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SPC vs. WPC—Your Guide to Rigid-Core Luxury Vinyl Tile

By the Vevano Home Team
July 29, 2021

Planning upgrades to your flooring but aren’t sure what to choose? It’s worth looking at all the different types of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) available. Over the years, LVT has become one of the most popular flooring types because it’s one of the easiest floors to install and maintain that looks just like classic hardwood. Today, LVT has been made even better with rigid-core options—like WPC and SPC flooring—that offer even more variety, more comfort, and more durability than ever before.

LVT Quick Facts

In order to understand the differences between different LVT flooring options, it helps to have a basic understanding of how LVT is made. All LVT is composed of PVC vinyl layers, a realistic 3D photo layer, and an extremely durable protective layer. Whether you’re using traditional LVT or rigid-core LVT options like SPC or WPC flooring, here’s what you can expect from all LVT flooring options:

  • 100% waterproof
  • Durable and highly resistant to scratches, dents, and fading
  • Low maintenance and easy to clean
  • Versatile and can mimic stone or wood looks and texture
  • Long-lasting

Traditional LVT vs. SPC vs. WPC—What’s the Difference?

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The core difference between traditional LVT, WPC flooring, and SPC flooring is—no pun intended—the core. Traditional LVT has a thin, flexible PVC core, but WPC and SPC flooring both have a thick, rigid core made of PVC and other materials. For WPC, this rigid core is made of a wood plastic (or polymer) composite. For SPC, the rigid core is a stone plastic (or polymer) composite.

SPC vs. WPC Vinyl Flooring

Although traditional LVT and the rigid core spin-offs share many of the same characteristics, the rigid core does affect the installation, resistance to temperature changes, and overall durability. The following are key differences between SPC and WPC:

            Price—WPC is typically more expensive than SPC.

            Heat Retention—WPC retains heat better than SPC, which means SPC flooring might be colder to the touch.

            Sound Absorption—WPC’s thicker core absorbs sound better than SPC.

            Stability—SPC is more stable under temperature changes and high heat than WPC.

            Feel—WPC’s thick padding offers a more comfortable, cushioned underfoot than SPC.

            Durability—SPC’s dense core is less likely to dent than WPC.

Overall, SPC is a great, cost-effective option for those who want LVT flooring that can handle major temperature fluctuations and heavy impacts. On the other hand, if you’re looking for LVT flooring with better sound absorption and a comfortable, warm underfoot, then WPC might be worth the additional cost.

Let’s take a deeper dive into each LVT option to see which is right for you.

Traditional LVT—Most Budget Friendly

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Pros

  • ✅ Comfortable underfoot
  • ✅ Budget friendly

Cons

  • May require adhesive for installation
  • Cannot disguise an imperfect subfloor
  • Does not absorb sound as well as SPC or WPC
  • Most prone to movement during temperature fluctuation
  • Softer and more prone to dents than SPC or WPC flooring

Traditional LVT is the one of the most budget-friendly options you can choose if you want something that’s durable, stylish, and long lasting. That being said, the original Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring has a thin, flexible core, which has some drawbacks compared to the SPC and WPC flooring options that came after it. But first, let’s talk about the pros.

LVT Flooring Pros

The flexibility of the traditional luxury vinyl planks make your floor softer, and many styles include cushioning foam to increase comfort. Additionally, traditional LVT might be more cost-effective than other LVT options, averaging $2 to $7 per square foot.

LVT Flooring Cons

Traditional LVT more often than not requires an adhesive and is glued to the subfloor. While the installation is still a fairly easy process, it’s not as DIY-friendly as the click-lock or tongue and groove installation of rigid-core LVT flooring.

Traditional LVT can be installed over most subfloors, but because it’s often thinner and more flexible than other LVT, imperfections in the subfloor tend to reflect in the surface of your floors.

Lastly, compared to WPC and SPC flooring, traditional LVT flooring is not going to be as effective at absorbing sounds within the room. Traditional LVT is also more prone to expand and buckle under high levels of heat, so this flooring might not be the best option in a room with a large, sunny window.

