vinyl plank flooring reviews

Vinyl Plank Flooring: Reviews, Best Brands & Pros vs. Cons

Last Updated on April 4, 2018

Does this sound familiar? “Vinyl flooring gives you the look of hardwood and the durability of laminate — for a fraction of the price.” If you’ve shopped around enough, I’ll bet you’ve encountered at least one variation of that speech.

But, is it the truth or just another pitch? Well, that depends on your outlook. No flooring is 100% perfect, but Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) –  aka Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) – comes close.

Before we dive in any further, understand vinyl won’t work for everyone. There are a few drawbacks. We’ll go into that in a bit, but before we do let’s discuss the benefits.

Vinyl Plank & Tile Flooring Pros

  1. Price
  2. Style
  3. Installation
  4. Versatility
  5. Durability
  6. Comfort
  7. Insulation
  8. Maintenance

1. Price

Luxury vinyl plank is a cost-effective way to update your home without breaking the bank. You can save thousands without sacrificing style. Unlike real wood, you can find quality vinyl for under $4 per square foot.

But beware of bargain brands. If they look a little too good to be true — well, you know the rest of that story. Quality LVP starts at $3 per square foot and goes up to $7.

The mid-priced lines are usually a sure bet. You’ll get the features you need — like waterproofing and scratch resistance — without paying for unnecessary upgrades.

If you’re hoping to spend less, expect to shop around. At the $3-$4 range, colors and sizes are limited. Don’t lose hope, try looking at discontinued lines or waiting for sales.

Tip: don’t forget to sign up for discounts on the manufacturer’s website.

2. Style

The sky is the limit when it comes to designing with vinyl. The options are endless. Whether you’re looking to replicate rich earthy mahogany, silvered barn wood or even natural stone, you’re sure to find the perfect shade.

Then it’s time to select a size. Choose between large format tiles, wide planks or traditional 2-3-inch boards. Or, mix and match styles for a one-of-a-kind look.

Today’s vinyl comes in a variety of textures like hand-scraped and knotted. Make sure you run your fingers across the boards to ensure the flooring will be comfortable underfoot. Not only do these options mimic the look of genuine hardwood up-close, they feel like the real deal, too.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference — even for seasoned pros. Whichever you choose, remember décor is easy to change, but flooring isn’t. Go for timeless, not trendy.

Take your time and shop around. Experiment with different lines and sizes. Remember to ask for samples and bring them home, so you will know how the flooring looks with your lighting and color scheme.

3. Easy Installation

You won’t need to be a carpenter to install your new vinyl floors. If you’ve tackled home improvement projects in the past, it should be an easy task. Vinyl tiles are usually glued down, while most planks come pre-fitted with click & lock: locking mechanisms that click into place like a jigsaw puzzle.

There is debate over which method works best. When deciding between the applications, consider the overall usage. Glue-down tiles are best for rooms with heavy foot traffic while floating floors work best in secondary spaces.

Depending on the conditions, you may be able to install vinyl directly on-top of your existing flooring. Remember to check with the manufacturer for product-specific guidelines. Nothing voids a warranty quicker than improper installation.

4. Versatility

Unlike wood, it’s safe to use vinyl flooring in damp areas. Vinyl is water-resistant — making it perfect for bathrooms and kitchens floors.

It won’t rot or discolor if exposed to spills or splashes. And, since it isn’t nailed down, you can use it on lower levels, such as basements. Giving you the look of real wood without the hassle.

Planks designed for damp areas usually include attached vapor barriers. If not, simply install the barrier beneath the flooring. You’ll need that layer to keep moisture from gathering underneath the boards or seeping through the seams.

Consider investing in a dehumidifier for below-grade installations. Vinyl handles humidity well, but it never hurts to err on the safe side.

5. Durability

Vinyl flooring is made for busy households. It doesn’t scratch easily. No need to worry if your toddler tracks in snow or your furry pals race through the door with mud-caked paws. Your floors will survive.

Better vinyl planks and tiles have through-body coloring. Meaning if they scratch, the damage is less visible. Additionally, most floors feature a protective layer or hardened clear-coat.

Vinyl is the perfect choice for homes inhabited by clumsy adults and small children. Unlike stone or ceramic, it absorbs shocks. Vinyl won’t crack or chip when a dish jumps out of the cabinet or a cup leaps from your hands.

Its one weakness: sharp objects. So, hold onto those utensils for dear life.

6. Comfort

Vinyl is soft underfoot. As you walk, the flooring absorbs pressure. Like a sponge, it almost feels bouncy.

If you’re on your feet cooking and cleaning for extended periods, you’ll appreciate the softness. Especially if you usually suffer from leg and back pain.

For the ultimate in comfort, treat yourself to planks that feature added layers of padding.

7. Insulation

Vinyl flooring stays room temperature. Even in winter, your floors will feel warm and cozy. No more cringing as you roll out of bed, and no more tiptoeing out of the shower.

You can even pair vinyl flooring with radiant heating systems. Always check with your manufacturer for exact requirements as each brand is different.

Vinyl flooring also absorbs noise. It’s an excellent choice for second stories and playrooms. Rest easy knowing you can watch your favorite show downstairs, without your teenager’s music vibrating through the ceiling.

8. Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance — it doesn’t get any easier than vinyl. No wax, no polish? No problem. Today’s vinyl doesn’t need added chemicals to hold its shine.

In fact, most vinyl shouldn’t be waxed. It will damage the surface. Always check labels before applying cleaner or polish to your floors.

Vinyl planks clean-up in a matter of minutes, not hours. For daily sprucing, use your favorite static dust broom. For a deeper vinyl plank cleaning, a damp mop and mild cleaner will suffice.

Vinyl flooring can stain, so be sure to wipe up spills before they dry. Worst case scenario — replace the individual tile or plank. It’s usually a 5-minute procedure and requires no special skills.

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Vinyl Plank & Tile Flooring Cons

  1. Associated Health Risks
  2. Accessibility Concerns
  3. Minimal Return on Investment
  4. Susceptible to Fading and Denting
  5. Substrate Sensitivity
  6. Limited Longevity
  7. Environmental Impact
  8. Floor Plan Complications

1. Associated Health Risks

Vinyl flooring emits gasses and volatile chemicals into your home called VOCs. The government sets strict manufacturing regulations on levels, but it’s not always enough. There are widespread reports of health issues that trace back to vinyl flooring.

If you or someone in your home has respiratory issues, vinyl may not be the best option. To minimize the risks, look for a company that advertises low VOC flooring that’s phthalate free. Make sure they have documentation to support those claims.

When in doubt, check the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. In addition to statistics, you’ll find in-depth explanations and brand-specific databases. Responsible manufacturers have programs in place to keep consumers safe.

2. Accessibility Concerns

If a member of your household uses a wheelchair or mobility device, reconsider installing planks or tile. Floating floors are out of the question. They are prone to shifting – especially under rolling loads.

Additionally, rigid boards may snap under the added weight or wheels may catch in the grooves, causing a safety hazard. So, if your hearts set on vinyl, opt for sheeting or at the very least glue the boards down.

Remember, most warranties exclude damage caused by heavy furniture or mobility devices. Your salesperson may tell you otherwise, but get it in writing. Then go over the fine print with a magnifying glass.

3. Minimal Return on Investment

If resale value plays into your decision-making, vinyl isn’t the best choice. Vinyl flooring will not raise the value of your home (in most cases). If it does, the effects will be minimal.

No matter how beautiful, people tend to scoff at the mention of vinyl. First-time buyers won’t appreciate the durability or cost-savings. They’ve never paid for an extensive renovation or cried as their children skateboarded through the living-room.

On the flip-side, vinyl is a budget-friendly improvement. If you’re replacing stained carpeting or worn linoleum, new floors will help your home sell. Especially if the potential buyer has children or pets.

Hopefully, as time passes and technology improves, so will vinyl’s bad reputation.

4. Fading and Denting

Like vampires, vinyl is susceptible to sun damage. It won’t disintegrate, but it will fade. If you have a wall of windows or a ceiling of skylights, reconsider buying vinyl.

You can add light-blocking window coverings, but if you enjoy the sun, you’ll regret that choice. Adding area rugs will just contribute to the problem. Your floor will still fade, except now it will have spots.

Another enemy of vinyl — heavy furniture. Make sure you use padding under couches and credenzas. That goes double for cabinets and appliances.

In fact, most manufacturers advise against installing vinyl underneath fixtures. Keep that in mind for future renovations.

5. Substrate Sensitivity

The number one cause of flooring woes is improper substrate preparation. Subfloors should be level, clean and moisture free. If you’re installing over plywood sheeting, check for dips or soft spots.

Scrape off old adhesive, remove any tack strips and fill in large gaps. If you’re installing over concrete, buy flooring with an attached moisture barrier or add a layer before starting your project.

You’ll also want to invest in a moisture meter to ensure humidity levels are within acceptable ranges. Failure to do this will result in headaches down the road.  If your subfloor is questionable, consider hiring a pro to prepare it for you.

It will cost a bit extra, but it beats watching your brand new floors lift and shift.

6. Limited Longevity

When it comes to longevity, hardwood flooring has the advantage. You can sand out scratches, restain faded areas and change the overall coloring over time. Unfortunately, vinyl is a one-hit wonder.

If you choose a timeless option and maintain your floors, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. If a small portion of the vinyl is damaged, it’s an easy fix. But, if your flooring looks dated or distressed, you’ll have to tear it out and start over.

Just something to consider.

7. Environmental Impact

Vinyl flooring isn’t biodegradable. Once removed, it will spend the rest of its days sitting in a landfill. Because vinyl flooring is made with different chemical compounds, recycling is nearly impossible.

There are some exceptions. Manufacturers in the green building arena are using recycled fillers in their planks. Unfortunately, this practice often results in lower quality flooring that’s prone to crumbling and breaking.

But, before you write off eco-friendly flooring, check brand reviews. Some companies have managed to balance quality and safety without compromising durability.

8. Complicated Floor-Plans

Installing vinyl in a home with lots of nooks and crannies is a chore. One better left to the pros unless you have nerves of steel. Notching out corners and undercutting doorways isn’t fun.

It takes skill and results an exorbitant amount of waste. If you choose to accept this mission, do yourself a favor and buy extra material. Don’t forget to lay everything out ahead of time.

If your vinyl transitions to another surface, have a plan in place to compensate for any height difference.

