WPC stands for “Wood Plastic Composite” and is the type of core used in a very durable, water resistant type of engineered vinyl flooring. Though it has a lot in common with standard vinyl, WPC vinyl flooring does have some unique features you’ll want to consider. Learn more about WPC to find out if it’s the right fit for your home.
What is WPC Flooring?
Essentially, WPC is recycled wood pulp and plastic composites that are combined to create a special material that is used as the core for the standard vinyl that forms the top layer. So even if you choose WPC flooring, you won’t see any wood or plastic on your floors. Instead, these are just the materials that provide a base for the vinyl to sit on.
From top to bottom, a WPC vinyl flooring plank will typically consist of the following layers:
- Wear layer: This thin layer on top helps to resist stains and excessive wear. It also makes the floors easy to clean.
- Vinyl layer: The vinyl is a durable layer that features the flooring color and pattern.
- WPC core: This is the thickest layer in the plank. It is made of recycled wood pulp and plastic composites and is stable and waterproof.
- Pre-attached underpad: This adds extra sound insulation and cushioning for the floors.
Benefits of WPC Vinyl
There are quite a few benefits to choosing WPC vinyl flooring over other types of flooring, including:
- Affordable: WPC flooring represents a step up from standard vinyl without inflating the cost too much. You will spend less on this type of flooring than if you had selected hardwood floors, and some varieties are also cheaper than laminate or tile. Many homeowners opt for DIY installation with WPC flooring, which also helps to save money.
- Waterproof: Laminate and hardwood floors are not waterproof. Even standard vinyl is only water-resistant, not waterproof. But with WPC vinyl flooring, you’ll get completely waterproof floors that can be installed in areas where these other flooring types should not be used, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements. The wood and plastic core also prevent the floors from being warped by moisture and temperature fluctuations. This allows you to keep a stylish and uniform look throughout the home without having to place different flooring types in different rooms based on potential moisture exposure.
- Quiet: Compared to traditional vinyl, WPC vinyl flooring has a thicker core that helps to absorb sound. This makes it quiet to walk on and eliminates the “hollow” sound sometimes associated with vinyl floors.
- Comfort: The thicker core also creates softer and warmer flooring, which is much more comfortable for residents and guests to walk on.
- Durability: WPC vinyl flooring is highly resistant to stains and scratches. It will resist wear and wear, which is great for busy households and families with pets and kids. It is easy to maintain by regularly sweeping or vacuuming and occasionally using a damp mop with a diluted floor cleaner. If a certain spot is seriously damaged, it’s easy to replace a single plank for a budget-friendly repair.
- Ease of Installation: Standard vinyl is thin, which leaves any unevenness in the subfloor exposed. Since WPC flooring has a rigid, thick core, it will hide any imperfections in the subfloor. This makes it easier to install, since no extensive subfloor preparation is necessary before laying the WPC flooring. It also allows WPC vinyl flooring to be more easily installed in longer and wider areas of the home. Homeowners can also install WPC flooring over many types of existing floors, and it typically doesn’t need to sit in the home for several days to acclimate to moisture and temperature like other flooring types.
- Style Options: One of the biggest benefits of choosing any type of vinyl flooring is that there are practically limitless design options. You can buy WPC flooring in just about any color and pattern you like, many of which are designed to look like other flooring types, such as hardwood and tile.
Drawbacks of WPC Vinyl
While WPC flooring does offer some excellent benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before selecting this flooring option for your home:
- Home Value: While WPC flooring is quite stylish and durable, it doesn’t add as much value to your home as some other flooring styles, especially hardwood.
- Repeat pattern: WPC can be made to look like hardwood or tile, but because it is not a natural product the digitally imprinted pattern can repeat every few boards or so.
- Eco-Friendliness: Although WPC flooring is phthalate-free, there are some concerns that vinyl flooring is not especially environmentally friendly. If this is something that concerns you, be sure to do your research and search for WPC floors that are made with eco-friendly practices.
WPC Vinyl Buying Help
Pay attention to thickness when shopping for WPC vinyl flooring. The thicker the planks are, the sturdier and more durable your floors will be. Generally, these floors are available between 4-8 millimeters thick. You can also look for different thicknesses for the wear layer on top, with those generally varying between about 8 millimeters and 20 millimeters.
In some cases, companies have marketed their WPC vinyl flooring under different names that emphasize the benefits that come with using this type of flooring. Some of the other names that may be used for WPC include:
- Enhanced vinyl plank
- Engineered luxury vinyl flooring
- Waterproof vinyl flooring.
If you’re not sure whether a certain variety of vinyl flooring is a WPC version, ask a salesperson or a customer service representative what composes the plank core. If it is made from wood and plastic materials, it is WPC vinyl flooring.
Give your home a DIY update with WPC vinyl flooring. It’s an affordable and attractive option that will hold up well for years to come.