A Guide to EVP Flooring 2022: Everything You Need to Know

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guide to evp flooring

When it comes to vinyl flooring there are a lot of newer options for you. The choices have grown not only in number, but also in quality, construction and installation.

What is important to note, though, is that not all vinyl is created the same.

With so many acronyms and slight changes in meaning that can affect the overall outcome of your new floor, it is important to know what you are getting.

This article will examine and explain the EVP Flooring style of vinyl. We will explain what it is, how it differs from other vinyl options and help you decide if it is right for you.

Types of Vinyl Flooring Currently Available

As mentioned, there are a lot of different types of vinyl to choose from. Here are the most popular options for you to choose from.

  • EVP – Engineered Vinyl Plank. A strong core and simple installation, this is quickly becoming the go-to vinyl option.
  • LVP – Luxury Vinyl Plank. The leader of the pack in terms of popularity, ease of install and availability. Often confused with EVP.
  • LVT – Luxury Vinyl Tile. Almost identical to LVP in every way, except LVT takes on more stone-look appearances and comes in squares instead of planks.
  • Rolled/Sheet Vinyl. The original form of vinyl, sheet vinyl comes rolled for easier handling and installation.

What Does EVP Stand For?

The term EVP stands for Engineered Vinyl Plank. It is a term borrowed from engineered hardwood and Luxury Vinyl Planks to describe the type of vinyl it is.

EVP has a rigid core, known as Solid Plastic Core, or Solid Polymer Core (SPC); it is made from harder materials that LVP and LVT don’t offer. Some brands will save a bit of money and offer a PVC core, but the SPC fiber options are much more durable and popular.

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Vinyl for the Job

buyers guide choosing vinyl floor

While choosing the next floor in your home can be daunting, there are a lot of things you need to consider first. Below, you will find those factors and a brief explanation as to why they need to be thought about before you buy.

Coverage Area/Flooring Size

The size of your flooring space or project is critical to almost every front on the buying side of things. It controls how much material you buy, for example. It can also be the main factor in labor fees from professional installers.

There are also different accessories or additional items that are needed for larger spaces. Knowing the square foot of your project will be the most important number you have for the entire venture.

Water Resistance/WaterProofing

Vinyl, by its synthetic nature, is generally water resistant. Most vinyl planks and tiles are also protected once fully installed from humidity and moisture seeping into the core. This makes them virtually waterproof.

EVP is the same. With an SPC core and interlocking boards the vinyl is virtually waterproof. Allowing wet mop clean up, spills, messes and daily life to occur without worry or voiding a warranty, it is the one feature that keeps Vinyl, in all its forms, ahead of laminate and some engineered hardwoods in popularity and sales.

Type of Subfloor

The subfloor type that you will install over is also crucial to your install process and costs. Concrete flooring, for example, will need a moisture barrier to prevent water, humidity and moisture seepage to stay in contact with the bottom side of the boards.

You may need an underlayment, if one is not already attached, to help cushion and support the planks during install and use. And for plywood or MDF sub floors, extra care may be needed during that install to ensure an even and supportive base for the floor.

Installation Method

Most EVP is rated for a DIY install. It is one of the most simple and economical flooring installs available because of the simplicity. You don’t need adhesives, glues or tack strips. There is no need to stretch or slice the boards and you only need to make simple cuts with a saw to ensure a staggered layout when complete.

However, if you do not have the time, tools or desire to install EVP flooring yourself, you can always hire the process out to a professional. This will increase the overall project cost, but you can get it done quicker, more reliably and in most cases, with a labor warranty included.

Accessories and Add-ons

Aside from the EVP boards themselves, you will also need an underlayment. Most brands will include a pre-attached underlayment to their boards, but this isn’t always the case. As noted before you will also need a moisture barrier for installations over concrete.

Depending on the size of the project, you can even plan for new thresholds, baseboards and transition moldings. All of this is optional, of course, but can make or break the final project appearance.

Cost and Warranty

Finally, you need to think about cost and the included warranty (if any). Most brands will offer a decent warranty that should at least cover the flooring from defects and factory damage for about 20 years. Some will go as high as 50 years and even a few will offer lifetime coverage.

Make sure that you read the warranty terms thoroughly before you buy, though. Most will have great sounding coverage and end the moment you open the box and accept delivery of the product.

You also need to ensure the chosen style and brand fits within your budget. Flooring can appear cheap with prices lower than one or two dollars per square foot. However, when you add in all the tools, extra pieces, needs and finishing touches, one standard sized project can be several thousand dollars in costs.

