The flooring market, especially the resilient category, has experienced several new advances in available flooring products, and no company has had a bigger impact than US Floors with their COREtec suite of flooring products. If you ever wanted to know where to get the best information on luxury vinyl plank or the best pricing on luxury vinyl you found the right place.
Table of Contents
1. COREtec Flooring by US FLoors
2. US Floors COREtec Begins with Piet Dossche
2.1 COREtec Enters The Luxury Vinyl Plank Market
2.2 Piet’s Goal with COREtec
3. How COREtec Flooring is Made
3.1 WPC vs SPC Vinyl Cores
3.2 100% Waterproof
3.3 Wear Layer Information
3.4 COREtec Won’t Offer 6mil Wear Layers
4. What Makes a Quality Floor?
4.1 3 Pillars of Value
4.1 3 Pillars of Value
4.1 3 Pillars of Value
4.1 3 Pillars of Value
5. WPC COREtec Flooring Products
5.1 COREtec Plus
5.2 COREtec Plus XL
5.3 COREtec Plus Enhanced and Enhanced XL
5.4 COREtec Plus HD
5.5 COREtec Design
6. SPC COREtec Flooring Products
6.1 The COREtec Pro Plus Series
US Floors COREtec Begins with Piet Dossche
Founder Piet Dossche started US Floors in 2001, with his company headquarters in the spare bedroom of his home. Over the last 18 years, Piet and his team have made multiple advances and product introductions in the flooring business. Piet and US Floors have led to complete overhauls of flooring options available to not just American consumers, but homeowners around the world. US Floors produce natural bamboo, cork, wood, vinyl, and stone flooring. I will cover US Floors’ industry-leading vinyl plank offering of COREtec flooring and dig deep into product features and setbacks.
While most of us would be happy to have a legacy similar to what US Floors has accomplished, Piet continues to offer new products that further his position as the leader in resilient flooring. Frankly, most of the market spends its time trying to copy what Piet and his COREtec team introduce. I’m sure you see similar or almost the same marketing between differing flooring companies for a luxury vinyl plank or luxury vinyl tile products. I would like to introduce you to the COREtec family of products and cut through all the marketing. Let’s get to the heart of what makes a vinyl plank floor a quality one. After we establish what makes a quality luxury vinyl floor, we will look at how COREtec measures in terms of quality. First, let’s cover a little more background on US Floors.
COREtec Enters The Luxury Vinyl Plank Market
In 2012, US Floors entered the LVP business with their patented COREtec Plus luxury vinyl flooring. What COREtec brought to the market was a high-quality LVP aiming to be the best floor anyone could buy. It was a new concept that focused on building a core built for stability. In 2012, the same as today, stability was the attribute that determined the quality of a floor. If you are interested in a breakdown and in-depth analysis of luxury vinyl flooring construction and feature explanations visit our blog What is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
If you read many product reviews today you will find many problems arising from a floor moving or warping due to direct sunlight, or excessive temperatures or moisture. These problems arise from a lack of stability, which is caused by using a lower quality core in their plank flooring products. That is where COREtec rises above the market. Where Piet’s patented core really shines.
Piet’s Goal with COREtec
Let’s take just a moment to talk about value, as I mentioned earlier. Piet never set out to design the cheapest floor in the market. Matter o’ fact, he didn’t set out to build a cheap floor at all. What he did was invent, design, build, and offer the BEST floor on the market, with the highest value. If you have read any of my other blogs, you know how I like a great deal, and a great deal is determined not just by price, but by how much value the deal brought. I don’t want to tell you how many times I bought something that was junk, trying to save a few pennies, before I became older and wiser. Wise enough to know that a little bit of research would allow me to find the best value. I feel good when I make a purchase where I looked around, learned a little, then applied my new-found wisdom to making a great purchase. Today is the day that you learn enough about luxury vinyl flooring in general to save some real money!