Or choose door number two — hire a pro and let them handle it.

And that concludes our ride on the vinyl flooring roller-coaster. So if you’re still here, let’s leave the negative energy in the past and get into some helpful tips.

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How to Find High-Quality Vinyl Planks

Shopping for vinyl plank can be overwhelming. There aren’t any warning signs flashing over the inferior products or arrows guiding you toward quality materials. Thankfully, there are ways to tell the difference.

Virtually all vinyl planks are water and scratch resistant. Some brands include higher levels of protection or added padding. Decide on your must-have features before heading to the store.

High-quality material has a thicker wear layer. It’s measured in mil vs. mm. Millimeter refers to a board’s overall thickness but mil measures the top-most layer.

If you want flooring that stands up to a busy household, choose a product that’s 20mil or higher. If you’re adding vinyl planks to a second home or less frequented space, you can get away with 12mil or higher.

Another critical factor is the top-coat material. Better planks will have hardened clear-coat that protects the flooring from scratches and stains. Look for buzzwords like “titanium top coating” or “diamond-hardened.”

Don’t forget to check the packaging for safety labels. The boxes should specify the flooring is FloorScore certified and CARB2 compliant. If it’s not; keep looking.

The final clue is the warranty. Residential warranties on quality floors will often cover your purchase for 20-years or more. Wear-layers should be covered for at least 10 years.

If the company is offering less, ask them why.

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Brands & Reviews

Here’s a list of trusted brands and customer-preferred lines, in no particular order, to get you started.

  1. Karndean Korlock
  2. Armstrong Pryzm
  3. Coretec Plus
  4. Mohawk SolidTech
  5. Flooret Modin
  6. Mannington Adura Max
  7. Shaw Floorte Largo
  8. Forbo Allura

Karndean Korlock

When it comes to vinyl plank, Karndean is the gold standard. Adored by homeowners and preferred by installers, Korlock is the Cadillac of vinyl flooring.

The Korlock line features large-format planks up to 9” wide. Karndean floors are waterproof, scratch-resistant and feature attached foam padding. The Korlock line has a wear-layer of 20mil and a lifetime warranty.

You can install Korlock using Karndean’s vertical click locking system. Karndean prices the line competitively in the range of $4-$5 per square foot.

Armstrong Pryzm

Pryzm is Armstrong’s newest line of vinyl planks. And with more than 20 different shades, you’re sure to find a favorite. Planks are water-proof and scratch resistant. Making them suitable for homes with children and pets.

The planks are made of rigid-core construction and feature layers that absorb noise and shock. Armstrong sweetens the deal by adding a limited lifetime warranty and easy click-lock installation.

Expect to pay between $4-$7 per square foot for Pryzm Planks.

Coretec Plus

Coretec is one of the most trusted flooring brands on the market. The company’s Plus line comes in a variety of sizes and styles including wide-plank. These floors feature a hearty 20 mil wear layer and a lifetime warranty.

Coretec Plus installs as a floating floor, making it an ideal DIY project. The durable click-to-lock mechanism won’t break or bend during install. The best part, this product needs no acclimation time, meaning you can install the same day you buy.

Reviews for this product and the Coretec brand are overwhelmingly positive. The one caveat, Coretech Plus is pricey. Expect to pay between $4.50-$6.50 per square foot.

Mohawk SolidTech

Mohawk’s newest line of vinyl planks is genuinely stunning.  It’s called SolidTech, and it stands to become a major hit for this well-known company. These planks come in beautiful muted tones and handscraped textures.

SolidTech is waterproof, odor-proof and stain-resistant. It’s easy to maintain; and easy to install. The planks fit together seamlessly to create a watertight barrier.

Mohawk even includes a warranty, especially for pet owners. The biggest drawback — the 12mil wear layer. Mohawk SolidTech sells for approximately $3 per square foot.

Flooret Modin

Flooret isn’t a household name, but their fanbase of satisfied customers suggests they should be. Sold exclusively online, the Modin line averages between $3.50 -$4.50 per square foot. Planks come in 49 colors and 5 styles.

Flooret’s boards are waterproof, scratch-resistant and have wear layers ranging between 30-40mil. The planks are made with a UV and ceramic-bead top coat. Modin planks sport 4-sided beveled edges and install as a floating floor.

For more information and exclusive discounts, check out the company’s website. You’ll be glad you did.

Mannington Adura Max

The Mannington company has been in business more than 100 years. But don’t let that fool you, this company prides itself on innovation and design. And the Adura Max line is no exception.

Adura Max vinyl flooring features an aluminum oxide topcoat and a shock-absorbing, noise-reducing, padded backing. It’s certified environmentally and allergy friendly. The line is available in both planks and 12×24” tiles.

Mannington has an excellent reputation for customer service. While the original Adura line has had its share of issues, the company has addressed most of them with Adura Max. Recent reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Mannington Adura Max sells for $3-$4 per square foot. Check online for savings. This line goes on sale often.

Shaw Floorte

Shaw separates their Floorte line into 3 levels. The highest level is Largo. Naturally, this level is pricey but worth it.

Largo planks have a 20mil wear layer; wire brushed finishes and varying lengths. The planks are waterproof and carry a limited lifetime warranty.

