To understand what to look for with vinyl flooring, it is useful to understand first how it is constructed.
Most modern vinyl is technically “composite” vinyl, meaning it is a combination of PVC (polyvinyl chloride, the scientific name for vinyl) and other materials. In the case of flexible, traditional LVT, the combination is usually PVC and plasticizers. In the case of rigid vinyl (products marketed as SPC, rigid core, or WPC), it is a combination of PVC and limestone. This added limestone is what gives the rigid products more dimensional stability. In fact, SPC flooring is made with 60-70% limestone, and only 30-40% PVC. Limestone is much more resistant to heat expansion, but 0n its own is brittle and easily cracks. Modin Rigid is made of a composite limestone/PVC mix that provides the most dimensional stability while still being resistant to cracking.
The on top of this composite core, the print film is placed. On top of the print-film, a clear layer of virgin or recycled PVC (vinyl) is layered as the main protection to the floor. This top layer of pure vinyl is called the “wear-layer” and is the most expensive part of the flooring since it is the only thing protecting the paper print film. Typically, the wear-layer is given some level of texture or “embossing” to better complement the look of the print film being used.
Finally, a coating of urethane is applied to the wear-layer to further protect wear and provide the desired sheen for the pattern. A cork or foam underlayment can be attached to the backing. The whole product is then cut up into smaller planks or tiles, depending on the pattern. If it is a click product, a click profile will be milled onto these planks or tiles.