Updated for 2020
Over the past few months we’ve received a number of emails and comments about COREtec Plus engineered LVT plank and tile flooring, so in response here’s our in-depth COREtec flooring review of the company and their flooring products. For further vinyl flooring reviews click here. You may also be interested in our core vinyl flooring guides
In fact COREtec flooring is produced by a company called USFloors. Based in Dalton, Georgia, the company was established in 2001 primarily importing and marketing cork and bamboo flooring.
A few years later – when the company bought Natural Cork – USFloors became the leading US cork flooring provider and not long after that they opened their first domestic factory – manufacturing cork, bamboo and hardwood floors.
Today USFloors also have facilities in Shanghai, China, and offer a large range of flooring products for both commercial and residential use including cork, strand woven bamboo, FSC-certified hardwoods, LVT, and cork underlayments. And one of their largest product ranges is now their USFloors COREtec Plus luxury vinyl flooring.
There are now several different COREtec collections including COREtec Plus and COREtec Pro Plus flooring range, each featuring a specific look or style, but all of them share the same construction.
Let’s review their specifications.
- A wear layer of at least 0.5 mm/20 mil which is rated for commercial use protects the durable and resilient luxury vinyl top layer.
- A luxury vinyl design layer – the wood or stone textured image that mimics the look and feel of the real thing.
- The core structural layer that is 100% waterproof and gives the plank or tile its strength. Depending on the product this core is either a mineral compound or a polymer product.
- The final layer that sits against the subfloor is an integrated cork underlayment which works both as additional soundproofing and is resistant to mold and mildew.
- Either Lifetime Limited or 25-year Limited warranties on all COREtec products for residential use.
- All COREtec products have achieved the GreenGuard Gold Certification for low chemical emissions, so COREtec is one of the safest LVT products currently on the market.
There is also the COREtec One range – the very first in the COREtec products – which has a similar construction to COREtec Plus flooring except that it does not have a cork backing.
Installing COREtec products is straight forward. You can hire a professional contractor to do the job or save yourself that cost and do it yourself. Let’s look at the important features of COREtec installation.
- Easy to install. As with many LVT products on the market, COREtec is easy to install and can be done by an experienced DIYer. The instructions provided on their website are very detailed and even tell you what tools you’ll need. LINK
- No acclimation needed. One big advantage is that you don’t need to wait for COREtec products to acclimate to the local environment; however, the company do recommend that when you install COREtec you keep ambient temperature controlled to around 70°F (21°C).
- Floating Floor Method: All COREtec products can usually be installed as a floating floor but should always be installed with the direct glue-down method if heavy furnishings or loads are going to be used on the floor; the company naturally recommends using their own brand flooring adhesive.
- Underlayment not always necessary: COREtec luxury vinyl tiles have an integrated cork underlayment on each plank so, depending on your floor, you may not need extra underlayment.
- Compatible with radiant heating: COREtec can also be installed over some radiant heating systems.
Assuming instructions and recommendations have been followed carefully, the robust 4-layer construction will result in a great floor that should last a long time.
To Get Started
COREtec Cleaning & Maintenance
Because COREtec floors are waterproof, they are just as easy to keep clean as other non-porous flooring such as ceramic tiles. To keep your COREtec floor looking its best here are our top tips:
- Vacuum or sweep with a broom regularly to remove dust and debris; be sure to use a vacuum cleaner that is optimised for use on hard flooring surfaces.
- For more stubborn dirt and spills, you can then mop with a suitable floor cleaning detergent such as Bona.
- Use felt pads under furniture legs, and be careful when moving furniture around to avoid scratching your floor.
- LVT floors can be susceptible to discoloration when in direct sunlight, so consider adding drapes or blinds in rooms that get the most sun.
Now let’s take a closer look and review the different product lines in the COREtec flooring range:
This is the main collection of COREtec products for regular residential use. Within this collection are 11 ranges such as Plus Design, Plus Enhanced, Plus Premium and Plus HD. Understanding the different ranges is a bit complicated at times, in our opinion.
