Luxury vinyl flooring is everywhere, and it’s quickly become the flooring material of choice for contractors and homeowners alike. Millions of square meters of vinyl flooring are produced each year, although it’s just one type of vinyl. There are a half-dozen variations to consider as well, including newer styles like EVP.
EVP is an exciting new product that falls under the luxury vinyl flooring segment, but a style that may eventually surpass the LVP in time. While it has more than its fair share of similarities with luxury vinyl planks and tiles, EVP flooring brings something new to the table.
EVP Flooring Explained
The first question most homeowners have when wondering considering EVP flooring has to do with the name itself. EVP stands for engineered vinyl plank. In a sense, this flooring is a hybrid between engineered hardwood, laminate, and luxury vinyl planks. It’s thicker and more rigid than traditional LVP, thanks to a few significant differences.
This is a protective layer that covers the top of each EVP plank, and it’s something you’ll find on every board regardless of the brand or price. The topcoat or wear layer helps prevent scuffs and damage from regular use. It varies in thickness, and thicker wear layers can potentially increase the price.
This is the same layer you’ll find on luxury vinyl plank flooring or LVT. The decorative layer is made from vinyl and features an image that resembles wood or stone. Manufacturers use a number of techniques to give their flooring a realistic appearance. You’ll find many of the same styles in EVP as you will with LVP, but from a smaller selection of brands.
The most significant difference in LVP and EVP is in the core, as all engineered vinyl planks have a rigid core. This means they aren’t nearly as flexible as luxury vinyl planks, and we’ve seen products with PVC cores along with boards featuring SPC cores, an extremely popular choice. The rigidness can help hide imperfections in your subfloor, which gives EVP a distinct advantage over thinner vinyl planks.
The backing or base layer separates the core from your subfloor. More often than not, you’ll find a thin layer of rubber or cord on the bottom of each board pre-attached. The backing layer usually doesn’t have a huge impact on pricing as it’s become standard, but the type of material used can make a difference during the installation.
How is EVP Flooring Installed?
If you read our any of our guides on vinyl plank flooring, you already know how easy it is to install. That’s one of the reasons it has become so popular as this allows homeowners to install flooring themselves and save money from forgoing a professional installation.
Due to its rigid nature, engineered vinyl flooring is usually sold as a floating floor with a click-lock edge. A circular saw or chop saw is typically used to cut boards, but the pieces simply snap into place with no glue required. While there are a few brands that use different methods, most EVP is incredibly easy to install.
EVP Pros and Cons
Understanding what EVP flooring is can help you decide whether it’s right for your home, but it’s not the only factor you should consider. No flooring style is perfect, despite what marketing material may lead you to believe. That’s where weighing the pros and cons come in handy, which is why we’ve broken things down for you.
EVP Flooring Pros
- Easy to Install – As mentioned, installing luxury vinyl is easy, and putting down EVP in your home is just as simple. It is a little more challenging to work with as it’s heavier, but homeowners that are handy with their hands and can follow directions should have no problem installing engineered vinyl plank flooring throughout their home.
- Waterproof – Whereas most luxury vinyl tile and planks are sold as water-resistant or waterproof, 90% of EVP is marketed as waterproof. The PVC or SPC core has a lot to do with that, and while they are suitable for below-grade installations, they aren’t made to be submerged. Water can still get through the cracks if not correctly installed and ruin your subfloor while your EVP remains intact.
- Resilient – Vinyl flooring is classified in the resilient category, and EVP is the most durable of the bunch. It can be stained by certain substances but is safe from everyday spills along with abuse from daily wear and tear. As long as you choose a high-quality product, you should have no problems installing EVP in high-traffic areas in your home.
- Styles – Carpet has long been a favorite when it comes to variety and style, but manufacturers of vinyl flooring have begun to catch up. While most engineered vinyl flooring looks like wood or stone, the options are vast. You can choose domestic species in a variety of tones or exotic planks designed to resemble species like Brazilian Walnut.
EVP Flooring Cons
- Price – As much as we like engineered vinyl flooring, the price can be a significant factor. These planks are thicker and typically cost more than LVP, which itself can cost just as much as engineered wood flooring or cheap solid hardwood from domestic species. There are several affordable store brands available, but if you want the best EVP flooring, you can end up paying between $5.00 to $7.00 per square foot.
- Green Factor – PVC isn’t the most eco-friendly substance, and you’ll find plenty of it in engineered vinyl flooring. VOCs and off-gassing won’t be an issue if you purchase certified products, but recycling plastic flooring may be easier said than done. Needless to say, there are greener options available, including reclaimed wood, bamboo, and new forms of linoleum.
- Availability – This con comes down to location and the type of engineered vinyl flooring you are interested in. While popular, EVP hasn’t surpassed luxury vinyl flooring quite yet, so you are likely to find more LVP locally than EVP – especially if you want something affordable. High-end products can be had locally through flooring stores or ordered online, but shipping charges can add hundreds to the overall price.
Q: Is EVP more stable than luxury vinyl planks or tile?
A: Yes. It’s thicker, and the rigid core adds a significant amount of dimensional stability to each board.
Q: Will engineered vinyl flooring increase the value of my home?
A: That’s tough to answer as a variety of factors are involved. With that in mind, you typically don’t see a great ROI on vinyl flooring of any kind in your home compared to solid hardwood, tile or premium engineered hardwood flooring.
Q: What types of rugs should I use on EVP flooring?
A: Anything with a natural backing layer or that’s woven should be fine. If the floor mat or rug has latex or rubber on the bottom, proceed with caution as it could discolor your floors.
Q: Do all engineered vinyl planks have a stone plastic composite core?
A: No, but it’s a trend we’ve seen more of in recent years. If you have a brand in mind, refer to their product literature to see what kind of core they use in their products.