Reviews of the Largo Plank are mostly favorable. Any negative comments center around the Shaw vinyl brand and not the actual line.

What makes Largo unique is the ability to mix and match sizes, and create a custom design. Stop by Shaw’s website for more information. While your there, be sure to watch the video demonstration.

Forbo Allura

The Allura line has more than 100 styles and sizes. You can choose patterned, woodgrain or natural stone replicas in varying sizes. But the choices don’t stop there.

Forbo offers you three ways to install your Allura tile. Talk about versatility. Depending on your preference, you can glue, loose lay or click together this vinyl.

Allura tiles are 20mil thick and cost between $3-$4 per square foot.

Honorable mentions: Coreluxe, Lifeproof, Smartcore Ultra, Rigid Core, Moduleo, NuCore.

Now that we’ve discussed specific product pricing — we need to talk about the extras. You know, those unexpected trips to your favorite big box store. They add up quick. It’s best you know what you’re in for.

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Additional Costs

Yes. Vinyl plank and/or vinyl tile flooring are two of the most affordable flooring options on the market (though, depending on your brand choice, we wouldn’t call it a ‘cheap flooring‘).

Let’s start at the beginning — demolition. If you’re tearing out carpet or removing tile, it has to go somewhere. You may need to rent a dumpster or pay a disposal fee.

Shop around for the best rates ahead of time, so you’re not caught off-guard. Depending on the area, it may cost you between $100-$400.

Expect to spend a few dollars on essential tools like a rubber-mallet, utility-knife, and a multi-tool. You’ll also need a moisture meter and a tapping block. While your shopping, remember to throw a set of knee-pads in the cart — your body will thank you.

If you’re adding a vapor-barrier or padding, ask your retailer to add it to the deal. It probably won’t work, but you never know. Worst case scenario, talk them into giving you a healthy discount.

If you buy the underlayment separately, anticipate spending $30-$50 for a 100 square foot roll.

Last but not least — molding and trim pieces. Not only are these items special order, but they’re expensive to boot. It’s impossible to estimate a figure without knowing the exact details. Don’t forget to purchase transition strips.

You can expect to dedicate $200-$400 of your budget to trim.

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Did you survive the sticker shock? Good. Deep breaths, we’re in the home stretch. Now comes the fun part — installation.

  1. Floating Installation Tips and Tricks
  2. Glue-Down Installation Tips and Tricks
  3. Tips for Hiring a Pro Installer

Floating Installation Tips and Tricks

Make sure you buy at least 10-20 percent more flooring than you need. You’ll want it for cuts and waste. There is nothing worse than running out of planks a few boards shy of the finish line.

Remove any wall trim and undercut door jambs before you start. Otherwise, you’ll have to stop halfway through the install, and you’ll lose your momentum.

Lay the floor out as a test run and mark cuts with a crayon or chalk. Work from 3 or 4 boxes to maximize the variations and shading. It’s easier to make adjustments before the boards are locked together.

Start at the longest wall and lay out the rows. Stagger the joints at least 5 inches. For the best results, make sure your last row is ½ – 1 plank wide.

Don’t forget to leave room for expansion. When you’re finished, take a moment to survey the room. If you’re satisfied with the layout, go ahead and start locking the planks into place.

Having trouble getting the boards to lie flat? Tap them in place with a rubber mallet and a scrap piece of vinyl. If seams are the issue, use a hand-roller and apply even pressure.

If you have extra material, keep it. You might be tempted to ditch it — but don’t. If your vinyl is damaged, you can replace individual boards or tile without ripping out the entire floor.

Glue-Down Installation Tips and Tricks

Always purchase glue direct from the manufacturer or store. It might cost more but if something goes wrong, you’ll have proof you used the correct adhesive. Once the materials are in order, you’re ready to go.

Start by dividing your room into sections. Begin at the center and snap chalk lines to form a grid. The lines act as a visual guide, so you’ll have a clear starting and ending point.

Mark any tiles for cutting before you apply the glue. Pick a section and spread the adhesive from the center out. Work in rows and press the vinyl firmly into place. Use a roller to flatten the seams.

If you need to make adjustments; use the edge of the trowel to lift individual tiles. After you finish, do a final walk around. Make sure the tiles fit snug against each other.

Use a damp rag to clean up any excess adhesive. When you’re done, wait at least 3 hours before walking on your floors.

Tips for Hiring a Pro Installer

If you’d rather not deal with installation hassles —  hire a pro to do the job. Pricing varies by location, but expect to pay between $30-$50 an hour. Use our free tool to receive 3 instant quotes from certified professional installers in your area.

The next best way to find an install company is through your flooring retailer. They may be able to include your installation costs into the price of your flooring. If not, they should be able to provide a list of trusted installers.

Another option is to ask your friends or co-workers for recommendations. They may know of a reasonable and reliable local contractor. If all else fails, solicit suggestions from your social media friends.

Remember to get 2-3 estimates before deciding on a contractor. Don’t go by blind bids. Make sure each company visits your home and sees the layout.

If there are any obstacles, they can figure it into the bid from the beginning. Don’t forget to ask for references or photos of their past jobs. Additionally, make sure the contractor is licensed and insured before signing the contract.

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Wrapping Up

Shopping for vinyl can be a chore — but don’t forget the fun. Start researching your options early and stock up on freebies and samples before settling on a style. Try to look for flooring that compliments your home’s overall feeling and incorporates your taste.

