whole floor. We chose Pergo XP for the replacement. That was nightmarish, too. Defects in the floor. Edges would not level with one another. (I hate the Pergo because it constantly snaps, crackles, and pops when you walk on it.) Finally Pergo agreed to pull it out and replace it. So, Pergo did OK by us. I think I’m going with Smartcore this time. The Pergo laminate is curling up at some edge spots. It doesn’t wear well.

          3. I bought a box of each in stock and played them out at home. A box looks WAY different over a sample. Happily all boxes looked much better than sample. Give it a try.

      2. I regret buying this flooring. It did not want to lock together. The spacing between the tiles moves all the time. I wish I could rip it all up and return it. Not happy at all

        1. I feel the same exact way. I left a comment on the website and was contacted by Smartcore to email or call them directly. When I emailed them, they told me to contact Lowes. Feels like one big run around. I want to cry whenever I walk into my kitchen.

      3. I bought a box of smart core hybrid to test the lnstalation and or locking of the material . I am a 30 yr union carpenter. I had no issues . My Wife and I thougt it was as close as you can get to the real deal . I will agree it takes a little finesse to get the process down . I would suggest getting an installer if your not experienced. .

    17. Jeff Schmitt,

      You seem quite knowledgeable. We are just starting to look at flooring for a rental. Stairs and the main level. What would you recommend? I want durable wear for rental with possible pets. I was suggested to look at Any thoughts you have would be very appreciated. It is kind of overwhelming!!

    18. We are preparing to install Smart Core Ultra Travoli Travertine (12 x 24 approx.) in our bathrooms, kitchen and utility room. My understanding is to install around kitchen cabinets. Do we install around the refrigerator and stove or do we lay the Smart Core on the floor and then put the stove and refrigerator on top? We have new bathrooms and a new utility room. The showers and bathtubs are already installed so we will install around them. What about the vanities and the toilets? Do we install the Smart Core and then install the vanities and toilets on top?

      1. I just had the travertine installed in my cabin and I LOVE IT! Best decision ever! I did not do the install, Lowes did a great job. They moved my refrigerator, washer and dryer, and the toilets. My oven is built in, and they just did up to the edge on the dishwasher. They did around the cabinets, and then did 1/4 round matching molding.

      2. Excellent choice!
        Go around cabinets and finish with quarter round.
        Pull out refrigerator and stove. Install flooring. Push appliances back.
        Around vanities and tub. Quarter round to finish.
        Pull toilet. Install flooring. Purchase spacers and shims. Set toilet. This approach is more appealing to the eyes. And is never a good idea to caulk around toilets in older structures. Reason being caulk could prevent you from spotting a leak if one happened possibly resulting in a large area of rotting wood under and around the toilet.
        A miter, table and jig saw along with a multitool will help you breeze through this project!
        Have somebody separate and hand you planks. You install and measure. They keep the work area organized and make most cuts.
        A lot can be laid in a day. No acclimation needed.

      1. You are right! In my case, Lowe’s sold me the “same” flooring from two different sources; China and U.S. The notches were very slightly different, resulting in poor locking across the edges. Check to see that the labels on the end of the boxes are EXACTLY the same. If not, get back to Lowe’s and have them replace one or the other. Currently (6/’19), only the Chinese manufactured planks are offered.

      2. I agree! There is something wrong with ours. The contractor has pulled it up twice because he can’t get it to snap together as they should. Not sure what we should do now. There are a few that go together but many will not. What is the answer?

        1. Did two rooms and a hall way about three years ago and it worked great. Decided to finish the rest of the house with it. It was much harder to put down because some of the interlocking pieces of the based used for the new floor were snapping off. Managed to finish laying it down but now (three months later) interlocking pieces are snapping off and the floor is now separating and sharp edges stick up when walking on it. The base material used on the new floor is very brittle. While the original floor is holding up well, the new floor is terrible. Will probably have to redo or replace it.

          1. I feel your pain. Sounds just like what our floors are doing. We put down about a year ago and had issues with several boxes not wanting to connect took back multiple boxes and half my floors are great while the other half is coming separate with sharp ridges as well and now they tell me I cannot even buy the color I have to fix so we may have to redo everything so disappointed because this covers half my home!😡

      3. I agree this product was tough to snap together properly. However, I just finished my whole house and it looks great. I took my time, a very long time, and I am pleased with the results. It was strange, out of 60 boxes one had full length and half length pieces. The other 59 boxes had 1/3, 2/3, and full length pieces. I had no issues using the one boxes, but I wish all the boxes had the half pieces. I have a huge stack of 1/3 pieces left and they will go to waste.

    19. Just had Ultra smartcard installed. Question: what to do for protection of floor from casters on computer chair?

      1. Tom,

        I installed LVP in a previous house and am getting ready to do the same in our new house. I replaced all the casters with natural rubber casters instead of the plastic that generally comes on them.

        The floors were installed in 2015 and we sold the house two months ago, and the floors got rave reviews from every potential buyer. here were no marks from any of our office chairs (mine and two sons who had friends over to play video games).

        1. Elizabeth Welcher

          I have just had smartcore pro flooring installed. We have closet doors that were installed with screws and have been told that if we put screws in this flooring the warranty will be void. They are on tracks at the top. Please give me a reply or send me a phone no.

        2. Well to start with we love the floor, my two sons and I put it down in the kitchen and my wife loves it, easy to install . Now the question what can you use to mop with? Is there a specific brand that you use to clean with

    20. Gaylyne (Gaye) Hurst

      We’ve hard this flooring for several years, it looks nice. I find cleaning it to be difficult since I was told not to get much water on the floor. I use an O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System and Armstrong Once ‘N Done Floor Cleaner. I noticed yesterday a small corner of molding looks like a piece of what looks like contact peeling on it!!

    21. I just laid 500 sf of Smartcore Ultra vinyl plank flooring Blue Ridge Pine. It went over a basement concrete floor that got wet in last winter’s huge snowmelt runoff.

      While I like the look, feel, cost and water resistance, the floor is challenging to lay. The side joints are difficult to engage and have a tendency to pull apart unless everything is PERFECTLY in line. I’m talking like 1/8″ in 45′. That is hard to attain when you are driving planks home with a rubber mallet and moving the whole floor around a bit.

