What is EVP Flooring? EVP vs. LVP, Best Brands, & More
This post may contain references or links to products from one or more partners of our parent company and/or subsidiaries of our parent company. For more information, visit this page.
Updated August 11, 2021
EVP flooring: if you’ve been searching for the best vinyl plank flooring for your home, you’ve probably come across this term at least once.
But what exactly is EVP flooring? And how is it different from normal vinyl plank or luxury vinyl tile (LVT)?
We get it—the road to vinyl flooring is paved with confusing acronyms (LVT, SPC, WPC, EVP, etc.) and it’s hard to know what is what.
Luckily, we’re here to help you cut through the fog. Below, we’re going to explain exactly what EVP flooring is, show you how it’s different from other types of vinyl flooring, and give you all the EVP pros and cons you need to know about.
Finally, we’ll wrap up with a helpful EVP flooring FAQ and talk about some top EVP brands so that you can get right to the fun part: choosing the right flooring to make your space look fantastic!
EVP stands for Engineered Vinyl Plank. What makes its core “engineered”? It’s solid! Translation: EVP is the same thing as rigid-core vinyl plank flooring.
Why the separate acronym? Marketing. Calling a product “EVP” is another way to set it apart from its (basically identical) rigid-core luxury vinyl plank competitors. Some sellers claim it’s a unique product, but it really isn’t.
As you probably know, LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) and LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) are functionally identical. They’re both popular, durable hardwood floor alternatives that can look like just about anything. And we usually use the catch-all term “vinyl plank” to describe them both.
Vinyl plank (which includes LVT and LVP) can feature a rigid or flexible core. And as we just said, rigid-core vinyl plank is also called…EVP!
So again, your key takeaway here is that EVP is just another term for rigid-core vinyl plank flooring.
And SPC + WPC are Subcategories of EVP
So: given that EVP is just another way of saying “rigid core vinyl flooring”, you can think of Wood Polymer Composite (WPC) and Stone Polymer Composite (SPC) as subcategories of EVP.
WPCflooringincorporates fine, filtered sawdust called “wood flour” in its core to increase soundproofing, comfort, and insulation. Generally, WPC is better for domestic use. You don’t need to worry about waterproofing—vinyl encases the sawdust.
SPCflooring is the same, but the composite contains limestone instead of wood. SPC is thinner and more rigid, making it great for high traffic areas and commercial applications—especially with rolling loads (like an RV on a showroom floor, for example).
EVP Flooring Construction: What’s it Made Of?
All of the best vinyl plank flooring brands have their own special construction methods and features. But in general, rigid-core vinyl plank (aka EVP) products are made up of the same basic layers.
From bottom to top, they are:
A Core layer. The core is the thickest layer of a vinyl plank. As we mentioned, EVP cores are rigid. And as we also mentioned, they can be made out of a composite (like SPC and WPC) or simply from rigid vinyl.
A Design layer. A layer of designed, textured vinyl gives EVP its realistic look and feel. These days, design layers are so sophisticated—featuring realistic visuals, embossed texturing, etc.—that they can be hard to tell apart from real wood.
A Wear layer. The wear layer, made of transparent plastic, gives EVP its heavy-duty protection and longevity. Wear layers are measured in mil, or thousands of an inch.
It’s also worth mentioning that many manufacturers include additional layers, like topcoats for extra UV protection and built-in underlayments for a better underfoot feel.
How Do You Install EVP Flooring?
Pretty much all fake wood flooring can be installed as a glue-down floor or as a floating floor. Some other products like laminate can be stapled, but vinyl is pretty much limited to these two options.
But Floating is Easier (And Has Some Other Huge Benefits)
What is a floating floor? It’s a surface that clicks together like a jigsaw puzzle and rests (or “floats”) on top of the subfloor, using the friction of its connections to stay in place. This makes it relatively easy and cheap compared to other installation methods.
But that’s not the only perk. Need some waterproof vinyl flooring options? You’ll find that almost all of them need to be floated, because this snap-lock installation also helps keep water from getting between the seams of your plans!
Just be warned: peel-and-stick products are usually flexible, so finding them in an EVP version might be a little tougher.
And Loose Lay EVP Flooring is Available Too
What is loose lay vinyl plank flooring? It’s a special type of floating floor that doesn’t actually click together. Rather, weighted planks and anti-slip rubber backings keep planks in place.
We know that might sound a bit flimsy, but trust us—it’s not. In fact, if you’ve ever walked on EVP flooring in a bank, a supermarket, or other high-traffic areas (which you absolutely have—you think they’d actually put real hardwood there?) chances are, it’s loose-lay EVP. Because it’s easier to replace if it becomes damaged!
What Are The Best EVP Flooring Brands?
So: think EVP flooring is right for you? No matter what you need it for, the smart money says that it probably is. So now that you know the difference between EVP vs. LVP (aka nothing), let’s talk about some top EVP brands.
