Differences between laminate flooring and SPC flooring

Many people might mistakenly think that both SPC and laminate flooring are the same. It’s indeed difficult to differentiate both SPC and laminate flooring visually. Despite that, there are differences between these two flooring as you compare the composition, functions and features, you will be convinced how different they are.

1. Core Material

Generally, both laminate and SPC flooring consist of 4 layers which are the backing layer, core, printed design layer and top with wear layer. The differences are the material used for each layers, especially the core material.

A Laminate Flooring

Core material used for this type of flooring is normally fiberboard. It can be medium density fiberboard (MDF) or high density fiberboard (HDF) depending on the quality of laminate flooring you choose.

Higher quality laminate flooring uses water resistant HDF as core material. This helps boost the overall durability of laminate flooring.

The use of compressed wood fiber as core material also make laminate flooring prone to have similar existing problems of wood flooring. So don’t be surprise if you found your laminate flooring affected by mould, mildew and even termite sometimes.

B SPC Flooring

As the name goes, SPC flooring uses solid SPC as the material for core layer. Solid SPC has high density which make it tough enough to sustain heavy foot traffic, durable and of course water resistant.


2. Cost

Price range of both laminate and SPC flooring varies according to it’s quality and functionality.

Not just that, installation and maintenance cost should be part of the consideration as well.

Well-installed flooring that is under good care can last for many years.

A Laminate Flooring

Price of cheap and low quality laminate flooring can be as low as $1 per square foot. However high end laminate flooring can be up to $5 per square foot or more. Medium range laminate flooring will normally cost around $3 per square foot.

Even though laminate flooring is cheaper per square foot, but laminate flooring is actually more difficult to maintain compared to SPC flooring.

You should also think of the maintenance and repair costs of laminate flooring over the time.


B SPC Flooring

Traditional SPC flooring like sheet SPC can cost as low as $0.50 per foot square. Averagely, medium ranged SPC flooring is about $2.50 per square foot. When it comes to top end SPC flooring like luxury SPC plank (LVP) or luxury SPC Tile (LVT), prices can be a lot more higher ranging from $5 to $8 per square foot.

Luxury SPC flooring comes with high quality water resistant core layer and thicker wear layer.

3. Installation

You can say that both laminate and SPC flooring comes with range of products that are suitable for DIY. The installation process may seem simple but still it requires some experience and skills.

A Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring with snap-and-lock mechanism is one of the product range that ease the whole installation process. However, if it is not well-fitted, the gaps and edges that are sensitive to moisture will bring severe damage to the floor once penetrated by water. When preparing laminate to fit in with the measurement, professional equipment like circular saw with specific blade and cutting table are required.

B SPC Flooring

Even though you can find SPC flooring suitable for DIYbut it may not be as easy as it seems. You will need to put in some extra effort if you are installing SPC flooring with click-and-lock mechanism.


4. Preparation For Installation

A Laminate Flooring

Acclimatization of laminate is necessary before installation.

Simply lay the planks or sheet on the floor for at least 3 days prior to installation. This is to make sure that the laminate planks are adjusted to the surrounding temperature and humidity, thus reduce issues of swelling after installation.

B SPC Flooring

If you are preparing for SPC flooring installation, the essential step you should never skip is to make sure the existing floor or subfloor are smooth, leveled and free from dirt or dust.The reason being, any uneven surface of your subfloor will affect the finishing of your SPC flooring.

5. Water Resistancy

A Laminate Flooring

As mentioned, core material of laminate flooring is made of wood fiber and therefore it is susceptible to water or moisture. Issues like swelling and curl-up edges are quite common once laminate flooring comes into contact with water.

B SPC Flooring

Luxury SPC flooring is good in water resistance. This is the reason why you can see SPC flooring can be installed in wet areas like bathrooms, laundry areas and kitchens.

However, some low quality or poorly installed SPC flooring may not able to handle moisture as efficient as luxury SPC flooring. In such case, moisture trap between gaps and causes odor and growth of mold.

6. Thickness

A Laminate Flooring

The average thickness of laminate flooring is around 6mm to 12mm. Due to the structure of layers and materials used, laminate flooring is generally much thicker than SPC flooring.

B SPC Flooring

Thickness of SPC flooring can be as thin as 1.5mm and maximum up to 5mm. Heavy duty SPC flooring will normally have thickness up to 5mm and it also comes with a thicker wear layer.

7. Environmental Effect

To be honest, both laminate and SPC flooring consist of potentially toxic material. One being the usage of melamine and the latter uses PVC. Melamine is known for being toxic due to the emission of Formaldehyde gas while PVC releases Chlorine gas.

However, the reason why both are still widely acceptable in the market today is the fact that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has indicate the emission of these toxic gases is rare. The threat is still considered minimal.

A Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring uses fiberboard as core material and it can definitely be recycled. Guess what, some manufacturer’s actually collecting back their used laminate flooring as 80% of the content can be recycled.

B SPC Flooring

As SPC flooring is made of synthetic material which is not biodegradable, it became a concern for after-use SPC. Proper way of disposing SPC flooring can help prevent environmental pollution.

8. Resale Value

Laminate Flooring

Even though laminate flooring does not provide resale value as good as hardwood or engineered wood flooring, resale value of laminate flooring can still be categorized as moderate to good.

B SPC Flooring

Despite that SPC flooring mimics actual look of real wood, it is not able to provide good resale value. In fact, the resale value provided by SPC flooring is even lower than laminate flooring. However, resale value can be slightly better if it’s luxury SPC flooring.

9. Flooring Warranty

A Laminate Flooring

Most of the warranty period for laminate flooring is around 5 years or below. It’s pretty short compared to warranty period of SPC flooring.

B SPC Flooring

SPC flooring is generally more durable and therefore provided with longer warranty. So don’t be surprised to find some high quality SPC flooring actually comes with warranty of 10 to 20 years or even longer!

10. Termite Resistancy

A Laminate Flooring

Since laminate flooring consist of wood material, it is actually under the risk of termite attack. Laminate planks or tiles suffer from termite attack will eventually loosen, become brittle and losing it’s functionality.

B SPC Flooring

SPC flooring is not produced using any wood material, making it 100% termite resistance. So you need not worry about termite attack.

11. Noise Level

A Laminate Flooring

As laminate flooring is not made of sound-proof material, noise from any movement on the floor is not able to be absorbed efficiently. In short, you can say that walking on laminate flooring generate higher level of noise.

B SPC Flooring

Remember the solid core material mentioned previously? It is this hard solid core that help reduces noise level and make walking sounds less noisy.

However, you should always remember the wide variation of quality range that can be found in SPC flooring.

Not all SPC flooring comes with a solid core. Of course, SPC core that is less solid will have lower level of sound-proof.

12. Flooring Maintenance & Cleaning

A Laminate Flooring

While some say cleaning of laminate flooring is pretty simple and easy, but that’s not the case when it comes to maintaining the flooring.

Laminate flooring is sensitive to moisture and water. If you are having laminate flooring at home, make sure that your laminate flooring stays dry and avoid using wet mop when cleaning.

B SPC Flooring

Cleaning of SPC flooring can be done by sweeping and damp mopping. It’s water resistant but still you wouldn’t want any moisture or water penetrate through the seam. So, you should avoid flooding the floor with water or steam mopping.

In order to keep it in good shape for a long time, you may also want to watch out for stains, UV light and direct heat contact.

Which Is The Best Flooring Option?

As you can see, both laminate and SPC flooring have lots of differences. If taken care well, both can be a cost-effective and versatile options for homeowners.

Post time: Jan-05-2023