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March 31, 2022
If you’ve ever deep-dived into the best vinyl plank flooring brands, you might have noticed that some of their products are actually made by different luxury vinyl flooring manufacturers.
You also might have noticed that despite there being dozens of different brands, a good majority seem to be made by the same three or four companies. So: what gives?
Does it matter if the vinyl flooring manufacturer that made your floor has the same name as the brand that sold it to you?
That’s exactly what we’re here to discuss!
Over the course of this comprehensive guide, we’ll:
- Recap what luxury vinyl flooring is (including its pros and cons)
- Name the most reputable vinyl flooring manufacturers as well as a few noteworthy brands
- Answer a few lingering questions about vinyl flooring manufacturers and the flooring itself
- And finally, answer the big question: does the company that makes your flooring need to be the same company that sold it to you?
Or, you can click here to skip right to our final verdict. Either way, let’s get started!
First, What Is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl flooring manufacturers will tell you that luxury vinyl is one of the best flooring choices around—and they’re right. Premium vinyl products are as hardy as the most durable hardwoods, but still rank among the most affordable types of flooring.
There are two primary styles:
- Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors serve as high-end hardwood floor alternatives that, while typically more affordable than most types of wood flooring, still capture the classy look and feel of authentic hardwood.
- Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is essentially the same type of flooring, but usually stands in for tile or stone floors rather than wood (though, there are plenty of options here too).
Oh, and did we mention that vinyl flooring is waterproof?
The Pros of Luxury Vinyl Floors
There’s a lot to like about luxury vinyl.
For one, vinyl flooring manufacturers emphasize versatility. You’re just as likely to find vinyl plank flooring on stairs and in garages as you are to find it in living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens—in fact, it’s arguably the best flooring for kitchens because of its multitude of style options and waterproofing.
Vinyl is also stain-resistant and easy to clean, so it’s perfectly safe to install anywhere that might get dirty (i.e. flooring for a mudroom). And speaking of installations, if you’re looking for easy floors to install, many vinyl manufacturers make DIY floors, too. Floating vinyl plank flooring is particularly easy to install.
Of course, the main draw for luxury vinyl is its ability to mimic wood floor designs and styles. The best hardwood floors are pricey, but you can buy high-end wood-look vinyl for what mediocre wood flooring costs. Similarly, the cost to install vinyl plank flooring runs between $1.50–$6 per square foot while the cost to install engineered hardwood is between $3 and $15 per square foot.
Cons of Luxury Vinyl Floors
As with all floors, there are a few problems with luxury vinyl tile and plank worth highlighting.
Fake wood flooring is, well, fake. If you won’t settle for anything less than the real thing, luxury vinyl won’t catch your fancy. For this same reason, luxury vinyl doesn’t always offer the resale value boost that hardwood floors are typically known for.
Vinyl flooring is also 100 percent synthetic, so it’s exactly the most eco-friendly flooring. Although, many products are made with recycled materials and can be recycled themselves.
Beyond that, luxury vinyl tends to contain high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause health problems over time in sensitive groups. Glue-down vinyl plank flooring is particularly bad because adhesives can contain VOCs as well. However, vinyl flooring manufacturers have caught on, and low-VOC vinyl flooring is increasingly more prevalent on the market.
Finally, you’ll need to watch out for low-end products like Stainmaster luxury vinyl, which saturate the flooring market. The good news here though is that these products are easily avoided by shopping at local flooring stores instead of the big box stores known to carry them.
Features to Look for in Luxury Vinyl Flooring
The downsides of vinyl plank are easily rectified by looking for products that are durable enough to be considered scratch-resistant flooring, certified as low-VOC flooring, and perhaps most importantly, look good!
There are two key factors that influence luxury vinyl’s durability: the core and the wear layer. Broadly speaking, rigid core luxury vinyl flooring (aka EVP flooring) is usually stronger than flexible core products and thicker wear layers are generally better. But, composition really matters too. Example: a 20-mil polyurethane wear layer probably isn’t as strong as a 12-mil aluminum oxide wear layer.
Quick side note: vinyl flooring manufacturers suggest cleaning your floors regularly regardless of the wear layer type because loose dirt can it up over time.
Additionally, we recommend looking for low- or zero-VOC vinyl flooring. Like we said earlier, vinyl flooring manufacturers are increasingly making products certified as such.
Finally, make sure the design is up to par. Shoddy vinyl flooring manufacturers make products with little variety among planks and tiles; but the best manufacturers use advanced technologies and imaging to create authentic-looking products.
Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers and Brands: Are They the Same?
They can be.
Here’s a weird fact: there are many more vinyl flooring brands than vinyl flooring manufacturers. So how does it work?
Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers Make the Floors
Vinyl flooring manufacturers are the companies that literally build the floors. And trying to keep track of them is like trying to count how many blades a ceiling fan has while it’s spinning.
But as it turns out, there aren’t that many of them, and a huge percentage of all the vinyl floors you see today are only made by about a dozen different manufacturers around the world.
Vinyl Flooring Brands Carry and Sell the Floors
Vinyl flooring brands, on the other hand, are everywhere. If you were to throw a bouncy ball into a flooring store (please don’t), you’d probably hit 50 different brands that make vinyl flooring.
These are the companies that only sell the floors another company produces.
But: Some Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers Are Also Brands!
Unsurprisingly, most of the top vinyl flooring manufacturers—Shaw, Mohawk, Mannington, etc.—build and sell products under the same brand name.
Who Is the Largest Vinyl Flooring Manufacturer?
Some of the best vinyl plank brands also happen to be the biggest vinyl flooring manufacturers. The top two, Mohawk and Shaw, have both been around for nearly a century.
Both companies produce vinyl flooring under their own name and produce vinyl for other brands across just about every price point. Additionally, both companies are heavily involved in both residential and commercial flooring markets.
Mohawk started out as one of the best carpet brands before branching out to other types of flooring. Today, Mohawk manufacturers vinyl flooring for its retail division (i.e. Mohawk vinyl flooring), Karastan, Quick-Step, Pergo (see our Pergo Extreme reviews), and more.
Sidenote: one Mohawk laminate flooring product, called RevWood, is widely regarded as one of the best laminate flooring products around (you can compare vinyl plank vs. laminate more here). And since Mohawk also owns Pergo (who invented laminate), they have lots of products to choose from.
Shaw was originally known as one of the best hardwood floor brands, but has since gone on to become a major player in virtually every type of flooring there is.
Aside from manufacturing in-house Shaw vinyl plank flooring products, Shaw produces Home Depot’s TrafficMaster flooring, and both COREtec (check out our COREtec flooring reviews) and SmartCore flooring under its USFloors label, which Shaw acquired in 2016.
Who Else Manufactures Vinyl Flooring?
Mohawk and Shaw aren’t the only big vinyl flooring manufacturers, here’s a few more of the most recognizable companies.
Mannington is another massive flooring company. Although, they’re not quite as big as Shaw or Mohawk. The company produces vinyl floors under its own name (we actually really like Mannington vinyl flooring in our review, and particularly the Adura Max line) as well as for Burke, which it bought in 2008.
Karndean is one of a handful of vinyl flooring manufacturers based in the United Kingdom. Their products are generally well regarded (read our review of Karndean vinyl plank flooring) and they nearly offer as many vinyl products as Shaw and Mohawk.
They’re also one of the few brands to make loose lay vinyl plank flooring, an alternative to the typical click-together flooring system employed by most floating vinyl products.
Armstrong is arguably the biggest vinyl flooring manufacturer in existence, with a sturdy grip on both the residential and commercial flooring sectors. They’re also one of the only brands to build all their vinyl flooring in the United States.
Bonus fact: steer away from Armstrong laminate flooring, which was the heart of a juicy flooring scandal (yes, they exist) a few years ago because the floors contained more VOCs than what was claimed.
Halstead New England
You’ve probably never heard of Halstead New England, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen their products if you’ve ever stepped foot inside of a Home Depot.
Halstead manufactures vinyl flooring for Home Depot’s LifeProof and Home Decorators Collection brands. The latter is the big box store’s budget line while LifeProof vinyl flooring rounds out the (allegedly) premium end of Home Depot’s catalog.
What Other Vinyl Flooring Brands Are There?
Moving on from the vinyl flooring manufacturers mentioned above, here are a few noteworthy vinyl flooring brands.
Proximity Mills sells several collections of luxury vinyl plank, most of which imitate various wood floor colors and styles. So what makes them special?
The brand specializes in balancing high-performance features with affordability. They’re not really a budget brand, but you’ll find that their floors tend to outperform competitors’ floors sold at the same price point. And their reviews support this!
Bonus: Proximity Mills also sells high-performance carpet, tile, and engineered hardwood (they’re easily one of the best engineered hardwood brands around).
Doma sells high-style vinyl flooring through a wide catalog of unique styles “inspired by the natural world.” Their ideas of flooring are bold and stylish, even verging on eccentric (in the best way possible).
If you want something different that’s exceptionally well crafted, Doma flooring is a solid choice.
Newton arguably offers the best performance-for-cost ratio of any flooring brand we know. Newton flooring isn’t the cheapest LVP around, but for the same (or better) price as big box store brands like SmartCore or LifeProof, Newton offers a much more durable product that, in our opinion, looks a lot better.