I don’t want to get too technical, mainly because I would quickly get past the limit of my knowledge, but there are 2 extremely important parts to building a stable floor: the quality of the materials, and how the materials are arranged. COREtec products are made using the right materials, with COREtec technology, in a way that allows them to continue leading the market in customer satisfaction and value. This core structure is made from an exclusive combination of recycled wood and bamboo dust, virgin PVC, and limestone.
How COREtec Flooring is Made
COREtec manufactures both types of luxury vinyl plank flooring in SPC and WPC offerings. SPC stands for Solid-Polymer Core and WPC stands for a Wood-Plastic Core. We will talk about these differences later in this post. COREtec Flooring and its core structure create a 100% waterproof floor. COREtec produces all their vinyl plank floors with a wear layer of 12mil or more. The standard wear layer thickness of vinyl plank standard with 6 mil, 8 mil, 12 mil, to the thickest 20 mil+ wear layer products. Let’s talk about the different aspects of these vinyl plank floors in more detail.
WPC vs SPC Vinyl Cores
COREtec’s vinyl plank floors are rigid core products. Rigid core vinyl was created to address the cheaper vinyl floor options that telegraphed or would lay unevenly on top of an uneven subfloor. There are two types of rigid core products, WPC or Wood Plastic Core and SPC or Stone Polymer Core. A wood plastic core is typically made up of a wood composite comprised of plastic, PVC, and a foaming agent to help soften the floor underfoot. A stone polymer core is typically comprised of around 60% calcium carbonate (limestone), polyvinyl chloride, and other hard plastics. A WPC is known for being a softer floor prone to dent or scratch more than an SPC product. An SPC floor is known for being a harder surface and less prone to dents or scratching like a WPC product. If you’re interested in seeing WPC and SPC cross-section pictures or more detailed information on this visit our previous post about luxury vinyl plank and the state of the current LVP market. We are happy to carry their SPC products.
100 percent waterproof means COREtec floors will not warp or buckle, even if you put these boards in a bucket of water! What this does not mean is that water cannot pass through it. If you have a flood on your COREtec floor, chances are water will seep through the gaps or wedges of your floor and reach your subfloor. Coretec has implemented an interlocking system called the COREtec angle tap locking system. This tap locking system is one of the simplest installation systems in the market and is important when trying to get that perfect installation. All COREtec floors have easy installation features and require no special skills, other than keeping your fingers out of the chop saw. This is a must, in the event that you would ever like to take up playing the guitar.
Wear Layer Information
The wear layer is the transparent top coat of a vinyl that determines the durability, dent resistance, scratch resistance, and Ultraviolet ray resistance to protect the visuals of the floor. The wear layer is typically polyurethane-based and a few of COREtec’s vinyl planks offer Aluminum oxide wear layers. Aluminum oxide is a notable material because it is added to prefinished hardwood floors. Aluminum oxide is known to be a more dense and protective material than standard polyurethane wear layers. The wear layers’ main job is to prevent any visual deterioration of the floor over time like scratching.
Scratching is a big deal when talking about the lifetime of a floor. And floors will scratch, bet on it. In the end, scratching will probably be why you choose to replace a floor, as the change in appearance to a floors finish is caused by scratching. Scratches on a floor usually come from dragging a piece of furniture across it. There are, of course, millions of abrasive particles that are constantly being moved across your floor over time as well. Abrasive wear will manifest itself at some point on your floor. COREtec separates itself from the rest of the market by adding a 20mil aluminum oxide wear layer to address these problems.
COREtec Won’t Offer 6mil Wear Layers
A great example is COREtec’s 6 mil product. All of the companies that manufacture LVP make either a 6 or an 8 mil floor…. except for COREtec. Wanna know why? Because every 6 and 8 mil floor is a piece of crap. I know, we sell some, but we would prefer not to. Here is the deal: when a company decides that they want to be in the lower-end part of the market, they start giving up quality. There is no way around it. LVP floors can be compared by different specifications such as overall thickness or weight, but the most common way to compare is by the wear layer.
