Is Optimax Flooring Any Good? – Review In A Nutshell
Optimax Flooring Costs $3.79 – $4.99 per Sq/Ft
Optimax is a unique hybrid flooring, halfway between laminate and vinyl, and our pros found it easy to install, although somewhat brittle at the joints and edges. The cost of OptiMax is higher than comparable waterproof rigid floor options, and customer complaints are higher than average. As a result, we suggest considering a high-quality waterproof laminate or WPC vinyl plank ahead of Optimax flooring.
Last Updated: September 19, 2023, by: Greca Fotopoulos
Our team of home flooring pros have put Floor and Decor’s Optimax flooring through its paces and here are the results. Read on to discover who manufactures Optimax, what it’s made of and what styles and specifications are available. We look at warranties and installation before finishing with a selection of customer reviews and our conclusion.
OPTIMAX FLOORING OVERVIEW
OptiMax flooring is a rigid flooring that mimics hardwood flooring and stone tile. Its core is made of polymer-coated wood fibers. The material is waterproof, unlike genuine hardwood, so it can be installed anywhere in your home and wet mopped or even steam mopped as needed.
The full name of the flooring is OptiMax Eco Resilient Flooring. Eco reflects its low-VOC content, while resilient means it is stiff with some bend and give to it.
OptiMax is produced in 28 colors, a variety of plank widths and several finish types. This is a click-lock style floating floor.
OptiMax flooring is manufactured for Floor & Decor by Swiss Krono, a Swiss company. It is sold exclusively in Floor & Decor’s 120 retail stores sprinkled in metro areas around the country. And you can order it online too, but you’ll pay shipping fees.
WHAT IS OPTIMAX ECO RESILIENT FLOORING MADE OF?
Let’s start with what OptiMax is not.
THIS IS NOT VINYL FLOORING!
The first thing the agent at the Floor & Decor main office told us was that this is vinyl flooring. The agent was wrong. And some review sites get it wrong too. OptiMax is similar to vinyl flooring in that it is resilient but not as wood plastic composite (WPC) or stone plastic composite (SPC) vinyl floors. But again, it is not vinyl. In fact, it is advertised as 100% vinyl free flooring with no PVC.
OptiMax sells for $3.79 to $4.99 per square foot plus the cost of installation if you hire a pro. The site occasionally offers a line or two at clearance prices of $3.29 to $3.44 per square foot.
SO WHAT DO YOU GET FOR THE MONEY
The core of OptiMax flooring is a 50/50 blend of wood fibers and polymer that binds the fibers and makes them waterproof. In this way it is like WPC vinyl flooring, though in contrast to wood plastic composite, it is not coated in PVC.
26 of the styles are wood-look plank options, and 2 offer the appearance of stone tile.
Texture choices start with the popular Embossed in Register (EIR) style. We are impressed by the authentic woodgrain feel of the EIR flooring. It is available in 22 colors including both stone-look choices. Of the others, four are graded as Textured and four as Smooth.
The gloss level on all colors is “low,” something like a matte finish that gives dull light reflection. We noticed that the low-gloss finish cuts down on glare and helps to hide dirt and scuff marks.
In terms of color, the current filters show 12 brown, 9 gray, 4 blonde, 2 beige, and 1 white. Keep in mind that the flooring choices change periodically, but that’s the basic assortment – heavy on natural wood browns and weathered or bleach wood looks.
Floor & Decor also sorts them into Light (10), Medium (10), Dark (5) and High Variation (3) that blend color tones from light to dark.
Plank widths are 16”x54” for the two stone-look choices. Wood-look OptiMax flooring is manufactured in widths from 6” to 9.6”. Lengths are all 72”. There are no narrow plank choices because the construction of these planks isn’t conducive to widths less than 6”.
The flooring options are evenly split between 7mm and 8mm thick. But thickness is not a cost factor.
Edges on most of the choices are beveled. About 20% of the options have micro-beveled edges. The difference between a beveled edge and a micro-beveled edge is depth.
