LifeProof Vinyl Plank Flooring Review | 2021 Home Flooring Pros

What is LifeProof Vinyl Flooring?

Lifeproof vinyl plank flooring is a budget friendly, waterproof rigid core EVP (engineered vinyl plank), sold exclusively at Home Depot for between $2.69 and $3.99 per sq.ft.

Welcome to another Home Flooring 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 and clean LifeProof vinyl and a price comparison table, so feel free to use the quick links below to zip back and forth.

lifeproof vinyl flooring review
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Who Makes 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 like COREtec and Adura Rigid.

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. Our latest How-to will show you how to clean all types of tile flooring.

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

You can read up on vinyl plank flooring but for now here is a price comparison table to help you compare LifeProof prices with other leading brands.

$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.
Karndean Korlok 6.5mm $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.

14 thoughts on “LifeProof Vinyl Plank Flooring Review | 2021 Home Flooring Pros

  • February 8, 2021 at 6:53 pm
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    Best cleaner to use with my LifeProof laminate?

    Reply
  • January 25, 2021 at 1:56 am
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    I had Lifeproof Chiffon and Lace installed in my condo November 2020 and I loved it! Everyone commented how nice it was. My condo flooded January 11, 2021and the flooring was badly damaged and is buckling on the sides and the seams are ” popping” up. I’m devastated.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2020 at 7:59 pm
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    Recently purchased a home and installed just under 1000 sq. ft. of LifeProof vinyl plank in the basement to replace carpeting. For various reasons, we ended up sleeping in a room with the LifeProof flooring the next day after it had been installed, but this was not an issue as we noticed no odor. This was especially surprising to me as I often notice burning eyes & throat and/or noxious odor from new paint/flooring/cabinetry/etc. even when other people do not notice, or are not bothered by the vapors or odors.

    Before we committed to purchasing the LifeProof, I took a sample of the specific color/style we had chosen and gouged the dickens out of it repeatedly with a wood chisel, partly to determine how easily it would be damaged (which to my relief, damaging it was not as easy as I expected) and to see if I could discern an odor from the scratched portion. To my happy surprise, I could not.

    At first I disliked the non-shiny, matte finish of this flooring but have come to appreciate it very much as it is both beautiful and not slippery. In the color we chose (Fresh Oak) it looks similar to a traditional Tung oil finish on unstained wood – so much so that some of the carpenters working upstairs came down to check out the LifeProof flooring – running their hands along the plank surface to feel the texture and commenting how good it looked.

    I was originally against using any vinyl plank flooring at all, due to having experiencing noxious odor in several homes we toured which had recently had “vinyl plank flooring” installed. I now know that those homes definitely did NOT have LifeProof vinyl plank floors. My perspective has changed from being totally against vinyl plank to totally happy with this specific LifeProof product.

    Vacuum or run a microfiber dust mop regularly to keep the floor clean and slip resistant – follow the care instructions and cleaner recommendations if more intensive cleaning is needed – and don’t drag furniture across it or you risk scratching the flooring. Hope this is helpful information and you have good luck finding a product to meet your needs.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2020 at 5:42 pm
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    How do we order stair nose strips? Cannot seem to get them from Home Depot. Can we order directly through the company – Thunder Wood Luxury Laminate.

    Reply
  • July 8, 2020 at 12:33 pm
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    We just installed over smaller tiles and there was no problem. Looks great.

    Reply
  • May 10, 2020 at 11:51 pm
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    Is there any info related to :
    “Low-VOC
    LifeProof vinyl planks and tiles are FloorScore certified to be low-VOC products without phthalates or formaldehyde.”
    What’s the VOC amount in grams/per liter?
    Any complaints about smell from people with allergies, and, or chemical sensitivities?

    Reply
  • March 18, 2020 at 9:54 pm
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    This is an impressive product !
    Replaced builder grade carpeting in master Bedroom. 3 dogs abused that carpet. Installed LifeProof on concrete. The preparation was the hard part. Moving furniture, removing old carpet & padding, scraping uneven concrete.

    I’m 60 years old. I worked hard & I’m pretty sore and tired now. But this product is user friendly in many ways. It looks great. Easy to maintain. 1/4” spacers, rubber mallet, tape measure, utility knife, jig saw, speed square, & a good pair of knee pads will get the job done.

    I had very little wasted product. Mark, score with utility knife & snap. Then start your next row with the piece you cut off. Staggers your planks without wasted product. For short cuts & rips I used a jig saw.
    I highly recommend LifeProof vinyl plank flooring.

    Reply
  • November 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm
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    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
  • October 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm
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    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
    • March 11, 2020 at 9:22 am
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      I am thinking of installing trail oak as well. Do you have a picture of it in your house? My friends told me not to do it because it is very dull and not scratch resistence.. what are your thoughts?

      Reply
      • April 5, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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        I had trail oak installed in my downstairs including kitchen and half bath. I thought I would love the color, but there are other colors I wish I had gone with. I have had no problems with any scratches.

        Reply
    • March 26, 2020 at 9:06 am
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      I am wondering what gap a reducer transition piece can handle. We have 5/8 of an incredible difference between our LifeProof vinyl and our tile.

      Reply
  • October 17, 2018 at 7:50 am
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    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
  • September 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm
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    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

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