SPC Vs. Engineered Hardwood Floor (Choose Smartly])

Very few flooring systems can offer that ‘timeless classic’ appearance that homeowners often strive for. Recently, everyone’s been going for hardwood floors to achieve that. But appearance isn’t the only factor. And that’s why the SPC Vs. Engineered Hardwood Floor debate is so important.

Both SPC and Engineered hardwood floor systems generally offer similar results in terms of appearance and maintenance. But they’ve their due differences when it comes to installation, core construction, and structural integrity. While SPC flooring systems are great for small apartments or homes, engineered floors will last longer with low casualties.

Before choosing between the two flooring systems, you’ll have to factor in the environmental conditions alongside installation & maintenance costs. In today’s article, we’ll try our best to compare the two so you can decide accordingly!

SPC Vs. Engineered Hardwood Floors

Unless you’re a veteran homeowner, you may not always figure out the differences between SPC and engineered wood. And that’s precisely how many residents fall victim to premature floor damage in their new homes!

Here’s a brief overview of all the common factors that you should know about to differentiate Engineered from SPC –

Core Construction

SPC stands for Stone Plastic Composite. It’s not made from real wood, unlike solid or engineered hardwood floors. Instead, SPC features multiple layers containing stone dust, plastic materials like PVC, etc. The layers also include foam-like ingredients to increase cushioning with rigidity.

Engineered hardwood floors, on the other hand, are manufactured primarily from different types of plywood. Real wood is used here and the topmost layer is the sealing layer, the plywood is thoroughly laminated with water-resistant protective sealants like polyurethane or aluminum wear layer for enhanced rigidity and longevity.

Layering

SPC flooring boards generally come with five special layers. You’ve got the topmost UV layer to prevent radiation damage and potential discoloration. Underneath the UV layer, you’ll find the wear and decorative layer successively.

The latter is basically an artificial wood print and the main reason why SPC floors look like hardwood floors. And the former, i.e. the wear layer protects the decorative layer by means of chemical sealing and refurbishing.

The fourth layer consists of the core SPC panels. These panels contribute to the structural integrity of the flooring system. Underneath the SPC boards, you’ll find some sort of backing material like foam pads or mats to keep the overlying panels in place properly.

Engineered hardwood floors will also feature foam boards to ensure cushioning and comfort. Instead of SPC panels, these floors will come with multiple layers of plywood panels. Plus, to protect the wood, there will be a wood finish on top. Like polyurethane or linseed oil sealants – whichever one’s suitable for the particular type of plywood.

Installation

It’s super easy to install SPC flooring panels! In fact, SPC boards have an all-time demand amongst DIY enthusiasts looking to install their own floorboards.

You can arrange the layers and panels like Legos, as in, everything fits in nicely with other parts easily. You just have to know the systematic position of the layers to place them. No messy installation since glue, nail, etc. isn’t needed at all.

Engineered hardwood floors, however, will require professional installation and refurbishment. It can even take weeks to seal the layers properly and is definitely not recommended for DIY enthusiasts. 

Appearance

Based on appearance alone, you can’t always differentiate between SPC flooring and Engineered hardwood panels. They both look extremely similar and you’ll need a keen eye to notice the decorative layer in SPC flooring systems.

Water-Resistance

SPC is 100% waterproof due to its composite construction. The main panels have no scope for retaining water. Henceforth, they’ll not swell up over time from within.

Engineered hardwood floors also have pretty great water-resistant properties due to their polyacrylic finishing. Thus, as long as the raw wood isn’t exposed to water directly, engineered hardwood floors will stay in peak condition.

Maintenance

SPC flooring is easy to install and equally easy to maintain. You don’t have to invest in special cleaners or waste your energy on special cleaning routines. The UV layer on top prevents discoloration from spillage and sunlight radiation.

Engineered hardwood floors will require special cleaners since the wood finish can’t tolerate harsh cleaners. With the use of highly basic cleaners like ammonia, the wood will lose luster and can even develop spot-like discoloration in places.

Price Point

Between SPC and Engineered hardwood floors, you’ll need to spend more behind Engineered floors in general. With SPC flooring systems, you can save on installation, labor costs, upkeep, and overall maintenance. 

The additive manufacturing costs alongside maintenance costs for engineered hardwood floors are much greater. Depending on the number of plywood layers and type of finish, you’ll need to spend lots of money behind the floors.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of SPC & Engineered Hardwood Floors [Comparison Table]

We’ve so far figured out the main differences between Stone-Plastic Composite & Engineered Hardwood Floors. However, the differences don’t quite explain the advantages and disadvantages of both types of flooring systems.

While engineered floors may seem like the better option at first glance, SPC floors can top the list on many fronts too. Here’s a brief rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of SPC & Engineered Hardwood Floors –

Benefits of SPC and Engineered Hardwood Floor

SPCEngineered
Great for compact spacesGreat for larger living spaces
Works well in sky-high apartmentsWorks well in grounded apartments, bungalows, etc.
Extremely lightweight and flexibleConsiderably heavier and sturdier
100% waterproof100% waterproof sealants

Drawbacks of SPC and Engineered Hardwood Floor

SPCEngineered
Not made of real woodCan get damaged easily with ineffective sealants
Can fall victim to premature cracking and chippingCan fall victim to discoloration over time
It looks horrendous without the decorative layerThe wood itself is too fragile without protective layers 
Cheap and low-quality SPC boards don’t last longRequires professional installation & refurbishment 

How To Choose Between SPC & Engineered Floors?

Both SPC and Engineered hardwood floors are great options for new and veteran homeowners. As such, it can often be hard to choose the right option. 

Ask yourself the following questions to clear some confusion:

How much am I willing to spend?

As mentioned above, Engineered hardwood floors are super expensive compared to SPC floors. So, can you afford to spend thousands on installation and maintenance?

If the answer is no, then you should go for SPC right away. Otherwise, you may heavily regret the decision later.

Do I want a quick or long-term renovation?

Engineered floors will take longer to get installed properly, but they’ll last longer with reflective properties. SPC flooring may or may not last as long due to the quick fold installment.

Hence, for long-term commitment and advantages, Engineered hardwood floors are better as they’re sturdier. SPC floors may look the same, but they’ll fall behind in time.

Final Verdict

So, SPC Vs. Engineered hardwood – which one do you prefer as a flooring system so far? Remember that, with SPC flooring, you’ll save money on installation and maintenance. And you can virtually get them in any preferred designs, colors, wood patterns, etc. They’re also really waterproof and can retain a modest amount of heat during summer.

Engineered hardwood floor planks, on the other hand, are comparatively pricier and will require special maintenance. But the structural integrity and stability of well-varnished engineered hardwood floors will always be better than low-cost SPC hardwood planks. The laminating layer alone will prevent all sorts of scratching, chipping & discoloration.

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