NuCore flooring is a Floor & Decor exclusive. As a big box store brand, it’s probably most comparable to LifeProof flooring—though, LifeProof enjoys much better third-party reviews.
Expect decent prices for (almost painfully) average flooring.
LL Flooring (aka Lumber Liquidators)
LL Flooring, formerly known as Lumber Liquidators, contracts overseas vinyl flooring manufacturers to make its flagship CoreLuxe LVP line.
We’re pointing this out not because it’s a bad thing in itself, but because LL Flooring has a really sketchy history with foreign manufacturers. The resulting lawsuits were so substantial that the company was forced to change its name to escape the brunt of the bad PR.
All that’s to say: we’d be careful with this one.
Are There Any Commercial Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers?
Of course, vinyl flooring is one of the most popular options for commercial spaces because it’s easy to maintain and affordable in bulk. Here are a few of the most popular commercial vinyl flooring manufacturers!
Armstrong’s commercial wing mostly sells LVT and VCT to offices, hospitals, and similar spaces. Their commercial vinyl flooring manufacturing business is arguably bigger than their residential market.
Tarkett is much more popular in Europe, where they enjoy a decent share of the residential market. In the United States, they’ve mostly kept to the commercial game where, like Armstrong, they primarily sell flooring to offices.
ShawContract is one of several commercial vinyl flooring manufacturers owned by, you guessed it, Shaw Floors. Their catalog is arguably the biggest of the bunch and even includes products from popular brands like COREtec.
Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers: FAQs
Before we finish up, here are a few answers to some vinyl flooring manufacturer FAQs.
Do Any Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers Make Eco-Friendly LVP?
Absolutely! Many vinyl flooring manufacturers like Mohawk and Shaw have begun eco-friendly flooring initiatives to cut down on unsustainable production practices.
This can take on many forms, but some of the most common changes include sourcing raw materials more responsibly, building with a greater concentration of recycled materials, and ensuring that new vinyl floors can be at least partially recycled as well.
That said, if you want truly Earth-friendly flooring, you’re better off choosing a product like sustainable wood or hemp wood. These floors are naturally derived and have a much smaller carbon footprint from harvest to installation.
Do Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers Still Make Sheet Vinyl?
Yes, most vinyl flooring manufacturers still produce sheet vinyl. But it’s definitely taken a back seat to more popular forms of PVC flooring like LVP and even peel-and-stick vinyl flooring.
Sheet vinyl is a good budget alternative to LVP, as high-quality options can be bought for under $1 per square foot.
What Do Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers Say About the Thickness of Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Some vinyl flooring manufacturers will tell you that thicker floors automatically mean more durable floors. But this isn’t exactly true.
A quick analogy: what’s more likely to last? Three inches of concrete, or three inches of bubble wrap? Obviously the answer is concrete, which brings us to our point: composition matters too. We mentioned earlier that aluminum oxide wear layers are more durable than pure polyurethane wear layers. The same principle applies to the collective plank or tile, too.
In other words, just because one vinyl flooring manufacturer’s LVP is thicker than another manufacturer or brand’s LVP doesn’t mean it’s objectively better.
Bonus tip: a vinyl floor’s underlayment is arguably just as important as the flooring itself!
Are There Any Outdoor Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers?
Yes! Outdoor flooring options are pretty scarce, but there are indeed a few outdoor vinyl flooring manufacturers. That said, most of these brands cater to hotels and commercial spaces rather than residences.
Are There Any Vinyl Flooring Manufacturers in the US?
Yes, though most vinyl flooring manufacturers are based outside of the United States, which is better known for carpet and hardwood production.
Armstrong is the only major company to produce all of its LVP in the U.S., but Shaw, Mannington, and Mohawk all produce sizable portions of their catalogs in the United States, as well.
We should note that this is constantly shifting though, so if this is a big concern for you, we strongly recommend speaking with an expert at a dedicated flooring store about which products are made in the United States or elsewhere.
Conclusion: Does It Matter if Your Vinyl Floor’s Manufacturer Is the Same as Its Brand?
No! While it just so happens that many of the biggest vinyl flooring manufacturers are also major vinyl flooring brands, the company that makes the flooring isn’t nearly as important as the end product.
If a floor is well made, reasonably priced, and harmless, does it really matter who made it? Our take: not really.
The Real Problem: Local Stores vs. Big Box Stores
No, the real issue is where you buy the floor! Big box stores shill mediocre products and rarely offer quality flooring advice.
Your local, top-rated flooring stores, on the other hand, typically sell a huge variety of quality and employ actual flooring experts. You’ll have a much better experience finding what you want, and likely for a much better deal.
And with that, we’ll say we’re about done debating the particulars of vinyl flooring manufacturers! If your appetite for flooring isn’t quite sated, though, feel free to check out the articles below!