NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Rigid-core flooring is gaining more popularity amongst modern homeowners due to their combination of beauty and durability. However, this type of flooring can be quite costly. Which is where NuCore vinyl plank flooring comes in. This brand of vinyl plank flooring is what you should go for if you’re looking for good-quality rigid-core flooring without having to get too deep into your pockets.

NuCore is an affordable flooring (costs $2.35-$3.80 a square foot) that provides mimics that look and feels like genuine hardwood after installation. It is DIY-friendly, comfortable to walk on, durable, easy to clean, stain, scratch-resistant, and good at reducing feet noise.

However, on the flipside, NuCore is not scratch-proof and loses its sheen. At times, the grooves between plank hold dirt particles making it hard to clean. In case of damage to the plank, it may be hard to get an exact design replacement, the style, and design change frequently.

NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring Review What is NuCore Flooring? Pros and cons

What is NuCore Flooring?

NuCore is a type of Engineered Vinyl Plank (EVP) flooring that retails exclusively through Floor and Décor. It features rigid core construction for durability and moisture proofing. Although Floor and Decor doesn’t exactly specify what the core is made of, keen online reviewers have noted that it’s a stone polymer composite (SPC) core.

NuCore floor planks mimic the look of real hardwood flooring and are available in a diverse range of styles and color options. This type of flooring is also affordable and relatively easy to install/ DIY friendly.

NuCore Features and Specifications

Cork Underlayment

At the base of each NuCore LVP plank is a cork underlayment that acts as a moisture barrier between the planks and the subfloor. You- therefore- don’t have to go through the trouble of installing underlayment material above the subfloor before installing NuCore planks; unless the subfloor is made of concrete.

The cork padding also provides a warm and comfortable underfoot feel for those instances where you find yourself standing on the NuCore floor for too long. It also has soundproofing capabilities, as it minimizes noise from foot traffic and pets. Finally, the hypoallergenic padding also wards off microbes, fungi, and any related odors.

Read More on Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring.

Rigid Core

The core layer of NuCore flooring planks feature stone-composite material for hardiness and flexibility. This rigid layer is also 100% waterproof, making NuCore ideal for use in wet spaces such as the kitchen or the bathroom.

Photographic Layer

This is the layer that gives NuCore floor planks their natural hardwood look. Different styles and designs are usually imprinted onto this layer, with over 100 options available to customers. While most NuCore planks feature a photographic layer that’s dyed to mimic wood, a few mimic the appearance and feel of stone tile floors.

The over 100 different types of NuCore flooring can be generally classified into five different categories, depending on the type of finish on the photo layer. Each of these finish options are discussed below:

  1. NuCore Textured– the majority of NuCore luxury vinyl flooring planks boast this type of finish. These planks are usually textured to look and feel like various types of hardwood surfaces such as oak, hickory, and maple.
  2. NuCore Embossed-In Register (EIR) – the manufacturer of NuCore flooring uses embossing technology to create various hardwood textures- resulting in NuCore EIR. Note, however, that there aren’t any significant visual differences between NuCore Textured and NuCore EIR.
  3. NuCore Hand-scrapped– if you fancy the distressed look of wood flooring in old, industrial-era homes, this is the version of NuCore flooring you should go for. The NuCore planks are usually hand-scrapped to resemble the worn aesthetic, and boast added definition and texture.
  4. NuCore High-Gloss– this category features wood-look and stone-look NuCore flooring options that boast a shiny finish. The high-gloss look is usually a great fit for contemporary spaces.
  5. NuCore Smooth– this version features NuCore planks that have a much milder gloss finish compared to NuCore high-gloss. It’s- therefore- the better option if you prefer subtle flooring that fits into your minimalist, modern décor aesthetics.

The WearLayer

This is the upper part of the NuCore flooring and is made of transparent material. The wear layer is strong to withstand the weight and pressure of people and furniture. NuCore EVP flooring’s wear layer is 22mils, which is relatively thick compared to other brands of EVP planks. The thickness is meant to enhance resilience to dents and scratches.

