Over the years, vinyl flooring has grown to become one of the largest markets in the commercial flooring industry.
Thousands of companies, houses, restaurants, and many other businesses have installed these floorings.
While these vinyl floorings scale higher in the industry, a particular subset of this product is growing more popular than the rest.
This is the Engineered Vinyl Planks, also known as EVP.
What is EVP flooring?
Engineered vinyl planks (EVP) are unique floorings designed to clone materials used for hard surface floorings, such as stone and hardwood.
That’s not all. These floorings do not only replicate stone or wood; they can mimic just about any flooring, as well as the natural beauty of the other materials.
The best part is, their benefits surpass that of wood and stone.
This is one of the reasons they are the preferred type of flooring in most commercial establishments.
What exactly are these floorings made of?
A typical EVP flooring is made up of layers, each constructed for a core purpose. They include,
- The Wear Layer
This is in the form of a clear topcoat designed to conceal scuff marks and scratches made on the decorative layer of the flooring. This layer also acts as a protective cover that reduces the effects of exposure to UV rays. The wear layer is incorporated in every brand of EVP flooring. However, the only difference amongst brands is the degree of thickness of this layer. The degree of thickness determines the cost per square meter.
- The Design/ Decorative Layer
This layer of the EVP undergoes numerous treatments and procedures to get a natural stone or hardwood appearance. On this layer, different textures and finishes are created for aesthetic purposes. Many premium types are installed with realistic, 3D visuals that replicate stones or ceramics.
- The Core Layer
This layer is made of stone or wood constituents, likewise a rigid vinyl for durability and stability. The core layer is also waterproof and can as well hide the imperfections of the flooring.
- The Underlayment/ Structural Backing Layer
This is the last layer of the EVP flooring. It acts as an intermediary between the core of the EVP and the subfloor. It also serves as underfoot cushioning. The material used in the construction of the underlayment significantly affects the overall quality of the EVP flooring.
Types of Engineered Vinyl Plank (EVP) flooring
They are of two major types base on their core composite. They include,
- Wood Polymer Composite (WPC)
This type of EVP has wood flour as its core composite. It means that the finished flooring would look like that of wood. The WPC flooring has soundproofing and insulation capabilities and a vinyl enclosed core for moisture proofing. The WPC flooring is mostly preferred for domestic uses.
- Stone Polymer Composite (SPC)
This other type of EVP has limestone as its core composite. It is a whole lot rigid than that of the WPC and possesses a thinner surface profile. This attribute of the SPC makes it suitable for commercial use where one would expect loads of heavy footing.
Cost of EVP flooring (Engineered Vinyl Plank)
EVP Flooring Is Relatively Affordable. Most EVPs, on average, will cost $4 to $6 for each square foot. Considering its durability and long-lasting capabilities, it is pretty much affordable.
The installation of these vinyl floorings is between $3- $8 for each square foot. This is actually cheaper when compared to the installation of solid hardwood.
For good quality EVPs, a $4-$7 per square foot should be expected. There are, as well, budget-friendly varieties that can be gotten for as low as $2 per square meter.
However, these versions are usually less resistant to wear. Premium EVP tiles, on the other hand, can be purchased for as high as $10 per square meter.
However, they possess a thicker wear layer and a base padding of high quality. They may also come with additional treatment to reduce permeability.
However, the cost of these high-end EVP floorings is majorly impacted by the styling of the decorative layer and the type of core used. This is discussed below.
- Cost of EVP flooring based on style
Premium grade EVP tiles with elegant geometric, herringbone, and plank patterns can be gotten as high as $14 per square foot.
Ones with simpler styles on the design layer can be gotten at about $7 per square foot. Some of them include floorings with wood, stone, slate, and metallic effects.
When purchasing EVP flooring tiles, at least 10% worth of extra tiles should be purchased. This accounts for trimming.
For instance, to cover a 100 square feet flooring, it would require EVP tiles worth $550 if each square foot is retailed at $5.
- Cost of EVP based on core type
SPC core EVP tends to be costlier than WPC core EVP due to the significant strength of the limestone construction.
The former can be gotten at about $3.5-$7 per square foot, while WPC core EVP can be gotten at about $3-$6 per square foot.
How to clean and care for EVP floorings
Not only are these floorings made to take the resemblance of natural material, but they are also designed in a way that promotes easy maintenance. Indeed!
The vinyl’s synthetic composition has made cleaning it a piece of cake, requiring no expensive means or tool.
For optimum care of your vinyl floorings, you can adopt any of these methods of cleaning.
- Use of dry mop or Vacuum for surface dirt
Daily negligence is the fastest way to destroy the vinyl flooring, so it is paramount that it is cleaned regularly. It is recommended that every day or two, these vinyl floorings are vacuumed or cleaned using a dry mop. This goes a long way in exterminating all those dust, debris, and dirt that can scratch the surface of the flooring, which over time, would give the flooring a dull appearance.
A soft nylon brush would suffice for both fresh and old stains that cannot be cleaned off using the dry mop. The brush is dipped in a baking soda water mixture, then placed on the stain, scrubbing gently. If this doesn’t obliterate the stain, the use of hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol will do the trick. Note that stains shouldn’t be left unattended over a long period so that the lifespan of the EVP won’t be reduced.