Sometimes the different ranges are defined by different design values in terms of either size or aesthetics – for example COREtec Plus Enhanced tiles and planks have more detailed, realistic stone or wood looks due to a 4-sided painted bevel.
And in some of the ranges the construction method is slightly different, for example COREtec Plus Premium planks are made of an enhanced version of the patented COREtec construction to offer a softer, warmer and quieter plank.
With these 11 different ranges the COREtec Plus collection provides a HUGE choice of styles and sizes in both in wood look planks and stone look tiles, including some super wide and extra long planks at 21” x 180”.
COREtec Pro Plus products range in price from $6.50 to $8.55 per square foot.
The original COREtec collection is still in production and still offers a good alternative to glue down LVT. Plank dimensions are 6” x 48”and the range comes in 12 nicely varied colorways.
COREtec One products are currently priced at $5.45 per square foot.
COREtec Pro Plus
The COREtec Pro Plus collection is essentially an improved version of the Plus collection, with a construction method that gives a tougher product suitable for high traffic residential or commercial use.
The Pro Plus collection divides into 7 ranges, including the COREtec Pro Plus Enhanced HD that have a remarkably realistic look and texture; and the COREtec Pro Plus XL ranges which feature extra long planks.
COREtec Pro Plus products are available in both wood look and stone look versions and the products retail between $4.90 and $5.99 per square foot.
The COREtec Galaxy collection was the first Pro series that was produced by COREtec, to offer a better performing LVT product for high traffic areas.
There are 10 wood look planks (pine or oak) in the collection, offering enough differences in color and style to suit most homes. All the planks in this collection are 7” x 48”.
This is great option for essentially commercial grade flooring at a value price as COREtec Galaxy planks cost around at $4.69 per square foot.
This is COREtec’s most recent flooring product to reach the market (launched in 2019), and features – as you might guess – extremely beautiful and realistic wood look planks with a brand new construction method: the COREtec mineral core.
Like the polymer core that other COREtec products have, the mineral core is 100% waterproof, so that they can be installed in any environment including in the basement and the bathroom without any fear of buckling or warping over time.
The collection currently comes in 16 different wood look designs (oak and hickory) in a range of colors including deep browns, grays, tans and creams.
All COREtec Wood planks are sized 7” x 72”, and are priced at $8.49 per square foot.
To finish off your COREtec flooring project there is also a good range of moldings to match each style of floor. The moldings are 94” long and are available in Quarter Round, T-Mold, Reducer, Baby Threshold, Stair Cap and Stair Nose.
The recommended retail price for the USFloors COREtec flooring is as described above, depending on the collection between $4.69 and $8.49 but we have seen it for sale at a number of different retailers priced between $3.80 and $7.99 so it is worth taking the time to shop around for the best prices.
COREtec Plus floors are just one example of a new breed of luxury vinyl flooring that falls under the generic name of rigid core flooring. There are many other rigid core products competing for your attention and below is a table showing how COREtec Plus prices compare to other leading brands.
|Brand||Price per square foot|
|MSI||$1.60 – $3.50|
|Islander||$1.70 – $3.85|
|Smartcore||$2.00 – $3.70|
|NuCore||$2.35 – $3.80|
|LifeProof||$2.79 – $4.39|
|Armstrong Luxe Rigid Core||$2.79 – $4.39|
|Armstrong Element||$3.30 – $4.60|
|Mohawk SolidTech||$3.50 – $6.25|
|Mannington Adura Rigid||$3.60 – $4.60|
|COREtec Plus||$3.80 – $7.99|
|Armstrong Pryzm||$4.90 – $8.00|
To Get Started
Over the years COREtec has grown to become a major player in the Luxury Vinyl flooring market, offering very comprehensive collections of products to suit every home.
We think that COREtec Plus is a good quality vinyl tile brand and well worth your consideration. For areas with heavy traffic, such as the kitchen, COREtec Pro Plus products are worth investing in.
COREtec reviews on several prominent flooring and renovation websites suggest customers have been happy with the look and feel of their COREtec flooring.
On the whole, those customers that have had a negative experience with the product have also agreed that the product was badly installed in the first place. In fact, as with many flooring products, it is highly recommended that you work with a tried and trusted flooring installer.