What is EVP Flooring?

what is evp flooring

EVP flooring, at its essence, is a vinyl flooring option with a solid, or rigid, core. It is generally composed of four layers instead of 5 unless the underlayment is attached.

What makes up EVP, though, are those layers. So let’s take a closer look at the individual layers to help you understand completely what EVP is, from the inside out.

Base/Backing Layer

In many cases the backing layer is the base layer of the entire plank. Some brands will also attach an underlayment, making that the bottom layer, but this isn’t always the case and is options for brands to even include.

The backing layer protects the bottom side of the core from moisture, damage and movement. The type of backing is important, though and there are different options based on the type of subfloor you install the planks on.

Rubber is the most common as it offers cushion, support and stability to the flooring as a whole. However, cork is also used for its natural anti-fungal and hypoallergenic properties. This isn’t a good option for concrete subfloors though, as the concrete will wear down and break down the cork faster than rubber.

Core Layer

The core layer is where the EVP gets its name and identity from. All EVP boards have a rigid core, generally an SPC layer that makes up the foundation and stability of the entire plank. There are PVC options as well that are more waterproof and even more stable, but they also offer a harder flooring underfoot.

SPC is the preferred option as it is solid, stable, supportive and has a bit of cushion. One thing to note, though, is that LVP and EVP are generally used interchangeably by smaller brands or those hoping to cash in on an unaware consumer base.

Any vinyl plank using a Wood Plastic Core (WPC) will fall under the LVP side. Engineered vinyl will only ever have Rigid core, or SPC cores.

Photo-Realistic/Decorative Layer

On top of the core layer is the photo layer. In almost all cases the photo layer uses a thin piece of vinyl that has a photo realistic attachment to make the plank look like wood grain, stone, tile or other decorative notations.

The only purpose of this layer is to give an overall appearance to the floor once installed. Mimicking hardwood is the most common for EVP, though there are stone-look options available. Various wood patterns can be found all with various shades, tones and colors, too.

Wear Layer

At the very top of the plank is the wear layer. This is a thin sheet of protection that keeps scratches, dings, mars and discoloration from getting through to the photo layer or into the core. This is the layer that you walk on, and it is clear so the photo layer can show through.

One of the largest price-driving factors is this wear layer. As all EVP boards will have one, the thickness of the wear layer and the protection it offers (water resistance, lower maintenance, thicker layer to prevent scratches, etc) will all affect the overall price of the boards.

EVP Vs. LVP Flooring

EVP is a part of the LVP family, though as you may have noticed there are a few differences. Let’s take a deeper look at those differences to help you decide if EVP is worth your time and investment.
  • EVP is always rigid core, where LVP can be softer or rigid core (WPC or SPC) in construction.
  • The EVP base doesn’t always have an underlayment, though almost all LVP options have underlayment attached.
  • Typically, EVP boards are thicker and easier to install than LVP.
  • Because of their construction and materials, EVP is always 100% waterproof, LVP will always be water resistant or better.
  • EVP is only installed using interlocking planks and never requires glue, nails or adhesives. LVP can be interlocking as well, but also has other install options such as gluing.

EVP Flooring Pros and Cons

evp pros and cons

Engineered vinyl planks are widely popular and if trends stay as they are, they will overtake LVP as the vinyl king of flooring soon enough.

However, with all the benefits they bring to the table, there are a few disadvantages as well. Let’s learn about both sides so you know what may make or break your buying decision.

EVP Advantages

One of the biggest draws to the EVP side is that they are all rigid core. This makes installation a lot easier since you aren’t trying to install a 4-foot long wet noodle. However, in some cases it can hinder the installation when more flexibility is needed.

Another major draw is that it is 100% waterproof. This is due to the core using stone, PVC and synthetic materials that do not absorb moisture. However, you must be cautious. Even when correctly installed moisture can still get through, While it won’t affect the EVP it can affect your subflooring.

It is also worth pointing out that EVP is suitable for above, at or below-grade installs but should never be submerged. Ideal for kitchen, bath and basement installations EVP is taking over where LVP once ruled.

Because of the photo layer of EVP, you can find boards and planks that take on any look.

Though wood grains and stone are the most popular, you can also find EVP that looks like ceramic tiling, has colorful patterns or designs or even geometric shapes. With EVP your options are near limitless.

EVP Disadvantages

As you can expect, there are some drawbacks to an otherwise perfect flooring solution. One of the most notable is the price. Compared to laminate, LVP and LVT, EVP is much more costly. You can expect to pay between $1 and $4 more per square foot compared to other options.

For the environmentally conscious out there, EVP is not the most eco-friendly option. While it can be recycled, it is difficult selling most areas that don’t yet have the resources to handle PVS and SPC recycling.

