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Vinyl Flooring 101 – Differences and Best Applications

Vinyl flooring is one of the most popular choices for customers renovating their space. With a multitude of styles, colors, and lengths of boards, it’s very easy to get confused while shopping for your luxury vinyl flooring. We are here to help you figure out some common questions regarding vinyl flooring while you get prepared for the remodel.

Core Type

Virgin vinyl is the only type of luxury vinyl that does not contain any recycled products in its core. Sometimes it’s called first-generation vinyl or pure vinyl. Virgin vinyl is low in VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) and is favored by a lot of homeowners. In addition, it is very cost effective if you are conscious of your home or commercial space remodel project. 

The next type of luxury vinyl flooring is WPC vinyl, which stands for wood polymer core. This type of vinyl has a wood polymer core that creates a rigid and flexible layer with a click mechanism. The top UV protective surface layer can help limit bacteria growth and allows easy cleaning. It’s great for your kitchen and bathrooms!

The third type of vinyl is SPC vinyl, which stands for stone polymer core. This type of vinyl is made of limestone, making it more rigid and dense under your feet. It’s moisture resistant and uses the same convenient interlocking tongue and groove system for easy installation. The best spaces for SPC vinyl are kitchens, basement, bathrooms, and even commercial spaces.


When it comes to installation methods, there are different options. Glue down products are mostly used in commercial environments and require a specific type of pressure-sensitive adhesive. Floating floors use a click mechanism to bond the pieces together without glue. This type of flooring is mostly used for residential applications. Loose-lay floors are laid over an existing floor.

When shopping for vinyl flooring, it's important to specify which installation method you will be using. Different brands may have the same color and thickness of the wear layer available, so you have more decisions to make about the type of flooring that will work best for your environment and installation technique. Overall, vinyl flooring is a durable and versatile option for both residential and commercial projects.  

Glue down products are very long-lasting and are used primarily in commercial environments such as restaurants, retail spaces, medical office lobbies, schools. This would normally apply to solid or virgin vinyl products that are fully 100% vinyl through and through.

Floating floors are mostly used in residential applications, but there are some commercial applications as well. They are made to click together or bond together without glue. You will see SPC and WPC types of vinyl. They are made to bond together, but not truly attached to the subfloor. Generally, the floating floors can have some failure points in some commercial spaces, so they might require replacement more often.

One of the homeowners’ favorite types of floating floors is the loose lay floating floor, which is laid over an existing floor and has a special backing. The benefit of the loose lay floor is that it's easy to replace a piece if needed. A lot of commercial customers gravitate to this kind of flooring.


Vinyl flooring has a design layer on top, which is a picture that can vary in quality depending on the brand. Some brands, like Karastan, have very realistic designs, while other less expensive brands may have less realistic designs. The design layer can also have embossing, which is a texture created by pressure, and registered means that the embossing is in the correct place on the plank.

On top of the design layer is a wear layer, which is a clear layer that you walk on. The thickness and material of the wear layer can vary and can affect the longevity of the floor. When shopping for vinyl flooring, it's important to consider the thickness of the product and the application.

The layer that has the design printed on it can be Embossed in Register. The process includes adding a more realistic look to the product, by stamping it, which adds more texture and creates a more natural look of wood or stone for the vinyl plank. It certainly cannot repeat the beauty of the solid or engineered hardwood flooring, however, some greater quality brands come very close.

Luxury vinyl comes in two different types – luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT). The main difference is their shape. LVP very closely resembles traditional hardwood flooring, including planks of different length. LVT is usually sold in tiles, resembling natural stone or ceramic tiles. Often times, LVP is easier to install, it’s thicker and already has an underlayment attached to it. Homeowners and business owners should consider their specific needs and preferences when choosing between the two options.

If you have any questions about vinyl products we offer, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our flooring specialists. Contact us at!