Proximity Mills is a small brand, but we talk about it a lot. And that’s because it has everything we look for in an EVP floor—a durable SPC core, a super-thick wear layer (made with polyurethane ceramic bead tech, none of that cheap “regular-vinyl-as-a-wear-layer” garbage), and perhaps most importantly, a ridiculously inexpensive price.
That’s really what sets it apart—it has all the bells and whistles, but at a fraction of the cost.
Doma has made its name as a style-focused brand, claiming to be “Where Fashion Meets Flooring” (and we have to say we agree). Doma’s LVP looks fantastic, with exotic wood grains and colorations that you just won’t find with other vinyl flooring brands. They also offer stone-look vinyl products that replicate marble or other natural stone tile looks.
But it isn’t just the different species and color options—their wood-look LVP is available in extra-wide planks up to 9 inches wide, allowing you to replicate the modern wide plank wood flooring look. If you want the best-looking vinyl flooring, Doma might just be it.
COREtec is one of the most beloved EVP brands around, and for good reason—the company literally invented WPC flooring.
Though it’s now owned by Shaw Industries (the second-largest flooring manufacturer in the world), COREtec flooring reviews are still absolutely stellar. The floors are comfy, waterproof, incredibly durable, and absolutely gorgeous. But of course, this is not a budget brand.
Newton is a budget-friendly flooring brand, and they’ve quickly become one of our favorite flooring options for buyers who are trying to save a few pennies.
As a budget brand, Newton vinyl might not have all the extra features of their more expensive counterparts, but their floors don’t sacrifice on quality. Most of Newton’s LVP products boast SPC cores protected by extremely durable wear layers—the same as their more expensive competitors, at a much lower price.
LifeProof by Home Depot
LifeProof vinyl flooring is Home Depot’s flagship in-house EVP flooring brand (though they also have an even more budget-friendly floor sold under the TrafficMaster flooring brand).
What can we say about LifeProof? It’s popular… because Home Depot has a lot of money to spend on advertising. If LifeProof flooring reviews are to be believed, however, that popularity usually ends the minute someone actually installs the floor in their house.
This one is probably a brand to skip.
SmartCore by Lowe’s
SmartCore is Lowe’s in-house EVP brand (basically their counterpart to Home Depot’s LifeProof). And while SmartCore flooring reviews are definitely better than LifeProof’s, we still wouldn’t call this a, you know, excellent floor.
NuCore by Floor & Decor
As with most box store in-house brands, NuCore flooring reviews are… well, let’s be generous and call them “mixed”. NuCore isn’t the worst floor ever, but it’s definitely not as well-regarded as F&D’s waterproof laminate line, AquaGuard.
But whatever the case, we’d recommend skipping these super-budget-super-low-end brands of EVP flooring. They’re never really worth the cost to purchase and install them, even if that cost is super low. Just read a couple of StainMaster luxury vinyl reviews and you’ll see what we mean.
On average, most EVP flooring will cost you anywhere between $4 and $6 per square foot. That makes your material costs for EVP pretty affordable as quality products go. And because it’s so durable (which we’ll talk about in a moment), you probably won’t ever have to replace it.
This is especially true when it comes to SPC, since that limestone-infused core is seriously strong. SPC is essentially faux wood flooring that’s more heavy-duty than just about any real wood flooring types on the planet.
Just about all vinyl plank flooring is entirely waterproof. In fact, the only point where water can drip down to your subfloor is where your vinyl planks connect—but if you install them properly, this won’t ever be an issue.
It’s all up to you. EVP can mimic any wood floor designs or tile patterns you can imagine.
Rigid Vinyl Can Look—And Feel—Just Like The Real Thing
Many of the best hardwood floor brands also manufacture rigid vinyl, and they know a thing or two about how hardwood is supposed to look.
The result is a product so authentic, even seasoned professionals can have difficulty differentiating EVP flooring from actual wood.
The best manufacturers can also mimic the texture of wood or stone using an innovative technique called EIR (Embossed-in-Register). EIR molds are taken from real wood and stone, and then used as a stamp to texture wear layers. Talk about realism!
EVP Flooring is Ultra-Low Maintenance
All you need is a broom, a damp mop, and some mild soap to keep rigid vinyl plank looking fresh. If you have an aversion to brooms and mops, you can always buy a doormat and adopt a no-shoes policy. Any more that is too much effort for vinyl.
In fact, labor-intensive cleaning methods and harsh cleaning agents will actually damage vinyl floors. So it’s best to keep it simple. You can bleach wooden floors, but you can’t bleach vinyl.
And beware of vacuums with a rotating brush, or “beater bar”; the abrasion can scuff your wear layer.
Some of The Best EVP Flooring Products Come With Attached Cork Underlayments
If you’ve checked out thecork flooring Lowes or Home Depot has on offer, you’re probably familiar with the pros and cons of cork flooring. But if not, you should know that cork has a great underfoot feel, dampens sound for a quieter home, and hides minor subfloor imperfections.
And you can get all of those benefits from a top-grade EVP product, too.
EVP Hides Minor Subfloor Imperfections
On the same subject, EVP is great for hiding minor subfloor imperfections.
