Hello again to all the handy people out there! Today we’re going to talk about Waterproof Floors, as it is known to Public, and then we’ll install it together.
Waterproof Flooring is a modern interlocking version of Vinyl and is officially called Rigid Core LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank). It comes in 2 main variations: SPC and WPC- Stone or Wood Polymer Composite, which means that the core is made with Wood or Stone particles mixed into the Plastic Polymer to create the substrate for the Luxury Vinyl Layer to be glued to.
SPC is harder but tends to feel a bit colder than WPC, which feels warmer and softer on the feet.
Can’t tell them apart because the top layer is Luxury Vinyl in either case. Both equally look really good and some latest models, like in this picture, look even great with wood texture that feels almost real. Rigid Core flooring is completely waterproof, 100%, which is why I think it became so popular so fast in the last 3 years since its introduction to the market, because you can have your kids and dogs spill a tub-full of water, and it just won’t care. Of course, your sub-floor and drywall, and if you have the neighbors down below will care, so please, let’s not try this.
Composite Luxury Vinyl is extremely resistant to scratches, dents and high traffic, so it really is a Life-proof flooring option, suitable for all locations, and some can even be installed outdoors, on decks and patios.
There are some disadvantages over hardwood floors:
-Since LVP flooring is a man-made imitation of real wood, it comes with repeating patterns which is basically same photographs repeating over and over again. Earlier products came with just 3-4 variations, so every 4th plank was identical to the 1st and so forth. Cheaper floors today tend to continue on the same path. Higher grade floors have 6-8 different planks and some brands shift or flip the print, which results in even more variations.
-Rigid Core LVP is a floating floor, it sounds much like regular Vinyl or Linoleum, and it requires overlapping transitions (moldings) wherever it meets other floors such as carpet or tile. These transitions are not that badly looking if installed properly, and then in the last years they’ve improved and even introduced wide flush mount Stair Noses that look just great. If you’re doing a staircase, you should definitely watch this video where I show you how You Do It!
With hardwood that gets attached to the Sub-floor, most times moldings are not needed and a seamless transition can be achieved. With Composite Vinyl, just like with the Laminate, however, Transitions have to be installed at all the exterior doors, cabinets, tubs and showers, etc., or where it meets other floors, such as Carpet, Tile or Hardwood. So if you don’t mind some Quarter Rounds, T-moldings and End-caps, let’s move on to comparing apples and oranges.
Advantages of SPC and WPC over Real Wood:
-Cost effective: 2-3 times less expensive
-Has no weak spots like knots and grain- won’t split, twist or crack
-No trees need to be cut down
-Completely Water Resistant, so it can tolerate spills and floods of Biblical proportions, and so they can be installed in areas with high chances of liquids being present, such as kitchen, laundry and bathroom. I still recommend you use area rugs or runners in higher traffic areas like entryways and hallways, and places where water or liquids are spilled often, like sinks, cooking areas, tubs and showers.
-DIY-friendly. Basic tools and skills needed. Installs much like Laminate with a Click-lock system on all 4 sides of a plank. In some cases, it is even easier to lay, as it is flexible and can be bent into a tight-fit space or tricky areas like under door jambs. Only basic tools are needed for the job: table saw, tapping block, rubber mallet and a Japanese Saw to undercut door casings, so flooring can slip under them, and look pretty and professional.
Hardwood requires specialty tools, Apprentice level skills and knowledge of the trade. And there’s plenty to know.
Waterproof Floors are about 3 times faster to install than Wood, and for a non-professional installer it could be up to 10 times, easily. You know how many of my DIY customers tried to lay hardwood on their own, then quit after messing up a bunch of boxes and moving nowhere for days, only to come back to schedule my crew to do and redo the job properly, while ordering more flooring because some of it was messed up or put in incorrectly?!
My advice to you- don’t try to lay hardwood if you’ve never done it! It is very easy to mess up and void the warranty. Think about it again. I will make a video as soon as I’m able to take on a hardwood project, I promise!
Cheaper Waterproof floors are usually thinner: 2-4mm (~¹/8″) and higher quality ones are 5-8mm (~¼”) thick. Don’t be fooled, though!, lately some sneaky manufacturers have been calling their 4.5mm thin floors with attached pad, a 6mm product…
High quality modern Rigid Core floors don’t care about the humidity at all, unlike their Laminate or Hardwood counterparts.
Expansion Gap of ¼” still must be allowed against ALL vertical surfaces like walls, cabinets, fireplaces, etc., or other floors to allow for natural movement caused by changing seasons. This is true for Laminate and Hardwood flooring as well.
All 4 edges or seams of every plank in good quality floor are protected by beveled, shaved, tapered or rolled edging, which sinks the seam below the foot traffic just enough to keep it from receiving constant wear and tear.
Light vs Dark.
Unless you’re working on a man-cave, or doing bedrooms or a home theater, you should definitely consider Lighter floors because the Dark ones absorb all the Light and make any room or an area appear smaller. There is a reason why Builders paint everything in bright, white-like colors- it just makes a house appear larger.
Don’t try to match your floors to the cabinets, please! It would look like your flooring is climbing up the hills. Consider avoiding doing different colors in all the different areas- you would waste much more material that way, you’d have to have a bunch of T-moldings separating all of them, and it would look like a nervous breakdown at the end.
Unless you have stained wooden doors and casings, don’t match your “floor-board” to the floor by going with stain grade solid wood baseboards- costly and looks odd: “painted doors and wood going up the walls” combination is not very attractive at all.
Do remove existing baseboards and put them back over your new floors if they’re in decent shape or can be repaired, otherwise consider the new ones! I just can’t understand people investing ten thousand dollars, sometimes, to get new beautiful floors and then running Homedepot-style quarter-rounds all over the place (if you like it that way, it’s fine!), or put those ugly-old-ass beat-up bases back, to save hundreds… Unless you can make them look good and fresh again, don’t hesitate to get rid of them now, while you can easily, before painting and putting all your stuff back into the room.
Search around your town and you might find a local place like the Mastercraft we have in Reno Nevada, that sells base and trim for half the price of home improvement chains.
You can paint your wall-base before installing it, but you’d need to fill nail holes and touch up after you do, though. So instead, I prefer to paint them after putting them on, filling and sanding… Yes, I’d burn dollars on masking tape, but the end result is pitch-perfect, because you can see the touched-up areas, hundreds of them, when the light hits them at a “wrong” angle. When you paint the whole thing at once, it looks SO much better and professional. Fresh Water-based paint splashes can be easily removed with just a damp cloth so don’t sweat! I have a post about this!
Finish or Protective Coating.
Modern, Hi-Tech, quality SPC and WPC floors are both highly resistant to wear and scratching. It does not mean, however, that you can abuse them. Sand that is allowed to accumulate on your floors acts as a sandpaper and reduces longevity of the Finish exponentially! Furniture that is very heavy or is intended to be moved around, like chairs, stools, couches, etc., should be cushioned before use with peel-and-stick pads that come in a multitude of different sizes and shapes, and can be found at any home improvement related store. Heavy things like fridges should not be dragged or rolled mindlessly; exercise simple measures of care and your new waterproof, laminate or wood floors might last for a lifetime. Some brands now have 50-year and even Lifetime Warranties.
Vacuum first on a hard surface setting or with a solid surface vacuum (better), to remove dust and sand. Mist laminate or hardwood floor cleaner with a spray bottle, then Swiffer-mop it before it dries. No steam cleaning required and should never be done, by the way. If you prefer to use water and vinegar like in the old days, just make sure you’re using purified water, because tap water contains chemicals and minerals that stay behind on the floor surface in a form of haze or foggy appearance, just like the very well-known buildup on glass shower doors. Hard water build-ups are practically impossible to remove without harming the finish of your brand-new, beautiful floor.
Waterproof floors do not need acclimation at all, unlike laminate and wood floors, that must acclimate to the conditions of the house they will be installed in, to prevent an “Instant Shock” that is caused by rapid or quick exposure to different climate conditions: temperature and humidity. Instant Shock leads to warping, twisting, bowing and cracking. Laminate flooring must acclimate for a minimum of 48 hours prior to installation. The larger the total continuous area is, the more time is needed. Hardwood must acclimate for 10-30 days, depending on the footage and wood species, so if you decide to go with real wood, do ask whomever you’re getting it from and plan accordingly. Don’t mess with the thermostat- floors don’t care if you’re living in this house right now or not… try to bring the conditions to a normal operating setting at least 24 hours prior to delivery of your new flooring.
Do not overstock in one spot- thicker Rigid Core Vinyl is as heavy as laminate and some hardwood, weighing up to 2 pounds/foot, so do make several piles in different areas and try not to exceed 500 square feet in one spot, and also try to put them closer to the outside walls and not toward the middle of the room. Do not put too many boxes on your tile- it might crack.
There’s nothing else really to be said about Rigid Core Waterproof Floors, except that unfortunately, neither SPC nor WPC can be seriously considered to be called a “Green” product. But that is a subject for another discussion in another Post, perhaps soon. So let’s just quit with all the chatter so I can show you how YouDoIt!
Tools you need: Table saw. Tapping block. Rubber Mallet. Pull Bar. Utility knife.
Supplies you need: Waterproof Flooring with Underlayment. Transition Moldings. From FloorGO.
P.S. You can substitute table saw with jigsaw if you’re on the budget or doing just a small project. You may glue your baseboards and moldings with fast-setting glue, if you prefer, but nailing while pushing them all the way down, is the way to go. Go completely old-school and use hand-bangers and a good ol hammer, too! You Do It!
This is a Tapping Block you need for this job. $30 at my local supply shop…
This is my favorite table saw and it is a cool $100 less than at homedepo!
This is my favorite pull bar and I paid 50 bucks for it at a local flooring supply store…
If you’ve found my site useful and beneficial… you can thank me by shopping for your new toys on Amazon.com via any of these links. It does not matter what you end up getting there… other brands, thongs or high heels… just kidding… Amazon pays me referral fees that will keep this site up and running, and improving. We all shop on Amazon… I’m just starting with this… ya’know, I could use some help over-here.
Check out my newest Project – Mobile Flooring Store – FloorGO: We Come To You. You Save.