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What Is SPC Flooring + Is It Good?

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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 an improvement? And who are the best SPC flooring brands?

We’ve heard your questions and we have answers! So below, we’re covering:

Let’s check it out! Or, feel free to click here to skip right to our final verdict!

Table of Contents

First, What Is Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring?

Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring (or EVP flooring) is nearly the same as flexible core luxury vinyl—but with one key difference—and we’ll give you one guess as to what that is

Okay, so obviously rigid core vinyl doesn’t bend or flex like ordinary vinyl (it’s rigid), but what exactly does this mean? Easy! This premium PVC flooring is more durable and does a better job of imitating the feel of hard-surface floors like hardwood and stone (which aren’t flexible either). 

Otherwise, rigid core flooring offers all the same benefits of flexible luxury vinyl, like waterproofing, a wide range of colors and styles, and the versatility to go just about anywhere in your home!

There Are 3 Types of Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring

There are 3 (common) ways to make vinyl flooring rigid

The first way has a pure vinyl core that offers subtler improvements in texture and durability, while the other two have much more pronounced effects: WPC and SPC flooring.

What Is WPC Flooring?

WPC flooring uses a wood-polymer composite core, which offers a natural, almost bouncy feel that’s surprisingly comfortable for a hard-surface floor (it even gives the best cork flooring a run for its money).

What Is SPC Flooring?

SPC flooring, our featured topic today, has a stone-polymer composite core that dramatically improves the floor’s durability compared to ordinary luxury vinyl flooring. It’s less comfortable than WPC flooring, but this can be accounted for with a cushioned underlayment.

What Are the Layers of SPC Flooring?

SPC flooring is essentially layered the same way as other types of luxury vinyl flooring.

  • The mentioned SPC core layer offers heightened durability and serves as a foundation for the rest of the floor.
  • The design layer can mimic virtually any stone or wood floor colors or patterns
  • And the wear layer acts as a protective coating that shields the floor from minor damage (i.e., it’s dent and scratch-resistant flooring).

The Pros and Cons of SPC Flooring

Now that we have an understanding of what SPC flooring is, let’s talk about its pros and cons.

Advantages of SPC Flooring

First, let’s cover the pros of SPC flooring.

SPC Flooring Is Ultra Durable

There’s a reason many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands carry SPC: it’s easily one of the most durable flooring options around. 

Compared to other types of faux wood flooring, the only floors that perform similarly are the very best laminate flooring products and concrete flooring that looks like wood. And neither of these are as comfortable as SPC, which still retains some of the comfort ordinary LVP offers.

Additionally, the best SPC floors have high-quality wear layers that offer superior scratch and dent resistance. So, if you’re looking for the best flooring dogs, cats, or messy toddlers, SPC flooring fits the bill.

It’s Also Very Stable

Good SPC flooring brands make products that don’t react to temperature and humidity changes the way other types of floors do. If you live in an environment that’s notorious for high humidity, like Florida, SPC offers the look of the best hardwood floors, but in a more stable platform that won’t wither away in the excessive moisture.

SPC Flooring Has a Completely Waterproof Surface

Let’s take a step back from SPC for a moment: luxury vinyl looks so much like wood that you might be tempted to ask if vinyl plank flooring can go in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or anywhere that gets wet. But as it turns out, luxury vinyl flooring is arguably the best flooring for a bathroom. In fact, it’s one of the best waterproof flooring options (so it can go in any of those rooms we just mentioned).

Vinyl is completely non-reactive to water. In theory, it could be wet for days and survive without a blemish (it’s the seams you have to worry about). Even though SPC’s core is made of different materials, it’s still a type of luxury vinyl; therefore, it’s still waterproof vinyl flooring

If you’ve been considering a wood-floor bathroom, SPC flooring offers a great way to achieve the look without the hassle of ensuring the floors are always dried immediately.