      By all means, get yourself a rubber driving block, a flooring bar, a good sized rubber mallet, a monofilament fishing line (to check straightness) and consider spacing butt joints 8″ to 12″ away from adjoining joint. This makes it easier to deal with alignment issues rather than staggering joints at mid plank. It is essential to put lots of perimeter spacers to keep the floor from moving around when you are driving things home.

      I also found it essential to put a heavy flat weight over the butt joint when driving it home to keep things lined up. (I used a 16″ section of railroad rail) The occupied shoe of your significant other would also probably work. I would not consider putting this product in areas with wide temperature swings. I think it would pull apart.

      Also be sure all your Smartcore is made in China. Do not mix USA and China made products. I have read that they are incompatible.

      1. Thank you Robert,

        We are looking to install this very product in the majority of our living space to protect our hardwood flooring from puppies. Your advice is very clear.

        Thanks again,

    22. Okay, so we just installed our vinyl plank flooring in the kitchen, dining room and hallway. It came out really nice. Just my husband and I did it and it was not that hard. Now, I need to know if anybody can tell me what kind of rugs to buy to put in the hallway and in front of my sink. It says no rubber backing. Something about something in the rubber and vinyl will have a chemical reaction causing staining. So, today I went to Lowe’s and asked what they had and they said they had never heard of that. So, am I safe to have rubber backed rugs??? Thank you

      1. Did you ever get an answer? I am installing smartcore in bath. Want to put rubber or polyester backed rugs on floor.

        1. Hi Joan and Tracy! Rubber or latex backed rugs should be avoided as they can discolor the vinyl over time. You will want to use area rug pads under any rugs. Ensure that the rug pad is latex and/or rubber free. You can use PVC or felt backed pads. A tip that can help is looking for pads that say untreated or non-staining and made for use over LVT/LVP flooring.

    23. We just installed 24 boxes of ultra vinyl sienna stone flooring in the kitchen. It worked really good and looks great. My only concern is what kind of throw rugs can I put down because they’re saying not to use anything with rubber back, or any kind of rubber pad. So what am I supposed to use? Also cleaning the floor? I always have used steamer on my floors and it has worked great. But you can’t use a steamer on these luxury vinyl planks. If anybody wants to see pictures I will send them through email. I know when I purchased the floor I looked online for pictures of complete projects but couldn’t find much. It looks great.

      1. Please send pictures. What do you clean with? Would you buy again? Where did you find that steamer cannot be used. Also what rugs did you use.

        Thanks so much


        1. Just installed the Gardena Marble Smartcore. All is good with exception 1 area in hallway leading to master squeaks. Has anyone experienced this? What causes this if no sub floor is installed and floor is concrete?

      2. I looking to install Smartcore Ultra Sienna Stone in my kitchen and hallway to laundry room. Would love to see pictures of completed project. I have seen several reviews stating difficulties with the interlock system, but I will be having a professional contractor do the install along with new countertops and painting.
        Thank you,

    24. As the owner of a flooring store in Northern California I am very familiar with Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). LVP is the fastest growing product in our industry, combining the best benefits of Laminate and sheet vinyl flooring. To say that Smartcore is something special is a bit of a stretch. The features listed above are common to most LVP & LVT products, and many surpass the specs of the Smartcore. A 12 mil wear layer is very common, and on the lower end of the spectrum. Many products have a 20 mil wear layer, and most carry a lifetime residential warranty, and many carry a 10 year commercial warranty, compared to Smartcore’s 5 year commercial warranty.

      Some posters were complaining about transitions, or lack there of. Transitions are one of the biggest headaches in flooring today. In the past, an aluminum strip was a perfect solution, but todays consumer wants something better. Most of the transitions for LVP & LVT are worthless and ugly, to be honest. we have transitioned to unfinished wood transitions, for the most part. We can put a clear finish on them or stain them and then use the finish. They come in a stairnose, T Molding, Reducer, and End Cap or Baby Threshold, and they come in either Red or White Oak, Hickory, or Maple. The mini transitions are designed for Luxury Vinyl Flooring and they are not too costly, around $20 or $30. I hope this helps some of you finish your projects.

      1. What brand would you recommend that will be good for kitchen, bathroom and living room. All purpose in other words.

    25. Some of the locking tabs broke off while installing. I used up about 2 boxes of flooring re-doing the ones that broke. I followed the instructions, and was pretty careful, but it’s just too thin on the tab areas. My big concern was that the way they lock together, it’s not possible to replace one tile, or even a row of tile, if they get scratched. You have to tear them all out, all the way to the wall, in the reverse direction they were laid down. Sure enough, when we moved our refrigerator back in, even though I placed cardboard down underneath and carefully slid it with 2 people, it left 1/4″ wide stratches along the length of floor it was slid across. The scratches are white, so they stand out and look hideous, and they won’t come out, even with the “repair kits” they sell. It somewhat masks them, but don’t slide anything across this flooring, ever, at all. Even plastic and cardboard sliding across it will leave huge, ugly scratches. Drop a fork or knife, scratch. Have a pebble in your shoe, scratch. Google scratch repair for this type of flooring, and you will see the extent of the problem. Buyer beware!

      1. I’m not sure if it works with vinyl plank, but you could try Tibet Almond Stick, designed for scratches on furniture, but it works wonderfully on wood flooring. Also, never, never, never slide appliances or furniture on ANY flooring, except maybe carpet, and then only for short distances. The friction can cause the carpet to literally melt. We use an air sled whenever possible, but you can always use a couple of pieces of clean plywood or particle board to protect the floor from scratches or dents. Simply leapfrog the pieces across the floor until your appliance is in place, then pull the board out from underneath. Good

    26. The instructions say “Do not install cabinets or fixed objects on top of the flooring”. What about a toilet? Should that be installed first then cut the flooring around the base of the toilet then caulk the gap or joint?

    27. Looks great. Still installing, but Lowes, after I bought a house worth, tells me that they don’t stock the trim or thresholds…. ugh, really throws off the install plan!

      1. I’m having the same problem just ordered 21 boxes of the Siena stone flooring and was looking for the tea strips and could not find them online. Then one day later I get an email from Lowe’s asking me if I was missing some pieces that I want to complete my flooring that I ordered. So it showed me the T strips that I was looking for. So I go to order them and cannot get them. They’re out of stock and discontinued, so now what am I supposed to do?