Join a few online forums and address any questions and concerns with fellow renovators. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to lend a hand. Especially after they have gone through the process.

Try to shop during holiday sales and year-end clearances. And don’t forget to sign up for discounts on company websites. Your inbox may get a little full, but you can always unsubscribe after you’ve purchased your vinyl.

Prepare a list of questions before you hit the stores. Most salespeople are happy to help. If your salesperson isn’t willing to answer your questions, ask to speak with a manager or go to another store.

Don’t forget to ask about safety certifications and warranty details. Flooring is a big-ticket item. Make sure you’re satisfied before the money leaves your hands.

If you’re installing the vinyl, remember to include extra material for waste and replacement. Additionally, make sure you have everything you need before you start your install. If you opt to hire a pro, ask them to provide you with a custom estimate, proof of insurance, and referrals from past jobs.

Good luck on your flooring ventures. If this article has helped you or we forgot to include a topic — drop us a line. We’ll do our best to answer your questions or address any concerns.

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169 thoughts on “Vinyl Plank Flooring: Reviews, Best Brands & Pros vs. Cons”

  1. One thing the article could’ve better emphasized: Not all wear layers are the same. It’s not just mil thickness, but the grade of urethane and the top protective material that matters. I would take a 10-mil thickness with the Adura Max aluminum oxide surface protection, over a 40-mil layer from a mid- or low-tier flooring brand. This is a big reason I recently selected Adura Max after painstaking research, comparing all the perspectives I could get. So far, so great!

  2. I am having an EVP Product installed made by Meridian LaGrande. Installation by a local company. It will be in the den, their room, about 365 sqft. I have 3 Labradors that are mine and 2 more that visit on a regular basis. Anyone have any experience with this type?

    1. We have just ordered Dixie homes stainmaster pet protect lvp for our small front entry walk through to and including our kitchen, as well as our family room. We chose it partly because we love the look and partly because we have a dog.. It is a click product with a 20 mil wear layer. I’m wondering if anyone has experience with this product?

  3. Christine Hip

    We are currently shopping for new flooring. We’ve looked at LVP and wood. Both have their ups and downs. The two vinyl plank brands we’re looking at are Hallmark Courtier and Global Gem Flooring, Coastal Series. The Hallmark is more expensive but well rated by consumers and ticks the other boxes (20 mill, environment stuff, looks and feels great). The Global product is less expensive (by $2 a sq ft.) really beautiful and has a 20 mill but I can’t find any info on it for complaints or reviews (positive or negative). Also the Hallmark would final price with install puts in the range of a beautiful wood we like. Anyone seen or used these before?

  4. Denise Shearman

    I need to replace my kitchen, powder room, and laundry room floor. I am agonizing over whether to install pre-finished hardwood, engineered hardwood, or luxury vinyl planks. If I was planning to stay in the house for the long haul, I would opt for the LV, but I’m in my late 60’s, and will probably be downsizing in 3-5 yrs. Did any of you consider resale value before purchasing? Thanks

  5. We are thinking about installing Shaw’s floorte premio LVP. It has a 20mil west layer and 6.5 mm thick. Has anybody installed this type of flooring? We have two dogs and want something highly scratch resistant.

    1. In other forums, I’ve seen Floorte, CoreTec and others compared to Adura Max – the Adura seems to win, both in terms of scratch and dent resistance. We have two big dogs, and before buying, we did the Mannington “scratch test” on the Adura Max, and watched a quarter get filed down against that impressive aluminum oxide surface protection. No damage to the Adura, it ate the side of that quarter… Pretty impressive stuff.

  6. I installed Trafficmaster Allure vinyl plank in my house and at the time it looked awesome. But after 2-3 years of light foot traffic it is showing signs of wear. Scuffs and scratches in some places.

    On the other hand my mother had Karndean vinyl plank flooring installed in her house (which is a commercial/industrial flooring) and it is amazing. After 5 years it looks exactly the same. I even took an extra piece and tried to scuff or scratch it and it took a lot of effort.

    But of course the price difference is pretty vast. Mine was around 2.39 sq/ft and hers was double that or more. But if I could do it again I would spend the extra money and get the most durable flooring I could get.

  7. I’ve been shopping for vinyl plank flooring but was put off because they all seem to have a very ‘matte’ finish. That to me seems unnatural. A wood floor should have a bit of a sheen to it. I did find Home Depot’s Home Decorators Collection Sante Fe Maple that does have some sheen to it. It’s only 4mm, however, so I’m wondering what kind of a difference in performance I’ll see compared to a 5mm product.

  8. We are in desperate need to instal new flooring. We will be installing it over the original hardwood floors that are beat up from years of neglect from previous owners and our dogs. We are trying to decide between Lifeproof (mixed width) and Shaw Floorte (alto/largo mix plus). Any thoughts? It seems comparable. The Floorte has an extra clear layer for protection but the Lifeproof has the virgin vinyl and isocore. We will be putting it in four rooms – about 800sq ft.