However, regular NuCore EVP planks are still quite vulnerable to scratches and scuff marks, despite the thick wear layer. Those that fall under the high-end line- NuCore Performance- are more scratch-resistant due to the Techtanium Plus technology additive on the wear layer.

If you keep pets or have kids and are worried about getting dents and scratches on your NuCore surface, we recommend going for hand-scrapped or textured options. These usually hide scratches and scuff marks way better than NuCore EVP flooring with a high-gloss finish.

Is NuCore Flooring Vinyl Plank Flooring Waterproof?

One of the biggest advantages that NuCore Vinyl has over natural and engineered wood flooring is that it’s 100% waterproof. Water damage can slowly compromise the structural integrity of your floor; necessitating costly repairs and replacements. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about this with NuCore EVP flooring.

Read More on Disadvantages of Engineered Wood Flooring.

Durability

Also, another factor contributing towards NuCore vinyl plank flooring’s durability is that the finishes imprinted onto the design layer are meant to last a lifetime. You’ll- therefore- never have to refinish the surface.

Compare that with wooden floors which typically have to be refinished every few years. And while refinishing, the surface keeps getting sanded. Repeated sanding often leaves the wood planks too thin and in need replacement. With NuCore EVP, you get a floor that doesn’t need to be replaced.

Cost of NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring

Despite being costlier than traditional vinyl flooring, NuCore EVP remains one of the more affordable brands of luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring. The various NuCore options retail between 2.35-3.80 dollars per square foot on Floor and Décor’s website. Considering the high-quality textured finishes and great durability, NuCore EVP offers immense value for money.

If you’re not sure whether the style or finish of the type of NuCore that you wish to purchase would be a great fit for your home, you can purchase 3×6 inch samples at three-dollars each and try them out.

Warranty Information

You’ll enjoy a limited lifetime warranty on any NuCore EVP flooring products that you purchase. The warranty covers the following:

  1. The guarantee that the product is defect-free.
  2. A guarantee that fading or staining won’t occur should the flooring product be exposed to UV or artificial lighting.
  3. Guarantee that wears through (the total loss of pattern within at least a two-square-inch area) will not occur.
  4. A guarantee that pet urine staining won’t occur, provided that it’s cleaned immediately and not left to sit on the NuCore surface.

Under the warranty, the NuCore brand provides replacements and refunds for approved claims. Refundable amounts are determined by how long it’s been since you purchased the NuCore EVP flooring and the material costs that you incurred.

NuCore flooring is an affordable, LVP brand with good durability. However, it’s built to withstand the smaller weight and pressure of residential establishments. Therefore- for those who install this type of floor inside their commercial premises- they only get a 15-year warranty.

However, this warranty condition doesn’t apply if you installed your NuCore vinyl floor inside a high-traffic area of your commercial establishment; such as the entryway or the kitchen.

Other factors that may also cause your NuCore warranty claim to be disapproved, whether it’s a residential or commercial installation, include:

  1. Poor/ unprofessional installation.
  2. Floor negligence.
  3. Water damage.
  4. Abrasion.
  5. Exposure to extreme temperature conditions.
  6. Use of non-recommended cleaning/maintenance techniques.

Floor and Décor usually arranges for product replacements for goods that reach the customer already damaged. Product returns are also accepted but you have to pay the cost of return shipping.

NuCore vs. DuraLux

DuraLux EVP flooring is significantly cheaper than NuCore EVP flooring. The retail price of DuraLux planks is 2.30-dollars per square foot, while NuCore planks start retailing at 2.35-dollars per square foot, with some options costing as much as 3.80-dollars per square foot.

However, when it comes to scratch resistance, NuCore is much better. The wear and tear layer of DuraLux’s measures only 12 mils in thickness, compared to NuCore’s 22 mils wear layer. The DuraLux collection is also not as diverse as NuCore’s collection, with the former being available in only 19 different color options, compared to NuCore’s 100.

