Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

By Fortino Rosas / April 22, 2019 / 7 Comments

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    If there’s a flooring product on the market today made to withstand heavy wear at a budget friendly price, it’s Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring. Designed to take whatever your household dishes out, it fights off scratches, liquids and sun with equal enthusiasm. It’s so easy to install that even the inexperienced DIYer stands a chance of getting it done correctly.

    Best of all, Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring closely mimics the look of real wood with the wearability we expect from vinyl flooring. It comes in a range of light and medium colors in a fixed width and length plank size. Give it the right care and maintenance and you’ll enjoy its textured finish for years to come.

    Is Stainmaster LVP good for households with heavy traffic?

    Perhaps the greatest drawback to having bare flooring is the seemingly inevitable scratches on surfaces. Pets’ claws, sliding furniture, dropped items and spills all have the potential to leave dents and gouges with time. Stainmaster adds a special coating to its vinyl planks to help protect it against these kinds of issues.

    In addition, the thickness of the surface finish plays a role in how well a product stands up to wear patterns. This Stainmaster product includes an average depth of color and design. That way, even if it is dented, some pattern and finish should remain. This extends the beauty and life of a well-installed product.

    Reviews are Mixed

    Consumer Reports notes that this Stainmaster flooring scored excellent ratings in resisting scratches from pets and furniture and dents from impacts of fumble fingers drops. Problems can develop, though, when you spill things like bleach in the laundry room or mustard in the kitchen. Stains, unfortunately, seem to like the Stainmaster product, at least according to CR.

    Some homeowner reviewers have commented that low price equates to low quality for this plank flooring. People with this flooring installed in areas they consider at the normal end of regular use remark that its durability doesn’t seem to be as high as they expected. Others have noted that the flooring can lift in a seemingly short period of time.

    Unfortunately, this flooring is not reviewed by many professional sites. That is probably because it’s perceived to be a big box store staple for the DIY market.

    Reading reviews on Lowe’s, for example, people love the way the flooring looks initially. As times goes on, though, it appears a significant number of professional and homeowner installations fail with planks lifting and separating.

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    How much liquid is too much on Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring?

    Vinyl planks that interlock on all four sides have a purpose. That purpose is keeping liquids from seeping between pieces and underneath the surface.

    The coating on top of the tile is also for the purpose of repelling problems. No material is completely foolproof, though, particularly when chemicals or pets could enter the scenario.

    Could Create Lifting Problems

    If there’s one common complaint among people who are unhappy with their product, it’s that the planks appear to separate and lift within a few months. This could be due to failure of the interlocking design. It could also be from excess water seeping in between the seams and alternatively swelling and shrinking the flooring.

    In these same reviews, homeowners note that the interlocking on their tiles never appeared to work correctly to begin with. If that is the case, liquids are even more likely to find the low spots and leak through. Think about the likelihood of liquids landing on the floor without your knowledge (as in a pet problem) and you can assess how much of a risk this could be for your home.

    This means you need to be careful about excess liquids from settling on the floor for any length of time. You should not mop with water. That can create a cleaning dilemma for some users. Bottom line – sop up any excess fluid quickly to avoid long term damage to the surface or underneath your tile.

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    Will Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring fade in sunny rooms?

    Even if your windows are the kind that block ultraviolet light, sun can fade the material on your floor if it’s exposed regularly. Southern states have the most exposure, but even the northern tier experience long days of direct low sun in the winter. The longer that exposure hits your floor, the more important sun fading resistance will be for you.

    Little to No Reported Sun Fading

    Consumer Reports tested the Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring for sun fading and rated it as highly resistant. Homeowners report no issues with fading. This product would do well in a room with plenty of sun exposure that you cannot block with drapes or blinds.

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    Is Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring easy for do-it-yourselfers to install?

    People install this flooring as a floating floor, which means you don’t need to glue or nail it to your subfloor. The manufacturer recommends that subfloor surfaces should be made of concrete, underlayment grade or exterior grade plywood, or properly glued-down vinyl. You’ll need to make sure these surfaces are clean and dry to avoid trapping a mess under your new floor.

    To make sure you don’t have hills and valleys you’ll notice once the solid surface is in, try the marble test. Place a child’s marble or other spherical object on the floor and give it a gentle nudge. It will accelerate off the hills and settle in the valleys, and if you have a lot of changes in elevation, you’ll need to add filler, the type depending on your subfloor material.

    Stainmaster also recommends keeping their cases of flooring in the area where you plan to install them for 48 hours before you begin your effort so they can acclimatize. This allows the vinyl planks to expand and contract to match the environment they’ll be in. And yes, this means you’ll be heating or cooling the space to temps approximating what they will be during normal conditions.