WPC Vinyl Flooring—Ultimate in Durability and Comfort

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Pros

  • ✅ Easy to install
  • ✅ Disguises imperfect subfloor
  • ✅ Comfortable underfoot
  • ✅ Excellent sound absorption
  • ✅ Resistant to temperature fluctuations (though not as well as SPC)
  • ✅ Retains warmth

Cons

  • More expensive than other LVT flooring options
  • More prone to dents than SPC flooring

WPC vinyl flooring has a rigid core with a wood plastic composition. The recycled wood pulp and plastic composites in the core of WPC lend additional strength and stability to your floors while an added foaming agent increases durability and comfort.

WPC Flooring Pros

If you’re looking to save money with a DIY installation, then WPC—or any rigid-core LVT flooring— is the way to go. It uses a tongue and groove system to lock the planks into place, no glues or adhesives required! WPC is categorized as a “floating floor” because the planks “float” over your subfloor instead of being glued to it. This type of installation makes replacing or changing your floors so much easier.

The WPC’s floating installation can also help disguise an imperfect subfloor. In fact, WPC has a huge advantage in this area—the thick, stable core of the planks means they can be installed over uneven subfloors with ease. Some people have even installed it directly over existing hardwood or tile (though we still recommend removing your old flooring first).

Even compared to traditional LVT, WPC has the most comfortable underfoot. The wood plastic composition also contains a foaming agent that adds padding and comfort to your walkways. This same foaming agent helps with sound absorption as well.

Though it has more give underfoot than other LVT options, WPC’s rigid core is still more stable than traditional LVT under changing temperatures, making it less susceptible to expansion and contraction. Plus, the flooring retains heat better than other LVT options, so your floors won’t be as cold in the winter.

WPC Flooring Cons

Pretty much the only downside of WPC flooring could be the cost. It averages $6.30 to $8.00 per square foot while regular LVT costs $2.00 to $7.00 per square foot. Compared to other LVT options, WPC vinyl flooring is also more likely to dent.

SPC Vinyl Flooring—Best Durability on a Budget

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Pros

  • ✅ Easy to install
  • ✅ Disguises imperfect subfloor
  • ✅ Absorbs sound better than traditional LVT (though not as well as WPC)
  • ✅ Highly resistant to temperature changes 
  • ✅ Budget friendly

Cons

  • Surface has hard underfoot
  • Does not retain heat well

Ready to take your flooring to the next level in both beauty and durability? Then SPC flooring should be an option at the top of your list! Considered the most durable flooring option on the market today, SPC has options to fit any design aesthetic while keeping durability at the forefront.

SPC Flooring Pros

We’re starting to sound like a broken record here, but it’s important you note that SPC is just as easy to install as other rigid-core LVT options! Your floating floor will be easy to click into place during your DIY installation (or you can hire someone if you prefer.)

The durable core and attached core backing of SPC allows it to be installed effortlessly over nearly any surface. You can install it over uneven subfloors with little preparation and some people have even installed it directly over their old flooring (though we recommend removing your olds floors first.)

SPC flooring is going to be better at absorbing sound than traditional LVT flooring (though WPC absorbs sound better). SPC uses stone plastic composite to make an extremely rigid core, making it virtually indestructible and the hardest to dent of all the other LVT flooring options. Plus, the limestone composite core makes SPC incredibly stable under temperature changes and resistant shrinkage and buckling.

SPC one of the more budget friendly LVT options, averaging $3.50 to $6 per square foot.

WPC Flooring Cons

With the extreme durability of SPC comes one drawback—you sacrifice a little comfort. SPC is much harder than other flooring. The floor might also be a bit colder because the stone core doesn’t retain heat as well as other LVT options.

What Will You Choose?

Now that you know a little more about all the LVT flooring types, we hope your new flooring choice is easier to make. Not quite sure LVT (or its subtypes) is right? Check out our ultimate flooring guide to explore the details of other great and affordable options! You can also reach out to an interior designer today to see which option is best for your project.