    Shaw doesn’t really show a nice photo of their plank layers like Lifeproof does, which is frustrating. I also haven’t been able to find a blog/vlog review with photos for Floorte where I found a very nice blog post for Lifeproof. 🤔

    1. Roger Kranzler

      The thing about lifeproof floors is the thickness compared to that of the shaw product. Most shop products are between five and 8 mm thick. I do believe most Home Depot products are only 5 mm thick, though I could be wrong.

    2. I had Shaw Luxury Vinyl Planks installed in my kitchen last April (2017). A few months after installation by a very reputable and wonderful flooring company the planks starting rising on the ends. By this I mean the ends would catch on socks when walking across the flooring and are not even. These are the planks that click together on sides and top and bottom. Plus the flooring under my kitchen table and chairs (which have rollers on them) is chipping. I contacted my flooring company and they came by and checked. They called Shaw who sent in an inspector. After approximately 4-6 weeks just as my flooring company and I figured Shaw tried to say it was the installation. The installation was done properly. This flooring comes with a long guarantee – I can’t remember if it was 20 years or further. But Shaw will do nothing. But my flooring company is coming in to replace it at their cost with another brand of flooring. I hope this helps.

    3. The real question is what is the mil off the projection layer. Life proof is 12mil not sure which shaw product you are looking at but i will tell you the best way to find it is on the shaw website. If you are looking at typical box stores most are 12mil. Honestly not sure why this reviewer did not cover mil, because it really is key to disability. Most places i read say no less than 20mil. Hope this helps.

    4. My husband and I, generally pretty good DIYers, tried the Shaw Floorte in single width. We have put the project on hold because we can’t get the planks to stay locked.. Perhaps it is just us and this is one project we can’t seem to get right, but you may want to ask the seller about buyer complaints.

  9. We chose Lifeproof for a kitchen because HD told us that it IS waterproof. Now I don’t know WHAT to think because I need flooring also, and was going to go with either Lifeproof or the Harmonics brand selling at Costco.

    1. We are also looking at these two brands which one did you decide to go with? And are you happy with it? We have dogs and were leaning towards lifeproof but just found the Harmonics brand at Costco and are now debating which one would be better.

    2. We installed the costco Harmonics laminate. Even though it looked and felt great, it was not waterproof (seems soak moisture and warp the plank) and it chipped easily if something fell on it. We are now looking at vinyl because of the waterproof and durability.

  10. Have you experienced any sound problem or feeling while walking on a floating floor? Our installer suggested gluing the vinyl planking [COREtec] to the subfloor instead of floating since he believes there is a sound difference and feeling when walking on a floating floor. Unfortunately, I cannot find anyone I know with a floating floor to confirm or deny. Any thoughts?

    1. Generally glue down vinyl planks are quieter when walking on than a standard locking / floating vinyl product. Some locking products are constructed with a cork or acoustic foam underpad, however. This pad is waterproof and is meant to create a sound deadener underneath so it is similarly quiet to step across.

      When it comes to feel differences, it depends on how level your subfloor is. If there are major fluctuations in the levelness of your subfloor (areas that peak or dip down), a locking floor (even if you try to glue it) is not recommended at all. The product is just not capable enough to withstand that strain on their locking mechanisms. A glue down product without such a lock system is better for that or you can try to smooth out that subfloor. There are several ways to do so. If you have only minor fluctuations on the levelness of your subfloor, a floating product with the underpad will work quite well (no glue needed unless installing on stairs). A standard (and thinner) locking product without the underpad will require a smooth level floor to go over. Fail to have that and you will feel a difference.

    2. I have 10mm floating laminate floors and I don’t have an issue with noise. But I also have a soft material and water barrier underlayment. I would suggest that you connect a few planks within the area it will be installed in and walk around. If you don’t have an issue of glue down (per manufacture), and the cost of glue and labor (prep work and install) I wouldn’t see an issue why not.

    3. Walking on Cortec Plus plank (we also put 15# felt over cement slab foundation) has a little “crunchy” or “tap” sound. We previously had 3/4” hardwood floors so this is definitely a change to adjust to. But when considering the price difference (10K vs 35K) for 1400 sq ft and how beautiful the plank is, we were willing to give it a go throughout the house.

    4. I’m no Pro, just an avid DIY guy, but every bit of research I’ve done confirms you should NEVER secure a floating floor to the subfloor. Horror stories abound; tales of flooring that starts to bow and turns into mountains. Always check the installation resources from the Mfr., I’m certain they’ll tell you not to glue it down.

  11. Has anyone had any experience with BeaulieuVinyl2Go vinyl plank flooring? We are redoing our first floor and were considering COREtec vinyl planks, but saw the Beaulieu and it looks quite a bit thicker and more durable. The price would be about an additional 30%. Any information or suggestions about either type would be appreciated.

  12. We are thinking about installing Coretec Plus XL-E in Appalacian Pine. I’m having second thoughts because of reviews I’ve read on line of this type of floor scratching easily. I have two dogs and would not say we are careful at all about flooring. Anyone have experience with this? Are we going to regret installing this? We installed laminate less than 10 years ago and have many regrets.

    1. We just bought Cortec Plus. I spoke at length to a guy with 1 big active, indoor, dog who had the same flooring for 3 years and was happy with its “dog” performance, and was having it installed in a second house. I assume he kept their toenails trimmed. It’s the pointy scratches from rocks tracked in on shoe soles you have to watch out for! Sweeping, sweeping, sweeping, and regular damp mopping—-it is NOT maintenence free.

