NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring Review 2022

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nucore vinyl plank flooring

If you are shopping for new flooring, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) is one of the hottest trends going right now.

The flooring is versatile, durable and waterproof. The main problem you will face is deciding which brand and style to go with.

This article examines the LVP from NuCore, a Floor & Decor company that has exclusive flooring, including LVP.

We look at all the features and options for the flooring and help you decide if NuCore is a perfect fit for you.

We will cover installation, construction, care and maintenance and a whole lot more. If you wanted to know about NuCore Vinyl Plank flooring, you are in the right place. Let’s get started, shall we?

Why You Should Consider NuCore Vinyl

NuCore vinyl has a lot of features and makes an excellent choice for most homes. Here’s why:

  • Over 100 options. There are plenty of choices to get the best match and feel you want.
  • High-quality at an affordable price. Luxury vinyl usually costs more, but not with NuCore.
  • Lifetime warranty. Residential installations can rest easy for as long as they own the flooring.
  • DIY install. You can install these planks yourself, not only is it easy, it’s fun, too.
  • Low maintenance. A simple sweep and mop will keep your floors looking new for decades.
  • No transitional molding needed. Unlike other brands you can install without the need for transitions.
  • 100% waterproof. The entire NuCore collection is 100% waterproof. No other brand can say that.

What to Expect from NuCore Vinyl Planks

what to expect from nucore vinyl planks

When you are shopping for your new floors, there is little doubt that you can quickly become overwhelmed.

Not only are there a lot of LVP brands out there, but each brand has their own extensive line up of styles, colors, textures and more.

NuCore actually has one of the largest LVP selections out there. With over 100 colors and styles to choose from, you can spend a lot of time browsing. However, when you do make that choice it will be one you are happy with.

You know you are getting a soft, flexible and easy to clean plank. The installation is also easy, allowing you to take the project on yourself with little worry. However, any flooring contractor can install it for you, too. NuCore doesn’t restrict your installer options like some brands.

If you do decide to choose NuCore, you know you are getting a floor that will last, one that will look great and one you can enjoy for many years to come. It really is that simple.

NuCore Plank Construction

NuCore has a solid construction and their hardwood appearance will shine through the install. There are a few layers in each plank that you need to be aware of.

First, all NuCore planks start with a cork underlayment. This padding is attached directly to each plank. This means you can save more money as you won’t need to use another underlayment layer before you install.

The one exception to this is when installing over concrete. It is highly advised that you first use a moisture barrier underlayment before laying the planks down. The cork padding, though, is hypoallergenic and fights bacteria, mold, mildew and odor growth.

Next is the rigid core. This 100% waterproof core adds the durability and flex to the planks. Without the rigid core the planks would be flimsy and wouldn’t hold up to weight, pressure and movement.

On top of the core is the photo layer. This is a thin layer of photofilm that has various images of wood planks on it. Through this process, the photo layer is cut, processed and dyed which gives the individual planks a natural wood look.

Finally, you have the wear layer. This is the top most layer and the one you walk on. It is fairly durable and clear, allowing the photofilm layer to show through.

All combined the planks are 22mil thick, which is quite big. It makes for a durable and resilient plank that is easy to install and piece together.

Everything NuCore Flooring Offers

NuCore has a lot to offer. We have already covered a few things, but the good points are worth repeating. Let’s take a look at everything the LVP has to offer.

First, you get 100% waterproof planks, no matter what you go with. Each plank has a waterproof wear layer as well as a rigid SPC (stone plastic core) middle layer that is waterproof and durable.

Every plank also comes with a cork underlayment. This absorbs sound, makes the planks softer underfoot and they stay warmer in the winter, without being hot in the summer.

You also get choices. There are two NuCore lines, including the base NuCore. The other is called NuCore Performance. The performance line is a little more costly but comes reinforced with Techtanium Plus. Techtanium is a made up word, of course. But it is a wear layer additive that increases scratch and dent resistance.

All told you have over 100 designs, colors and sizes to choose from. That is a lot to offer from an LVP company.

Installing NuCore Vinyl Planks

installing nucore vinyl planks

Installation choices are more limited, there are two: professional or DIY. Let’s take a closer look at what the two install options entail.

Professional Installation

For professional installation, you will need to find a contractor that can lay LVP and get a quote for the services they offer. There is a lot more than just putting planks down that needs to be accounted for.

For example, moving furniture may or may not be included (or an additional cost), but unless you have a barren room, you will need to pay or move the furniture yourself.

It is ideal to get at least three quotes from reputable sources.

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You will also want to find out about any other material costs so you aren’t blind sided later on. It is also worth mentioning that some professional installers will offer a warranty on their labor. Some will not, but if they don’t you may want to avoid their services.

DIY Installation

For a more hands on approach you can perform a DIY install. The process is simple and there is very little math involved (we all love that).

You will need to clear the room of all furniture and obstacles. NuCore, unlike many other brands, doesn’t require an acclimation period. However, it is still wise to open the boxes and mix the planks (this distributes the dye patterns more evenly).

While it isn’t required, acclimation of at least 15 hours is still recommended. This allows the planks to expand and form based on your home’s temperature and humidity levels to prevent warping or swelling later.

Once that is all set, you simply start laying the planks. Of course there are steps to this as well. Remove the old flooring if you like, but unless it is extra thick or carpeting, you can lay the LVP right on top.

You want to remove the baseboards and transition molding and take the flat edge up against the wall. Using spacers you will want to leave about a quarter inch gap from the first row to the wall, this allows for expansion when the install is complete.

