Homeowners shopping for new types of flooring aren’t likely to see much change from one year to the next. Companies do introduce new styles and colors each year, but from a material standpoint, innovation has slowed to a crawl aside from the MLF niche. Variants are an exception from this area, and SPC flooring is one of the most popular types of multilayer flooring currently in production today.
SPC Flooring Explained
While there’s no V in the name, SPC flooring is actually a form of vinyl. SPC means Stone Plastic Composite, and the name has to do with the composition of the core. Simply put, flooring this class has a rigid core, which makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas in your home.
SPC is similar to luxury vinyl flooring in how it’s constructed, but there are a few important differences that you’ll need to know about before you can comprehensively compare SPC brands. Here are the layers typically found in SPC flooring from top to bottom.
- UV Topcoat – UV rays can cause significant issues with natural hardwood flooring, but it’s also not ideal for surfaces like linoleum or SPC boards. Planks in the premium class typically come with some extra protection in the form of a UV topcoat, which helps combat discoloration from the sun.
- Wear Layer – While you may not find UV protection on every brand of SPC flooring, all boards or tiles will have a wear layer. This is the most important layer in terms of protection, and a good thick wear layer can keep your flooring looking like new years after it’s been installed.
- Image Layer – SPC flooring may have a unique core, but it’s still has a vinyl image layer. This gives your flooring the appearance of wood or stone, and more expensive brands tend to have more realistic products. In some cases, the design or image layer is directly applied to our next option.
- The Core – This is what makes SPC flooring unique, and provides extra stability underfoot. The core of SPC flooring is made from a mixture of limestone and stabilizers, which increases its rigidity. These dense boards can withstand impacts that would dent regular LVP, which makes them the perfect choice for areas in your home with heavy traffic or even in commercial settings.
- Backing Layer – On the bottom of each board is a backing layer. It’s usually made from cork, although foam is still a popular choice in the budget-friendly range. A thick, high-quality backing layer can increase the price, but can also provide more comfort and insulation.
What about WPC Flooring?
WPC stands for Wood Plastic Composite, and it has a similar construction to SPC, with the main difference being the core. You can read more about how it stacks up against SPC in our comparison. The important thing to remember is whereas SPC flooring is rigid, WPC flooring is a little softer and quieter beneath your feet.
How is SPC Flooring Installed?
If you feel comfortable using power tools like a circular saw and don’t have any back issues, you may be able to install SPC flooring without bringing in a professional. These rigid boards have click-lock edges that make installation a breeze. It goes down just like luxury vinyl flooring or engineered hardwood planks, although it’s heavier than LVP due to the core.
The cost of professional SPC flooring installation can be expensive but mostly comes down to how much flooring the installers need to lay. Pricing is usually charged by the square foot and should be in-line with the cost to install LVP flooring. Keep extra costs in mind as well, which can include moving furniture or prep work.
SPC Flooring Pros and Cons
When you love the look of vinyl flooring, but want something that’s just as rigid as an engineered plank, SPC flooring is a great choice. While there aren’t many disadvantages with using this style of flooring, consider these pros and cons before deciding if SPC is right for you.
SPC Flooring Pros
- Durability – As mentioned, durability is one of the most significant benefits of choosing SPC flooring for your home. A dropped coffee cup won’t make a dent, although the flooring may shatter the cup. If you have a lot of foot traffic in your home, SPC is a better alternative to traditional LVP as well.
- Water-resistance – While we haven’t done a hard count, it’s safe to say over 90% of SPC flooring is waterproof. The core and construction play a large part in that, but you’ll still want to read the fine print carefully when using this flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, or below-grade rooms in your home.
- Ease of Installation – The most challenging part of installing SPC flooring is moving the boxes themselves, which can be fairly cumbersome. The rigidness of the material allows for clean cuts with a power saw, and most capable consumers can easily handle a medium-sized room in less than a day.
- Maintenance – If you hate running the vacuum cleaner, you’re going to love having SPC flooring installed in your home. The smooth surfaces are easy to clean, and their water-resistant nature allows you to use spray mops and other liquid cleaners without fear.
SPC Flooring Cons
- Price – No flooring is without its faults, and the biggest knock on SPC flooring would be the price. Top-notch luxury vinyl flooring isn’t cheap, and SPC planks are a bit more expensive. It’s not uncommon to find SPC flooring priced between $4.00 to $7.00 per square foot.
- Selection – While you can’t walk into a hardware store without finding a large display of LVP and laminate, you may be out of luck with SPC. As it’s newer, it’s not as popular as it’s vinyl brethren just yet, which can make it a little harder to track down locally. You won’t have any problem finding it online, however.
Q: Is SPC flooring that much more durable than luxury vinyl?
A: If you choose a good product, yes. The core makes a huge difference in durability and overall impact resistance.
Q: Can SPC flooring be installed with a radiant heating system?
A: You’ll need to check with the manufacturer first, but we have seen a number of companies that have products safe to use with radiant heating.
Q: Is WPC or SPC better for an uneven floor?
A: If your floor is “slightly” out of level, but still within the installation parameters, WPC will be a bit more forgiving while SPC may pop or creak underfoot in spots.
Q: Will I be able to install SPC flooring over tile or laminate?
A: Tile won’t be an issue as long as it’s level and free of debris before you start laying down planks. Laminate can be a problem, however, as you should never install one floating floor system over another.