    Installation Ease

    Reviewers love this flooring’s click-to-lock structure used to install the planks. This means you work in one direction, set tabs in place, and snap them together. This makes Stainmaster planks particularly easy for DIYers to handle on their own.

    Many homeowners are particularly proud of their installation efforts, even if they have no previous flooring experience, because this product is so easy to use. Professional installers also seem to appreciate the easy click together system that locks on all four sides. Whether installed over subfloor or underlayment, or over existing linoleum or other fixed surface, no significant complaints have been noted with the installation process.

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    How do you maintain Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring?

    Water can infiltrate the joints on even the best interlocking flooring, so as noted earlier, standing water (and therefore wet mopping) is not recommended. Some cleaning agents can also damage the surface, eating away at the coating over time or leaving behind a trail of chemicals that will also ruin the appearance of your gloss. Luckily, overall, this flooring can be easy to maintain.

    Keeping it Clean without Stripping or Hazing

    The manufacturer recommends using a neutral-pH cleaner for regular use to avoid damaging the surface. Homemade cleaners like vinegar and harsh chemical products can strip the finish of the tile over time. Some commercial brands also leave behind a residue that makes the finish look dull instead of glossy.

    Buy a cleaning product specifically rated for use on vinyl plank flooring. Follow its instructions for vinyl plank cleaning and avoid leaving liquid settling on the surface for any length of time. Deep stains may require additional efforts per manufacturer instructions.

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    The Verdict

    Happy homeowners note that this Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring is a budget-conscious choice for their flooring needs. They have installed it in hallways with high traffic, bathrooms and laundry rooms with attendant wetness. They have also installed it in larger expanses such as multipurpose rooms. Generally, it has withstood the tests of countless homeowners and their families.

    The key appears to be a good installation. So it is important to take the time to explore what the experts recommend about the process. Also, check with the manufacturer.

    Preparing the under-plank surface and taking the time to click the planks together properly go a long way toward creating a solid foundation for a durable floor. Add in a good cleaning regimen, and your investment should pay you back with a floor you’ll appreciate for years to come.

    What’s your verdict if you have you installed Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring? And what questions haven’t we yet answered if you’re in the decision process? Let us know in the comments below.

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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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    7 thoughts on “Stainmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring Review”

    1. Stain master luxury vinyl purchased from Lowe’s and installed exactly as instructed on clean solid plywood subfloor. Within 2 years several tiles are separating at the short ends. I went as far as removing several tiles and replacing / reinstalling where I could. Lifted the entire corner of the room and reinstalled new tiles there. Problem returned. Several other spots now separating. Room temp is between 66 and 70 deg year round. Like the way it looks when first installed but would not buy it again or recommend. As others have noted it separates and looks horrible once that happens. Extremely disappointed in this product.

    2. We spent nearly $4,000 on Stainmaster Luxury Vinyl Tile made by Novalis, plus another $1200 for installation. By the second year, the tile had begun to shrink, so longitudinal cracks appears. The next year, the shrinkage continued to increase, so now there were cracks (some as much as 3/8″) between adjacent tiles end to end. These are in a heated/cooled basement, with a constant temperature year-round. Now, after 4 years, the floor is nearly unserviceable. The installers also installed LVT in the upstairs area from a different manufacturer. It is perfect. I have gone through the claims process with Novalis “Customer Service”, but they blow me off, saying that there is only a one year warranty on their product. I think perhaps a floor should last longer that a couple of years, especially since there is almost no traffic on it. I RECOMMEND YOU NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM STAINMASTER (NOVALIS). They do not stand behind their products, and apparently the materials they use just keep on shrinking. Still getting worse after over 4 years. Just awful.

    3. Such a nice blog on stainmaster vinyl plank review. It provides us true and insightful information regarding the topic. So, anyone searching for same topic may find their shelter over here. This is a great article and you are banged on with your points about.This resource i came across recently and is nice too as this particular site.

    4. My friend and I just finished installing stain master burnished oak – fawn in my dining room. After looking at the reviews, I pray I made a good decision. I do have a carpet under my table, so praying all stays together and lasts! I live on a fixed income and I can’t afford to do this again!

    5. Stainmaster vinyl planking is junk I install vinyl planking everyday and they won’t stand behind their bad products. Even installed correctly it seperates at the ends and sides had a claim with them and it was declined said installed wrong but it wasn’t even flooring manager from Lowes looked at it said installed correctly so don’t buy their products they don’t stand behind them. Cheap crap……..

    6. Have stainmaster lvp in bathroom for 3 Years. LOVE IT. No issues whatsoever and looks as good as the day I put it down (white oak dove from Lowe’s).

    7. We have had stainmaster hybrid installed for two weeks. Hate it the boards look dirty due to shiny areas appearing on top of the matt surface particularly when light shines through windows. Was professionally laid looks cheap and fake.

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