The vast majority of COREtec LVP flooring is 20 mil, which is one of the heaviest wear layer coatings in the industry. COREtec is now offering a 12 mil floor to satisfy the needs of a particular group of customers (like us!) that don’t want the best that can be bought but don’t want junk either. The 6 and 8 mil stuff represents the lowest priced vinyl plank products.
What Makes a Quality Floor?
On the surface, pardon the pun, the quality of the vinyl plank floor is determined by the thickness of the wear layer. Not so. A 6 mil wear layer may last for a generation. The problem is in the construction of the vinyl plank. If a company is willing to give up what you can understand to get the price down, what else will they give up? Yeah…. ponder that a minute. The extra wear layer might…. MIGHT cost 2 cents. The bigger savings for the manufacturer is in cutting the overall weight as well as that little part called the balancing layer.
The balancing layer, as it says, provides another sheet of stability. By definition, balancing offsets something else, and in this case, the balancing layer is integral to the stability of the product, and can represent over a third of the total mass of the finished product. If a manufacturer can leave that off, they can save big money on materials, manufacturing, and even shipping! Unfortunately, this loss of stability contributes mightily to product failures caused by direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, or excessive moisture.
No Balancing Layer = Problems
As I prepared to write this blog, and yes, I do sometimes prepare, I read reviews from multiple products from different suppliers and different retailers. The most common complaint in the reviews that I read was a movement by the flooring that resulted in warping or separation. And there were a lot of them. What I learned that surprised me was that some companies have started making 12 mil floors without a balancing layer, again, trying to save money. Now more than ever the quality of Piet’s COREtec family of products is the best choice for floors that deliver, year after year, season after season.
Padded Cork Backing
All COREtec floors feature a warm layer of cork. Natural cork is a great way to deaden sound and insulate against cold temperatures, and COREtec is the only company that uses cork exclusively on all their products. Why don’t more companies use cork? Because it is not cheap! I hope you can see that the luxury vinyl plank market is trying to offer the cheapest, not the best. Next, let’s talk about what COREtec offers in LVP!
The 20mil Wear Layer + Aluminum Oxide
All 20 mil floors from COREtec- COREtec Plus, Plus Premium, Plus Plank, Plus XL Enhanced, Plus Design, and Plus HD all have an aluminum oxide-enhanced UV-cured acrylic finish. If you want a floor that is pet-proof, kid-proof, and husband proof, make sure you get a floor with aluminum oxide. Aluminum oxide is one of the hardest substances known to fight abrasive wear. It was first used in flooring finishes about 20 years ago, and quickly became a crucial component of almost every hardwood and laminate floor made. Why aren’t all LVPs adding this material? Because it is expensive!
Aluminum oxide adds cost to the manufacturing process, and, as you have seen, manufacturers hate adding costs. Why? Because we, as consumers, do not ask for it. Nope. We want cheap floors! Again, this is a great way to add value to a floor.
Consider this: when you buy a new floor, is the cost of the floor your only expense? What about replacing baseboards or quarter round? Transition strips? Installation? Moving furniture? Missed days at work? As you can see, there are a lot of expenses related to replacing a floor. Please don’t let saving 50 cents sq ft be the determining factor in buying a floor that you will be unhappy with.
How to Spot Junk Flooring
All of the companies that manufacture LVP make either a 6 or an 8 mil floor…. except for COREtec. Wanna know why? Because every 6 and 8 mil floor is junk. I know, we sell some, but we would prefer not to. Here is the deal: when a company decides that they want to be in the lower-end part of the market, they start giving up quality. There is no way around it. Comparing LVP floors by different specifications such as overall thickness, weight, or padding is common. However, a more useful way to compare LVP is by the wear layer.
