Flooring is an innovative industry. We have seen a number of new types of flooring introduced over the last 20 to 30 years, and for each new style, there are variants. Two of the newer ones would be SPC and WPC, which are two hybrid forms of luxury vinyl flooring. While these materials are both made from a measure of vinyl and constructed in a similar fashion, we’re going to break down the pros and cons while comparing the two to help you find the right material for your home.
Stone plastic core
Cold and hard underfoot
Retains some warmth, a bit softer than SPC
Dense and extremely durable
Excellent, but a step under SPC
Variety of styles resembling wood and stone
Similar wood and stone styles, but larger selection overall
Most products are 100% waterproof
$3.50 to $7.00
$2.50 to $6.00
Stone Plastic Composite Flooring
Whenever you see a manufacturer use the term SPC, it stands for stone plastic composite. It’s a form of layered flooring that’s akin to engineered hardwood as there are three main layers with a base, core, and top or wear layer.
What’s on the bottom of SPC flooring varies, but cork and foam are commonly used on products from manufacturers big and small. The core is what makes SPC flooring unique, however, as it is made from a mix of limestone and stabilizers, which create a stable core that’s far sturdier than LVP or luxury vinyl tiles.
Wood Plastic Composite Flooring
Before there was SPC flooring, there was wood plastic composite flooring, which is closer to engineered flooring from a construction standpoint than boards with a stone core. That’s because the core of WPC planks are made from a mixture of plastic and wood by-products.
WPC flooring has a rigid core as well and is constructed in a similar fashion to SPC planks with an image and wear layer. It can look like stone or wood, just like stone plastic composite flooring, but the core is similar to what you’ll see find on a composite deck board.
Construction & Comfort
Stone plastic composites flooring has what’s referred to as a rigid core. In this case, the middle layer is made from a mix of limestone, vinyl, and stabilizers, which provide consumers with planks that are far more resilient than vinyl. SPC flooring is stable, but not exactly comfy and stays cool underfoot. SPC planks are usually thinner, although you’ll find a large selection of thick planks from premium brands.
Wood plastic flooring lives up to its namesake by using wood fiber combined with resin for its core. It can look just like SPC flooring on the outside, but WPC is better at retaining heat and more resilient than engineered flooring with a stone composite core. Wood polymer flooring is typically thicker than SPC by a few millimeters and feels more like luxury vinyl beneath your feet.
Both WPC and SPC flooring hold up well under daily abuse and are the next step up from LVP if you’re concerned about durability. WPC vinyl flooring will provide more insulation from noise, and it’s quieter but not nearly as dense as rigid flooring with a stone core. WPC floors have more “give” and still get protection from a wear layer, but are no match for SPC vinyl when it comes to durability.
SPC flooring is ideal for commercial use due to its durable core, so it is going to hold up extremely well in your home. Pets and animals are no match as long as the product has a good wear layer and neither is heavy furniture which can indent your floors over time. SPC flooring can handle dents and dings far better than engineered, WPC, or LVP flooring.
Pet-friendly flooring is easy to find as more homeowners have turned towards materials that make life easier for themselves and for their furry friends. Any animal that roams around the house can cause issues with your floor, but unlike carpet or hardwood, vinyl flooring is generally pet-friendly.
WPC is arguably the best choice for pets as it’s not quite as hard as SPC, which means it may be a little more comfortable to nap on. Neither material will provide much traction, but both are tough enough to withstand nails, although you’ll want to keep them clipped. Both are resistant to stains; just listen to the manufacturers’ recommendations when it comes to cleaning products.
Do you want your floors to look like oak that’s been harvested from the Appalachian Mountains or planks that resembled weathered wood from the beach? You will find both options available with SPC and WPC flooring. If you have seen a species of tree you like with flooring that’s made of real hardwood, there is a strong chance you can find WPC or SPC products that resemble it.
Stone-look flooring is also an option, but the selection is somewhat limited to certain types of stone. Travertine is one of the most popular choices and easy to replicate, while Marble is harder to mimic. Overall, we feel that wood plastic composite flooring gets a slight edge in this area as it’s been around a little longer, so you should be able to find more styles both locally and online.
One of the big advantages of luxury vinyl flooring is how well it can handle water. That makes it an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and even mudrooms. SPC flooring and WPC are both waterproof as well although the overall quality of the product and a few other factors are still important.
Most of the SPC products we checked were listed as “waterproof” by the manufacturer, but there were plenty listed as only water-resistant as well once we dug into the specifications. That means you’ll need to pay close attention, especially with lesser-known brands, if waterproof flooring is a must. When it comes to WPC planks, all of the products we looked at from the best brands were rated as completely waterproof.
This is an area that comes down to how handy you are with tools to a degree. SPC is mainly sold in plank form, and it can be harder to cut than some forms of WPC flooring. As neither can be cleanly sliced with a razor knife, you’ll need the same type of tools to install both styles of flooring.
The exception would be WPC tiles, which can be glued down or locked into place. WPC can be a little more forgiving to work with and is lighter even though it’s just as thick, if not thicker, than SPC. If you are planning to install your new flooring yourself, WPC has a slight advantage over stone plastic composite flooring, although most consumer reviews point towards and easy installation for both materials.
SPC flooring prices range from around $3.50 to over $7.00 per square foot, depending on the brand. You can find planks for more than $8.00 per square foot from manufacturers like CORETec, but we have also seen planks listed as low as $2.89.
With WPC flooring, you’ll have more products to choose from with different price points, which averages around $2.50 to $6.00 per square foot. Quality is critical with pricing as well, so you are going to pay more for big brands that have an extensive catalog of products.
As you can see, there are more similarities than differences between stone and wood plastic composite flooring. In the end, it all comes down to the core layer, whether you want a flooring that’s resilient with a bit of cushion or prefer stiff, durable planks with a core of stone. Both are suitable options for any room in your home; just remember to check SPC to see if it’s waterproof or just water-resistant if it will be used in the kitchen or bathroom.
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