Let’s discuss SmartCore flooring. Is buying the LVP sold by Lowes’s brand a good idea? Or does it only add to the oversaturated vinyl plank market?
Smartcore Vinyl Plank Flooring, here we provide many options, including some of the most popular vinyl plank flooring manufacturers. We’ll compare SmartCore Pro and SmartCore Ultra in further detail down below.
Afterward, we’ll deeply dive into SmartCore flooring reviews, discuss its benefits and downsides, and help you determine whether it’s worth purchasing.
FAST DIY INSTALLATION
DIY can help you save time and money and amaze your friends.
The smart core is installed immediately over hard surface floors that already exist. Therefore, no prior installation knowledge, stress, or subfloor preparation is necessary.
Video: How to install Smartcore vinyl plank flooring
Related Article Install Vinyl Plank Flooring on Concrete
IMPLEMENTED IN REAL LIFE
Flooring should be both aesthetically pleasing and helpful.
With COREtec technology, SMARTCORE is designed to withstand real life and some, including boisterous children and noisy dogs.
What Exactly Is SmartCore Flooring?
With one exception, Lowes’ SmartCore flooring is made entirely of rigid-core luxury vinyl planks or LVP. It is available in two primary collections, about which we will go into more depth below:
- Ultra SmartCore (which has an SPC core)
- Pro SmartCore (which is a WPC core)
The private-label brand of Lowe’s is SmartCore Flooring.
Again, Lowes’ private-label brand is SmartCore flooring. It can only be purchased at Lowes, then.
That’s fine; many national chains have their private-label brands. However, there have been numerous attempts by retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot to promote exclusive flooring options, so we felt compelled to bring it up. And, at best, inconsistent outcomes have been obtained.
As an illustration, Lowes cork flooring could be better cork flooring available. Additionally, if you’re on the fence about purchasing the item due to the well-known drawbacks of cork flooring, you will still have to change your mind.
We’re not attempting to denigrate the product by association. Before we discuss anything, we’re just providing some context for you.
What Are the Similarities Between SmartCore Pro and Ultra?
What is the distinction?
Each product’s substance for its core—plus a little amount of design detail—is the only significant distinction between SmartCore Pro and SmartCore Ultra floors. There aren’t many variations in color, variety, or even protection.
Both materials are attractive, provide an excellent alternative to traditional wood flooring that is water resistant, and can be used to design traditional wood floor patterns. The point is they are highly similar goods. These are their differences:
WPC Core Is in the SmartCore Ultra.
The core of SmartCore Ultra is a WPC (Wood-Plastic Composite). Wood flour, an incredibly fine sawdust, is used to manufacture WPC. This increases the floor’s “bounce” and gives it a more genuine hardwood species-like feel. Additionally, it becomes slightly more sound-dampening for noise reduction.
Furthermore, SmartCore Ultra flooring is marketed by Lowes as “Hi-Def” flooring, denoting that the design layer contains more information.
Despite the SPC Core in SmartCore Pro.
On the other hand, SPC (Stone-Plastic Composite) is the primary material of SmartCore Pro. Furthermore, SPC creates its products using limestone powder, resulting in an (allegedly) more durable result.
SPC is often stiffer than WPC; however, this also means that it is less shock-absorbing. It means that the floors will get a little louder.
According to the SmartCore website, SmartCore Pro makes a slight trade-off in the design layer for increased endurance. However, many SmartCore flooring reviews raise doubts about this, not because the detail is compromised but because SmartCore Pro seems to need to be more resilient.
That is a significant problem for any PVC flooring product touted as vital.
SmartCore Pro vs. SmartCore Ultra: Which LVP Is Better?
The vinyl plank flooring that fits your lifestyle and provides expert outcomes is undoubtedly the finest option for you. However, based on all the SmartCore flooring evaluations, SmartCore Ultra has a slight advantage over SmartCore pro. Why?
Most reviews of SmartCore flooring favor SmartCore Ultra
That’s how easy it is. Although not all SmartCore Pro reviews are negative, SmartCore Ultra flooring may be the better choice if you want to be more secure. You are not paying extra money for an SPC core that ostensibly delivers very little value, but its design layer is a little more detailed.
The Situation With SmartCore Naturals
Lowe’s also offers a third collection called SmartCore Naturals in addition to SmartCore Pro and SmartCore Ultra. The actual wood of SmartCore Naturals has a veneer of bamboo. Because it is purportedly waterproof like SmartCore Pro and SmartCore Ultra, Lowes sells it under the SmartCore brand.
However, SmartCore Naturals’ reviews could be better.
However, almost every review of SmartCore flooring we read noted that this waterproof promise might have been slightly exaggerated. SmartCore looked at all the benefits and drawbacks of engineered bamboo flooring—and kept the disadvantages, according to one SmartCore Naturals reviewer.
Only one SmartCore Naturals product, out of the dozen or so that Lowes sells, has received a 5-star review, and it’s on Lowes’ website. The others have a maximum rating of 3.5 stars or less.
