SPC & WPC Flooring: What They Are, Pros/Cons & Best Brands
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 March 18, 2022
Interested in SPC or WPC flooring? Comparing the pros and cons of WPC vs. SPC for your home? Trying to find the best WPC and SPC flooring brands?
Whatever the reasons you’re here, you’ve come to the right place!
WPC is some of the best vinyl flooring around. It’s comfortable, robust, and relatively inexpensive—at least compared to the many types of flooring it can mimic (particularly hardwood). SPC is just as fantastic, but for slightly different reasons.
But: what isWPC vinyl flooring, exactly? Is it a good fake wood flooring option? Is it a brand of flooring? Is it a type of flooring? And why is it always compared to SPC flooring?
Have no worries! In this article, we’re going to answer all of your WPC and SPC flooring questions.
We’ll explain what WPC flooring is, how it compares to SPC, and show you why so many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands on the market are SPC and WPC flooring.
Then, we’ll examine some common SPC and WPC flooring reviews, and share our list of notable SPC and WPC vinyl flooring brands. By the end, you’ll know why these types of flooring are so popular in the world of vinyl plank!
👉 To skip straight to our list of the best WPC brands, click here!
👉 To skip straight to our list of the best SPC brands, click here!
WPC flooring stands for wood-polymer composite or wood-plastic composite (the terms are interchangeable). Basically, WPC is a type of luxury vinyl plank flooring.
Again: WPC isn’t a distinctflooring category like hardwood or tile. Rather, it refers to a specific kind of LVT or LVP core. We’ll go into more detail on that below. But in the meanwhile, that brings up another question:
What is Luxury Vinyl (LVT and LVP) Flooring?
Luxury vinyl is a type of PVC flooring (aka vinyl). It’s waterproof, relatively inexpensive, and very durable. It’s made primarily of plastic—or PVC, to be more accurate.
Luxury vinyl is often designed to mimic the look and feel of hardwood planks. This is generally called LVP (or luxury vinyl plank).
However, it can also mimic the look and feel of tile. This is called LVT (or luxury vinyl tile).
Still with us? Great!
Most often, luxury vinyl (LVP and LVT) products are made up of 3 distinct layers:
A core layer that provides a foundation for the rest of the floor. This layer can be rigid or flexible, depending on the product.
A design layer that mimics the look and texture of wood or tile.
A wear layer that protects the floor from fading, scratches, dents, and so on.
And Again: LVP and LVT Are Basically the Same
Again, LVP and LVT are essentially the same thing. They’re both luxury vinyl products that can come with a rigid or flexible core.
The only difference is that LVP comes in planks, while LVT comes in tiles!
To make things even more confusing, though, many people call all luxury vinyl products “LVT”. This is not an accurate descriptor, but it is a common one.
And Rigid-Core Luxury Vinyl Improves Upon Flexible Luxury Vinyl
What makes a rigid core rigid? Well, there are 3 main categories of rigid-core luxury vinyl:
WPC (wood-polymer composite) cores that mix wood flour and vinyl.
SPC (stone-polymer composite) cores that mix limestone powder and vinyl.
And there you have it! WPC vinyl flooring is a type of rigid-core luxury vinyl!
So, Again: What Is WPC Vinyl Flooring?
Now, let’s ask that question again: what is WPC vinyl flooring? It’s a type of rigid-core LVP or LVT that uses a mix of wood flour (a type of super-fine sawdust) and hardened vinyl to create its core. This makes it springy, comfortable, and incredibly durable!
So whenever you see the phrase “WPC” being mentioned, now you know—it’s referring to the core layer of a rigid luxury vinyl product!
Is There a Difference Between WPC Flooring and LVT/LVP?
Let’s remove any shred of doubt: WPC flooring is a type ofrigid-core LVP/LVT. If it seems like we’re hitting you over the head with this point, it’s because so many people get it confused!
And What is SPC Vinyl Flooring?
SPC stands for stone-polymer composite (though it’s also known as stone-plastic composite). Essentially, it’s a type of rigid vinyl plank flooring that uses a mix of stone and plastic in its core/base layer.
Different brands tend to change up the exact formula, but the general idea is that SPC vinyl plank flooring includes material like powdered limestone in its core for enhanced hardness and durability.
Think of it as the Yin to WPC’s Yang. While WPC flooring is built for comfort and softness, SPC flooring is built for toughness and durability!
What Are the Advantages of WPC Flooring?