The DuraLux offers a 10-year commercial warranty, which is shorter than NuCore’s 15-year commercial warranty. However, there are lesser chances that your DuraLux warranty will be voided due to poor installation, as they’re designed to be easy to install with no need for transitional molding. By comparison, NuCore planks are relatively harder to install and require transitional molding.

NuCore vs. COREtec

NuCore EVP flooring is considerably cheaper than COREtec EVP flooring. Also, whereas NuCore features the same type of cork padding across all of its collections, COREtec has different types of cork padding for its lines of flooring products. COREtec’s high-end collection- NuCore Premium- boasts the thickest cork underlayment at 3mm thick.

Also, whereas NuCore offers a lifetime warranty for most of its product options, COREtec’s warranty periods range between 15-30 years. COREtec customers are also liable to lose up to five years of warranty coverage should they fail to use the brand manufacturer’s recommended installer during flooring installation.

NuCore vs LifeProof

Whereas NuCore EVP flooring retails exclusively through Floor & Décor, LifeProof flooring planks also retail exclusively through Home Depot- a popular retail brand. LifeProof’s range of flooring products is also not as vast as NuCore’s, which features over 100 different style options to choose from.

LifeProof also doen’t offer lifetime warranties for their flooring products, as is the case with NuCore. However, LifeProof beats NuCore in terms of ruggedness and durability. Only NuCore’s high-end line- NuCore Performance- comes close in terms of hardiness and resistance to wear.

NuCore vs Shaw

Shaw has built a name for themselves as a producer of premium-quality LVP flooring products. Whereas NuCore only has two major lines- Base NuCore and NuCore Performance, Shaw vinyl flooring is available in three different lines, with each line boasting various style options that you can choose from.

Also, Shaw has lots of tile-look and stone-look options to choose from, in addition to wood grain patterned EVP flooring. NuCore- on the other hand- focusses mostly on wood-look vinyl planks and has a limited collection of tile/stone designs. However, NuCore beats them by a mile in terms of style and color options (100) as Shaw offers only up to 10 options to choose from.

Shaw EVP flooring costs significantly more than NuCore flooring, but you get the benefit of the brand’s ‘color match’ service; whereby you can simply send them images of the color aesthetics that you’re going for and they’ll make vinyl plank flooring that matches your preferred style.

NuCore flooring complaints

Scratch and Stain Resistance

While NuCore EVP flooring is listed as being scratch and dent-resistant, they aren’t exactly scratch-proof. Your NuCore floor is still likely to develop visible scratches should you drop very heavy, sharp, or abrasive objects on the surface.

Cleaning and Maintenance Requirements

Generally, NuCore LVP flooring is easy to clean and maintain. Regular sweeping and wet mopping will get rid of built-up dirt, dust, and debris; keeping the surface looking clean and new.

However, the problem comes when tiny dust and dirt particles get lodged in the narrow spaces between the NuCore planks. Such dirt can be hard to get rid of unless you have a hard-flooring vacuum cleaner. These vacuums feature a cleaning head with a brush roller attached.

Is Nucore phthalate free?

NuCore EVP flooring has low amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). To make the NuCore vinyl planks more flexible, small amounts of phlalates are used. The problem is that phlalates have health consequences. While it’s not exactly phlalate-free, the low amounts means that this type of flooring is still significantly safe for you and your family.

Does NuCore Flooring Need Underlayment?

You don’t have to install underlayment prior to installing NuCore flooring- unless the subfloor is made of concrete. NuCore floor planks come with a pre-attached cork underlayment for soundproofing and heat insulation. However, the cork padding doesn’t provide the kind of waterproofing needed for concrete subfloors.

If you install NuCore EVP on a concrete surface with no underlayment in between, moisture may seep into the porous concrete subfloor, resulting in fungal growth and structural damage.

References

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