        After searching for a floor for 3 months that would work well with my cherry cabinets I am highly irritated and annoyed. I will bash this company upside down and to the left and right. It is total garbage I’m so mad right now. I hope you got your problem resolved and if you have any extra sienna Stone t-strips please let me know.

    28. Having issues with the product I purchased at Lowe’s. I am using the 12X24 Tivoli Travertine flooring with a few consistent problems. The locking edges are crumbling coming out of the box. The few that we were are to lay down so far don’t lock in place. This has been a costly mistake so far. Lowe’s offered to sell us new flooring but no credit for open boxes. Of course I opened all the boxes to see the extent of damage.

    29. Taking this back to the store after I attempted to install and then had a professional attempt to install. We both came to the same conclusion. The locking system would not stay locked and whole rows would come apart. I installed our dining room and had issues with it and we had scheduled a professional installer for the kitchen and laundry area. I did not tell him what problems I had but within 30 minutes of his attempt he called me and said he could not get the locking areas to stay locked. Will not be purchasing anymore of this product.

    30. I have used this in several of my rental houses and in our lake cottage. It is a fabulous product. I have had no problems with any of the houses where we have installed this product. I am very pleased with it and have recommended it to several of my friends. The water proof factor is what sold me. I plan to put the Ultra into my personal house later this summer. I would and have recommended it to a lot of people and every one has come back and said they loved this product.

        1. Do NOT install under the cabinets. This is a floating floor, and the cabinets can pinch the flooring, not allowing it to expand and contract properly. Also, if you damage a tile or plank, you need to unsnap the floor to replace a tile or plank. That is much easier to do if you don’t have to remove the cabinets.

    31. I just purchased Smartcore Ultra from Lowes for install in my foyer, living area, kitchen, and dining. After reading some of the comments I’m a little concerned about a proper install as well as the tiles staying together. I spoke with Rushing Floors who will do the install for Lowes. They indicated they had not had any problems with installing Smartcore. I am hoping that’s true.

      Not sure what magic they have that some of the commenters on here do not have. It’s a big purchase, and hearing US Floors is not interested or concerned with fixing issues makes me wonder if I made a huge mistake. Little worried here!

      1. We installed Smartcore about a year ago. Installation was done by an experienced remodeling senior. The install process was horrible and took a lot of time and much frustration. Planks would separate and show white cracks… tap them back together and then somewhere else comes slightly apart. I even went to see a sample floor section in the Lowes store and it too had separations showing white slits. Otherwise the floor looks fine.

        1. We just installed the Shaw Resilient Vinyl flooring planks in my sister-in-law’s house in San Antonio, TX. That product is very similar to Smartcore. Just thinner and no extra layer to quiet the flooring. It too is a floating floor.

          We did have to thoroughly clean each and every imperfection/sheetrock mud off the sub-floor to avoid the “lumps”. What we found was if you put the two planks at not quite a 45 degree angle and start at one end working your way to the other end, you would see the planks actually seating themselves with a seamless edge. The rubber mallet and the tapping block were totally necessary. Also, her room was far from square. Her house is well over 40 years old. So, we ended up having to cut some of the planks with a slight angle from one end to the other. Then we used quarter round trim mouldings to cover the edges around the finished room. Looks beautiful and no “white” cracks. Yes, we did have to make sure we didn’t skew the already placed planks when we used the tapping block.

          1. I was told by Lowe’s not to use anything but 100% cotton. Like a bath mat. I found one to put by each doorway but my 1 year old puppy loves to mess it up. Life is exciting!!

      2. I’m surprised to hear about people having issues with this product. Maybe something changed since US Floors was acquired by Shaw. We installed Smartcore vinyl plank throughout our house, including the bathrooms over 2 years ago and it still looks great. The installers had no problem at all installing it. We have 4 dogs who race through the house and it takes a beating. We needed something that had high water resistance. The only thing I wish is that the finish were a little shinier (it is a matte finish).

        1. Debbie, I am considering using this flooring in my house as well and I also have a crazy dog that races around the house. She also has accidents on the floors once in a while. Do you have the same issue? How do the floors hold up to pet urine?

          1. Vincent, Luxury Vinyl Flooring (Plank and Tile) is built for pets, and holds up very well, although it will scratch easier than Laminate flooring. Laminate flooring has always had a problem with water, but there are new products out that marry the laminate surface to the waterproof backing of the LVF, creating a tougher waterproof product. They are a little more expensive, but well worth the extra dollars.

            1. In addition, virtually ALL of the luxury vinyl flooring is manufactured in China, and the new tariffs have added 25% to the cost of the material, making the waterproof laminate (manufactured in the US) a much better value.

        2. I just installed this last week. What I learned was that the original Smartcore Ultra was made in China. Then they opened up a USA production of it and the USA product was bad. My Lowe’s had some from both productions and I made sure we used the China produced product. My guys didn’t have any problems putting it down. Time will tell as to how it wears.

          1. I knew about the possibility of getting the bad stuff made in the US when I started putting this flooring down back in January. I am doing one room at a time so I am ordering the flooring from Lowes as I go room by room. I had been fortunate to have gotten my first three orders from a Chinese batch.

            Today I picked up my forth order and it was made in the US. I was leery and decided to try to put it down. I could tell after just three pieces that it was far less superior to the China made flooring. First off it is very brittle and the tabs break off if you breath on them. Secondly they DO NOT lock end on end. The ones from China are almost difficult to get the ends of the planks to snap together which in the end means that once you do get them to click together they actually stay together. The ones made in the US snap together way to easily and I can literally just lift up on them and they separate.

            I took the US made ones back to Lowes. They were no help at my local Lowes and said they had no way of ordering more and getting them from China. My big issue is that I am halfway through my home renovation project and I CANNOT do half the house in good flooring and the other half with crap. I am going to contact US Floors tomorrow. They are the distributor for SmartCore and they distribute both of them made in China and the US. They have to know that the US made flooring is crap. If they give me the runaround then I am going to put this back on Lowes. I will take this as high as I can at Lowes to ensure that they make this right and find me China made flooring. Somebody is going to make this right. I will not accept that nobody can make sure I get the Chinese made. Somebody knows somebody that knows somebody that can walk their happy rear end out into the warehouse wherever it is and make sure it says China on it! Nothing is impossible. I will not stop until I get this corrected. I will reply back with what I find out.

