You probably already know that vinyl click flooring is quickly becoming one of the most popular residential flooring choices. However, did you know that what is inside vinyl click flooring can make a big difference in its performance and installation?
There are two core types used in the manufacturing of vinyl click flooring: wood plastic composite (WPC) and stone polymer composite (SPC). All vinyl flooring shifts, expands and contracts with changing temperatures, but the amount of shifting depends on the core type.
WPC uses an extrusion process where the core is formed from a foaming agent that creates micro bubbles, making a light and quiet product. The vinyl, décor and wear layers are then pressed on top of the core, with the lock system being profiled afterwards. WPC is typically six millimetres thick and is very easy to work with.
SPC is the newer, stronger and cheaper alternative to WPC. SPC is fully homogenously extruded – meaning the lock system is moulded with the core during the extrusion process. This is unlike WPC in which the lock system is applied afterwards. SPC’s extrusion process is made of a calcium carbonate that creates a very stable and rigid core. This rigid core lessens the expanding and contracting of the floor and ensures the lock system is secure.
Paul McDonald, flooring product manager at Taiga Building Products, said, SPC “makes for a 99 per cent more stable floor than WPC.”
SPC can be produced in six-millimetre thickness, as well as thinner options of four millimetres and five millimetres, which can lower the cost of the product. An important detail flooring installers should note, however, is that SPC’s thinner product options are more brittle, which can lead to lock system damage if inexperienced installers force the connection between two pieces of flooring.
Should I use WPC or SPC?
Both products are considered to have a rigid core, meaning they are both fully waterproof and can be used confidently wherever water may be present.
WPC should be used where more comfort is needed. Because the WPC core contains a foaming agent, it reduces foot fatigue and stress on joints. Note, too, that there are SPC flooring products with an integrated foam layer that provides the same comfort level as WPC vinyl.
SPC is designed for stability, not comfort. Because SPC is the most durable vinyl on the market, it is recommended to be used where high traffic and heavy materials are present. SPC is a good option when pets and children are present because not only is it free of phthalate and formaldehyde, it is built to handle any wear children and pets would normally cause.