LifeProof Vinyl Flooring: Reviews, Pros/Cons, Installation and Cost

Welcome to another HomeFlooring Pros flooring review, this week we bring you our review, and other consumer reviews, of LifeProof rigid core luxury vinyl flooring. There’s a lot to get through, including how to install LifeProof and price comparison tables, so feel free to use the quick links below to zip back and forth.

What is LifeProof VinylPros & ConsInstallationCleaningPricesConsumer Reports

What is LifeProof Vinyl Flooring

LifeProof is a rigid luxury vinyl flooring made by Halstead New England Industries, sold exclusively at Home Depot and competes head to head with top rigid-core brands.

Rigid Core Construction:

  • Base

    An attached underlayment absorbs impact for walking/standing comfort. It reduces noise and provides insulation too.

  • Core

    This LifeProof vinyl plank flooring has a closed-cell PVC foam core it calls ISOCORE. The core makes it both lighter and stronger than sheet vinyl floor material.

  • Top

    The wear layer is new vinyl (it’s not recycled). It is embossed with woodgrain texture or stone texture. Ceramic beads are infused into the wear layer for durability and resistance to scratches. Top and bottom layers are treated with an antimicrobial to prevent mold.

  • Interlocking design

    Interlocking tabs hold the pieces together but can be damaged when taking them apart.

LifeProof Product Specs

LifeProof luxury vinyl plank flooring comes in three thicknesses, each with several style options:

  • 6.5mm: 8 styles, each in a variety of colors. Multi-width Seasoned Wood and Walton Oak, 7” Shadow Hickory, Tekoa Oak, Seaside Oak and Essential Oak are all.6”. Breezy Stone and Starry Light 16”x32”.
  • 7 mm: 5 styles in multiple colors. 8.7” Trail Oak, Sterling Oak, Fresh Oak and Scratch Stone all 47.6” long. Biscayne Oak is 4.72”x28.35” with herringbone look.
  • 8 mm: 3 styles in several colors. Ocala Oak is 8.7” x 59.4”. Alys Oak is 8.7”x72”. The Alys Oak is distinguished by its length and higher cost. Longer planks cut installation time.

 

LifeProof Luxury Vinyl Flooring Pros and Cons

There is much to like about this resilient flooring, but we want to mention a few disadvantages too.

LifeProof Vinyl Advantages:

  • Style choices

    The style and color options detailed above are good, if not great. As you browse your choices at a Home Depot store or online at homedepot.com, you’ll likely find several options for the look you want. For example, Seasoned Wood has a weathered look. Walton Oak is grainy and rustic. Ocala Oak is clean and contemporary. Then you’ve got the stone and herringbone styles mentioned above. Lights, mediums and darks are offered in most lines.

  • Quality construction

    The LifeProof Rigid Core multilayer approach with a wear layer enhanced with ceramic beads should produce excellent long-term stability and wear.

  • Thin and lightweight yet strong

    The ISOCORE foam core gives the material rigidity and strength normally found in thicker, heavier materials. It is easy to work with, and slight imperfections or tile grout beneath won’t show through the flooring.

  • Easy installation for most

    While pro installation is the best route to ensuring a proper fit and long-lasting results, experienced DIY homeowners do find this material easy to install. See the Review section below for installation problems experienced by some.

  • It covers “anything”

    As long as the floor beneath it is in decent shape without rises and low spots, this luxury vinyl material will transform your floors with little preparation required.

  • Works with radiant heated floors

    LifeProof is ideal for installation over radiant heat flooring. There are a few simple guidelines to follow in the Installation Guide to ensure success.

  • Durability

    We expect this flooring will require replacing in 6-10 years in commercial settings and in 15-20 years in residential settings. Traffic and maintenance will significantly affect durability. The Lifetime and 5-year warranties cover material defects

  • Low-VOC

    LifeProof vinyl planks and tiles are FloorScore certified to be low-VOC products without phthalates or formaldehyde.

