Is there a "best" vinyl plank flooring manufacturer?

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by diykelly, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. diykelly

    diykelly Member

    Background: new construction home. LVP will go on approximately 2000 sf, above a finished basement, with a water resistant plywood subfloor. (I'm not sure of the brand, but it's not just plain plywood.)
    My builder will be providing the installer.

    I feel like the research I've done on various websites narrows me down to these three manufacturers. (listed in no particular order)

    1. Modin
    2. Karndean
    3. Coretec Plus XL

    Is there something I should be aware of when making my final decision or does it just come down to which brand has the best color choice for me? Any comments are welcome. I still have some time to make a decision.

    Also, what underlayment are recommended to help with noise and comfort? Can I use additional underlayment under the Coretec which already has 1/8" cork attached?
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    We just got done with 4500 sq ft. Of vinyl plank for a builders home. Glue down, this picture is over plywood that got rained on thru Windows. We grinded layer of plywood, skim coated twice.

    I was asked about what a good brand vinyl plank was this morning as I answered phone from someone calling me third time in about a week, I guess they really need to contact me. I haven't listened to messages in a week also. He was in the business and wants me to remove tile. He asked about Tarkett, I said it was decent product but avoid their floating transcends. Not sure about your labeled brands, I feel Armstrong and Mannington are good quality.

    Your home should be acclimated, plywood tested for moisture content for a few weeks, it should be installed "at living conditions" to maintain stability of entire materials in home.

    Attached Files:

  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Diykelly, I hope you are not asking about a floating floor. That's a bad way to start a new home, especially with that amount of square footage. I and prob'ly many other pros recommend glue-down, if you are looking to install LVT/LVP.

    The reason I mention floating vs glue-down is because you mentioned underlayment. Are you talking about the kind you roll out and tape together, or about real underlayment that must be nailed/stapled/screwed down? If your subfloor has been treated to make it water resistant, then a vinyl plank adhesive may have an adverse reaction to it. In that case, I suggest a layer of 3/8" (min) underlayment quality plywood.

    I like Karndean, but there are several very good brand names. You're only talking manufacturers though and not specifying one of the various qualities. It's like asking which is better, Ford or Chevrolet. WHICH Ford or Chevy model? Stay away from the cheap products (less than $2.50psf).

    Just my opinions.

  4. diy,

    Something you may want to pay close attention to when selecting your floor is whether or not the flooring manufacturing even allows or recommends their products be installed over a pad. There are multiple posts and threads on this site regarding the problems that happen when this is done without checking first.

    **I would add, please don't trust the salesman's word ask to see in writing from both the flooring manufacturer and the underlayment manufacturer that the products are compatible.

    Most manufacturers don't like pads under LVP because it allows too much vertical movement at the lock. Remember this is the thinnest part of the individual plank so working it up and down over time weakens and breaks down the locking system causing gapping and plank separation.

    While our industry has gone "Click" crazy with regard to luxury vinyl products, I am not one who has totally jumped on that trend. While click has it's place, it is not the be all end all that many sales people will tell you it is. My perspective is slightly different though as I live a commercial world and we don't typically use as much "click" product in commercial, although it's popular there as well. The reason is it just doesn't perform as well as glue-down over the long haul.

    Just my opinion for what it's worth. Good luck with your poject!:)
  5. I'll throw my hat into the ring for the "help with noise and comfort". They type of underpad allowed is very, very limited. If you want the "best" vinyl plank = karndean glue down (nothing but plywood allowed). If you want "help with noise and comfort" you have to move away from "the best". Oh dear.

    I'm sorry to say but LVT is not known to be quiet. Comfortable to some extent. But quiet? Not really. CoreTech allows 3mm cork underlay ($0.35/sf) OR high end (read: expensive = $0.79/sf - $1.79/sf) vinyl underlay. That's IT! That's all we get to play with. If you want quiet...look to something else. If you want the best LVT you don't get the choice of underpad because you can't glue down to underpad.

    Modin makes mention of "underlayment specifically made for LVT" but they don't mention anything by name. That worries me. Cork is out for sure...because it is not "specifically designed" for LVT.

    And the 'rest' don't mention anything AT ALL. In the building world, if it isn't listed, it isn't allowed. It's not that some technical engineer forgot to write it down. It's missing because it isn't allowed.

    As for vinyl, people are discovering it is a little trickier than original "advertised". Where things are a little cooler, a little bit more humid, etc there is more movement. Where things are a bit drier and warmer there is a bit more shrinkage. Vinyl moves a bit more than anyone could have predicted. And CoreTech (the newest generation) is showing some concerns in basements because people forget that the cork UNDERPAD will EXPAND in the presence of moisture (air moisture as well as slab moisture) and that cork is OVER EXPANDING compared to the vinyl. This is causing tenting and cupping issues that no one had predicted. The culprit: humidity.

    Even with vinyl, you need HVAC control with humidity control. LVT isn't the "godsend" that everyone thought it was. It is "good", but it isn't "perfect" like everyone has been lead to believe.

    Just thought you should know.
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I don't think the sound transmission is noisy with glue down plank. It's basically a wood deck is how I see/hear it. I was a little concerned today about noise on a transition from lvt to ceramic, so I spot siliconed and liquid nailed the transition tapping on it to make sure there would be no rattle. I spot siliconed to allow the liquid nail to dry thru the unsolicited spots.