            In closing I just want to say this. If you buy this flooring and it says that it is made in the US on the end of the box, STAY AWAY! Send it back and do not attempt to install it or you will be sorry. If you get the China made flooring then you will be fine. I love mine. Who would have ever thought that Chinese made is better than US made?

            1. Tim, wHich product did you buy? Plus, pro, naturals, or plain Smart Core? Which color? I’m considering Waterford oak and I noticed that the pad backing is different than it used to be. Looks inferior. When I asked the store personnel if they changed the padding they were clueless. This must be the same issue, Chinese versus American made.

        3. We installed Smartcore in a commercial space. A couple of us tried installing it in some of the rooms and had a horrible time. We had commercial installers come in to do the rest and they made us look like the wannabes that we were. They did it fast and made it look easy and it looks great. I think that it all depends on the installer’s experience.

        4. I’m glad to read a positive comment. We are planning installing smart core in our kitchen. My husband is going to do it himself but I’ve read so many negatives about the installation that I’m a little afraid to have it put in. We will be putting it over ceramic tile which I read you can do.

    32. I just had the vinyl floor installed in my bathrooms. Is it possible to use the wet swifter to clean them?

      1. I have used a swiffer on mine but usually damp mop with murphy’s oil soap because the manufacturer recommends not using harsh chemicals on it.

    33. Run run far away from Smartcore Vinyl flooring. Just installed 37 boxes of flooring in a house. Within two weeks the protective cover is coming off in several areas. Lowes is not much help with getting it fixed or someone to come look at it.

      1. Dan Griffith, had the same problem with 52 boxes installed in my mother’s home. The matte finish started to come off showing a high gloss sheen. However, Lowe’s has been very cooperative getting it resolved through Shaw. Shaw agreed after sending a floor inspector to take a look. They concluded it was defective. They have agreed to replace the entire floor, but they want to replace it with the same product and I have a problem with that. We are currently in the process of negotiating what to do.

    34. How can I put a shine on the 12 x 24 Light Travertine Ultra flooring just installed in my kitchen and mud room? I wasn’t prepared for the flat finish! And would rather have a shine without making it slippery or affecting the finish.

    35. We purchased this floor in October 2018. (SmartCore Ultra Lucca Stone). It is gorgeous!! However we needed two T Mold transition strips. It is now the end of February and we are still waiting for them, Lowes has told us each month it will be shipped in two weeks, on backorder. We can’t finish molding at our staircase or the other entry because of no transition strips. Most unhappy with Lowes and their attitude.

    36. I just bought some Smart Core acacia wood and am considering installing it in a powder room over existing vinyl but I am confused; how do you cut it so that you can fit the pieces around the commode? I cannot see a way that I can do this. The Lowe’s guy told me that all I needed to use was a utility knife to install this.

    37. Has anyone installed SmartCore Ultra under kitchen cabinets? We just had the planking installed throughout our condo except the kitchen, which will be remodeled soon. We love the product & it looks great.

      1. We just had SmartCore installed in our kitchen/dining area. Installers didn’t have any problems with broken or damaged pieces. It all seemed to go together smooth and it looks great.

      2. Our Handyman installed Smartcore Ultra over existing “contractors” beige tile. Put it in kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms, office & hallway. It has been a year now and holding up beautifully. No one can tell it’s vinyl and we received a lot of compliments.

        Had a couple chips on 3 or 4 planks but returned them to Lowe’s with no problem. Really VERY pleased.

      3. Love the flooring just scratches way too easy for supposedly being scratch resistant. We have only had it three months with three dogs, grandkids and daily foot traffic. Brand new dining room table and chairs and scratches all over. Unfortunately we have been told the company will not back their product. I’m not sure all of the planks actually have the scratch resistance because it’s only in one main area not all over.

    38. I had nearly 700 sq ft of this vinyl installed in a new house that I was building for my son, because he loved the look and that it is so water resistant. Some of the planks immediately started separating at the ends and I quickly saw that it was because the ‘locking’ grooves are so fragile that they break off. There are numbers of them all over his new home and I have done everything that I can to try to get them back together long enough to put some glue under the end, but they won’t slide. Some are as much as an inch or more between the ends.

      I contacted USFloors, but was told that Lowe’s has to report it, so I took a detailed letter and pictures to an Asst Manager there. He tried to speak with someone at USFloors, but had to leave a message and was never contacted. I have checked back with him numerous times for any news, but he has heard nothing, so he promised to try again to speak to someone at that company. I have been dealing with this for 18 mos now, because we don’t have the money to replace the floor as some of the other reviewers plan to do. Someone commented that USFloors said they have fixed the problem with the grooves. If so, why aren’t they standing behind the customer who received the bad product from them?

      1. We had this problem too with the Smartcore Ultra venice stone tiles which use the angle tap method. The long edges were going together well, but the short edges were not and were coming apart. On the 2nd time of re-installing it I finally figured out a couple of things:

        1. You have to check the grooves of the tile you are locking into to make sure there is absolutely NOTHING in the grooves. The smallest piece of debris will interfere with a successful locking.

        2. I took a good hard look at 2 pieces that were joined together the way they were supposed to be and 2 that were not and noticed that the ones that were not going together right weren’t fully engaging into the grooves. I took a jackknife and shaved down the edge of the upper inner ledge of the short side… not a lot… enough to produce a long curled piece of debris from what I took off (hich was maybe 1/32 of an inch). Just that small amount allowed the tile to lock into the one next to it smoothly. No more ridges and no more tiles coming apart (so far…). Knock on wood!

    39. Smartcore Ultra flooring does not do as advertised. Doesn’t lock together. Comes apart as floor is installed. Most frustrating installation I have ever done in my 30 odd years of experience. Should have returned it to Lowe’s right away. Very unhappy with cost and quality!

    40. I’m installing SmartCore Ultra Savannah Oak and I’m having a lot of issues with the corner being chipped right out of the box. At least 75% of the planks have chipped corners.

    41. Considering this flooring for whole-house application, however, concerned about the quality issues (US vs China) and the issues with snapping together. One posting noted that Lowes had returned all inventory.

      Does anyone know if this had been resolved? Will also be asking Lowes.