  • Resistance to moisture and mold

    LifeProof planks are waterproof and treated to prevent mold and mildew when installed in basements, kitchens, baths, entryways and laundry rooms.

  • Residential Warranty

    The Lifetime warranty for residential use is significantly better than most. It is not prorated and does not have excessive qualifications that make it easy for the manufacturer to deny warranty claims.

  • Easy care

    This is low-maintenance flooring. Details are below.

LifeProof Vinyl Disadvantages:

  • DIY damage

    This is easily the top con. A significant percentage of DIY installers report that the interlocking tabs can break during installation or if pieces must be separated after installation.

  • Commercial warranty length

    The 5-year commercial warranty is shorter than those offered by some competing products. For example, CoreTec Plus luxury vinyl flooring has a 10-year commercial warranty to go with the Lifetime residential coverage.

  • Non-transferable

    The warranty applies to the first owner only, whether residential or commercial. That takes some of the shine off the Lifetime warranty.

  • Not so green

    This flooring is not made with any recycled material, though many building products are. While it is recyclable, the limited number of vinyl recycling facilities cannot accommodate the volume. Most vinyl flooring is sent to landfills.

  • It’s not wood

    Maybe this doesn’t need to be said. But if you want the benefits of genuine wood and don’t mind the TLC it requires, you can have solid hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring for about twice the cost.

LifeProof Vinyl Flooring Installation

Hiring an experienced installer is essential. The manufacturer of LifeProof flooring, Halstead New England makes it clear that it, “will decline responsibility for damages associated with improper installation or poor site conditions.” Apparently, the manufacturer is aware of the complaints about damaging the interlocking tabs while installing or removing planks and tiles.

The information in this section should be discussed with installers you interview when getting estimates for the work.

How LifeProof installs

LifeProof luxury vinyl flooring has interlocking “drop and lock” end joints for floating installation. The manufacturer specifically prohibits gluing because it would not allow the flooring to expand and contract with normal changes in environmental conditions.

An expansion gap of ¼” is required around the perimeter of the floor to allow for normal expansion and contraction. Do not install baseboard tight enough to the flooring to prevent this expansion/contraction.

Where to Install

LifeProof flooring can be installed over standard OSB and plywood underlayment and many existing floor types.

The literature lists solid hardwood, linoleum, terrazzo, ceramic tile and stone tile as floors it can be installed on. Add concrete to that list too.

It can be installed above, at and below grade in residential and commercial settings. The space must be indoors and/or climate controlled.

In sub-grade installations, consult your flooring installer about using a moisture barrier to prevent moisture migration upwards that might affect the performance of LifeProof luxury vinyl plank and tile. The barrier should be a minimum of 6 mil thick. Overlap seams 6” and tape them.

Where not to install

Unsuitable locations include outdoors, sunrooms, saunas, covered porches and other locations with extreme variations. If campers, RVs, boats and vehicles will be stored in the space, use another flooring type.

Preparation

If there are imperfections beneath, they can often be sanded or patched at little cost to prepare the floor for LifeProof. Note that grout lines larger than ¼” wide must be filled to create a level foundation.

While acclimation for humidity is not necessary, the material should be stored indoors and installed at temperatures above 50F and not greater than 100F.

Inspection

It’s acceptable to open 4 boxes of material prior to installation to inspect for color variation and defects and decide whether to return the flooring. Each box should be inspected as it is opened, since per the literature, “Installing defective planks implies acceptance.”

Prohibitions

You should not install this flooring on stairs or over carpet, other floating floors including laminate, rubber, cork, foam underlayment or cushioned vinyl. Those floor types don’t provide the stability required and might void the warranty.

LifeProof and Radiant floor heating

Radiant tubing must be ½” beneath the concrete surface. In new installations, run the radiant system for two weeks prior to installation to eliminate the chance for the concrete to contract after installation. The manufacturer also requires that the HVAC system in new construction be operational to maintain consistent temperature and humidity conditions.