It Comes In a Huge Range of Styles and Looks

SPC flooring can mimic any and all types of wood flooring, including different species like pine flooring or teak flooring, as well as most wood floor designs (if your contractor is savvy enough).

If you’re not looking for a wood look, you’ll be happy to know that many brands sell SPC flooring that mimics various types of tile and stone floors, too.

Compared to Wood Flooring, It’s Affordable

First, let’s explain that the cost of wood flooring for even a small room can easily reach into the tens of thousands if you’re buying high-quality wood. Then you have to factor in installation costs (the average cost to install engineered hardwood floors ranges between $3–$8 per square foot).

You can easily find high-end SPC flooring for as little as $4 per square foot, and the cost to install vinyl plank flooring (the core doesn’t really affect the cost) is a bit more digestible at $1.50–$6 per square foot.

SPC Flooring Is Generally DIY-Friendly

Most (but not all) SPC can be considered DIY-flooring. Floating (or click-together flooring) products are among the easiest floors to install, regardless of their type. You’re basically connecting each piece of flooring to an adjacent plank or tile, then letting gravity and friction do the rest of the work.

On the other hand, glue-down vinyl plank flooring (SPC or otherwise) is fairly difficult to install, so hiring a pro contractor is the smart move.

As such, if you’re looking to save money, investing in floating vinyl plank flooring makes sense—and most SPC flooring brands make click-together products. A word of caution, though: we strongly recommend following your vinyl flooring manufacturer’s installation and instructions to a T, as you could violate the floor’s warranty otherwise.

It’s Slightly More Eco-Friendly Than 100-Percent PVC Flooring

SPC flooring isn’t purely made of PVC like ordinary luxury vinyl is, so it’s a little bit closer to being eco-friendly flooring. Admittedly, the difference probably isn’t significant, but it’s something.

On another note, SPC flooring doesn’t contain formaldehyde like many WPC products do. Even better, many of the top vinyl plank brands make low-VOC vinyl flooring with an SPC core.

For reference, VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) are harmful chemicals commonly found in flooring, and particularly those that are oil-based (like PVC) or wood-based. Fortunately, the industry has caught on to the negative effects of VOCs and low-VOC flooring is quickly becoming the norm. 

Anyway, the products of most high-end SPC flooring brands are FloorScore or GreenGuard-certified as zero- or low-VOC.

Disadvantages of SPC Flooring

The cons of SPC flooring aren’t as severe as ordinary vinyl plank disadvantages, but there are a few that are worth mentioning.

SPC Flooring Costs More Than Ordinary LVP

If you want the best flooring, don’t expect to find it in the bargain bin. Flooring is one of those things that you get what you pay for—and SPC isn’t much different.

Generally, SPC flooring runs at least $1 more per square foot than a brands’ ordinary LVP line. The good news is that this still places the cost of SPC flooring beneath the average cost to buy quality wood flooring.

It’s Not as Comfortable as Other Types of LVP

SPC flooring does sacrifice a bit of comfort in order to achieve its extreme hardiness. So if you’re looking for the comfiest bedroom flooring, you may want to look elsewhere.

However, it’s entirely possible to use a comfort-boosting underlayment with SPC flooring for the best of both worlds. Unsurprisingly, some of the best SPC flooring brands offer a pre-attached underlayment for this very reason.

SPC Flooring Still Isn’t Eco-Friendly

SPC flooring is partially made from stone powders (that are generally benign), but a significant amount of PVC is still used in its construction. 

If buying green flooring is important to you, we recommend something like hemp flooring or sustainable wood floors instead.

What Are the Best SPC Flooring Brands?

If SPC flooring is sounding like your deal, here are a few options carried by the best vinyl plank and tile flooring brands. Of course, you’ll notice that the number of SPC flooring brands is much smaller than the list of total vinyl plank brands.

Proximity Mills

Proximity Mills sells high-performance flooring for surprisingly reasonable prices. All of their luxury vinyl is equipped with an SPC core and comes in a wide array of wood looks, as well as a few stone looks. 