Ultimately, this prefinished hardwood flooring selection is one to avoid because it simply falls short of all top hardwood floor manufacturers.
Our judgment? Ultimately, the best hardwood floors should be firm, gorgeous, and cozy—but they shouldn’t have to be watertight. Water resistance is the best attribute of even the best-engineered wood floors. Because it is more practical, most individuals choosing between tile and wood floors choose something like wood-look tile.
What hues are available for SmartCore flooring?
Regarding faux-wood flooring, SmartCore floors have a respectable color range. SmartCore flooring is available in various colors and patterns, ranging from the ash flooring’s soft touch to the jet-black ebony flooring.
Pros/Cons, Costs, Cleaning, and Installation of Smart Core Flooring in 2022
Exclusive to Lowes, Smartcore is a low- to mid-priced brand of waterproof rigid core vinyl flooring made by USFloors* using COREtec technology.
The brand sells for $2 to $4 per square foot and offers four collections, each with unique characteristics to meet distinct needs.
SmartCore, SmartCore Ultra, SmartCore Pro, and SmartCore Naturals are the various collections.
In this Smartcore flooring analysis, we examine each collection in-depth to see what makes it unique.
SPECS AND STYLES FOR SMARTCORE
Consider this to be the essential SmartCore collection. WPC (wood plastic composite) is a form of rigid core EVP flooring with a middle layer that keeps it stable and prevents excessive expansion or contraction.
This wood polymer core layer, which offers the flooring a 100% watertight core and a solid feel without being entirely rigid like ceramic tile, combines wood fiber, plastic polymers, and foaming agents.
The image layer, a printed design that accurately mimics the appearance and texture of wood planks or stone tiles, is one of the additional layers that make up standard SmartCore flooring. It is a protective 12 mil wear layer on top of the image layer. An integrated acoustic pad is an underlayment; the bottom layer’s the final layer.
There is a good selection of wood flooring in the regular SmartCore line. Oak, maple, walnut, hickory, and pine are the wood species represented, and both traditional and modern styles, including some reasonably striking multi-toned designs, are offered.
There are currently only two stone-like tile selections, both of which have an appealing, general stone aesthetic and come in dark gray or light gray.
The SmartCore planks are 5″ x 48″ in size, while the tiles are 12″ by 24.” The wood look plank and the stone look tile have an overall thickness of 6.5 mm.
SPECS AND STYLES FOR SMARTCORE ULTRA
Similar to the basic SmartCore luxury vinyl plank, SmartCore Ultra is built with a WPC core (wood plastic composite) and a 12 mil wear layer. The extras include a picture layer with better definition and a thicker integrated underlayment pad, hence the “ultra” label.
The SmartCore Ultra collection may have more high-definition photos, but the natural selection of design alternatives seems less appealing. There are roughly 14 patterns, including stone and wood look variations.
The Ultra collection has more stone-like designs than the usual collection, and it offers a wide variety of styles with selections like warm brown travertine, dark gray slate, and creamy sandstone. Mostly made of oak, maple, and pine, the SmartCore Ultra wood-look planks come in a range of brown to gray tones.
The tiles and SmartCore Ultra planks are 6″ x 48″. Tiles and boards from Ultra are 7.5 mm thick.
SPECS AND STYLES FOR SMART CORE PRO
The SmartCore Pro series is excellent for commercial settings or bustling households because it is made to endure more extraordinary traffic situations.
The waterproof intermediate layer is more robust with an SPC (stone plastic composite) core, created by mixing limestone powder with plastic polymers. As a result, it has a much more challenging 20 mil wear layer.
Although some people claim that SPC rigid core flooring feels less pleasant underfoot, SmartCore Pro has a considerable advantage over SPC rigid core flooring in terms of durability and dent protection because of its stone polymer core. The difference at Home Flooring Pros is not that big.
The SmartCore Pro collection features more choices than other collections, including fantastic modern and in-style options with stone and wood looks.
Our favorites include the Paramount tile, designed to resemble a stunning patchwork of encaustic cement tile, and the aged gray Covington Oak, intended to resemble varied-width planks.
The SmartCore Pro collection contains stone tile slabs that are 12″ x 24″ and the widest wood appearance planks at 7″ x 48″. This collection’s planks and tiles are 6 mm thick.
SPECS AND STYLES FOR SMARTCORE NATURALS
Compared to the other SmartCore collections, SmartCore Naturals flooring is a very distinct kind of rigid core flooring.
It is a type of hybrid vinyl-engineered wood, with a core made of waterproof vinyl and a veneer on top made of authentic hardwood or bamboo. A protective coating is also used to seal the top veneer layer.
The benefit of SmartCore Naturals is that every single plank is wholly unique and has the waterproof properties of a rigid core combined with an actual hardwood or bamboo veneer on top.
In contrast, the other SmartCore flooring uses digital graphics for the decorative layers, which, while reasonably diversified within each carton, inevitably duplicate (this is why it is advised to work from several different cartons when installing such flooring).