    2. Ask what the mil is, not the mm, the mil is the protection layer. In other reviews i have read it discussed no less than 20mil.

    1. Teresa D Johnson

      We just installed all over our house except bedrooms and bathrooms. Looks great, feels great, very satisfied!

  13. Has anyone used harbor plank from south wind? It’s supposed to have a lifetime warranty and we have had nothing but trouble with this floor. It’s coming apart everywhere. Not sure what to do from here.

    1. If its coming apart, that’s not good. Most likely the locking mechanisms were damaged during installation. Or the LVP was not installed on a flat enough surface, which causes stress on the locking mechanism as you walk on them. Did you have the floor professional installed?

  14. Has anyone heard of or installed Provenza MaxCore Waterpoof LVP? We are purchasing a new build from Calatlantic Homes and the only LVP flooring they offer is Shaw or Provenza. I can’t find any reviews online on Provenza’s LVP only thier hardwood, is this a good or bad sign?

    1. I had Costco come out and quote my floor. They were right around what Lumber Liquidators gave me as an estimate. The difference would have been recouped in a 10% Costco Cash Card as was the promotion at the time. One note and ultimately why I probably won’t choose them is their installation involved not removing the baseboards but simply covering the gap between the floor and the existing baseboard with quarter round and I think that will just look silly, but that may have been specific to my area. 732 sq ft quoted at $6,000 with installation (not including the cash card).

      1. Do NOT allow them to put in quarter rounds. It looks horrible! It also is a huge pain to clean because it picks up dust and hairs like crazy. We are having to replace our flooring for this very reason, it looks really bad and unprofessional. Get another installer and make sure they remove and replace your trim to fit right over the floor.

        1. I am in the flooring industry, Regarding the baseshoe, or quarter round ( which is slightly larger) It is a common practice to use baseshoe. Many times the trim is painted over and over, several times in an older home, with baseshoe painted onto it. I would only do an install wiht no baseshoe,if the customer had a new construction area, or had removed the trim themselves, because it often times damages the painted walls, and the trim can break, during removal. Look at any wood flooring job, and you will see baseshoe. it protects your baseboards when you mop, and covers up the expansion gap needed. If you don’t like the look, then I would say have the baseboards removed prior to the flooring installation.

  15. I’m getting ready to build a 3 season porch (i.e., neither heated nor air conditioned). The floor will not be subject to rain or snow, but must endure outside temperatures. Are any of the vinyl planks rated to be used in such an environment?

    1. I have been looking into LVP for our cabin in northern Michigan and have learned that temperature is a BIG factor. Some products can not be used below 50 degrees or the warranty will be voided. Other products are rated for -30 to -50 degrees for the type of application you describe. There doesn’t seem to be anything in between. Good luck!

    2. Roger Kranzler

      I don’t know too much, but what I do know is vinyl contracts and expands a lot more than wood. I installed glue down vinyl planking before (a lot of it) and when it’s cold and you put it together it heats up and shrinks a lot. So, I’m imagining the snap together does the same thing, just not as noticeable. Wood floors do move a lot, also, but obviously our nail-down or stable down floor is not going to move a lot but they do move in the joints will “open and close. three season porch I would just put in a high-quality commercial carpet or tile There is a lot of tile out there that looks like wood stone ext. sheet vinyl floor you can get a Nice high-quality vinyl that looks like stone pretty cool check it out but if you go with the vinyl floor that looks like stone and you have to have a seam make sure you know the person knows what they’re doing and make sure glue the whole service not just the perimeter I have seen that shrink up to do two temperature change just some thoughts hope it helps

    3. I am looking for flooring for an unheated cabin so here is what I have found. Mannington Adura Max Prime, Tarkett Progen both can be put in a 3 season room. Gemcore by Reward warranteed at 0-140 degrees and We Ship Floors Kryptonite (more colors to be added April to May timeframe). I have done tons of research and these are the only ones I have found that will be warranteed for my needs.

      1. suzanne conrad

        I had Adura Max Cascade installed a few months ago. We are in Mesa Arizona and I can’t find the temps for the warranty. We are snowbirds so the home is left closed over the summer. Can you tell my where you found the numbers you are supplying?
        We were told before we installed, the flooring was perfect for the Arizona climate, Last week I heard that they are now saying airconditioner should be set at 95 degrees.

  16. Has anyone used the Hydracore Innove Luxe vinyl planks from Menards? We will be doing our kitchen/dining area and back hall.

  17. I love my Golden

    Our contractor has shown us (and we are looking to go with) Natures Choice WPC / LVP flooring. It’s marketed as “100% Virgin Vinyl Commercial LVP Flooring” and a 25 year residential warranty. However we can’t find much of any information about the brand online. Has anyone used this product or heard anything about it? All seems to point to a very solid make up (WPC core density of 850, 20 mills wear layer and a specialized under layer they use which apparently most other LVP manufacturers don’t use). We have two children and a growing 60 lb Golden Retriever, as well as a pool and love the idea of a very easy maintenance floor that should withstand kids, water, etc. Anyone know of this one or can offer any input? Much appreciated!