In our Proximity Mills review, we said the floors aren’t the cheapest, fanciest, or easiest to find—but we’ve had a really hard time finding another brand that matches their cost-to-quality ratio. In other words, though Proximity Mills doesn’t necessarily excel at any one thing, they score very high across the board. Expect the same for its SPC flooring!

Bonus: Proximity Mills is also one of the best hardwood floor brands (and ironically, one of the best engineered hardwood floor brands around, too).

Newton

Newton is special. Their floors cost about the same as other low-to-medium-end LVP brands like LifeProof vinyl flooring and NuCore flooring, but perform at a level that you’d expect from a higher-end brand.

Our Newton flooring reviews point out that their SPC flooring is A) super durable, and B) protected by a polyurethane and aluminum oxide wear layer, which is virtually unheard of in a budget brand.

Doma

If you want runway-worthy floors that don’t sacrifice an ounce of quality, Doma is the brand for you. 

The catalog of this top-tier SPC flooring brand is full of gorgeous—and in the best way, unique—designs. But don’t assume their products are flash without substance. Doma flooring is made with some of the best materials around, and their SPC floors are protected by thick, robust wear layers.

Best of all: you won’t find another brand in Doma’s price range that offers such a charming array of styles.

COREtec Advanced+

Ironically, COREtec invented SPC’s rival flooring option, WPC flooring. 

However, the high-end vinyl brand eventually caught on and their Advanced+ series of SPC flooring is actually pretty exceptional. Unfortunately, and as our COREtec flooring reviews point out, that “exceptional” quality comes with a seriously hefty price tag at around $10 per square foot—which is comparable to real hardwood.

Flooret Modin

Flooret is newer to the LVP scene, but their Modin SPC flooring enjoys great reviews. 

Modin is unique in that the premier version combines a relatively thin SPC core with a massive, 40-mils thick, pure-vinyl wear layer that’s topped with an aluminum oxide coating.

Mannington Adura Rigid

Mannington is one of the largest flooring companies in the world. Consequently, Mannington vinyl flooring is fairly popular and generally well reviewed. Their Adura Rigid line of SPC flooring is comparable to Proximity Mills’ vinyl plank in terms of both performance and price.

Raskin Acrylx

Raskin isn’t exactly a household name in the flooring industry, but their Acrylx SPC flooring is noteworthy for its imitation of various wood floor patterns (chevron, herringbone, etc.). 

Montserrat

Montserrat is another obscure LVP brand but they sell a huge variety of SPC flooring. Finding reviews of their floors is fairly difficult though, so if you find a design that you like, you’ll have to take the company’s word on quality.

Shaw Floorté Pro

Shaw is one of the largest flooring companies in the world so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they have an SPC flooring line: Shaw Floorté Pro

Taking a step back, Shaw vinyl plank flooring has an excellent reputation in general; however, it’s also known for being pretty expensive for LVP. Their SPC flooring is no different and while we love its quality, the pricing is steep.

SmartCore Pro

SmartCore flooring is a Lowes exclusive, but generally regarded as a decent option. The Pro line features an SPC core and decent style and wear layer options. However, we tend to advise against big box store brands because their product selection is so limited compared to what local flooring stores carry.

Phenix Tempo & Tempo Stone

Phenix makes two lines of SPC flooring: Tempo and Tempo Stone. Their floors should feel pretty familiar because Phenix is actually owned by Mannington, which we mentioned above. In fact, Phenix floors offer nearly the same specs as their Mannington counterparts.

CoreLuxe 

CoreLuxe is kind of in the same boat as SmartCore Pro in that it makes for decent SPC flooring, but there are better options out there. Additionally, LL Flooring, the company that makes CoreLuxe, has faced numerous lawsuits and complaints in the past for containing unsafe concentrations of VOCs.

As far as SPC flooring brands go, we might steer away from this one.

SPC Flooring FAQs

Before we finish up, let’s cover a few SPC flooring FAQs!