There is additional technical information and installation tips in the LifeProof Installation Instructions your installer should be familiar with.

Cleaning and Maintenance

LifeProof vinyl flooring is an easy floor to keep clean and maintain with just a few tips:

Cleaning Loose dirt

Use a dust mop or vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris. If your vacuum has a rotating brush/beater bar, turn it off. Better yet, purchase a hard-floor vacuum without a beater bar to protect your investment.

We recommend sweeping or vacuuming one time per week for each member or your household including pets.

Cleaning Spills and pet accidents

Sop up spills immediately, and then wash the area with a mild detergent. This is vital for acidic spills like wine, juice and soda. Rinse the area to remove detergent residue that might cloud the surface.

Cleaning Sticky stuff

Spray stuck-on dirt with warm water or wet a cloth and let it sit on the area for 3-5 minutes. Wipe and rinse the area.

When to Protect the floor

Use paint, dyes and harsh chemicals somewhere else. If that’s not possible, cover the floor in your work area with a plastic drop cloth.

Mopping schedule and tips

Mop the floor as needed (at least monthly) with a pH-neutral vinyl floor cleaning solution. Change mop water and change or rinse cleaning cloths as they become visibly soiled. Going over the floor with a clean mop and water for a final rinse will remove residue and streaking.

Mats Do: Place shoe mats outside/off the vinyl flooring. Dirt beneath mats acts like sandpaper on any flooring when walked upon. It will scratch and mar the surface. The mats should be labeled “colorfast” if they will be placed on the flooring.

Don’t Use Rubber Mats

Do not use rubber-backed mats on the flooring, because they might react chemically and darken the vinyl.

Other things to avoid

Do not use these items on your LifeProof LVT flooring – A steam cleaner, vacuum with a rotating brush, wax, oil, polish, steel wool, scouring pad or furniture cleaner.

LifeProof Damage Prevention

Avoid damaging your floor with these precautions:

  • Use nylon or felt protective pads beneath furniture legs and clean them as needed.
  • Lift and move furniture instead of dragging it.
  • Use hard-surface non-studded chair mats for office chairs. Broad-surface casters are also recommended.
  • Keep pet nails trimmed.
  • Avoid walking on the flooring with golf spikes, stiletto heels and similar footwear.

Prices and Options

LifeProof vinyl flooring prices are competitively priced with its major competitors. The first table shows LifeProof flooring costs.

LifeProof Luxury Vinyl Plank and Tile Price Comparison Table

$2.79/sq.ft.
Thickness
$2.99 /sq.ft.
Thickness
$3.49/sq.ft.
Thickness
$4.39/sq.ft.
Thickness
Seasoned Wood 6.5mm Breezy Stone 6.5mm Biscayne Oak 7mm Amherst Oak 8mm
Essential Oak 6.5mm Starry Light 6.5mm Brookland Oak 8mm
Walton Oak 6.5mm Fresh Oak 7mm Alys Oak 8mm
Shadow Hickory 6.5mm Trail Oack 7mm
Seaside Oak 6.5mm Scratch Stone 7mm
Tekoa Oak 6.5mm Burnt Oak 7mm
Sterling Oak 7mm Lighthouse Oak 7mm
Woodacres Oak 7mm
Ocala Oak 8mm

The wear layer for LifeProof flooring is 6 mils with these exceptions:
Ocala Oak: 12 mils
Amerst Oak: 22 mils
Brookland Oak: 22 mils
Alys Oak: 22 mils

This table shows costs for other top luxury vinyl plank and tile that has a rigid core.