Compared to flexible-core luxury vinyl (or rigid-core LVP/T that only uses vinyl), WPC flooring has a ton of advantages.
Without diving too deep into the science, WPC cores solve many of the disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring—like its synthetic underfoot feel—while retaining all the qualities LVP is loved for.
Again: vinyl-only LVP cores aren’t bad, but they’re not particularly comfortable either. More than anything, they can just feel a little hard underfoot. So while these products can mimic the look and texture of real hardwood, you’ll likely be able to tell the difference just by walking on them.
Hardwood has a sort of give and spring to it that feels natural; flexible LVP and vinyl-core rigid LVP don’t have that.
That’s one reason WPC flooring is so beloved—its wood-and-vinyl-composite core offers the spring and bounce you’d find in many real types of wood flooring!
It’s Quieter, Too
Because WPC vinyl flooring is softer than vinyl-only LVP, it’s also quieter! The softer a surface, the less sounds “bounce” off of it. Which means that when it comes to quiet flooring, WPC takes the cake.
Plus, It’s More Insulated Against Temperature Changes
However, once they’re installed, some LVP products can be chilly. That’s because they’re not particularly insulated—again, vinyl-only LVP is just plastic.
Translation: the wood flour found in WPC flooring’s core doesn’t just give it a softer feel compared to regular LVP/LVT. It also offers better insulation against sound and temperature changes! In other words, it won’t feel freezing underfoot when it’s cold and it doesn’t carry noise as far.
You Can Find WPC Flooring in a Huge Number of Patterns and Styles
Remember: WPC vinyl flooring is just a type of LVP. And you can find LVP in just about any style in the world!
Doesn’t matter. You can find thelook of any material in an LVP product—which means you’ll also be able to find it in a WPC flooring product.
WPC Flooring Is Just As Easy to Install as Regular LVP/LVT
WPC flooring reviews confirm that it’s some of the easiest flooring to install. Why? Because all LVP is easy to install! And again, WPC vinyl flooring is just another type of LVP!
Which means, like all LVP, WPC-core vinyl can be installed as glue-down, loose-lay, or click-together flooring. If you’re not familiar with that last one, click-together flooring planks just snap together to create something called a “floating floor”. And what is a floating floor? It’s just a surface that snaps together and doesn’t need to be attached to a subfloor! Simple, right?
PS: don’t worry about the “wood flour” thing—all the wood in WPC flooring is mixed with vinyl, meaning there’s nothing that can get wet!
LVP Flooring (and by extension WPC Flooring) Is Easy to Care For
In terms of maintenance and care, LVP easily outclasses the best hardwood floors, which are notoriously difficult to keep in top shape.
WPC doesn’t add any special care requirements over standard LVP, so it’s just as easy to care for.
WPC Flooring Costs More Than Regular LVP, But It’s Still Cheaper Than Hardwood
Unfortunately, WPC flooring does tend to cost more than standard vinyl-only LVP—but not by much. You can still find decent options for as low as $4 per square foot.
Compared to the cost of wood flooring, WPC offers a cheaper way to achieve a wood-floor look and feel—with the added benefits of enhanced durability and waterproofing.
And You Can Put WPC Vinyl Flooring AlmostAnywhere
The best vinyl plank flooring can go anywhere inside your home (remember: it’s durable and waterproof). WPC vinyl flooring is no different!
What Are the Advantages of SPC Flooring?
WPC might be fantastic, but it’s not your only rigid-core option. SPC is also wonderful, but for a whole different set of reasons!
SPC Is A Lot More Durable Than Standard LVP
The extra durability that SPC provides is a huge leap over LVP cores that are just made of vinyl—like Home Depot’s LifeProof vinyl flooring. One of the biggest complaints that pops up in reviews of these vinyl-only LVP floors is that they dent. This is almost never an issue in SPC flooring reviews. Like, ever.
SPC Vinyl Plank Flooring Doesn’t Expand and Contract
The best vinyl plank flooring won’t expand or contract with changes in temperature or humidity. SPC flooring is one of these products. It’s extremely resistant to any kind of movement.
SPC Flooring Doesn’t Ever Contain Formaldehyde
Some brands of LVP (particularly WPC) can contain trace amounts of formaldehyde. The chemical is sometimes used to preserve the integrity of the wood composite, but is unnecessary in SPC products.
This shouldn’t ever be an issue if you’re buying quality products, but it is worth mentioning.