A beveled edge is a traditional 45-degree bevel. When planks are combined, the two edges produce a V-design we measured at about 1/32” deep. Micro-beveling is the same process but shallower, so the resulting V-design is less than 1/64” deep and provides a more contemporary look.
Attached pad is included. The pad is a wood-based pad treated to be waterproof. If you prefer a thicker pad for added comfort and protection against noise transfer, our installers choose Floor & Decor Sentinel Protect Plus foam underlayment – but it is not required.
WHAT’S THE WEAR LAYER LIKE?
The OptiMax flooring wear layer is a proprietary material called Techtanium Plus. Floor & Decor isn’t saying what it is, but because titanium dioxide wear layers are common for rigid flooring, Techtanium Plus is likely Floor & Decor’s version of the classic wear layer material. It holds up to our scratch and dent tests with the same durability as titanium dioxide.
If you’re concerned about wear layer thickness, Floor & Decor is mum on that point too. “Techtanium Plus is different from a traditional wear layer and cannot be measured in mils.”
In other words, the flooring has a lifetime guarantee, so don’t ask how thick it is! The warranty states, “Optimax warrants to the original residential purchaser that…the surface will not wear through, stain or fade from sunlight or artificial light throughout the life of the product when used under normal residential traffic conditions.”
The warranty against manufacturer’s defects is Lifetime for residential use and 25-year commercial warranty.
While that is impressive, the residential warranty is prorated by 2% per year starting in the second year. The warranty is worth 80% after 10 years, for example.
Labor is covered for 36 months. That means that after 3 years, you pay all labor for tearing out bad flooring and installing new/replacement flooring. While 3 years doesn’t sound like a long time, most labor warranties on flooring are a year or 18 months at best. The labor warranty is better than most.
Water: Essentially, the warranty says the flooring won’t swell or suffer damage from normal use and cleaning. However, if water remains on the floor and mold develops, Floor & Decor is not responsible for damage it causes. And of course, damage caused by water from a pipe or appliance leak or flooding is not covered.
Pets: Floor & Decor warrants that the floor “will resist staining caused by pet stains”. OK. The flooring will resist staining, but you don’t get a guarantee that it won’t stain.
Additional details on gouges, dents, and scratch resistance are covered in the warranty. Our advice is that the warranty is always worth reading – the parameters of the warranty coverage are quite specific, even strict, so you should know what you’re signing up for before buying this or any flooring.
OptiMax Eco Resilient flooring is a floating floor with a click-together or click-lock design.
Gluing down the flooring is not recommended because the flooring needs the ability to expand and contract slightly with changes in humidity. If it is secured to the subfloor, expansion will cause it to split and gap.
Pro tip: Testing the product, we learned that it installs differently than most click-lock plank flooring. The tongue and groove designs are on opposite sides of the plank than is standard. This video from a home flooring pro shows the difference and gives good installation pros and cons.
Floor & Decor states that, “we strongly recommend the customer consult a licensed installer/contractor to verify that the conditions and application meet local requirements or industry expectations.” This is code for “you should have a pro install your floor.”
Installation tutorials are available to make a DIY job a success.
We also noticed an unusually high number of planks with chipped edges or corners – right out of the box. Chipped pieces are a common issue with OptiMax. Check all planks in each carton before you start installing them.
INSTALLATION FAQS AND FACTS
Where can you install OptiMax flooring? OptiMax Eco Resilient flooring can be installed in any room of your home including kitchen and bathroom – and below grade (below ground level) in a basement.
Can it be installed over concrete? Yes, but a vapor barrier is required when OptiMax is installed over a concrete floor. This is true for any floating floor.
Can it be installed over radiant floor heating? Yes. It is compatible with electric and hydronic in-floor heating.
How is OptiMax cleaned? Cleaning options are versatile. You can sweep it, use a vacuum, Swiffer or clean it with a damp mop, jet mop or steam mop.
OptiMax is GreenGuard Gold certified to be low-VOC flooring.
Coordinated accessories are manufactured including transition strips, reducers for joining flooring of different height and laminate quarter round molding.