Other Rigid Luxury Vinyl Flooring Options and Prices

Brand
Thickness
Cost
TrafficMaster Allure Ultra 5.0mm $2.99/sq. ft.
SmartCore 5.5mm $2.79/sq. ft.
SmartCore Ultra 7.5mm $3.29/sq. ft.
Congoleum Structure 7.25mm $4.15/sq. ft.
Armstrong Luxe Rigid Core 8mm $3.79/sq. ft.
CoreTec One 6.3mm $2.99/sq. ft.
CoreTec Plus 8.0mm $3.99/sq. ft.
CoreTec Plus XL 8.3mm $4.99/sq. ft.
CoreLuxe 8.0mm $3.39/sq. ft.
Envee Rigid Core 6mm $3.69/sq. ft.
TritonCORE 8mm $3.79/sq. ft.

Consumer Reviews

What do home and business owners think of LifeProof flooring? Here’s a sampling from across the ratings spectrum. On Home Depot, most LifeProof products have ratings between 4 and 5 Stars.

“We used 6.5mm LifeProof in our master suite because it is waterproof. The wood-look is spot-on, and the flooring is much warmer to the feet than the ceramic tile we replaced in the bath. Our contractor installed 435 square feet in less than a day.” 5 Stars –Rochelle

“Our installer laid this in our 1,250+/- basement right over the concrete. He patched a couple cracks first, however, so they wouldn’t show through. It’s been almost a year. The flooring is holding up well. The patches are not showing/wearing through. It’s 8mm and very comfortable to walk on in without shoes.” 5 Stars – Windy City Michele

“DIY installation went OK, but when I had to pull up a few planks to reset them properly, the tongue/groove connection was damaged. Happy with the look/feel of the flooring, but don’t recommend DIY unless you’re experienced and willing to take the risk of having to use a few extra planks.” 4 Stars – Gene77

“The Ocala Oak is gorgeous, but snapping the pieces together was a major pain. #DesignFlaw” 3 Stars – Brill

“Scratches beneath our dining chairs showed up within a month. We haven’t put sliders or pads on the chairs yet, but it scratched too quickly, in our view.” 2 Stars – Mizzou 92

“Attractive vinyl, but bad design. Used 40% more than necessary due to breaking tabs off pieces. Then, the butts wouldn’t stay down.” 1 Star Jose T

These reviews make clear that the flooring is gorgeous, warm and comfortable, but there is one potential problem – the interlocking design.

In our opinion, the problematic installation some experience isn’t sufficient reason to avoid LifeProof. But we do recommend having the flooring professionally installed.

For another popular luxury vinyl option take a look at our Amrstrong Luxe plank review.

29 thoughts on “LifeProof Vinyl Flooring: Reviews, Pros/Cons, Installation and Cost

  • September 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm
    Permalink

    I have sunken living room (thanks ’80’s) with two steps down. Is it possible to install this product on the two steps and if not, any suggestions for what to use?
    Also, what do you use for thresholds to front and back doors?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2018 at 4:26 pm
    Permalink

    The installation when it got started went well the installers were perfect gentlemen and polite.
    the floor looks better than I expected. Its great to walk on.

    Reply
  • September 9, 2018 at 8:54 am
    Permalink

    I prefer some of the 6.5 lifeproof tile colors to the 8.5 tiles. Makes common sense that the 8.5 would last longer/be damaged less than the thinner 6.5. What is the manufacturer’s statement about the difference in quality between these two thicknesses?

    Reply
  • September 13, 2018 at 4:51 pm
    Permalink

    Brand new floor and it looks and feels marvellous but I have already caused a small scratch. Is there an easy fix to this?

    Reply
  • September 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm
    Permalink

    Went to our local hobby/craft shop and found a felt marker than was almost a perfect match for our sea side oak color. It does scratch much easier than the product implies.

    Reply
  • September 28, 2018 at 11:06 pm
    Permalink

    I’m reading mixed reviews…

    Thanks for this in depth look at this flooring…

    My question is – Can this be installed over DMX airflow that has been installed on top of concrete!?!?!?