Another major issue is finding EVP in your local area. It is growing in popularity and will one day be available in every corner of every city or town. However currently the availability of EVP is only about half that of LVP, which is helping LVP stay on top in the vinyl flooring market a lot longer than maybe it should be.

What People Are Saying: EVP Flooring Reviews

evp flooring reviews

When it comes to consumers and installers alike, EVP is by far a popular choice. Of course you are going to have the rare instance where someone isn’t happy with the flooring choice. However, these are few and far between and in almost all cases it comes down to lack of research and expectations.

If you know the limits and needs of the flooring and have a clear understanding of what to expect, the reviews are glowing.

Installers love EVP because of the simplicity of the install overall. There aren’t a lot of tools needed, few cuts and even fewer chances for mistakes. The planks are also durable so there is less breaking and this makes for a faster install.

Consumers love the faster install, too. Whether from a DIY perspective of having the pros in and out quickly, EVP makes things simple.

You will also read reviews where the finished product looks and feels amazing, offers an updated look to homes and has great wear protection while also offering lower maintenance and cleaning duties.

Aside from the few rare cases and those mentioning the cost, which we already discussed, EVP is one of the most highly rated and well reviewed flooring options out there.

Installation of EVP Flooring

When it comes to installing EVP flooring there are two options, professional install and DIY install.

For a DIY install EVP couldn’t be easier. There are a few steps you need to take, of course, and you need to have the right tools on hand. Having some floor install knowledge is also expected but not required.

In fact, vinyl plank flooring is considered one of the easiest install options available and you can save a lot of money doing the install yourself.

First you need to decide if you are laying the EVP over the existing floor or removing the flooring. EVP is a floating floor and can be installed over subfloor, or another hard flooring surface like tile, laminate or even LVP.

Cleaning the surface thoroughly prepping for the install and removing all furniture, obstacles, baseboards, thresholds and transition strips is a must. A thorough vacuum is also required and a mop is also recommended.

Once the subfloor is cleaned and inspected you can start by laying the first row. It is advised to cut about 6 inches off of the first plank to begin the staggering of the rows. After the first row is in place, you need to add the next row, using a hammer and knocking block to lock the boards together.

Continue laying, knocking and staggering the flooring until the project is complete. Give the floor about a day to rest and settle and then you can reinstall your thresholds, baseboards and trim moldings.

If, however, you wish to have no part in the installation, that is fine, too. You can hire a professional that will charge you a labor fee to come and perform the install for you. Finding that contractor can be difficult, though, and we are here to help.

We have partnered with Networx to bring you a handy tool. This free to use app will find up to four reliable, fully vetted and experienced contractors that can get the job done for you.

Not only are all results checked, rated and reviewed, but they are also all local to your area so you won’t need to deal with out of town companies. It is free to use for you and will email you results in less than 24 hours. Give it a try today!

Frequently Asked Questions

faq guide to evp flooring

In this section we will answer the most commonly asked questions about EVP in general. As always, if you have further inquiries, please use the comment section below the article.

Q. What types of rugs can I use on top of EVP flooring?

  1. You can use any natural mat, woven or that uses natural fibers. Natural backings will also be fine in most cases. However, if your area rugs or mats use a rubber or latex backing you will need to contact the manufacturer of the EVP (or read the owner’s guide). Some rubber and latex can cause discoloration of the wear layer with prolonged exposure.

Q. Do all Engineered Vinyl Planks use SPC?

  1. No. While most EVP options will have a stone plastic core (SPC) some options still use PVC and other synthetic materials. SPC is growing in popularity because of the price and ease of manufacture, though, so most of your options will have SPC as their core.

Q. Does EVP increase the resale value of a home?

  1. Unfortunately, no. Currently any vinyl flooring is a hard sell for ROI on your home’s overall value. Solid hardwood and some engineered hardwood floors are the only options when it comes to increased resale value of a home. Any other flooring type is subjective and may even lower the value.

Q. Are all EVP options stronger than all LVP options?

  1. In all cases, yes. Even when the LVP uses a rigid core, the EVP equivalent will be much stronger. This is notable mostly in the longer planks and boards during install as well as the overall floor durability once the install is complete.

Conclusion

EVP, or engineered vinyl planks, use a solid, or rigid core to add strength, durability and ease of installation to vinyl planks.

While it is easy to make EVP the top dog in the vinyl flooring world there are still enough drawbacks to keep it less popular than the LVP counterpart. Mainly due to reach and availability, but also cost, EVP is not the gold standard, yet.

However, if you are shopping for new flooring and want something easy to install, with a great durability, look and finish, EVP may be the best option for your needs.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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