After the first layer is run, you will want to cut about 6 inches from the first plank of the second row. Doing so will prevent the end seams from lining up, adding to the durability, locking nature of the planks and the overall look.

Continue this process, row by row, until the room is done. Once it is complete you can reinstall your baseboards and let the flooring rest overnight. After about 24 hours, the planks will have expanded and adjusted to the install and will be laying flat (you did remove the spacers, right?).

All that is left is to move your furniture back in and start enjoying your new floors.

Care and Maintenance of NuCore Vinyl Floors

maintenance of nucore floors

Caring for a NuCore floor is simple. Truly all you need is a broom and a mop. Regular sweeping will keep the dirt and debris handled and a weekly mopping will keep the floors shiny and looking new.

There are some things to take note of, though. For example, the wear layer can still get scratched and dented. But, depending on the size and style planks you go with, you may need to vacuum.

Certain styles have wider grooves between the planks than others. Dirt and dust can gather in these grooves and will only come out with a vacuum.

However, you want to use a vacuum that is designed for hard flooring. Most will have motorized cleaning heads where you can shut off the brush roller to prevent scratching.

There are also some customers that report the wear layer becomes dull or foggy after a while. This is usually due to the use of cleaning chemicals when mopping. For this reason you should use only plain, warm tap water or a cleaning solution of water and vinegar or water and dish soap.

NuCore Vinyl Vs. Other Brands

We have learned all about NuCore and it’s many benefits. But how does it stack up against the competition? Below we briefly compare NuCore to other top brands.

NuCore Vs. LifeProof

LifeProof is another exclusive flooring option. Instead of Floor & Decor, LifeProof is sold through Home Depot. The name gives the flooring clout, but the true test is in the planks themselves.

LifeProof is also waterproof (though they do have a few water-resistant options). It is also easy to install and will last quite a while. However not all LifeProof LVP comes with a lifetime residential warranty like NuCore.

NuCore also has a lot more style options. LifeProof is rugged and durable though, and designed for high traffic areas, as well as homes with pets. To get this level of durability from NuCore, you need to invest in the NuCore Performance line.

NuCore Vs. COREtec

COREtec is made by USFloors. They have a standard for high quality and great design. Their LVP is more expensive, but is generally seen as worth it. While not for every budget, they also offer a mostly waterproof line up with cork backing.

However, they have different levels of cork underlayments with only their COREtec Premium getting the best, 3mm thick cork. You will also find that COREtec highly recommends using their White Glove service to get your floors professionally installed.

While this isn’t mandatory, without professional installation, you may lose as much as 5-years off your warranty. And unlike NuCore, they don’t offer a lifetime warranty, but instead have warranty periods ranging from 15 years to 30 years, depending on the type of flooring you purchase.

NuCore Vs. Shaw

Shaw is a name that is always found at the top of best of lists. They are arguably the best LVP on the market and it shows. They are also among the most expensive.

Shaw has three LVP lines and each one is as luxurious and comfortable as the last. The biggest draw here is that they don’t just stick to wood grain images. Shaw will also have stone and tile imitation planks so you can get even more creative with your flooring.

They offer 10 color options compared to NuCore’s 100’s however they give you something no other company does; color match. You can upload or send an image and they will match the color for you, giving you exactly the color you want.

Where Shaw (and most others) fall short compared to NuCore is in the warranty. They have a range, depending on style, color and thickness, that falls between 7 and 20 years for residential installs.

What I Like About NuCore Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • 100% waterproof across the entire line.
  • Cork underlayment on all planks.
  • DIY install doesn’t reduce lifetime warranty.
  • Affordable solution for most budgets.
  • More color and style options than most other brands.

What I Dislike About NuCore Vinyl Planks

  • Extra wear layer protection (Techtanium) only available through Premium line.
  • Pro-rated 15 year commercial warranty.
  • Only sold through Floor & Decor.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq nucore vinyl planks

Here, we will answer some of the more common LVP and NuCore questions. If you have other questions or concerns, please feel free to use the comment section below the article.

Q. How easily is vinyl to repair?

  1. Vinyl planks aren’t generally repairable. If you do develop scratches, gouges or damage to a plank, that plank needs to be replaced. For this reason, it is highly advised you buy at least one full extra box beyond what you need for install.

NuCore changes their styles and colors quite often. If you fail to order enough for spares when you make your initial purchase, there is no promise there will be a matching replacement if you need one later.

Q. How long do vinyl floors last?

  1. NuCore LVP is warrantied for lifetime. As long as you own the floor and it is installed, the warranty covers normal wear and tear, peeling or cracking of the wear layer and water damage under non-emergency situations (meaning a flood doesn’t count).

However, in general you can expect at least 20 years for most LVP to hold up and still look like new. As long as you maintain the planks properly and clean on a regular basis, of course.

Q. What’s the difference between traditional vinyl and LVP?

  1. LVP is thicker and more durable than traditional vinyl planks. This is the biggest difference. Where traditional planks max out at about 3mil in thickness, LVP starts at 5mil and can easily reach 30 mil or more.

The other major difference is price. Traditional vinyl will cost you under a dollar per square foot. LVP is much more than this, but lasts so much longer and looks a lot better that the cost is often worth it.

Conclusion

NuCore vinyl is among the most cost-effective and durable planks on the market. If you are looking for new flooring they are a solid choice.

NuCore offers thick planks with simple DIY install, cork underlayments and a lifetime warranty. Your biggest and toughest choice will not be which brand to go with, but which of the 100s of colors and styles NuCore offers to choose.

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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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