      1. Just purchased SmartCore Pro – it does NOT lock together. After some digging the PRO appears to be a “drop” in versus snap together. So that means the flooring is waterproof but does not keep water from getting to subfloor. Additionally the pieces are not all the same exact size. These boxes are from China, which is supposed to be better than the US boxes per other reviews. After installing about 4 rows the ends of plank are lifting off the previous plank. I took all apart and started again. Same issues. Returning, there are many others to pick from. Honestly the coating and UV protection is great, they just didn’t make pieces that fit together well. Ultra version, the top coat is not as thick. Annoying because I have to load 50+ boxes and haul back to store, complete waste of my time.

        1. Interesting, I wonder what the issue was. I just installed over 1k sq ft over tile and went together great, all seams are flush. Took a few good taps with the mallet on the short ends but couldn’t be happier. Were you ensuring the tongue and groove were perfectly aligned before hitting the seam to lock it in?

      2. I just bought a kitchen and bath in this from Lowes, can’t comment on installation but so far quality looks good.

      3. I called Shaw, the actual manufacturer, and they said they have addressed the issue with locking mechanism. However, I’d just make sure the boxes you end up with are new stock.

      4. We just had it installed and had to return the US product since it would not snap together. Replaced with stock from China and the installers put it all in with no issues… so go for product from China at this time, as funny as that sounds.

      5. Just installed 500 sq ft of SmartCore from China. Rubber dead blow hamer is a must. Pull bar sold at Lowes is handy as well. Takes some extra work to get them to lock together properly. It is a very sloid lock when done right.

    42. Looking for reviews of people’s experiences with Smartcore Naturals (wood over vinyl). Am considering this for whole house installation: Stepping Stone Oak. This product is so new that I am having difficulty finding info from users. Am always leary of “brand new” products until the bugs have been worked out.

      1. I am a 40 YO Female and installed this with my husband. He is not handy but is learning. It was easy to install overall. Where my floor had some high spots, it took some negotiating with the product to comply but overall it is a WIN. I will be installing this in my cabin, no doubt. We bought this product winter 2016-2017 and installed fall 2017. My only suggestion is to install the product in a comfortable temp as it is vinyl and was a bit rigid when the house was cooler than occupancy temps. We warmed up the rooms and this helped with the pliability of the product.

        1. For the cabin, consider the smartcore pro. It has a much higher range of temperature, making it less expensive to heat/cool your cabin when you are not there.

    43. With the patent technology of this flooring, does this mean one shouldn’t need to put down 1/4 Luan before this? Basically on main floor, we are looking to remove existing Vinyl and carpeting, and only need this flooring? It was recommended one should always put down 1/4 to help level things.

      1. The planks have a rubber padding system attached to the bottom surface. The product is very forgiving and the irregularities in subfloor for our house were undetectable, except where our floor was too high in the doorways of the bathroom or bedroom for door clearance. We trimmed the doors a bit to compensate. This does not count significantly uneven surfaces where true height is an issue. No vapor barrier needed either. The product is truly water proof as I flooded the bathroom and kitchen when I split a water pipe and had to turn off the water to the house.

    44. Just installed SmartCore Ultra in my whole house. So far it’s great. I did buy a Vacuum robot to help with the everyday dust.

      The floor looks so good. Once in a while I catch a drop of water stain. The company rejuvenate make a cleaner just for vinyl plank. My dogs seems to like it just as much.

    45. LOWES. My brother and myself have installed numerous vinyl floors in the past and have been very successful in doing so. Unfortunately, this particular flooring is defective. There are numerous issues that I will list.

      #1 The ends of the flooring will not snap together because the groove on the bottom side is cut down too low, this allows the flooring to not snap in and hold like it should. This creates a problem mostly because while laying the floor down as you go the others come apart and you have to go back and re-work. Once you have it down and move on it, it will stay together but only after numerous times, it is still not locked in but will stay down due to the other planks holding it.

      #2 The LOWES employee said they had just lost a $25k job due to the flooring being an issue. Apparently some of this flooring is made in the USA, some is made in China, they mix these products and they do not match up. I will add a picture of the boxes to show you. Not only do they not match up but if you try to get them to you will damage the ends so they won’t even go together, and if you do get some of them together they are a different height.

      #3 The backing is different on each one, it does not even look the same which is why the height is off between the two. LOWES has acknowledged this as an issue and is currently sending all of this product back. The company is also recognizing this as an issue and has already made a replacement for this particular style of vinyl. The vinyl I purchased has a rubber backing and also some type of white material in between the vinyl and rubber backing. This white material is very weak and unfortunately is what is supposed to lock the planks together.

      Notice in the picture that the numbers are different, same flooring just different manufacturing codes based on where it is made. If I had a picture of the whole box you would see they are identical otherwise.

      1. We have purchased over $2,500 in Smartcore Ultra (Coretec) Vinyl Flooring. This is the worst floor we have ever installed. The planks don’t snap together and when we use a flooring install tool, planks move or leave a gap about two or three rows previous. We’ve installed laminate flooring all through the house with absolutely no issues. We chose Smartcore because it’s waterproof and it’s being installed in the basement which is approximately 660 sq.ft. A simple project has taken more than two weeks due to the difficulty of getting these planks to connect and we are not even half way through. Very disappointed in this product. Highly recommend not choosing this flooring, unless you have lots of time and patience.

        1. Say it ain’t so. We just bought $2500 and are laying it out and not liking the snap together system. It does not feel like it will stay together. Should I return it before even starting?

        2. Cindy Stubenhofer

          We chose Smartcore Ultra for our kitchen and have had the same problem with the snapped edges coming apart two rows previous.

      2. I could not agree more with EVERYTHING this individual said. I recently purchased 25 cases of their most popular style and within the first 30 minutes of installation I was having a heck of a time with getting two planks connected. This is when I made an observation, the planks are different… after a frustrating 30 minutes of trying to figure out what was going on I realized one was made in the U.S.A and the other in China.

        The quality of the U.S. made planks were awful, sadly. They were brittle, did not fit well with even their own vendor planks, and were missing in quality. The Chinese made planks were significantly better. Luckily of the 25 cases 15 were of the Chinese made kind which fulfilled the majority of my project. I will be returning the broken, poor quality U.S. made planks. This is sad as I am a patriot but the quality and incompatibility of the two vendors was too evident to give a 5 star rating. 3 stars from me.

