Hazel Creek & Mills River from COREtec

mills river hazel creek coretec flooring

“May you live in interesting times”.

This quote, generally attributed to being a Chinese curse, but probably made up by an English diplomat, insinuates that when things get interesting it is a bad thing.  Honestly, there hasn’t been much excitement in the flooring business in the last 25 years. That is about when laminate flooring was introduced, and what a run it had! More recently, LVP floors have made a big splash, and continue to do so. It seems like each year an industry leader like COREtec will introduce another breakthrough in the resilient business that firmly embeds the entire market in “interesting times”.

Hazel Creek & Mills River are SPC Floors

Over the last year or so we have seen the introduction of the SPC, or Solid Polymer Core, resilient floors. As we have compared the 2 constructions in another blog, we won’t cover that again here, but as a general rule, SPC floors, when made correctly, are more durable, more stable, and less expensive. The solid polymer core is the younger brother of wood plastic cores or WPC floors. The difference between the two is SPC is built with limestone and more hard plastics. Wood Plastic core flooring uses softer materials like wood composite materials and they are mixed with an added foam core. WPC floors are known to dent more but are softer underfoot. We cover how a balancing layer in a vinyl core, the top wear layer, the backing pads, and how SPC and WPC floors differ in our COREtec Flooring blog and our What is Luxury Vinyl Plank? blog.  COREtec’s newest introductions, Hazel Creek and Mills River are exciting additions to our luxury vinyl lineup and I will try to explain how it’s exciting for our customers!

Solid Polymer Core Rundown


The stability of an SPC  depends upon its construction. Construction of lower-end floors will not feature a balancing layer in their vinyl core.  The balancing layer is mostly responsible for preventing twisting or warping due to direct sunlight or excessive moisture exposure. The balancing layer is removed from production because most big companies are in a race to be the cheapest. To make matters worse, it is hard to know if the floor has a balancing layer upon personal inspection. I can tell you there are no 6 or 8 mil floors on the market today that offer a balancing layer by talking to manufacturers. In fact, most 12 mil wear layer floors do not have a balancing layer applied. I talk with multiple manufacturers about luxury vinyl plank because the construction process and features change so fast. I recommend reading the product reviews for other vinyl plank floors and see if stability or warping is a known issue. Saving $200 on a whole house and getting an unstable and warped floor is not a good deal.

Luxury Vinyl Plank SPC Core Cross Section

An SPC Vinyl Core Cross Section. The balancing layer is impossible to detect from manual inspection. This Floorte Pro 7 Series plank is manufactured with a confirmed balancing layer.

So, why all the background research into LVP construction and features? Because Hazel Creek, made by Coretec, and distributed by ReallyCheapFloors.com, is the highest quality 12 mil SPC floor on the market. On top of that, Hazel Creek and can be purchased at $1.89 per square foot! I was armed to the teeth in information about luxury vinyl plank so I knew what questions to ask COREtec before we decided to sell for them. With this introduction, we are offering a 12 mil SPC containing a balancing layer, with both residential and commercial warranties, at a price below most box stores 6 mil floors.

For the first time, the quality and innovation from COREtec are being combined with the great value offered by ReallyCheapFloors, resulting in a pair of high-quality vinyl plank lines that are being offered exclusively through ReallyCheapFloors.com. Believe me when I say COREtec leads the industry in innovation. In my earlier blog about COREtec flooring, we talk about how Piet Dossche started Coretec, and make the company the leader in the LVP business. Many of the processes used today were invented by Piet and his team, giving the rest of the industry a target to emulate. Or at least try!

Hazel Creek & Mills River Wear Layers

Hazel Creek is Coretec’s first venture into the popular 12 mil section of the market. Mills River comes with a thick 20 mil wear layer. A vinyl plank wear layer is the surface of the floor that represents the longevity of the floor. The longevity of a floor is tied to the vinyl core’s construction too. The picture below helps illustrate the construction of a luxury vinyl plank and where the wear layer is. The wear layer protects the floor from getting scratched or damaging the visual of the vinyl plank.

SPC Vinyl Plank Construction Balancing Layer

Remember the old Tootsie  Pop commercial? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? (Engineering students from Purdue University said it took 364 licks.) You’re welcome! The wear layer of a luxury vinyl plank is similar to the outside sugary coating of a tootsie pop.

The Wear Layer is a Tootsie Pop?

Imagine that the hard shell on the Tootsie Pop is the wear layer. The thicker it is, the longer it will last. It is the same with a vinyl plank floor’s surface. In the past Coretec made only a 20 mil floor, while other companies offered floors with wear layers as thin as 3 mils! By the way, a mil is one-thousandth of an inch, in case you were wondering.

Why would a company offer such thin wear layers? Simple. Being a NASCAR fan, I love to watch a great race. However, the race to offer the lowest-priced vinyl floor that we have seen over the last year is appalling. Box stores love to portray themselves as having the lowest price, and they are willing to do anything to get there. That is why you see so many 6 and 8 mil floors on the market. Sadly, most of these floors will not list the wear layer thickness, only the overall thickness, and a big fat warranty, leading the consumer to think that they are getting a superior product. Look at Home Depot’s Lifeproof product, for instance. A lifetime warranty inspires a sense of quality correct? Yet if you download the specs you will see it is a 6 mil product. At over $3 an sq ft!

Hazel Creek Collection Features

  • 11 Great Colors
  • 2 *Okay* Colors
  • 7″ x 48″ Planks
  • 4.4mm Overall Thickness
  • Cork Backing
  • 12 mil Wear Layer
  • $1.89 sq. ft.

hazel creek andromeda pine COREtec hazel creek pinwheel oak COREtec

Offered in 11 great colors and 2 that are just so-so. Hazel Creek features 7” x 48” boards with an overall thickness of 4.4 mm. Another great component is the cork back. Like all other COREtec products the Hazel Creek has a natural cork back for sound suppression. It also naturally resists mold and mildew, resulting in a product that will lead the industry in being kid-proof, LifeProof, and not break your budget! Now the other half of this introduction, the Mills River Collection.

Mills River Collection Features

  • 10 Great Colors
  • 2 of Our Favorite Colors
  • 7″ x 48″ Planks
  • 5mm Overall Thickness
  • Cork Backing
  • 20 mil Wear Layer
  • 15-year commercial warranty
  • $2.39 sq. ft.

Mills River COREtec is a beefed-up version of the Hazel Creek, plain and simple. Instead of having a 12 mil wear layer, it has a 20. Hazel Creek is 4.4 mm thick, Mills River is 5 mm thick. Little Brother Hazel Creek is a great deal at $1.89, while Mills River is a bargain at $2.39.  And Mills River offers a 15-year warranty in heavy commercial applications.

So Mills River is a heavier, longer-lasting floor. Does the average consumer need additional durability? Probably not, but the difference in cost is minimal. On a 1000 sq ft installation, the difference is $500.

What Mills River COREtec does offer is 10 great colors, including our 2 favorites, Jordan Pine and Belmont Hickory. My mother always said that looks ain’t everything, but I think she was just trying to make me feel better. With the visuals offered in the Mills River Collection, combined with better components, lower pricing, and COREtec innovation, we have a winning combination that will lead the market.

Cheap, Fast, and Efficient Shipping

Now let’s finish up with another important feature of this program. As part of our package, we at ReallyCheapFloors.com are offering these products for pickup at warehouses in:

  • Orlando, Florida,
  • Dalton,  Georgia
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Murphy, North Carolina
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Houston, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Bordering NYC in New Jersey

Pickup at these locations come at no extra charge! That’s right! Gone are the freight charges, and most colors will be available for same-day pickup. We will also be offering transfers to most major cities in the US for a small upcharge. Please call us to find out which major cities we can ship cheaply, quickly, and efficiently.

I told you it would be exciting. Well, maybe it’s more exciting for us. Being able to offer these 2 collections of high-quality flooring from Coretec, at these prices is exciting to us, and we look forward to helping you make a flooring decision that not only makes you happy today but allows you to be happy with your floor long after the price is forgotten. That is how we define value! Please give us a call with any questions, or to get a sample. We would love to help.