Also known as rigid core vinyl flooring- EVP is a type of vinyl flooring with a unique core construction. It is a more stable alternative to LVP and is the preferred type of vinyl in commercial establishments.
What is EVP flooring?
EVP is an acronym for ‘Engineered Vinyl Plank’. This type of flooring offers a perfect compromise between the natural beauty of wood and stone floors and their vulnerability to scratches and moisture. Just like Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring, EVP flooring also replicates the natural beauty of real hardwood or stone, as its design layer can be textured to mimic the appearance of almost any type of flooring.
There are two main subcategories of EVP flooring, as discussed below:
Wood Polymer Composite (WPC)
This type of EVP features a core that’s made of wood flour for enhanced heat insulation and soundproofing capabilities. The WPC core is enclosed by vinyl for moisture proofing. WPC is preferred for domestic use.
Stone Polymer Composite (SPC)
SPC features limestone core construction. It’s more rigid than WPC and also boasts a thinner profile. This makes it great for use in commercial settings where heavy foot traffic and loads are expected.
EVP vs. LVP Flooring – Differences
Stability and Flexibility: EVP floors are a rigid, wood or stone-based core, making them more structurally stable compared to LVP floors.
Installation: LVP flooring usually has to be glued-down to the subfloor, making installation a labor-intensive process. Click-and-lock EVP planks- on the other hand- are easy to install.
Structure of Engineered Vinyl Planks
EVP flooring features the following layered components:
The Wear Layer
This layer is a clear topcoat that’s meant to reduce the visibility of scratches and scuff marks on the decorative layer of the EVP floor. The wear layer also minimizes damage from exposure to UV rays. Every brand that makes EVP flooring incorporates the wear layer. However, variations occur in terms of thickness of the layer, with EVP flooring with thicker wear layers costing more per square meter.
The Decorative Layer/ Design Layer
This layer features vinyl material that has undergone various treatments to give it a natural hardwood appearance. Different finishes and textures are usually designed on the decorative layer for aesthetical variety.
The Core Layer
This layer is made of wood or stone composites like WPC and SPC, as well as rigid vinyl for better stability and durability. The core layer also has waterproofing capabilities and conceals the imperfections of the EVP floor.
The Structural Backing Layer/ Underlayment
This is the bottom layer and its function is to act as a barrier between the EVP’s core and the subfloor. The underlayment also provides enhanced underfoot cushioning. The construction material usually has a significant impact on the quality of the EVP flooring.
EVP Flooring Pros
Here are the advantages of EVP flooring:
Easy to Install
Despite being a bit heavier than LVP, installation of EVP flooring should be a breeze so long as you follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines. In addition, unlike laminate flooring which has to be acclimated to the conditions of the room in which it’s to be installed, EVP floorboards don’t need acclimation and can be installed straight off the shop. Finally, EVP [planks typically feature the tongue-and-groove locking mechanism, making DIY installation a simple task.
Compared to solid wood, rigid core flooring is economical. EVP planks retail at an average five-dollars per square meter. And since replacement isn’t a necessity due to the floor’s durability, you get to enjoy additional cost savings in the long run.
Also, since click-and-lock EVP planks are easy to install. As such, you won’t have to spend much on installation costs, as compared to installing solid hardwood or engineered hardwood.
EVP flooring features a wood or stone-infused core that’s stronger than natural hardwood. EVP floors- therefore- last for years before developing any structural issues. What’s more, the scratch-resistant plastic topcoat gives EVP flooring additional longevity.
High end EVP brands produce engineered vinyl floorboards that are up to 100% waterproof. EVP flooring doesn’t allow moisture to seep into the subfloor and cause structural damage.
EVP flooring can be installed over almost any type of subfloor, provided it’s uniform. Therefore, whether you want to install it over tile, concrete or plywood; you’re good to go. What’s more, the decorative layer can be finished to replicate the look of any type of wood or stone flooring.
And it’s not just the look that can be mimicked- but the texture too. Using a method called EIR, manufacturers emboss the texture of real wood or stone surfaces onto the design layer of the EVP tiles. This enhances the authenticity of the EVP flooring.