HOW MUCH DOES OPTIMAX RESILIENT FLOORING COST?
The cost of OptiMax flooring is $3.79 to $4.99 per square foot.
The only obvious cost factor is that all 12 extra-wide plank choices are $4.79, 4.89 or $4.99 per square foot.
Color, thickness, texture and bevel options do not affect cost.
While Optimax isn’t a classic vinyl floor it’s certainly part of that family of flooring so here is a price comparison table showing Optimax prices compared to other leading vinyl flooring brands:
|Brand||Price per square foot|
|DuraLux||$1.39 – $3.49|
|CoreLuxe||$1.39 – $4.79|
|Evoke||$2.49 – $3.49|
|Smartcore||$2.00 – $3.70|
|LifeProof||$2.79 – $4.39|
|NuCore||$2.35 – $4.49|
|Congoleum||$3.40 – $6.00|
|SolidTech||$2.11 – $6.29|
|Pergo Extreme||$3.05 – $5.99|
|Optimax||$3.79 – $4.99|
|Mannington Adura Flex||$4.00 – $4.39|
|Mannington Adura Max & Max Apex||$4.39 – $5.99|
|Mannington Adura Rigid||$4.39 – $4.99|
|Karndean Korlok||$4.35 – $6.99|
|COREtec||$4.49 – $11.59|
OPTIMAX DEALERS AND WHERE TO BUY
OptiMax Eco Flooring is a Floor & Decor exclusive, so you have two main options for purchasing it.
Your best buying choice is a retail store: Floor & Decor has 120 bricks & mortar stores in major metro areas around the US. The stores are well-stocked, especially with top-selling lines. However, OptiMax does not sell as well as Floor & Decor Duralux and AquaGuard flooring, so supplies are sometimes limited.
We recommend buying flooring in person because it allows you to get your hands on, literally, the flooring you want. You can feel it and decide whether you believe it has the look and quality you need.
If your specific color isn’t in stock, the store will order it and have it shipped to the store usually within 1-3 weeks. If the flooring is typically stocked, but the store is out, shipping will be free. If the store does not stock the item, then it is a Special Order and shipping charges will be added.
Buying online has disadvantages: You can purchase online, but you will pay shipping and you will be buying without getting an in-person look at the material.
MOST HELPFUL CUSTOMER REVIEWS
The reviews are mixed, as you can see from these useful reviews from home and property owners and our pro installers that have installed OptiMax floors.
“We installed 1,200 square feet of Windsor Gray. The material is very hard and difficult to cut, and getting the brittle and narrow ⅛” tongue to lock in place takes acquired skill, which we gained after breaking and ruining a few planks. Once we got the hang of it, installation went better, and we are very happy with the look of the installed flooring.”
“A lot of the planks have chipped or the tongue has broken. I filed a claim with Floor & Decor a month ago, and am still waiting for an inspector to see the damage.”
“Installed OptiMax in the basement over a vapor barrier, and some edges began to curl. It is rated for basements, but I would choose an all vinyl floor next time.”
“Several planks buckled within a few months. First floor installation. Working with Floor & Decor to get a full refund.”
“We just had the flooring installed, and it looks great. But I’ve read other reviews, and I guess time will tell!”
Home Flooring Pros Verdict
We want to like this flooring and in many ways we do. It looks good with plenty of styles and unique plank patterns. It’s waterproof construction makes it a versatile flooring option. Our professional installers found Optimax easy to work with, but acknowledged that DIYers would face a learning curve to avoid breaking joints.
Ultimately the reason we won’t be recommending Optimax resilient flooring is because of it’s price compared to other more reliable and easily accessed brands. If you live near a Floor & Decor and have a local installer that you trust, go and take a look at this flooring, if not take a look elsewhere.
About the Author:
Greca is the lead style writer at Home Flooring Pros (more), with a BA in Technical Art, she’s focused on flooring trends, flooring ideas, and flooring brand reviews.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a home that you love. The hardest thing about this job is trying not to covet all the great floors I get to review; if I could remodel my home every month, I would!”