Another authentic feature of the SmartCore Naturals is that while each plank is 5″ broad, the lengths of the planks in each carton differ, just like you would find in real hardwood flooring. The thickness of SmartCore Naturals boards is about 6 mm.
Now twelve SmartCore Natural designs are available; each has a wood veneer and comes in various wood types, including oak, hickory, maple, and bamboo. The hues range from natural to medium dark brown, with one gray-stained oak option.
SMARTCORE FLOORING: PROS AND CONS
We’ve compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages of Smartcore based on our testing and client feedback.
SmartCore rigid core flooring has the following benefits:
- a decent product with a selling price of under $4 per square foot
- excellent waterproof core
- Four distinct groupings to address various needs
- SmartCore Naturals offer real hardwood veneer.
- Excellent aesthetics and choices for stone and wood that look
- simple to install
- can be put in place on all house floors, even the basement.
- Put in kitchens, baths, and laundry areas.
- They are acclimating before installation is not essential.
The following are the drawbacks of SmartCore rigid core flooring:
- Not as scratch-proof as advertised
- Compared to other collections, SmartCore Naturals appears to dent more easily.
SMARTCORE FLOORING INSTALLATION
SmartCore flooring is typically ideal for do-it-yourself installation. However, if you decide to take on this task yourself, please carefully read the installation instructions and prepare your room before you begin.
The SmartCore website has comprehensive instructions available.
WHAT INSTALLATION MODELS ARE SUPPORTED BY SMARTCORE?
Depending on your room, you may install SmartCore flooring using either a floating floor or a glue-down method.
In contrast, rooms that are exposed to intense sunlight for extended periods should have SmartCore put using the glue-down approach. The floating floor method is recommended for installations below grade level in basements.
WHERE CAN SMART CORE BE INSTALLED?
As previously said, SmartCore flooring may be installed in every room and level of your house if you use the proper installation technique.
WHERE DO I START WITH SETTING UP MY ROOM?
You must ensure that your subfloor is spotless, dry, and level. Poor subfloor preparation is the main reason for poor finish results and inflexible core flooring issues.
The flooring produced by SmartCore, like any rigid core flooring, is said to assist in minimizing subfloor flaws. However, in our experience, this is only sometimes the case, and thus for the most significant outcomes, we strongly advise starting with a very well-prepared and very flat subfloor.
Apply a floor leveling compound if required before setting up your SmartCore.
Most hard-surfaced subfloors, including concrete, wood, and ceramic tile, can be covered with SmartCore. However, ensuring that the subfloor’s moisture and pH levels are within acceptable ranges is essential since excessive moisture in the subfloor might promote mold growth and mildew and void your guarantee.
DOES SMARTCORE FLOORING NEED TO BE ACCLIMATED?
One frequently cited benefit of rigid core flooring is that it may be laid down when your subfloor is ready because it does not need to adapt to the home environment before installation.
This is also true with SmartCore. However, the manufacturers recommend installing it in a climate-controlled space between 55° and 85°F.
A few days of acclimation at the optimal temperature before installation is required if the floor was previously kept in extremely cold or excessively hot temperatures. It is also advised that your SmartCore flooring be stored within this temperature range.
Also, remember that your rooms should be maintained between 32 and 100°F after installation for maximum effectiveness.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO INSTALL A SMART CORE WITH RADIANT HEATING?
The installation of SmartCore over subfloors equipped with hydronic radiant heating is permissible. However, for optimal results, you should strictly adhere to the detailed installation instructions and never set the heating higher than 85°F.
Review And Advice For Vinyl Plank Flooring
Bathroom renovations are a good home investment, especially with Lowe’s Smartcore Natural Floors.
Once we had settled into our new home, one of the first tasks we wanted to complete was remodeling our bathrooms. Choosing the smaller bathroom between the two to use was straightforward. However, the large, dated vanity didn’t excite Silke, and the worn-out flooring didn’t impress me either. A different color of paint would help to distinguish the bathrooms from the rest of the house because the entire house had the same color of walls. In addition, it was essential to remove the dated, filthy flooring.
You are working your way up from the bottom.
On the first day, we removed the vanity and examined the still linoleum. It was old, worn out, and out of date. Naturally, we wanted it gone, but I was even less eager to look beneath it. The floor was technically sound, but it was obvious that the linoleum had been bonded and that attempting to remove it would result in a giant mess.
Do you need underlayment for SmartCore?
Underlayment with an APA rating of 1/4″ thick should be added on top.
How long is the lifespan of SmartCore flooring?
You can expect 8–12 years from smart core vinyl plank flooring, possibly longer if given proper care. The quality is above average but not quite premium, and the price is competitive. This combination of higher quality and lower price gives you good value.
Smartcore flooring, can it scratch?
Because Smartcore vinyl is softer than other options, it can scratch or dent more easily than other types of flooring. To avoid this, it’s essential to use pads on any heavy furniture and be cautious not to drop anything sharp on the floor.