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According to retailers, WPC—also known as composites, enhanced vinyl, multi-layer vinyl planks and luxury flooring—products such as Hanjoin, are popular thanks to their water-resistant attributes that enable installation in bathrooms and kitchens.
Most WPC products are displayed in the resilient section. Some retailers position it against LVT, focusing on issues such as acclimation and subfloor prep—both are easier to handle with WPC.
Laminate has its advantages as well. These products are bio-based and renewable—over 96% of the product is made of wood. “It is also highly scratch resistant—more so than any other flooring type other than maybe porcelain,” s
In fact, the most commonly cited advantage of laminate among retailers is the product’s durability. That is a selling point for active households as laminate is resistant to scratches and staining. Dealers also cited the benefit of laminate’s visuals over those offered in WPC. Some wood looks in laminate are so accurate even experts cannot tell the difference.
Manufacturers have put substantial R&D work into the imaging of laminate, which has helped keep the category—especially at 12 mil and above—as relevant as ever.
The disadvantage of laminate is its moisture sensitivity and need for transition moldings at certain intervals. The core of a laminate product acts like a sponge, absorbing moisture that causes it to expand. If there is not enough expansion in a room, the floor will buckle or the joints of the laminate will squeak as it is walked across.
One retailer who carries both laminate and WPC said, “You can swab the deck with WPC which is nice. You don’t have to stress over the water aspect, so perhaps that gives a slight edge to WPC in terms of maintenance. They’re both easy to care for. Not having to stress over water/moisture gives WPC the edge regarding areas of application. It can go more places, most notably bathrooms.”
Both manufacturers and retailers weighed in on the advantages and disadvantages of WPC and laminate.