    Attached Files:

  7. diykelly

    diykelly Member

    thank you for all the info. this is exactly why i registered get the "real" answers.

    the subfloor is not regular plywood, but this: AdvanTech Flooring, AdvanTech Subflooring, AdvanTech Floor | Huber Engineered Woods.

    regarding underlayment, I was inquiring about types to go under floating floor, but it appears that glue down is my best choice so I understand no padding can go down. what do you estimate the cost per sf to install?

    i understand that there is no "perfect" floor, but for what i'm looking for, i believe LVT is my best fit.

    if doing glue down, is there any additional wood subflooring that needs to go down on top of the Huberwood?
    (because if i went with the Modin floating, they require a "double construction with a minimum thickness of 1")
  8. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    IF you choose one of the market share leaders AND buy something middle to high end I can recommend that you choose anything appealing to you in style and color. The products are not much different in quality at comparable price points. Don't look anywhere near the bottom basement quality products or no-name brands.

    It's REALLY critical though that the installers are properly trained and follow correct installation standards. Sorry to say a "builder" generally doesn't know jack about flooring. He's just a middle man trying to control costs and scheduling. If he's in charge of labor you need to watch them like a hawk. Find out if his installation crew has any credentials of any sort and then ENSURE they use premium underlayment and the manufacturer's recommended adhesives.

    Here's a great article about the resilient flooring trends that discusses in detail the companies with the heaviest MARKET SHARE.

    Resilient Flooring Market Update - Feb 2015 -

    Buy American!
  9. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yes, that's subfloor. You'll need a minimum of 1/4" plywood underlayment over that subfloor.
  10. diykelly

    diykelly Member

    Here is my floor plan. The vinyl plank will go everywhere except noted in red. So you're sure with that amount of sf that a floating floor is a bad idea? I don't want transition strips running thru the middle of the living room.

    (hopefully the upload will work)

    Attached Files:

  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    You would need transition strips for a floating floor before you'd need them for a glue-down. You still need to install according to the instructions - proper acclimation, proper expansion gaps, the right adhesive applied with the correct trowel notch, rolling, etc., etc.
  12. JPfloor

    JPfloor Pro Member

    In case you need to hear it again...Yes, bad idea.

    For vinyl plank, a glue down installation is a far superior method of installation as opposed to any brand click or floating flooring. You shouldn't need any expansion joints with a glue down installation.

    If sound deadening is a concern there are pads on the market that can be used. They are not inexpensive, and perform best if glued down. I have used them in commercial applications with good results.

    Search Results For "acoustical underlayment" |
  13. Grant H

    Grant H I'd rather be patting my dog.

    That sounds like a great product...BUT...please ensure with your particular flooring choice that "THEY" (not any retailer, the manufacturer) approve of it with their line. You may end up voiding the warranty.
  14. diykelly

    diykelly Member

    ok, how about this....

    can loose lay (with click lock edges) be glued?

    my life is consumed with googling vinyl flooring and i'm growing weary. :confused: i can't wait for my concerns to be put to rest and feel confident with my final decision.

    or i could win the $billion + powerball lottery and epoxy coat hundred dollar bills to the substrate.
  15. JPfloor

    JPfloor Pro Member

    That's a bad plan.

    Find some quality flush edge planks designed for being glued down that you like, and have them glued down by a professional. Shouldn't be that confusing.
  16. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yes, another layer of Plywood, 3/8" is nice, of Underlayment grade plywood. The Advantech is a subfloor, the plywood which is smooth and flat takes on the wording of underlayment, which is a substrate(material directly under finish floor)

    Advantech is not smooth or acceptable for most if not all vinyl glue down plank. It makes a fine subfloor.
  17. Floor Boss

    Floor Boss Flooring Professional and Mgr. I Support TFP

    I really like LVT and LVP, but prefer glue down installations. The exception would be for single rooms of the rectangular variety and under 300sf, then floating would be ok 'to me.'
    Of all the problems I've inspected, most of the problems come from floating installations.... cupping, ledging edges, pinch points, vertical obstructions, gapping joints, and more. The repairs of which are cumbersome and usually do not solve the future!
    Glue downs do not have nearly this much trouble and they are also quite easy to repair.
    Go Glue Down!
  18. If you want Modin...then you better make sure they allow a glue down option. Not all vinyls allow gluing...not all allow floating.

    Direct from the Modin Installation Instructions themselves:

    1. Modin Vinyll Plank is a floating floor and should not be glued or nailed to the subfloor.

    I guess that answers that question.

    Modin does NOT mention a maximum run for their planks....but we've had enough people complain about problems with floating vinyl floors (especially long runs like your home) that it would be advisable to use transition strips where appropriate (through doorways and natural "pinch points").
  19. SteveG

    SteveG Pro Member

    Gluedown - I really like Karndean. They have great looks and the quality is definitely there.

    Floating - Coretec Plus

    This is obviously just an opinion - but since OP was asking for opinions, I figured I'd throw mine in
  20. diykelly

    diykelly Member

    I'm so excited! I've been emailing Flooret (the people who sell Modin) about glueing and this was their reply. i really like this floor because it's "substantial" and not flimsy and thin.
    these are the plank specs: 9"wide, 59" long, 1.0 MM wear layer (40 mil), 5.0 MM thick!


    Attached Files:


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