- Use of wet-mop to remove grime
Here, white vinegar or a small bowl of apple cider is mixed in a bucket of hot water. This mixture is used to dampen the mop, placed over the grime, dirt, and stains on the flooring. Mopping is done in the direction of the plank and not sideways. The stains would surely varnish, leaving no sudsy mess or streaks behind.
For these EVPs to reach their full lifespan of 10-20 years, daily vacuuming and wet cleaning two to three times a month should be adopted. Also, note that stains shouldn’t be left unattended over a long period. This is to enable the EVP flooring to maintain its brightness.
- Protect from furniture
Soft felt pads should be installed on or under heavy furniture to protect the EVP tiles. Furniture with rollers doesn’t go well with EVP floorings, so they should be avoided. Like hardwood floorings, EVPs can be easily scratched and scuffed when heavy furniture is rolled on them.
Things that should be avoided when cleaning EVP flooring
- Avoid the use of solvent-based polishes or paste wax
Due to its polyurethane coating, EVP tiles do not need waxing. In fact, waxing and solvent polishes can damage the topcoat of the EVP, giving out a dull-looking surface.
- Avoid the use of highly-abrasive scrubbers
Steel wool, abrasive sponges, and other rough materials can scratch or even eat through the protective covering of the wear layer atop EVP flooring. A soft-bristled brush or a mop should be used instead when the need for deep scrubbing is required.
- Avoid using ammonia
Ammonia does not mix with EVP floorings at all. The ammonia collapses the finish of the flooring. A more natural cleaning solution should be used.
How to fix scuffs and scratches on EVP flooring
Despite our good intention, scratches and scuffs are inevitable; they are bound to happen. Concerning this, a few options can be adopted for treating light scruffs and scratches.
For scratches, drop olive oil on a microfiber towel and polish the affected area. If deeper scratches, a vinyl floor sealer might be able to hide them. If this doesn’t work, replacing the entire plank should be considered.
For light scuffs, try rubbing a tennis ball over the scruff. It is an old trick that works most times.
Pros of EVP flooring
- Easy to Install
Despite its heaviness, EVPs are quite easy to install once the installation guidelines are adhered to. Furthermore, EVPs do not need to be acclimated to the condition of the room where it is installed. Unlike the laminate flooring, they can be installed once purchased. Ultimately, these floorings adopt the tongue-and-groove mechanism making it simple for the installation of DIYs.
- Relatively Affordable
When compared to hardwood, EVP flooring is economical. A square meter of this flooring can be gotten at a relative price of $5. And since its durability has made replacement unnecessary, long-term additional cost savings would be enjoyed. Also, since these floorings are designed click-and-lock, their installation won’t be expensive either.
EVPs come with a stone or wood-infused core stronger than natural hardwood. This enables this flooring to stay durable for years before growing any structural problem. Additional longevity is gotten from the wear layer, which gives the flooring a scratch-resistant property.
- Moisture Resistant
Premium EVPs are 100% waterproof. Structural damage cannot be incurred because the waterproof resistance would not permit moisture seeping into the sublayers.
EVP flooring goes over almost any uniformed subfloor, be it over a tile, concrete, or plywood. What’s more, is its ability to replicate the looks of any stone or wood flooring. The texture, too, can be mimicked. Manufacturers use a method known as the EIR (Embossed in Register) to emboss the texture of stones and real wood surfaces on the decorative layer of EVP tiles.
- Requires Minimal Maintenance
EVP surfaces do not require rigorous maintenance practices other than periodic cleaning. They cannot be refinished, yes, but there is hardly any need for that. This is because the clear wear layer does a great job at concealing scratches and scuff marks. Simple sweeping, vacuuming, and occasional wet mopping should suffice.
With its core made of limestone or wood composite, EVP floorings gain rigid and dense features capable of canceling sounds. This is what constitutes soundless footsteps.
- Not Eco-Friendly
Unfortunately, EVP floorings are not part of the “green movement,” It contains high PVC content, which causes environmental pollution.
This mars its benefits when compared to eco-friendly options such as bamboo and hardwood.
- Vulnerable to fading from UV rays
Despite the UV-protective wear layer of EVP flooring, sunlight discoloration can still happen. As such, installing rigid-core flooring in sunrooms and other exposed areas is not advised.
- EVPs cannot be refinished
Damaged EVP floorings are replaced. This is because they are not designed to accommodate serious damages.
- Some EVPs are a potential health risk
Cheap EVP flooring invites the risks of developing health issues. This is because the cheaper brands release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). To avoid this, EVPs should be purchased from the manufacturer that makes low-VOC EVP flooring products.
If a home, office, restaurant, or any other area demands a high level of durability or the increased insulation and comfort of a rigid core, EVP flooring is a substantial choice. Aside from the ones mentioned above, these floorings can also replicate traditional woods such as oak, walnut, acacia, and other flooring options you wouldn’t think were possible. Nonetheless, eco-friendly requirements are not present. It is now left for you to determine that which suits you.