Is SPC Flooring Better Than LVP?

It depends. In terms of durability, SPC flooring is much more durable than ordinary LVP. However, that extra durability does come at the price of reduced comfort. 

So: if you want flooring that can withstand one heck of a beating on a daily basis, SPC flooring is perfect. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that only needs to withstand light traffic, ordinary LVP may be a more cost effective solution.

In other words, the “better” choice really depends on your needs.

What Are the Differences Between WPC and SPC Flooring?

The only critical difference is the core construction. WPC flooring uses a wood-polymer composite core for enhanced comfort while SPC uses a stone-polymer composite core for enhanced durability

How Is SPC Flooring Made?

Without getting too technical, most SPC flooring brands follow a similar manufacturing process. 

Materials for the SPC core are mixed together then super-heated to A) eliminate any moisture in the mix, and B) ensure the stone powder and polymers are properly combined. This ensures even performance across the entirety of each plank or tile. 

The design layer is applied (this can happen a number of ways) and then each plank or tile is cut to size and boxed up for shipping.

What Are the Best Applications for SPC Flooring?

SPC flooring is easily one of the top hardwood floor alternatives because it’s so versatile. Since it’s durable and waterproof, it’s a perfect choice for mudroom flooring, kitchen flooring, and even laundry room flooring.

And since it remains stable through temperature and humidity changes, it’s arguably the best flooring for a basement.

We should also note that you can put this type of vinyl plank flooring on stairs because it can support heavy traffic.

Is There Laminate SPC Flooring?

SPC is a type of luxury vinyl flooring, so no. The best laminate flooring is another hardwood alternative and comparable in performance to SPC flooring, though (what is laminate flooring, anyway?).

Does SPC Flooring Need Underlayment?

Most SPC flooring requires a vinyl flooring underlayment. Since this type of LVP is so hard, we recommend an underlayment that boosts comfort to balance the floor’s features.

How Much Does It Cost to Install SPC Flooring?

SPC flooring generally costs the same as ordinary LVP to install: $1.50–$6 per square foot.

Is SPC Flooring Cold?

SPC flooring can be a little cold underfoot, though we’d argue that it’s no worse than tile, stone, or concrete flooring. Some SPC flooring brands offer an insulation-boosting backing layer that helps to combat cold feet.

If warm, comfy floors are a necessity for you, we suggest checking out the best carpet brands instead.

Are SPC Flooring Reviews Generally Good?

Reviews definitely change depending on the SPC flooring brand, but it’s probably safe to say that SPC flooring has “generally good” reviews. However, we can’t stress it enough that not all SPC flooring brands are the same.

Can You Install SPC Flooring Outside?

Nope. SPC flooring is not intended for the outdoors. If you’re looking for outdoor flooring options, we recommend exploring outdoor vinyl flooring products instead.

That said, if you’re looking for the best garage flooring, SPC flooring isn’t a bad choice.

So What Is SPC Flooring? It’s One of the Best Types of Flooring Available!

Again, what is SPC flooring? 

Well, few types of flooring are as durable, and even fewer offer the same collection of benefits. It’s relatively affordable (at least compared to hardwood), waterproof, and super stable even when facing odd temperature or humidity changes. Plus, the best SPC flooring brands make superb-looking floors fit for any decor style. 

Aside from its mediocre eco-friendliness, the only real downside to SPC flooring is that it isn’t as comfortable as ordinary luxury vinyl or WPC flooring. Of course, a nice underlayment can account for this to some degree. 

So if you’re sold, what’s the next step? We’d suggest checking out your local, top-rated flooring stores for the best SPC flooring! Local stores have the best flooring ideas and actually employ experts (unlike the big box stores). You can trust that your local flooring stores will be able to show you a much wider selection of products and they can generally give you a better deal than your local Lowes or Home Depot.

On the other hand, if you’re not sure if SPC flooring is the right choice for you, the articles below have plenty more ideas to explore!

About The Author

Christian Southards

Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).

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