    Half say yes and Hal say NO…

    It would appear that the compressive strength of the DMX should not compromise the integrity of these planks…but I’m NOT willing to spend $7000 to find out…

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
  • October 1, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    Permalink

    I have your Life Proof flooring in my house and really like it.
    There is a statement that says use a low ph neutral floor cleaner to mop it with.
    Can you give me names of the these cleaners please !

    Reply
  • October 9, 2018 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    Is lifeproof flooring installed in a kitchen; under an oven (on short legs) a fire hazzard

    Reply
  • October 17, 2018 at 7:50 am
    Permalink

    Clean your floors with vinegar water,boma,swifter

    A dip in the floors need to be fixed first

    Tongue and groove to avoid breaking tap at the locked in

    Reply
  • October 17, 2018 at 12:36 pm
    Permalink

    I see that a steam floor cleaner is to be avoided. I love my Shark floor cleaner. Why is a steam floor cleaner to be avoided?

    Reply
  • October 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm
    Permalink

    I would also like to know the names of the floor cleaners for our newly installed Trail Oak Vinyl Plank flooring. I would like something that gives the floor a little shine, as it has a dull finish.
    Thank you.
    B. B.

    Reply
    • July 7, 2019 at 8:31 pm
      Permalink

      Did you ever find something that worked well. We just finished ours and I feel the same way.

      Reply
  • November 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm
    Permalink

    Can this be installed on stairs?

    Reply
  • November 9, 2018 at 1:14 am
    Permalink

    Bona is a ph neutral cleaner

    Reply
  • November 21, 2018 at 1:50 pm
    Permalink

    I’m planning on installing LifeProof in a bathroom/laundry room with a stackable washer dryer. My concern is the weight and vibration of the washer/dryer causing issues with LifeProof.

    Any recommendations on this for the area

    Reply
  • November 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm
    Permalink

    Life proof flooring I was told I could do it myself, well I did it myself it took two days I cut my thumb open that’s my Own dumb fault. It doesn’t snap together like the guy at home depot said I must have used a tap
    Block and my mallet a million times the mallet dose not have much left to it.. two days latter my knees hurt well everything hurts but it looks good.. it’s just not as easy as the videos or employees say.. good luck to you and don’t cut off part of your thumb like I did.. I have forever left blood under my grand new lifeproof , now that’s American

    Reply
  • December 5, 2018 at 12:23 am
    Permalink

    I’ve installed almost 1,400 sq. ft. of Lifeproof flooring in our home. Choice Oak, Sterling Oak, Rustic Wood in bedrooms and Alpine Backwoods multi- width in main living area. I’m no pro, but have some experience and found installation to be fairly easy without any issues. It’s held up to our active 3 kids (and their friends) and our 90 lb. pit bull, no problem.

    Personally, I’d recommend this flooring to anyone. If you take your time, install properly and follow recommendations for cleaning and surface protection, you should have no problems and a floor you can enjoy for years and years.

    Reply
  • December 10, 2018 at 11:28 pm
    Permalink

    I agree with Morgan C, It’s as if we experienced the same. The mallet is beat, I smashed my finger, took two days, some small complications on setting a few in. Again no major problems but definitely not as easy as made in video. Looks great but took my time, two small dogs, felt pads under furniture. We are very satisfied. Getting ready to do another room soon.

    Reply
  • January 17, 2019 at 5:22 pm
    Permalink

    I installed 1150 sq.Ft. of the Seasoned Wood style LifeProof flooring and all in all I would recommend it just fine . It mimics the look of wood better than most any other Vinyl product out there and it installs fairly easy.

    I installed this as new construction directly over the concrete slab with minimal effort. A sharp X-Acto knife, a pair of knee pads and a tapping block are the most required items. It cuts easily with a slight score line and intricate cuts can be done quickly with a jig saw with fine tooth blade .