Minimal Maintenance Requirements
EVP surfaces barely require any maintenance other than occasional cleaning. This type of flooring can’t be refinished, but there’s barely ever any need for that, as the transparent wear layer does a good job at hiding scuff marks and scratches. To clean your EVP floor, simply sweep it and follow up with a wet mop.
With a dense, rigid core made of wood or limestone composite, EVP flooring boasts immense soundproofing qualities. That’s why EVP floor tend to be so quiet as you walk on them.
Disadvantages of EVP flooring
Here are the disadvantages of EVP flooring:
Unfortunately, EVP flooring is not an environmentally flooring option, as it has high PVC content- which is an environmental pollutant. This tarnishes the value of EVP when compared to eco-friendly flooring options such as solid hardwood and bamboo.
Vulnerable to fading from UV rays
Despite most types of EVP flooring featuring a UV-protective wear layer, sunlight discoloration can still occur. As such, it’s not advisable to install rigid-core flooring in sunrooms or any other spaces that are exposed to lots of sunlight.
Can’t be refinished
You have to replace damaged LVP planks with new ones, as they can’t be refinished by sanding, staining, and sealing.
Some are a potential health risk
Whenever you invest in cheap EVP flooring, you and your family risk developing health issues as these tend to emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). To avoid this problem, ensure you purchase your EVP floorboards from a manufacturer that makes low-VOC EVP flooring products.
EVP Flooring Cost
You should expect to pay between 4-7 dollars per square foot for some good quality EVP planks. You can even find budget-friendly versions that retail for as low as two-dollars per square meter. However, these are usually less resistant to wear.
High-end EVP tiles – on the other hand- may cost as much as $10 per square meter. However, these usually boast higher-quality padding at the base and a thicker wear layer at the top. They may also include additional treatments to limit permeability. However, the two factors that significantly impact the pricing of EVP planks and tiles are the type of core and the styling on the design layer, as discussed below:
EVP pricing based on the type of core
SPC core EVP tends to be a bit pricier than WPC core EVP due to its significantly stronger limestone construction. The former retails at between 3.5-7 dollars per square foot, with WPC core EVP selling at between 3-6 dollars per square foot.
EVP pricing based on the style
You can expect to pay as much as 14-dollars per square foot for premium-grade EVP tiles that feature elegant styles such as herringbone, geometric, and plank patterns. EVP flooring with simpler style effects on the decorative layer cost about half as much. These include EVP flooring with marble, stone, wood, metallic, and slate effects.
When buying EVP flooring tiles, ensure to purchase at least 10% more than the actual square footage of the area that you intend to install them in. This is to account for trimming. Therefore- for a room that measures 100 square feet and the EVP tiles retail at five dollars per square foot, you should buy tiles worth at least 550-dollars.
Best EVP Flooring Brands
In this section, we take a look at some of the best EVP flooring brands based on considerations such as value for money, ease of installation, and realism:
Best EVP brand for affordability- NuCore
NuCore EVP planks offer the best value for money, as these planks retail at only 2.35-3.80 dollars per square foot despite their decent quality. They also boast a versatile EVP product range, with over 100 wood and stone look alternatives in stock. If you’re looking for EVP flooring with classical, contemporary, or transitional designs at a pocket-friendly price, NuCore as something for you!
Best EVP brand for ease of installation- Mohawk SolidTech
This brand retails EVP flooring planks that are relatively easy to install as they feature the Uniclic locking mechanism. All you have to do is to securely lock in one end of a plank into the end of the next plank. If you’re looking to undertake EVP flooring installation as a DIY project and are relatively new to this, then Mohawk SolidTech EVP flooring is what we’d recommend.
Best EVP brand for realism- Karndean Korlok
This brand uses the power of innovative technologies in digital photography to imprint realistic designs onto their EVP floorboards. The flooring products feature incredible grain detail, and are available in a variety of tones. The Karndean Korlok Select features 24 wood designs from which you can choose.