What is subflooring? Any surface under a floor covering. In most cases, subfloors need to be clean, dry, and flat. EVP’s rigid core and self-leveling underlayments (like cork!) can iron out minor imperfections within the standard 1/8th of an inch.
You Can Install EVP Flooring Right Away
There’s no need to let engineered vinyl planks acclimate to a room’s temperature or humidity. Not only is vinyl plank some of the easiest flooring to install, but you can also install it right away.
Bonus: you also won’t have to worry about your new floors expanding and contracting when the seasons change.
Luckily, WPC’s composite core adds an extra soft feel to engineered vinyl, giving you the best of both worlds.
The Disadvantages of EVP Flooring
Of course, with the good comes the bad—here are some of the disadvantages of EVP flooring.
EVP Is Not The Most Eco-Friendly Flooring Option
Few people would classify pizza as healthy, but everybody eats it. Similarly, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would claim vinyl is at the top of the eco-friendly flooring list, yet vinyl is the fastest-growing sector of the flooring market.
Many floor coverings fall victim to discoloration when exposed to an excess of direct sunlight. Hardwood and laminate get sun-bleached, and cork floors are particularly susceptible to UV rays.
EVP typically comes with a durable, UV-protective topcoat. So sun fading isn’t a huge issue. That said, you can’t refinish EVP. If, over time, your floors develop a patchwork of furniture ghosts, you’ll have to tear them out and start over.
Of course, UV protection varies depending on the product. Our advice is to double-check the manufacturer’s specifications and maybe avoid installing EVP in sunrooms, spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows, or large skylights. For those areas, you might be better off with something like wood-look tile.
You Can’t Refinish Damaged EVP Flooring
EVP is super strong. And some manufacturers even infuse their topcoats with crazy durable materials like cultured diamonds to decrease permeability.
But: if you lose control of your carving knife and damage a plank, you can’t refinish it. You have to replace the plank—which could potentially be a real hassle depending on the type of installation you chose.
In Some Cases, EVP Flooring Can Hurt Your Home’s Resale Value
Every year, public image evolves alongside vinyl plank’s quality. And most savvy buyers will recognize the benefits of premium vinyl flooring like EVP.
That said, some buyers might balk at the idea that their gorgeous faux-Brazilian Walnut floors are made of futuristic plastic. Many first-time buyers may have to watch in horror as their teenager rips through the living room on an electric skateboard until they realize the error of their ways.
EVP, Like All Floating Floors, Raises Accessibility Concerns
Pro tip: avoid recycled content. EVP manufacturers can control VOC levels in their vinyl, but it’s often impossible to regulate the VOC content in recycled vinyl sourced from a third party!
EVP Flooring FAQs
Now that we’ve gone through the pros and cons of EVP flooring, let’s address some commonly asked questions about the material.
Is EVP more stable than luxury vinyl plank or tile?
If you’re talking about flexible vinyl plank or LVT, then the answer is yes! EVP has a rigid core construction, which translates to stability.
Will engineered vinyl flooring increase the value of my home?
Generally, yes—but it depends on the buyer. The best EVP flooring brands are renowned for their quality, function, and durability. That said, if a buyer is set on something, they’re set on something. Douglas fir flooring, the best cork flooring, whatever it is—if they want it, that’s that.
What types of rugs should I use on EVP flooring?
Rugs with natural backings are best. Synthetic backings may scuff the wear layer. If the label says “safe for use with hardwoods,” the rug is safe for vinyl too. That being said, we might recommend low-VOC carpet to help mitigate any VOCs from the vinyl itself.
Do all engineered vinyl planks have a stone plastic composite core?
No. SPC (Stone Polymer Composite) does. But WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) does not. And some types of EVP flooring have a rigid vinyl core that contains neither stone nor wood.
Which is better: EVP or LVP flooring?
We see this question all the time, which is why we’ve included it here. But really, it doesn’t make much sense. EVP is just another name for rigid LVP.
Is EVP flooring waterproof?
Yes. All vinyl—essentially space-age plastic—is 100% waterproof.
Do I need a moisture barrier for EVP flooring?
Rarely. If you buy from one of the best vinyl plank flooring brands, your product will most likely come with an attached underlayment. And since EVP flooring is waterproof, you don’t have to worry about moisture seeping up from the subfloor either.
EVP Flooring: Conclusion and Final Thoughts
If your home demands superior durability or the increased comfort and insulation of a rigid core, EVP flooring is a great choice. And that’s all there is to say about that!
So: did we fulfill our promise to tell you everything you need to know about EVP flooring? We hope so!
Danny is a semi-reformed surf vagrant and beverage nerd. Formerly a fancy-pants waiter in San Francisco, you can now find him tinkering with documents, refreshing the Ocean Beach Surfline Forecast webpage, and excessively doting on his cat.
This post may contain references or links to products from one or more partners of our parent company and/or subsidiaries of our parent company. For more information, visit this page. May 19, 2022 SPC flooring is marketed as an upgrade to ordinary luxury vinyl plank and tile flooring, but what is SPC flooring? Is it actually […]
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