    The most common complaint I read is broken tabs and that is true if you are not careful with how you handle the pieces . Even a slight bump against the wall or floor on the tongue side will crack or break a pc off. Once installed it is very strong though. If you do damage a pc it can still be used , just be sure to remove any loose pieces as even the slightest debris under the interlocking joints will cause it to not seat firmly no matter how hard you hit it with the mallet .

    I suggest never to hit it directly with the mallet either, instead use a 6-8″ long pc of 2X4 wood that spreads the impact over a larger area and pops in the whole seam at once. We looked at many different brands and styles of flooring and this was a good purchase .

    Reply
    • February 23, 2019 at 6:02 pm
      Permalink

      So glad I saw your comment. We are installing it today and were having quite an issue with the seams not being flat. Then I saw your comment and we took out those pieces and found tiny “crumbs” underneath. Problem solved.

      Reply
  • January 31, 2019 at 1:33 am
    Permalink

    Is the PVC in the LifeProof flooring an environmental problem? PVC can be quite toxic, but I’m wondering if the amount of it or the way that it is made into the planks is something to be concerned about.

    Reply
    • April 7, 2019 at 8:53 am
      Permalink

      I am concerned of off gassing, our air quality ratings are off the charts. Can someone suggest a sealant?

      Reply
  • February 21, 2019 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    I had the vinyl laminate installed on my lower level (bi-level house) and there was some type of sewer clean out drain that was found under the carpet. They had to cut around it and said they could not cover it. Does the company sell some type of aesthetically pleasing cover for this situation?

    Reply
  • March 3, 2019 at 7:22 pm
    Permalink

    I know it already has an underpayment built in.. but is it ok if I add another underlayment for extra moisture protection and cushioning ? Or would it cause issues ?

    Reply
  • March 14, 2019 at 10:25 pm
    Permalink

    We are planning to install it over our tiled floor. Do we need fill in all the grout lines? and if so, what is the best product to use?
    TIA

    Reply
  • April 12, 2019 at 1:42 pm
    Permalink

    I am installing a new floor over OSB subfloor LIFEPROOF, Sterling Oak, 7mm, and have been advised by Home Depot they will NOT warranty the installation if I use Quiet Walk, acoustical underlayment for Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring. Quiet Walk is approved by National Wood Flooring Assoc. (nwfa) and NALFA North America Laminate Flooring Assoc. ?? Can you recommend a “Sound Barrier,” underlayment as a Sound Barrier? The new flooring is on the top floor and bedrooms on the floor below. Thanks for your help and assistance

    Reply
  • May 17, 2019 at 10:22 am
    Permalink

    My wife purchased Restored Wood at Home Depot for a bathroom. She showed me the sample and I see the flooring is highly grained and textured. I am afraid dirt and other debris will accumulate in the groves and really won’t get clean. I told her to cancel and reselect. Am I being paranoid- how do you determine which floor selections are smooth on the surface for easy cleaning.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2019 at 11:49 pm
    Permalink

    Does anyone know how sound proof this LifeProof product is? I am installing this on the 2nd floor. I can’t find any information about a necessary sound barrier. Any recommendations/suggestions?

    thanks

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 6:35 pm
    Permalink

    Life Proof flooring comes in only 4 patterns plus another 4 that are the same, but reversed. It would seem simple enough to put one of each in a box of 8. That is not the case. Some boxes had 6 or 7 of the same and I ended up with a very imbalanced load. I returned 2 boxes that were all the same and 2 more on the next load. They were just put back on the pile for the next person to deal with. They don’t allow you to go through boxes in the store (because opened boxes are not saleable, I’m told). The only option then would be to order lots extra and return the extras in opened boxes.

    I would have returned the lot, but I had already started flooring. The first batch I picked up was reasonably balanced. Except for this, it is good flooring. I would not recommend it for anyone wanting more variation, especially over large spaces, or don’t want the inconvenience of sorting and returning flooring.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *