If you're researching flooring options, you may have noticed that there's a number of COREtec flooring problems many consumers face. But how serious are these problems? Are they just isolated to COREtec products? And should these issues prevent you from installing a COREtec floor?
Having upfront knowledge of the problems you may encounter with COREtec flooring, can in many cases help prevent issues from starting in the first place. This is because many of the problems are a result of poor installation practices. In this article, we'll help you understand the main concerns of this premium vinyl flooring product, so you can determine if its the right floor for your home.
Although COREtec is a premium flooring product, it's important to understand that no flooring is immune to issues.
But does COREtec flooring products have more problems than other LVT flooring brands? In our opinion, the answer is no. Most of the serious problems such as peeling and curling and separating planks, are the result of poor installation, and can be avoided by hiring a flooring professional.
However, with that said, let's take a look at the most common COREtec flooring problems homeowners encounter.
COREtec flooring is scratch resistant against minor scratches, but it's not scratch-proof. You'll likely find noticeable scratches if heavy items such as furniture is dragged across the floor.
It's a good idea to use protective pads under your furniture to prevent scratching. And when you do need to move your furniture, it's a best practice to carefully lift it and set it down instead of dragging it across the floor.
When choosing a new floor design, you may want to opt for a pattern that won't show scratches. COREtec has a huge variety of colors and wood designs to choose between, selecting a lighter color with more grain pattern will likely hide scratches better.
Cushioning is only a problem on the COREtec One line. This budget-friendly product does not have the attached cork underlayment on the bottom which is seen in COREtec's other product lines.
The cork underlayment on the bottom layer allows the floor to absorb sound and insulate heat. It also makes the floor comfortable to walk across by providing cushioning.
Spending a little bit more money upfront to purchase a COREtec Plus product is worth the investment. Your room will be warmer, quieter, and have a more natural feel.
If you're looking for a product to install over a radiant heating system, you should avoid COREtec products.
COREtec's cork underlayment won't allow the floor to transfer heat efficiently, in addition, with the radiant heat beneath the surface blocked, the planks are prone to damage.
However, this won't be a problem with the COREtec ONE floors since they are manufactured without the cork underlayment.
Peeling and Curling
Although, COREtec floors are considered durable, when compared to hardwood floors, they simply can't compete. Truth be told, the majority of LVT flooring struggles with peeling and curling issues. But typically you won't need to worry about this problem for at least 10 to 15 years.
Peeling is most commonly seen in high traffic areas, and is often the result of poor installation. If the planks' edges and corners were not properly installed, overtime, peeling can occur.
To prevent further damage and the unsightly dust and debris from building up under the peeled area, you can simply use some adhesive and press the edges of the planks back down.
Floating LVT Flooring has many advantages. These floors are easy to install and are able to hide many subfloor imperfections. In addition, they're able to give a realistic look and feel of hardwood, without the expense of installing hardwood floors.
However, that does not mean you can ignore the condition of your subfloor altogether. If COREtec (or other LVT flooring) is installed on a subfloor that isn't level the floorboards are prone to separating. At first you might notice a bit of a bounce when you walk across the floor, you may even feel the boards move.
If the situation isn't addressed, water could seep between the planks which could result in peeling and curling.
Before installing your floor, check that the subfloor is level. If it isn't, use a leveling mix to even things out.
Unfortunately, LVT floors aren't an eco-friendly product, although COREtech does fair much better than many of it's competitors, and it's earned the GreenGuard Gold Certification.
The majority of LVT floors have VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), but since COREtec is made from virgin vinyl, the level of VOCs is actually quite low. However, there are still traces of the chemical in COREtec products.
The major concern with VOCs is the indoor air quality since vinyl flooring emits toxic gases into your home. This could result in respiratory issues if you are prone to problems or have extended exposure.
However, it is worth repeating, COREtec has less VOCs than the majority of LVT products on the market, but it isn't 100% safe. If this is a major concern, you may want to consider investing in a true hardwood floor.
There's no getting around it, COREtec is a quality rigid vinyl plank flooring product. Even the majority of it's problems are shared by other LVP flooring manufacturers.
Here are a few of the primary benefits of installing a COREtec floor:
If you have some basic DIY skills, you'll be able to easily install a COREtec vinyl plank floor. In fact, if you're looking to upgrade an existing hard floor, such as laminate or ceramic tile, the COREtec planks can be installed over the top.
The tongue-and-groove design ensures the planks are perfectly spaced, and the cork underlayment allows you to install the planks right away without the need of an acclimatization period.
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The majority of high quality floors offer water protection. Most are either waterproof, which means that water won't be able the penetrate the floor; or water-resistant which allows the floor to withstand water. With water-resistant floors, damage can occur if the water penetrates the floor.
The unique wood-polymer composite core not only makes COREtec planks comfortable to walk on, but also allows the floor to stand up to excessive moisture. It's waterproof core has multiple moisture-proof layers which means it's a suitable flooring choice for bathrooms and basements since you won't need to worry about moisture damage.
When it comes to selecting a floor, durability should be a top concern.
COREtec floors are highly durable. In fact, it's wear layer is rated for commercial traffic and will protect the floor against excessive wear. It also has top-notch stain resistance and makes the floor very easy to clean.
The durable and resilient luxury vinyl top layer is virgin vinyl and resists chips and dents. Keep in mind that even though COREtec has excellent scratch resistance, it's not scratch proof.
If you're looking for maximum durability you may want to check out COREtec floors that utilize SOLIDcore technology. It's designed to handle the most challenging wear, and the SOLIDcore layer has a thickness of 5mm. This technology uses a lowered compressibility with an increased weight to make the COREtec floor ultra strong and stable.
With the exception of COREtec ONE, all COREtec floors benefit from the attached cork underlayment. It'll absorb sound and make the floor more comfortable to walk across.
But if you're looking for superior sound absorption you'll want to purchase a COREtec product that utilizes SOUNDcore technology. This is the company's top category in their product line-up.
SOUNDcore technology offers maximum sound absorption. It's also the most effective in terms of acoustics, comfort, warmth, and robustness. The SOUNDcore layer is available between 8mm and 8.5mm, and utilizes air pockets within the core material to mute sounds.
There are certainly lower priced LVP flooring products on the market today, but since COREtec is a higher-end brand, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it has a higher price tag.
However, the easy installation makes it a great DIY job, so you'll be able to save contractor costs, and the product's overall durability means it should last for many years.
In addition, COREtec has multiple collections in their product line-up that range in aesthetic design, as well as construction build. With so many options, you should be able to find a floor that not only meets your needs, but also fits within your price range.
COREtec is a Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) created by USFloors, it was then sold to Shaw Industries in 2016. Its patented design features a core that will not contract or expand. The flooring is easy to install, is 100% waterproof, and resists absorbing imperfections from the subfloor.
Although, Shaw Industries offers a wide range of flooring for residential and commercial use, their largest product line is COREtec luxury vinyl flooring. With it's large product line-up (over 200 styles) there are plenty of choices to help you not only find the right design, but also the flooring characteristics for your individual project.
COREtec Product Line-up
Whether you're looking for top-of-the line commercial flooring or an inexpensive floor for a lesser used area in your home, you'll find it in the COREtec product line. There are eight different product lines in the plank category alone that offer a large variety of construction builds and finishes.
All residential COREtec flooring products come with either a 25-year Limited Warranty or a Lifetime Limited Warranty. Learn more about the warranties here.
Listing the entire COREtec product line-up is beyond the scope of this article, but we will take a look at the most common product, COREtec PLUS, and the original COREtec ONE since it does have some differences that are worth noting.
Designed for normal residential use, the COREtec PLUS products are the main collection. There are eleven different subcategories in this collection which include the Plus Design, Plus Premium, Plus Enhanced, and Plus HD.
You can choose between a variety of different sizes and aesthetics, including realistic stone or wood. Selecting the right floor can be a bit confusing since there are so many options, so you may want to consult with a flooring expert to help you make the best decision for you situation.
As a general rule, you can expect to pay between $6.50 to $8.60 per square foot for flooring products in the COREtec PLUS line-up.
COREtec ONE flooring is the original collection and has a thinner wear layer. In addition, it does not have the cork underlayment which makes it a good alternative for some installations.
It's an economical choice since it's available at a lower price point. Yet it still provides many of the features of the other COREtec flooring collections.
With the exception of COREtec ONE, all of the other COREtec products are manufactured with four layers as outlined below:
Wear Layer - This is the top layer which offers protection from wear and stains. Rated for commercial use, the wear layer is at least 0.5 mm / 20 mil. It's maintenance-free and doesn't need to be sanded, polished, sealed or refinished.
Luxury Vinyl Design Layer - This layer gives your floor its look. It has detailed embossing and beveling to create a realistic texture and feel to the planks. Whether you want to install a wood or stone pattern COREtec has a huge selection of designs to choose between.
Core Structure - The core is what sets COREtec products apart from their competitors. It's 100% waterproof and provides the strength to the planks and tiles. There are two different types of cores used. Depending on the product, the core is either composed of a mineral compound or a polymer product. We'll take a closer look at the core structure below.
Cork Underlayment - The attached cork underlayment means there's no need to lay a separate underlayment. Although, the cork naturally resists mold and mildew, it'll also absorb sound and block out chills, which will help give the floor a warm feeling.
It should be noted that COREtec ONE has a thinner wear layer, and doesn't have the cork underlayment. You may have noticed that the other product categories are called COREtec PLUS, the "plus" refers to the cork underlayment.
COREtec Core Structure
COREtec planks have two different types of cores: WPC and SPC. Each core structure shares many of the same characteristics such as waterproofing, and resistance against fading, scratching and staining.
But there are differences as well. Which core structure you select will be unique to your individual needs. Here are the main differences between the WPC and SPC cores.
WPC COREtec Core
WPC is short for wood, plastic, and composite, and these are the materials that give the core its unique characteristics.
Thickness: 5 to 8mm.
Durability: Although, WPC is durable and dent resistant, SPC flooring is denser and therefore more durable.
Sound: The added thickness provides WPC flooring better sound insulation. This means better sound absorption when walking across the floor. In other words, it's a quieter floor.
Comfort: WPC flooring will feel softer and more comfortable under foot. In addition, the thicker core will keep the floor warmer.
Stability: Although a solid choice for rooms with temperature fluctuations and moisture, SPC flooring is better suited for handling extreme situations.
SPC COREtec Core
Stone, plastic, and composite are the materials that make up the SPC core.
Thickness: 3.5 - 7mm.
Durability: SPC flooring is denser, which makes it harder than WPC flooring. Floors with an SPC core will simply perform better in areas with high foot traffic, heavy furniture, and rolling carts. This makes it a better choice in commercial settings.
Stability: The denser, rigid core of SPC flooring makes it less susceptible to expansion and contraction. If you own a cabin in the tropics or mountains, SPC will be able to handle the temperature fluctuations and moisture better than WPC flooring.
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GreenGuard Gold Certified
All COREtec products have earned the GreenGuard Gold Certification for low chemical emissions, making them one of the safest LVT products you can buy.
This makes COREtec flooring a great choice for residential use, schools, and daycare facilities since they meet the standards of being chemical free while promoting safe indoor air quality.
In addition, COREtec floors are CARB-2 Compliant.
If you have respiratory issues or are simply concerned about indoor air quality, COREtec floors is a good choice. You'll be able to rest at ease that your family, pets, and friends will be safe when they spend extended time in and around your home.
COREtec flooring requires very little care and maintenance to keep it looking good. And because it's waterproof, it can be cleaned the same as ceramic tiles and other non-porous flooring.
Here are a few tips for keep your COREtec floor looking it's best:
- In order to remove the dust and debris that collects during normal use, either sweep the floor with a broom or use a microfiber mop pad on a regular basis. You can also use your vacuum cleaner if the cleaner head is designed for hard flooring surfaces.
- If you have stubborn dirt and spills, you can use a floor cleaning detergent designed for hardwood floors, such as the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner.
- Use barriers such as rugs and blinds to avoid sunlight from directly hitting your floor. COREtec flooring is better than most, but all LVT flooring is susceptible to discoloration.
- Be careful when moving your furniture. Lift it off the ground, and then gently set it down instead of dragging it across your floor.
- Under furniture legs use felt pads. They are inexpensive and provide protection from the unnecessary scratches that can happen during normal use.
There's a wide range of LVT flooring options on the market today. Many are higher-end, like COREtech, but unfortunately, there are a few less-than quality brands.
For the most part, when it comes to LVT flooring, you get what you pay for.
Keeping in mind that there are no perfect flooring products, we are impressed with the COREtec PLUS line-up and feel that its well worth considering if you're looking to install a new floor. If you have areas with high traffic, you may want to consider the COREtec PRO PLUS product line as its built specifically for high traffic residential and/or commercial use.
A quick web search will show that there's no shortage of happy customers who highly recommend COREtec products.
But that doesn't mean there aren't problems.
Fortunately, COREtec PLUS is highly regarded in the world of LVT flooring and considered a premium flooring brand. It's known to be sturdy, durable, and resistant to marks and scratches. So although COREtec floors do have some potential problems, most of them are seen in other LVT products to a greater extent.
However, it is important to note, that most of the problems seen in COREtec products are the result of poor installation. Although, COREtec can be easily installed as a DIY project, there are things that can go wrong. Working with a trusted flooring expert is the best way to prevent problems and ensure your floor is correctly installed.