        1. John, KIngston, ON

          I had the SmartCore Ultra vinyl planks installed in my kitchen and foyer in December 2018. Purchased at Lowes in Nov 2018. The installer has over 25 years experience. He didn’t have an issue putting it in, but within 2 weeks of the install the seams began to intermittently start making a crunching noise. It sounds like stepping on eggshells. It happens despite the temperature or the humidity in the house. It happens, goes away and then comes back. I installed a product half as expensive as this in my bathrooms with no issues whatsoever. I am extremely annoyed at this product and am waiting to hear from US Floors about this. I would not recommend this at all.

    46. Has anyone had problems with appliances denting the flooring? I am worried about my refrigerator making marks when we move it.

      1. As with any heavy object on any floor except cement, to be safe, I place a 1/2″ sheet of plywood down on top of the floor I wish to move any heavy object on.

    47. Can this be used in a 3 season room where it is unheated in the winter (Northeast Pennsylvania)? There is a sturdy plywood subfloor in place. But no heat in the winter.

    48. Had my Smartcore Ultra installed last April (2018), and it’s now Sept, by my Handyman. Put it in kitchen, office, hallways & bathrooms. New carpet in living room and bedrooms.

      Absolutely love it. Do use vinegar and water. Occasionally a mild solution of Dawn and water for greasy spots near the stove. Then rinse with vinegar & water.

      There were samples at our Lowes in Reno. If not available just buy one box of Smartcore ultra and lay it down for a few days. Unpack/repack carefully and they will take it back.

      Chose the “Ultra” because it has the cushy underlayment attached, so one less step for the installer.

      We floated the product over 12×12 tiles. Did not need to fill in where there was recessed grouting. Didn’t remove the molding but instead added some small finishing molding to give it an “exceptional“ look.

      I had taken home some samples to test for waterproofing. I submerged the samples in water for a week. Came out like new and the backing was still attached.

      Sometimes do wish there was a product to add a little more shine. However, didn’t really want a high shine anyway.

      Have moved tables, desk, chairs with no scratch marks. Before buying it I tried scratching samples with sharp objects and was very pleased it remained unmarred.

      Absolutely love my new floors!

        1. Wood. I have dogs and the clippity clap of their nails sounds the same as on my hardwood kitchen floor. I just had this installed a week ago and it is very nice. It brought a nice new look to my living room. I really like it.

      1. You can use quick shine (Holloway house) to have a nice shine. I love my floors but I do have some scratches that I don’t like. When I wipe them you can’t see them, but after it dries they can be seen.

      2. There is a product named Quick Shine that is available at Wal-Mart and Home Depot, not sure about Lowes. This is a polymer sealant that is usable on many different types of flooring. Amount of shine is controlled by the amount of coats used. The good thing about this product is that it adds a layer of protection to the floor. I use vinyl plank in apartment remodels and the Quick Shine holds up very well along with adding a shine and bringing out highlights in the flooring.

      3. Last spring 2018, I did my whole house in Tahitian Walnut. It is beautiful but I hate that it shows all footprints. What can I clean this floor with that will not show footprints. Also is the quick shine recommended by Smart core?

    49. We just completed the installation of Smartcore Ultra Woodford Oak in my craft room, and I love it! This is the third “snap and click” laminate floor we have installed, and it was by far the easiest and best fitting. The room is large, approximately 15′ x 18′ with two alcoves and a closet. We estimated we would need 19 boxes, bought 20 just to be sure, and used only 18. We were very careful to use every cut piece we could and ended up with very few scraps. The colors vary quite a bit by box, so be sure to open several boxes and select the variation you want before you start laying it. We installed in a basement room on concrete.. There were a few areas that weren’t exactly smooth, but this material covers a lot of flaws. It took two for us almost two days, but we are very meticulous and slow! It feels so smooth and the cushioning is quite noticeable. I can’t wait to get the baseboards installed and move in! Hoping the wear and stability is as impressive after some use as it appears now.

      1. Thank you for your input – I see some pictures show some very dark planks (woodford oak). Did you find those in various boxes and pull them out? We just ordered 35. Having someone install but think will take your suggestion of going through the boxes “Very carefully” before they arrive.

    50. So here it is approaching the end of Aug ’18 and I’m seriously trying to decide if SmartCore is the product for me. I live in a townhome on a cement slab and currently have ugly, cheap laminate in kitchen and equally ugly carpeting elsewhere. I’d like to use this product throughout, including bathrooms. I have no pets and the only young kids are grandkids visits. I do NOT want the maintenance or caution needed for hardwood. I’d like to carry this thru the upstairs as well. Has anyone used this on stairs? Thank you!

    51. I just spent 6 hours at Lowe’s and Home Depot looking at LPV, I’ve already read “Rob’s” 7 pitfalls to avoid with vinyl plank floors. This review of Smartcore Ultra is very disappointing. All it does is explain the features of Smartcore (it doesn’t even tell you what the difference is between the new “Ultra” line and the regular Smartcore line–I”ll tell you what it is: the Ultra is 7mm thick, and the regular is 5mm thick). Please, I’m looking for a review that goes beyond what I can find out for myself by reading the label and company literature. I want a real review by someone who has extensive experience in flooring and has installed both the Smartcore regular and ULTRA floors (for comparison) and has seen how well it wears after a year or two.

      1. Hi! Thanks for your critique! We aim to deliver unbiased reviews on popular flooring options by investing time analyzing and assessing company literature, available consumer and expert reviews, and any/all research we can find on a given brand/flooring line/option. This high-level, research-based approach helps us provide helpful info & curated opinions for the vast array of flooring options available to shoppers – rather than just a small handful if we were to personally install each and every flooring line ourselves. In tandem with our reviews and research, we encourage Floor Critics visitors to post their direct experiences with products & brands in each guide’s comment section.

    52. Carol Lee McDonough

      Can I use Vinegar/water mix on this Smart Core flooring that I have in place? Can Lestoil be used? Any other products that can safely be used? I love my flooring but need help on cleaning products…I do not have a Shark.

    53. Can you use Armstrong Shine product for vinyl floors on the smart core ultra floors? I really do not like the dull look and showing of footprints. I hope I did not make a mistake in picking this flooring as they just finished laying it and some porcelain tile yesterday. I have bad back problems and need the easiest way to maintain this floor. The best mop for the most coverage at once, the products and any other info. I really want it to shine. If you cannot use anything on it but white vinegar and water to clean, can you use a floor buffer to shine? I need to clean ASAP as they are bringing my new living room furniture in the morning. Thank you.

