Rigid Core SPC Flooring vs WPC Vinyl Flooring: The Key Differences

There are so many flooring options on the market today, and many acronyms LVT, SPC, WPC… the list continues. It can make choosing a new floor seem so complicated! Which is why we have decided to make it a bit easier for you. 

One of the latest innovations in the market, rigid core vinyl flooring is the perfect solution for busy homes and commercial premises. There are two main types of rigid core flooring to choose from: SPC and WPC. Each constructed slightly differently, and packed full of benefits. Our team has put together this helpful article to explain the key differences between WPC and SPC waterproof flooring, to help you find the right floor for your home.

What exactly is SPC and WPC flooring?

Explaining how these two types of flooring are constructed and what they are is probably a good place to start. Rigid core vinyl flooring consists of layers of hardwood compacted together and topped with a durable photographic top layer. An upmarket version of its laminate cousin, SPC and WPC vinyl flooring are quite similar, except for the composition of their core layer.

The clue as to their core layer composition lies in the name... 

  • SPC stands for stone plastic composite, and is also referred to as stone polymer composite flooring. This engineered vinyl flooring has a solid core made of natural limestone and other stabilisers, which reinforces each plank to make it virtually indestructible. 
  • WPC, or wood plastic composite flooring, has a middle core from recycled wood pulp and plastic composites that are expanded with air. These air pockets result in a lightweight plank that retains the warmth of the room.

Okay so you know that they are a type of rigid core vinyl flooring, but what is the difference between SPC and WPC flooring? Let’s compare how they size up on some important considerations: use, style, durability and cost.

Use 

Whilst these floors have some differences as we will discover, the key feature they both share is that their core is completely waterproof! This is what sets them apart from other floors such as solid hardwood and laminate. It makes them a great flooring solution for high moisture areas, such as utility rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. 

As we covered previously WPC flooring features expanded plastic composites, which creates pockets of air. These pockets retain heat, insulating the room and offering some sound proofing. Whilst SPC waterproof flooring does not feature these same air pockets, the stone-based core means it is compatible with underfloor heating. Underfloor heating may seem like a luxury but it is increasingly popular in homes, especially in bathrooms, where this flooring is frequently installed. 

Look & Feel

The look of SPC and WPC flooring is what lends to their versatility, and ability to be used across the home. The photographic vinyl top layer means the design possibilities are endless.  Rigid core floors come in just about any color, pattern and size, since the design is simply printed on. 

Many styles of SPC and WPC vinyl flooring are made to replicate stone, tile or hardwood. You can choose from classic colours, such as browns, go for a modern grey, or if you are feeling daring you can even get these floors in black. You can also choose from different formations to suit the area of your home. There are narrow planks, wide planks, herringbone formation - you name it, it is probably available!

The feel of the floors underfoot is also important, after all you’re not just going to look at them. WPC floors have a thicker core than SPC, with planks approximately 5.5 to 8mm compared to the SPC thickness of 3.2 to 7mm. This extra thickness is due to the air-filled pockets in the WPC core. Although the thicker core may provide marginally more stability and comfort, it is also it’s downfall as we will explore in the next section.  

Durability 

With such a similar construction, it may be difficult to see how these two floors could perform differently.  If you assumed that WPC flooring would be more durable since it is thicker, then we hate to break it to you - but that is not the case! 

SPC flooring is typically denser than WPC floors. This improved density means they are better at absorbing impact, whether that be furniture or footfall. The compact stone-based core of SPC is also less likely to expand in response to moisture and heat changes, which can improve the longevity of your flooring. In fact, SPC flooring UK wide was originally designed for business use, and more recently has been used by homeowners who wanted a more hardwearing solution. 

Whilst SPC flooring is denser and more resistant to impact, both floors are typically resistant to scratches and stains. If you are concerned about durability, then opt for a floor that has a thicker top layer, and choose a reputable supplier. 

Cost 

SPC floors are usually more affordable than WPC floors. But, when it comes to choosing your new flooring, it's not just the cost of the flooring you have to consider, there is also installation and any other materials.

Most homeowners are able to install SPC or WPC flooring themselves with little DIY knowledge, reducing installation time and costs. Manufacturers have made this easy by producing rigid core flooring that is installed using a simple click and lock system -  the planks easily attach together and lock into place.

The good news is that both SPC and WPC flooring does require extensive preparation of the underlying surface before installation. However, the thickness of WPC may mean it differs from the height of your existing flooring, and therefore will require more preparation work. You may need to remove your skirting board, and fit new ones to allow for the height difference. Changing it from a DIY job to a professional job, increasing the overall cost. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, we have given you some food for thought and answered - what is the difference between SPC and WPC flooring? With unbeatable stain resistance and waterproof properties, it’s hard to go wrong. That said, we believe SPC holds the title for the best overall flooring. It is durable, cost effective, looks great and is highly versatile. 


Underfoot are one of the leading suppliers of SPC flooring UK wide, offering high quality and competitively priced SPC flooring solutions to homes and businesses. Our customers love it and we think you will too! So what are you waiting for?! Speak to one of our knowledgeable team about how SPC floors can meet your needs today.

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