And It’s More Dent-Resistant Than…Well, Almost Anything
Wood-plastic composite is relatively soft; that means it absorbs impacts while stone-plastic composite deflects them. Translation: if you drop a heavy object onto both floors, SPC flooring is more likely to come out undamaged.
SPC Flooring is Completely Waterproof
It should come as no surprise, but like WPC, SPC flooring is entirely waterproof. Need flooring to stand up to excessive moisture or splashes? SPC is a great choice.
Plus, SPC Can Go Anywhere
SPC flooring can go just about anywhere (and we emphasize “just about”). That’s because SPC flooring is strongenough to be installed almost anywhere inside—or—outside of your home.
The only caveat here: you can’t generally use it as outdoor vinyl flooring unless you live in certain climates. Outdoor flooring options are specially designed for a reason! Additionally, some LVP can fade in direct sunlight—so if you want to use it as sunroom flooring, just make sure it has a UV-resistant wear layer.
However, these wear layer concerns are true for all LVP products, not just those with SPC cores. In other words, this isn’t a core issue (buh-dum tiss).
Let’s Recap: What’s the Difference Between WPC and SPC?
We’ve established that WPC flooring excels when compared to flexible LVP, vinyl-only LVP, and hardwood. And we’ve talked about the many reasons that SPC flooring is fantastic (it’s crazy durable and super stable). But just to be crystal clear, here are those key differences one more time.
WPC Has a Wood Composite Core…
We’ve already established that WPC vinyl flooring has a core made of vinyl and wood flour. This combo makes the floor tougher against damage, yet softer on your feet and joints.
…While SPC Has a Stone Composite Core
SPC flooring uses limestone powder instead of wood flour in its core. This makes it incredibly durable, but not nearly as soft to walk on.
But Both Materials are Completely Waterproof
Whether you want a stone-plastic or wood-plastic composite core in your LVP flooring, you can be sure that you’re getting a waterproof surface.
They Can Both Go Anywhere in the Home
Yep! No worries either way—whichever material you go with, you can put it anywhere inside of your home. This isn’t one of those “I-can’t-put-x-in-y-room” scenarios (we’re looking at you, moldy wood floor bathrooms).
SPC is Often a Tad Thinner Than WPC
This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but SPC planks are often a bit thinner than their WPC counterparts. This has nothing to do with how they perform—SPC flooring just needs less volume for the same amount of durability.
And Both WPC and SPC can Benefit from an Underlayment
Think you don’t need underlayment for vinyl flooring? Think again. While some brands come with attached underlayments (and some claim they don’t need them), almost all LVP floors—WPC or SPC—can benefit from the use of an underlayment.
So Which is Better: WPC or SPC Flooring?
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer here. It really depends on your needs and preferences. Here’s how they stack up.
WPC Flooring Is More Comfortable Than SPC Flooring…
WPC flooring has a soft (but durable) core that absorbs the energy of your footsteps. This makes it more comfortable to walk on (or for pets to sleep on).
It’s Also Very Quiet
The absorbing powers of WPC flooring also apply to sound. Voices won’t travel quite as far and will echo less than with SPC flooring or standard LVP.
WPC Flooring Is More Forgiving of Subfloor Imperfections
If you’re wondering what subflooring is, don’t worry—it’s what goes under your actual flooring.
Anyway, SPC flooring is super rigid, so unevenness in the subfloor will be visible through the planks. WPC flooring has more “give” to it, so it’s less likely to show imperfections in the subfloor.
WPC Flooring Also Offers Better Insulation
Your walls and subfloors should take care of insulation duties but WPC flooring provides an ounce of insulation too. Other vinyl plank floors don’t have this quality.
And It’s Easier on the Joints
Because WPC is softer, it absorbs impacts better than SPC flooring does. Translation: it’s a bit easier on the joints.
Have Pets? They Might Like WPC More
For the same reason, WPC is a bit more comfy for pets to sleep on. If you have an older dog or cat, they might like a WPC floor more than an SPC floor.
And It May Be Easier to Cut for DIY-ers
It may be necessary to cut pieces of any flooring in order to finish a trim or place it on steps. Among the pros and cons of SPC flooring are two points:
It’s so durable that you may need to use expensive, high-powered tools to cut through it.
Cutting it cleanly may require the skills of a professional.
And that means WPC is a bit easier for people installing their own floors. If you’re using a professional flooring installer, though (which we would highly recommend) this shouldn’t matter one way or the other.