  18. We are looking at installing Wanke Cascade EVP in our house. Does anyone have experience with them? Reviews?

  19. Has anyone installed Karndean or Congoleum? I’ve heard Karndean has a great reputation. Can’t find any reviews on Congoleum. Thanks!

    1. We did a Karndean Van Gogh line lvp throughout every square foot of our 1st and 2nd floors and are very happy with it! We did the glue down version as I didn’t want any chance of cupping or curling, plus our primary reason for choosing lvp was because of our dachshund who is a notorious indoor piddler. We felt gluing would make the plank fit the tightest it could be so there was no seep through if and when he had an accident. It’s been great, we’re very happy with it. Looks great, people regularly mistake it for hardwood. Easy to clean and we believe will be very durable.

      1. How long have you had this? What color? I have read so many reviews on karndean that show problems with the finish? I’m getting ready to put it in my home and I’m just not sure which brand to go with.

      2. We are also considering the Karndean Van Gogh line. I read some pretty bad reviews on Houze and am very worried now if we should back out. Are your floors staying glued down? Many people were complaining of gaps happening. What about footprints, stains and scuff marks, do you have issues with them?

      3. The website says use their cleaner and their “restore” solutions twice a year-was that included in your instructions?

  20. Has anyone had any experience with Metroflor Engage Genesis 200xl vinyl planks? I am considering vinyl plank flooring and have also looked at CortecPlus XL. Really need need some informed experience with both of these,

    1. I have been considering Metroflor Genesis Engage 600NP myself. But just a few concerning comments above about discoloration and the warranty not being honored. We are also considering Mohawk and Nuvelle products. Would love to hear from anyone who has experience with any of these!

      1. I am building a new home. My contractor is a custom design builder in Florida? He is very high on Tarkett LVT Plank glue down flooring. We are spending high dollars on this home in a higher value community. I don’t want to make a mistake on floor choice as most of the flooring will be consistent throughout the home. The home will be exposed to a great deal of natural sunlight plus our dog.

        Please provide me some guidance

    2. We just did about 1200 sq ft this week in cameo white. I love it. I was told that this product is top of their line. I am trying find out why their PH Neutral cleaner is so expensive. My dog already peed on it. But he is having bladder issues. It wiped right up. It was not cheap.

    1. We have the Mannington Distinctive LVT and absolutely love it. Stain proof, scratch proof (we have grand children and dogs) and it looks beautiful.

  21. I am looking for reviews on the waterproof Nucor vinyl wood planking. It can be installed over existing flooring, has a cork backing and is easy to install. This is only sold at Floor and Decor. I found a couple reviews, but they seemed to have been connected with getting something free from F & D — so I don’t know how valid they’d be. Im trying to sell a rental – and I love the fact that you can install this right over existing tile. That will save me a lot of money. Any info would be appreciated!

    1. Save your money. this stuff is awful and Floor and Decor does not care. The NuCor flooring we purchased was defective–uneven cuts, wouldn’t click together. Floor and Decor refused to refund the cost of the second box we made the mistake of opening to check for quality.

  22. Anyone have any experience w HALLMARK vinyl? We are building and this is one that our flooring person recommended without going to top of the line LVP. It is a glue down I believe.


  23. I have used this in bathrooms where I did not want to deal with a ‘water resistant’ product. Installation is not hard if you follow instructions and buy the tool kit. Lowe’s has one with a puller and tapping block though I would highly recommend getting the longer/wider one. I’m putting this in a laundry room since the laminate flooring I knew I put in years ago was a bad idea. (Water and cardboard don’t mix!!) That said, this is a great product, wear rating of 20 is the highest and Cali-Bamboo definitely has one in that range, which is all I know.
    As for doing a whole house, I would never do it. This is expensive and you can get bamboo, wood-look flooring from lumber liquidators with longer warranties that you can still install yourself. Bamboo has a higher hardness rating than red oak and will increase the value of your home. LPV is cool but at the end of the day it’s modern day sheet vinyl.

  24. I just had 1000 sq. ft of high quality LVP (8mm, 20 MUL, extra wide, extra long) installed on second floor of my home. It looks beautiful and is so easy to clean. Love it.. It has a rustic, hand scraped texture that looks like wood. It is very comfortable to walk on (far softer than tile). I suppose the only draw back is that it feels like plastic underfoot, which shouldn’t be surprising since the floors I chose are 100% plastic. Despite this, I would consider putting the same type of LVP on the 1st floor as well. Hubby wants something just a little nicer, so we are looking into engineered hardwood.

  25. Just wondering what you feel about Summit Plank SFI Luxury Vinyl Plank. We are going to do about 4,000 sq. ft. .Please give me the pros vs cons. Thanks.

    1. Bob – Did you go with the Summit Plank SFI LVP product? If so, how do you like it? We are considering it for a 1600 sf project in a house in Florida. Thanks.

    1. We are using Lifeproof Ocala Oak for our entire home, around 1650 sq. ft. It checks every box on what you need in an EVP product at $3/sq. ft. Lifetime residential warranty, thick 8mm planks, low VOC, high quality underlayment + foam core, very scratch & wear resistant, comfortable to walk on, 100% waterproof, easy click-lock system. Looks great, having no problems installing it myself after learning a few tricks doing one bedroom first. I couldn’t find anything better even going up to $4.79/ sq. ft. Very happy with this flooring.

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