It’s hard to imagine that flooring is a cutting edge industry, right? Wrong! Technological advances in material science have turned the world of flooring on its head. New materials have expanded flooring options from wood, stone, tile, and carpet to new options such as luxury vinyl tile, stain-resistant carpet, engineered hardwood floors, and rigid core luxury vinyl flooring.

Waterproof flooring is probably the biggest advance in flooring materials in the past decade. Tile and stone used to be our only options for waterproof flooring, and both materials are expensive and time-consuming to install. Rigid core luxury vinyl flooring is the newest waterproof flooring material, and it’s making quite a “splash” with our customers.

What is WPC and SPC?

There are two types of rigid core luxury vinyl on the market currently – wood plastic composite (WPC) and stone plastic composite (SPC) rigid vinyl flooring. Both are similar in composition, except for the core layer, and that makes all the difference.

A plank of WPC or SPC is made up of the following:

  • Wear layer: This is the layer that provides resistance to scratches and stains. It is thin and completely transparent.
  • Vinyl layer: The vinyl is durable and strong. It is printed with the flooring pattern and color. Think patterns and colors that imitate wood, stone, tile, etc.
  • Core layer: This is the waterproof core made from either stone plastic composite (SPC) or wood plastic composite (WPC).
  • Base layer: EVA foam or cork forms the base of the plank.

Because the construction or WPC and SPC is practically the same, they both have the following benefits:

  • Waterproof: Both WPC and SPC have a rigid, completely waterproof core. Unlike hardwood floors, WPC and SPC are resistant to warping when exposed to moisture. You can now have that wood look in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, and laundry room.
  • Durable: Both SPC and WPC have a wear layer on the top of the vinyl planks, which makes it resistant to stains and scratches and perfect for high traffic areas of your home or business. You can even purchase planks with a thicker wear layer for extra durability.
  • Easy to maintain: All you need is the occasional vacuum and damp mop to keep your floor looking fabulous.
  • Style options: Vinyl planks come in a huge variety of styles and colors. Some of the most popular imitate other flooring materials like hardwood, stone, or tile.

Which Waterproof Flooring Should I Choose?

Remember I said that the inner core makes all the difference? WPC’s core is a wood-plastic composite. SPC’s core is a stone-plastic composite. Which is more comfortable to walk on – wood or stone? Most people would say wood. It has more give than stone and is warmer underfoot. Stone, however, is stronger and more durable than wood.

Because of this, most homeowners choose WPC over SPC, while SPC is a very popular choice for commercial use. Think doctor’s offices, restaurants, bars, shops – places with a lot of footfall need the extra strength and durability of SPC over WPC.

We’ve broken down the main differences between WPC and SPC in the chart below. 

Thickness WPC has a thicker core. Plank thickness 5.5 – 8mm. Plank thickness 3.2 – 7mm.
Foot feel More comfort underfoot. More rigid so less cushioning, harder on feet.
Sound insulation Thicker so dampens sound more. Rigid so carries sound instead of absorbing sound.
Durability Less durable than SPC due to more cushioning and wood components. Most durable flooring as very dense. Resists damage from impacts or heavy weights.
Stability More prone to expansion and contraction due to wood components. Denser core makes SPC more resistant to expanding or contracting.
Price More expensive than SPC. Less expensive than WPC.

Find a Local Flooring Store

Like what you read? Get in touch with your local Floor Coverings International to learn more about the different types of vinyl flooring available near you.

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