…But SPC Is More Durable Than WPC Flooring
SPC lacks WPC flooring’s softness, but makes up for it with superior durability. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re going to break your joints simply by walking on it—but you will feel it more.
SPC Is (Arguably) the Most Durable Type of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Really, it’s incredibly durable. As in, you could drive a car over it. Again, scratching issues come down to the wear layer—but where denting is a concern, SPC is the way to go.
Don’t get us wrong, WPC flooring is still really durable—but SPC is probably the most durable LVP on the market.
So SPC Flooring Is Better Than WPC for High Traffic Areas
For this reason, SPC is a better option for areas that receive tons of traffic on a daily basis (like commercial property). WPC flooring still supports this, just not as well.
And It’s Also Better at Resisting Dents and Dings
SPC is always a great choice for families with kids, pets, clutzes (guilty), and so on. That’s because the stone-polymer composite is super dent resistant!
How Much Does WPC Flooring Cost?
Ok! Now that we’ve gone over the differences between WPC and SPC, let’s talk about prices.
High-quality LVP like WPC vinyl flooring generally costs between $4 and $12 per square foot for materials alone.
If you hire a professional, the cost to install vinyl plank flooring ranges between $1.50 and $6.00 per square foot. But remember, you can also install it yourself and save at least some of that cost.
On the other hand, the best hardwood floor brands tend to start at $5 per square foot (and easily top $10 to $15), and it’s another few dollars per square foot (minimum) to install them. With that in mind, WPC flooring feels like a steal.
How Much Does SPC Flooring Cost?
Quality SPC flooring starts around $3 to $6/square foot, though some premium products may cost upwards of $12/sq. ft. Really though, the price difference between WPC and SPC flooring is pretty negligible (and entirely dependent on the specific brand and product).
Again, this is comparable to a lot of other products. If you look into the cost to install laminate floors, for instance, you’ll find that the materials are more or less equally priced.
Is WPC Flooring Eco-Friendly? What About SPC Flooring?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to sell any type of vinyl as an eco-friendly flooring option. Vinyl is plastic, and plastic isn’t biodegradable. Plus, the vast majority of vinyl products aren’t recyclable.
Does Core Thickness Matter with SPC or WPC Flooring?
Core thickness absolutely matters, but it’s not as simple as “the thicker the core, the stronger the product.” Thin-core WPC flooring can be stronger than thick-core WPC—if it’s made with bettermaterials.
And Does Wear Layer Thickness Matter with SPC or WPC Flooring?
Of course! Wear layer thickness is important in any luxury vinyl product, regardless of whether it has a WPC, SPC, or pure-vinyl core.
However: not all wear layers are created equal. Some brands offer “super thick” wear layers that don’t offer much protection at all.
Think of it this way. There are four primary types of wear layers when it comes to luxury vinyl products, each with an increasing degree of protection:
Vinyl-only is the weakest of the four and doesn’t include any additives that protect it from common types of damage.
Polyurethane-based wear layers are notably stronger and have better scratch and dent resistance.
Some brands add super-hard crystals like aluminum oxide to their polyurethane wear layers for further protection.
Polyurethane with ceramic bead technology creates a ball-bearing-like protective layer, which deflects impact and “scratching” forces.
Of course, there are also many other wear layer types. If you’re unsure if the product you’re looking at has a good wear layer, remember this: the best products explain what goes into their wear layers and why.
WPC Flooring Reviews: What Are the Best WPC Brands?
There are dozens of LVP/LVT flooring brands that offer WPC-core products. We’re not going to cover them all, but here are a few of the biggest names!
Floorté by Shaw
Shaw is the world’s second-largest flooring brand—and its top WPC line, Floorté, shows why.
The line starts at about $6 per square foot, which isn’t the cheapest option. But according to many WPC flooring reviews, it’s worth the investment.
CORETec is actually the inventor of WPC flooring. Ironically, it’s now owned by Shaw.
CORETec costs a little more than Floorté at $6–$12 (or more) per square foot—but it also offers a more extensive range of styles. And according to many COREtec flooring reviews, it’s well worth the price.
Adura Max by Mannington
Adura Max costs between $4 and $6 per square foot (on average) and offers a wide variety of stone, tile, and hardwood looks.
It heavily caters to the commercial market, but there are plenty of residential options too.
SmartCore Ultra is a popular WPC flooring line sold exclusively by Lowes and manufactured by CORETec (no joke, it’s a small world).