      1. Quick Shine is a product that is easy to apply and holds up very well. You can add a slight shine (1-2 coats) or a high gloss “wet look” shine (as many coats as you desire). I use this product on existing and new vinyl, tile, and laminate flooring. It is a polymer sealant and so far (over 2 years) it has held up very well with only a damp mop needed for cleaning. The product is around $10 for a 32oz bottle and that will cover approx 500 sq ft of flooring at 3 coats. I use a microfiber string mop for coating installation. (Around $12 at Wal-Mart, home depot, family dollar). Hope this helps.

    54. Lowes installers indicate they need to apply a leveling compount to the concrete floor in my basement to install the smartcore plus planks. But the floor does not appear to be uneven. Is a leveling compount usually required on concrete?

      1. Yes if floors are uneven they should be skim coated with a cement based underlayment. Although I doubt a Lowe’s installer has the knowledge or skill set to do this. Their installers are HORRIBLE. I’ve fixed more Lowe’s installs than everyone else. 2. Home Depot 3. Smart carpet 4. Empire 5 . Worldwide

    55. Has anyone used a table saw for length and / or width cuts? If so, what blade? And was cutting face up or down best? Thanks

      1. I used a table saw to do a long rip cut and the short cuts as well. I used a basic blade I’d use to cut any wood; didn’t change the blade we were cutting 2x4s with. This stuff cuts like wood. Since I was borrowing my neighbor’s table saw, I bought a good orbital\bevel cutting (bevel cuts for the baseboards) jigsaw that I am going to use on my next project so I can make all my cuts upstairs without the huge mess of a table saw and having to go downstairs and outside and make every cut. A pro may have better suggestions, but mine work quick, easy and well. 🙂

    56. Just had an installation of the smart core product and would like to get in touch with the manufacturer representative. I am not satisfied with the installation and Lowes simply is sending out the installation company, All American Floors located here in the gulf coast of Mississippi. I feel the installation company will not give be an unbiased report.

      1. Frustrated Customer

        I too have had the smartcore installed over engineered wood and tile. After two weeks the smartcore ultra planks started coming up.

        Lowes states it is due to moisture that is trapped between the wood floor and the planks. I had no problem or ripples in wood before planks were put down. The local Lowes wants to charge me to take up both the engineered wood and tile and put the same smartcore planks that were originally on the floor. I was charged $8000 and they want to charge me another $8000 to take up and put back down. Beware of Lowes, they DO NOT stand behind their products.

    57. Is the flooring so waterproof that it can survive 3 weeks of about 3 inches of standing groundwater in the basement? If it can, are there any more products on the market that are reasonably priced that also could?

      1. I had a sample piece sitting in a large bowl of water for two months. I could not detect any swelling, softening or delaminating of the product The cushion backing material showed no signs of of coming loose. If the water in your basement were to freeze it would probably not be good for an assembled floor..

    58. Is there any way to get samples of any Smartcore luxury vinyl? (Tiles would be great). Chatting with Lowe’s, they say no samples are available.

      1. That’s funny to hear. Lowes just gave me a sample of one of the tile look versions of Smartcore ultra. It’s about 1’X 2″, a full piece. There was no charge. This was at Brookings, SD. I did notice that you can order a sample (about 7″X9″ I believe it was) from the Lowes website. It will cost you $1 or $1.49 plus shipping I suppose.

      1. Karla DeSutter

        The sample we looked at in Lowe’s had a shiny finish, but when we had it installed in the kitchen and great room of our under construction new home the finish is very dull. Is there a product to use to make it shine?

      2. I used it in my kitchen and just butted it up against the cabinets, but I put the fridge on top of it. I really love this flooring. I used it in my bathroom too. One thing not mentioned in the review is that It feels great underfoot.

      1. It’s scratch resistant. The salesperson scratched a sample with a key and it didn’t show any scratches.

      2. Karen & Fur Kids

        I have a diabetic toy poodle, 1 DSH cat, 1 Mainecoon cat, and 2 “guest” cats–1 MDSH & 1 Mainecoon. My floor was “baptized” even before I finished installing it. So, yes it does stand up well to pets. The Lexington Oak will not cloak any sins–Shedding etc. does show, but it shows on carpet too. Fortunately, I think the clean up will prove easier.

    59. I represent Lowe’s in sales and recently sold Smartcore flooring to one of my customers. He found after the fact, while installing the flooring that some of the product (marked on the boxes) were manufactured in China and others were manufactured in USA with both US and imported materials. We called US Floors to try and get any information about the differences in the products from a manufacturing perspective. Seemed like a good question, since the backing on the product looks very different. No one was able to answer the question and simply stated that if they had issues, they could file a claim. My customer was so dissatisfied with their lack of concern regarding his question, that he is returning 200 sq. ft. he has already installed and canceling an order for 66 more boxes. Has any one used the “made in USA” product and what were the results? The “made in China” product appears to be a better product and my customer has used it successfully in numerous rental properties.

      1. Same thing here, did you ever get a resolve on the backing being different on the US made version? The China product does look better.

        1. Karen & Fur Kids

          From what I’ve gathered the “China” product is another, newer product, that is a vinyl blended with bamboo which is fabricated in China. It is also a higher price-point than the US manufactured Smartcore Ultra.

      2. Today was day one of our installation of this product, and our contractor thankfully noticed the difference between the US manufactured and China manufactured planks, even though the boxes, item numbers, etc. are exactly the same. It’s not just the backings that are different. Thus US manufactured planks also appear sloppily made. There are many planks with paint overspray on the edges, foam bottom, and even on top.

        The China manufactured planks are much better! We informed our Lowes and they are supposed to look into it and call us back. But in the meantime we are one third of the way through our flooring installation. This is a HUGE inconvenience! We really like how the China manufactured flooring is looking so far though.

    60. Looking at installing Smartcore Savannah Oak for new flooring throughout house. Is anyone aware of or have experience where T moldings should be placed due to maximum room lengths, transitions to hallways, etc.? The longest dimension will be approximately 60’ because we will be going through different rooms in an open floor plan type layout and will also be going into hallways at right angles to main floor area. I want to make sure I don’t end up with buckling/separations.
      Thanks for your help

      1. Supposedly this material is very dimensionally stable and long runs don’t require expansion breaks. Just installed this in our living room (20 x 15 ft). We are very pleased with it.

