What makes rigid core flooring so unique?
If you have looked for timber flooring before, you could have encountered the terms “rigid core”, “SPC” and “WPC”. But why are these options so popular? And why some are choosing rigid core flooring over authentic timber boards?
Why is it called rigid core?
To understand why it is named rigid core, we should investigate the construction of rigid core flooring. Rigid core is sandwiched between a bottom cork layer and the top vinyl/timber veneer as the major structure of the flooring board.
As imagined, the cork and vinyl are not strong to offer the solid feeling that is identical to timber flooring. The rigidity of the rigid core is, therefore, providing the much-needed structural integrity for engineered timber flooring.
What is rigid core then?
Though rigid core is frequently mentioned in engineered timber flooring, there are two major materials used as the rigid core. Often referred as “SPC” and “WPC”, these are composite materials that binds stone or wood with polymer to create a dense and solid object.
Both “SPC” and “WPC” are commonly used in engineered vinyl timber flooring. WPC, or wood polymer composite, is generally more expensive but have a lower heat capacity to limit the coldness when stepping onto the board barefoot.
SPC or stone polymer composite, on the other hand, is more affordable but might feel cooler when stepped on. However, both materials, when touched barefoot, are nowhere as cold as the other common flooring material, stone. And the difference of warmth is hardly noticed unless being tested side-by-side.
Why some prefer rigid core than timber?
Rigid core, no matter if it is SPC or WPC, offers the same benefits other than the perceived warmth, which is why both materials are categorized under the same name.
One of the biggest advantages of rigid core is its ability to resist moisture. In fact, rigid core is 100% waterproof. Unlike timber flooring, you would not have to worry about molding with rigid core. It also meant water spill on the second floor will not sip under the rigid core and affect the underlying structure. The water resistant also allows rigid core flooring to be used in bathrooms.
Another much-welcomed benefit of rigid core flooring is its affordability. Contrasting to authentic timber flooring, rigid core timber flooring is much more affordable with the reduced use of the natural resource and engineering required.
With some manufacturers also dedicated to limit the environmental impact when producing rigid core flooring, formaldehyde-free rigid core SPC flooring can achieve a more environmentally friendly interior without the use of timber.
Other additional benefits of rigid core
Even though the durable rigid core layer is stacked under the vinyl/timber veneer layer, rigid core timber flooring is still more durable than authentic timber flooring with a surface protection layer.
Either using vinyl or timber veneer, the top layer of engineered rigid core flooring is protected with a highly durable transparent layer. And this layer is almost invincible to all kind of physical torture, including pet scratches or high heels.
The strong surface is especially beneficial for high traffic commercial space or homes with pets. With the pride in their products, some wholesalers and manufacturers warrant their SPC rigid core products for lifetime in residential uses.
Another key benefit of using rigid core in flooring is its inelasticity to temperature change. This overcomes the common worry of using timber floor with contraction in the winter and expansion in the summer. Over time, timber flooring may risk structural damage with the temperature difference.
Innovations to rigid core flooring
Over the years, rigid core flooring is linked to a vinyl timber-like visible layer. However, there are weakness to vinyl, notably the lack of pattern variation that become apparent in larger rooms. (Learn about the difference of SPC vinyl and SPC timber)
HQ Wood Pty Ltd, registered name for Sunstar Flooring, has filed a patent on replacing the vinyl with authentic timber veneer. While solving the problem of pattern variation, the sense of warmth and naturalness from actual wood is incomparable by vinyl.
Named as Rigid Core Timber Flooring, the ability of this new innovation in upscaling interior design is unrivalled, not to mention its rigid core benefits.