In our SmartCore flooring review, we found it to be more of a budget option though—at least compared to the brands above. SmartCore’s wear layer isn’t as durable—and according to more than a few WPC flooring reviews, it’s prone to scratching.
We’ve established that SPC flooring is pretty darn good in general, but are there any brands that stand out? You bet!
SPC Flooring Reviews: What Are the Best SPC Brands?
Again, many brands offer both WPC and SPC flooring options. Here are some of the most notable ones.
All Proximity Mills floors are FloorScore-certified as low- or zero-VOC. And it comes in at a cheaper price point—with an equal or better wear layer—than the two “big-brand” options below.
Shaw’s Floorte Pro
Shaw is the second-largest flooring manufacturer in the world and makes many different LVP lines—but their most prominent SPC line is Floorté Pro. Like SolidTech Plus, Floorte Pro is a relatively high-caliber product that combines a dense core with a quality wear layer.
Be warned: Shaw also (indirectly) makes SmartCore flooring—a more, ahem, *budget* brand—for Lowes.
Doma (All Products)
Doma is unique in that, as a company, they focus on one thing above all else: style.
Translation: if you’re looking for the boldest, most fashionable looks in the world of LVP, Doma flooring is for you. All of their luxury vinyl products feature SPC cores, they come in both tile and plank formats, and they boast some of the widest planks (9”) and largest tiles (12” by 24”) in the SPC space.
In terms of performance, Doma LVP offers several wear layer options ranging between 12 and 22 mils with either aluminum oxide or polyurethane with additional antimicrobial properties. So, durability is no concern. Additionally, all Doma LVP is FloorScore or GreenGuard Plus-certified (or both) as low-VOC vinyl flooring with all but one collection being recyclable.
Newton (All Products)
Newton makes 9 collections of budget-friendly SPC flooring. But, don’t let the “budget-friendly” tag make you think less of Newton flooring: all their LVP comes with a superior aluminum oxide wear layer that’s backed by either a 15-year or limited lifetime warranty.
Newton’s biggest selling point is its cost-per-value ratio. For $2 to $5 per square foot, you’ll find floors that consistently outperform products that sell for twice as much.
How Do SPC and WPC Flooring Compare to Other Faux Wood Floors?
SPC and WPC-core luxury vinyl are just two among many hardwood floor alternatives. So how do they stack up against these non-vinyl options?
In previous decades, the vinyl plank vs. laminate debate often came down to one key difference: LVP is waterproof and laminate wasn’t.
However, the rise of waterproof laminate brands like RevWood has changed this narrative, with LVP trying to catch up to laminate’s more natural feel (LVP is kind of hard). In fact, if you compare laminate vs. hardwood flooring, you’ll notice they feel similar.
This is where WPC flooring shines: since it’s softer, it does a better job of simulating the “give” that natural wood has compared to normal LVP or something like concrete, which has zero give (that reminds us, concrete flooring that looks like wood is another hardwood alternative).
The many different types of floor tiles on the market offer just as many style options as WPC and SPC flooring do. But again: you’ll find that tile doesn’t mimic the feel of wood as well as WPC vinyl flooring does.
If you check out our tile vs. wood floors guide, you’ll see that tile tends to be more rigid and cold—the same is true when you compare tile vs. WPC vinyl floors. SPC flooring is somewhere between the two.
LVP, and by extension WPC flooring, isn’t eco-friendly or repairable. But there are more design options to choose from, and it’s often easier to install. And when it comes to durability, bamboo’s notable strength is rivaled only by—you guessed it—SPC flooring!
WPC and SPC Flooring vs. Cork
The pros and cons of cork flooring also include sustainable sourcing, a modest price tag, vulnerability to water, and adequate durability. The last two are the most important because these are areas where LVP excels.
Cork isn’t ideal for heavy use and it has special care requirements: it’s not waterproof and it needs to be resealed every so often to maintain its integrity.
Unlike WPC or SPC vinyl flooring, though, engineered wood isn’t waterproof (or as scratch-resistant). But, in terms of authenticity, engineered wood is obviously the winner since it’s, you know, still real hardwood.
Conclusion: Is WPC Flooring Good? WPC Flooring Reviews Say it’s Great! And the Same Goes for SPC Flooring, Too.
All in all, WPC vinyl flooring is a fantastic substitute for hardwood. It’s cheaper, waterproof, and incredibly comfortable. Nearly all of the best vinyl plank flooring brands make it and—unless you go with SPC—it’s hard to find a more durable product. Really, both of these options are amazing in their own special ways.
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).
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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