Sellers try to convince shoppers that a 6 mil is plenty of wear layer. A 6 mil may be good enough, but it is the lack of stability found in 6 mil plank core could be a problem. A 6mil wear layer could last forever, but no wear layer can prevent a warp in plank due to a missing balancing layer. Upgrade to a 12 mil from a good company, and that extra 20-50 cents per square foot will be some of the best money you ever spent.
WPC COREtec Flooring Products
The bulk of the COREtec line utilizes a WPC or Waterproof Polymer Core. Piet revolutionized the LVP business with a waterproof and extremely stable core. All of their WPC offerings will offer a softer, quieter experience than the SPCs that we will discuss later. Also, remember that the entire line comes with an attached cork back. All of the Coretec Plus offerings will feature a 20 mil wear layer made with aluminum oxide embedded in a UV-cured acrylic finish and have a lifetime residential warranty, and 10-year commercial, as well as a 10-year pet-proof warranty.
This collection of flooring includes the Tile, 5” Plank, and 7” Plank. All of the Plus products will feature a micro-beveled edge and the cork back and can be installed above, on, or below grade with the angle tap installation system. P
The Plus 5” is available in 17 great colors, the Plus 7” in 19, and the tile has 6 colors.
COREtec Plus XL
The Plus XL is a new addition to the COREtec family of products. COREtec Plus XL features extra-large 9” x 72” boards! Talk about making an installation go fast! These longer, wider boards allow consumers to get that high-end, natural look that is so popular but with a waterproof floor that will never need refinishing, at a price that is reasonable. Available in 18 great colors (and 1 that is just so-so).
COREtec Plus Enhanced and Enhanced XL
In the Enhanced products, COREtec has added a 4-sided painted bevel, yet another innovative evolution in WPC floors.
COREtec Plus HD
The HD collection is another display of advanced technology with COREtec’s high definition look featuring Embossed in Register (E.I.R) processes.
This newly-available attribute is a game-changer! Almost impossible to represent without holding a sample in your hand, I will do my best. Almost all floors that are textured will have the same texture. Whether it is an Oak or Hickory visual, the texture is the same. With the Embossed IN Register technology, the texture (embossing) is made to match the grain of the wood. This feature is especially important in the more detailed rustic floors like the Barnwood Rustic Pine shown below. Think about it….see a knot, feel a knot! Seeing this in person will make you appreciate it, even more, so feel free to order a sample from us!
The Design Collection throws out all of the rules! With the EIR technology, COREtec added multi-tones, multi-width planks, to design a floor that pops.
SPC COREtec Flooring Products
SPC, or Stone Polymer Composite, is the latest introduction in LVT cores. Expect SPC floors to contain approximately 60% limestone, with the balance made up of vinyl and plastics. Compared to WPCs, these new floors are much harder and will resist denting better, due to the increased density. And due to a simpler manufacturing process, as well as less expensive components, SPC floors can be much cheaper! Better and cheaper? Now we are talking!
SPC floors, when made correctly, are extremely stable floors. SPC floors are able to withstand more moisture or extreme temperatures than WPC floors. However, the balancing layer is integral to your floor’s performance. Stay away from the 6 and 8 mil floors, as they typically have no balancing layer.
The COREtec Pro Plus Series
The Coretec Pro Plus Series is made up entirely of 20 mil SPC products. Most of the attributes that separate the different offerings in the Originals are applicable to the Pro Plus as well. The Pro Plus XL features the same longboards. While the Enhanced and XL Enhanced have more features to satisfy almost any consumer.
At ReallyCheapFloors.com, we believe that the Coretec family of products offers the best collection of quality, color, and style available in the market today. We would love to answer any questions that you might have about vinyl plank or flooring in general. Due to Coretec’s internet policies, we are not allowed to post our low prices online, but we understand why they do that. Like us, they want their customers to get treated professionally. COREtec wants to make certain the correct floor is purchased for the right application. Give us a call or send us an email, and we will be happy to offer you a great price on America’s best flooring.