Interested in WPC flooring? Then you’re in the right spot!
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).
But: what isWPC vinyl flooring? 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 questions.
We’ll explain what WPC flooring is, how it compares to SPC, and show you why so much of the best vinyl plank flooring on the market is WPC flooring.
Then, we’ll examine some common WPC flooring reviews and share our list of notable WPC vinyl flooring brands and products. By the end, you’ll know why WPC flooring is so popular in the world of vinyl plank flooring!
WPC flooring stands for wood-polymer composite. But to understand what that means—and why it’s important—we have to explain a bunch of other things first (we know it’s a hassle, sorry!)
Just remember: WPC isn’t a distinctflooring category like hardwood or tile. Rather, it’s a specific type of rigid-core luxury vinyl flooring (aka LVT or LVP).
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 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
Rigid-core luxury vinyl (also called EVP flooring, or engineered vinyl plank) has a rigid rather than a flexible core—making it more durable and closer to the look and feel of real wood or tile.
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!
What Are the Advantages of WPC Vinyl 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?
We’ve established that WPC flooring excels when compared to flexible LVP, vinyl-only LVP, and hardwood. But how does it compare to SPC flooring?
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.
Which is Better: SPC or WPC Vinyl 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…
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) compared to either SPC or standard LVP.
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 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. SPC flooring, however, doesn’t have this quality.
…But SPC Flooring Is More Durable
SPC flooring lacks WPC’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 over SPC flooring—but you will feel it more.
SPC Is (Arguably) the Most Durable Type of Vinyl Plank Flooring
SPC is 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 flooring is probably the most durable LVP on the market.
So SPC Is Better Than WPC for High Traffic Areas (Like Businesses)
For this reason, SPC flooring 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.
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.
Is WPC Flooring Eco-Friendly?
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.
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 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: Notable 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.
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.
How Does WPC Flooring Compare to Other Faux Wood Floors?
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 flooring—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.
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.
WPC 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 vinyl flooring, though, engineered wood isn’t waterproof and isn’t 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!
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 flooring—it’s hard to find a more durable product.
We’re going to cover a lot of information here, so please feel free to reach out to us with any specific questions! Our team of flooring experts is here to help.
About The Author
Take any subject and there’s a good chance Christian has written about it. From marketing and international relations to wildlife (hobby!) and sports, Christian writes, edits, or helps publish just about everything that’s resigned to written form. His love for home design and remodeling began with his first job working for his uncle’s property management business.
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