    61. I need help. I purchased SmartCore flooring and love it. My problem is how to clean it. I vacuum to clean up loose dirt but cannot find any recommendations on a liquid cleaner. My contractor said that I should not use a product with soap in it as it would leave a film on the vinyl. Please help by recommending a cleaning product or the best way to keep my beautiful floor beautiful.

        1. I would recommend vinegar and water, probably your safest bet, but the seam mops are good too and just use water. That is what I use and it works just fine.

    62. Has anyone installed the ultra floor in an unheated summer home, where temps are below 32 in the winter? Get any separation?

      1. Chuck, has anyone answered you? We want to install in our enclosed patio and was wondering…thank you, JoAnn.

      2. Don’t use smartcore on a wooden floor home if you live where it stays hot outside. This is my third time pulling these floors out of my house. I did everything they told me, and I’m still sweating under the floors causing mold.

    63. We put this flooring down in our wash room and we love it. It was pretty easy to install after we got the hang of it and got in a grove with it. It looks great and we love the feel of it. We will be putting it through out the rest of the house!

      1. I would also like to know about this. I need a flooring for a basement that gets occasional groundwater and do not want to waste money on flooring that would need to be replaced. I just want one that could dry out left in place.

    64. I purchased the rustic hickory smartcore flooring. I have found it not to be as easy to install as the videos state. There was an bump in the foundation and it is causing problems getting the flooring to stay together. I’m no pro but this is harder to do and has taken two weekends and I’m still not finished.

      1. I agree – just finished whole first floor 65 boxes. Patience is needed and not “simple” to attach. Most videos show a plank being put down and whacked with a mallet. This is not even close on how to put together. I am finished and they do look good.

        TOOLS NEEDED ARE TAPPING BLOCK AND A TOOL THAT I CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAME OF. IT’S ABOUT 10 INCHES LONG —‘PULL BACK,” MAYBE? Same section as tapping block at Lowes — right next to it in flooring dept. Also buy the mallet with black rubber on one side (soft-and white on other (hard).

        When tapping, tap the edge of flooring as to not damage the latching piece. Last piece of advice: always check a couple rows behind you as you progress and make sure there is no disconnection. You will know if it disconnected if you can see a white line between planks.

        1. I’m in the process of laying this flooring now. I can’t get past 2 rows without planks in previous rows coming apart, not completely, just enough to see a gap. So far, I’m not impressed. I had to just stop for the night and try fresh tomorrow.

      2. Got this same exact from Lowes. Installers are here to install. Too much of it is defective. Stopped laying. I am not happy, obviously. Smartcore did a bad job of making this batch. If it is all like this, we will not be getting anymore! So, buyer beware!

    65. For my old-fashioned look bathroom (clawfoot tub, etc.) I want to have Smartcore 12″ x 24″ tiles. I don’t want wood-look and I don’t want planks. How can I get the tiles? I just did an online chat with a Lowe’s representative and she didn’t seem to have tiles to offer. I am in Pittsburgh, PA. thanks!

      1. My experience has been that the online chat representatives are not necessarily well informed. Go online and simply add the items you want to your cart and checkout – most likely using option “ship to store” for pickup by you. In this case I would order 1 box only for my inspection purposes and to see what a 15 sf area of flooring would look like. You can return to store if you don’t like it, or simply order quantity needed for your project.

    66. I had read this blog and was impressed with the review. However, after reading this I chatted with lowes online with a question. The agent referred me to this site, so it makes me wonder if all the info from the blog is just an advertisement for smartcore. Unsure if I want to purchase now!

      1. Hi Jayne! Thanks for visiting Floor Critics & checking out our work! Our writing team researches & produces their content independent of any influence from 3rd party companies. That includes this article, so rest assured – Smartcore did not pay us to write this review. 🙂

        1. LOL

          Lowe’s, Home Depot, Floor and Decor, AND lumber Liquidators all had staff that recommended this site to me for research… I had already found it but it made me think well of the staff I have dealt with at all stores….

          No decision yet. I love the Armstrong Pryzm but not the price point…. I’ll be visiting here regularly til we’re done. Thank you for such an informative website!


    67. Does VOC emissions from vinyl flooring refer mainly to formaldehyde, or something else?

      Consumer Reports says the federal formaldehyde emission rate should be established at 2 micrograms per square meter per hour, instead of the 9 micrograms per square meter per hour, used by Certification labels Greenguard Gold and FloorScore.

      1. Cindy Stubenhofer

        I am also interested in the VOC emissions from Smartcore Ultra. I have put the floor down in our kitchen. I was unhappy with the planks that did not snap together. More importantly our 7 year old Aussie had 5 grand mall seizures the weekend after the floor was installed. After blood work (normal), a tick panel (negative), and a veterinary exam (normal), a serious talk with the breeder about hereditary seizures and thinking what is NEW in the house. The only thing is this floor. Could it be gassing off a chemical the dog is sensitive to? BTW the older dog has had no issue.

    68. I live in London Ontario Canada and have a 11 ft by 15 ft wooden Deck approx 8 ft above the ground. My contractor is putting a roof over it that attaches to my house and extends approx 1 ft over the end of the deck. Also, he is installing a screen on the three sides and is covering the existing flooring with 5/8 interlocking plywood. The deck will get wet in heavy thunderstorms and in the winter will be subject to freezing weather. I would like to cover the floor with Smartcore Ultra vinyl planking. What do you think? Thanks.

      1. It is not reccomended for unheated areas. It is a waterproof product so water would not be an issue, but it won’t stop water seeping through it to whatever you install it over.

    69. I just purchased 200+ square feet to redo my daughters room. So far, the hardest part has been removing all the raised nail heads, tack boards, baseboards and screwing down the plywood so it won’t squeak.

      Laying out the pattern and seeing where you end up at the opposite wall is important. You don’t want a few inches gaps but larger (8 inches or more) are fine. These can be filled with cut pieces later.

      This floor will flow into the bathroom and out into the hall, so spacing is important. Eventually the entire upper floor will be done with the Smartcore Tahitian Walnut planks.

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