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What plank thickness to choose from for SPC

Choosing the right flooring for your needs can be tricky and stressful. There are hundreds of options to choose from and each option has specifications that are difficult to understand.  For example there are different thicknesses, assemblage systems, and warranty specifications for each product. Whether you are an individual looking to remodel your home, an apartment building owner looking to remodel a unit, or an architect looking for the best product for the project, you all have different necessities.

In terms of plank thickness, here’s what you need to consider:

Wear layer thickness

  • The wear layer is the section between the printed design and the urethane finish. The quality and thickness of the wear layer is your indicator for how well your floors will last over time. You can gain a better sense of the quality of the wear layer based on the manufacturer’s warranty on the product – the longer the warranty à the better the quality.
  • Wear layers are measured in mil’s (1 mil = 1 thousandth of an inch). Mils are often confused with millimeters however they are vastly different. For example 40 mil’s equates to 1 millimeter (mm).
  • Building professionals tend to use planks with 12 mil wear layers within bedrooms and up to 20 mil wear layers for high traffic areas such as hallways.

Underlayment thickness

  • Many new collections and designs of SPC come with pre-installed underlayment ranging from 1.0 – 1.5 mm in thickness. These backings are used for sound reduction, heat retention and overall comfort. With thicker underlayment’s comes more sound reduction, head retention, and impact absorption (overall comfort).
  • Thicker underlayment’s are also extremely beneficial for second or third floor uses. Some building owners even install extra sheets of underpayments for second + floor units to maximize noise reduction.

Core thickness

  • The core thickness (or otherwise known as the base layer) refers to the thickness of rigid core plank. This is the hard, durable section of the plank that is hydraulically pressed and made of stone and plastic. This is what makes SPC 100% waterproof. There is no wood or condensed cardboard material anywhere in SPC planks, making it virtually impossible for water damage to occur. Core thickness also serves as a noise reduction barrier and is an indicator of quality. Standard SPC core thickness is 4mm however some brands make SPC core planks with 8mm thickness. If you are looking for a high-quality SPC for your home, you can’t go wrong with a 4mm thickness however a 5-6mm thickness will be slightly sturdier.

Overall thickness

  • The overall thickness describes the products overall thickness when adding together the wear layer thickness, the core thickness and underlayment thickness.
  • The overall thickness is extremely important in terms of installation. You must take into account the overall thickness to ensure that, when your finished with the project, the floor is level throughout the entire area and is level with any areas where the floor changes to a different product such as carpet or tile.

Final thoughts

  • Generally speaking, the thicker the plank, the more expensive the product will be.
  • Thicker planks are normally associated with higher quality products.
  • If you are most concerned with noise reduction, go with a thicker core and underlayment.
  • If you are most concerned with wear and tear, go with a thicker mil wear layer.
  • If you are still not sure with what thicknesses to go with but are simply concerned with the products overall lifetime, refer to the products warranty which will give you an accurate interpretation of the manufacturers opinion of the products lifetime.


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