Since its debut in the 1970s, vinyl plank flooring has continued to soar in popularity amongst all major commercial market segments. In fact, since 2012 alone, Spectra Contract Flooring has installed over 95 million square feet of vinyl flooring coast to coast. From hotels and restaurants to schools, hospitals and more, there is no limit as to where you might find these planks installed. Moreover, with the introduction of rigid core technology, vinyl plank flooring looks to become more dynamic and versatile than ever thanks to products such as SPC. Here, we will discuss what SPC flooring is, how SPC flooring is made, the benefits of choosing SPC vinyl flooring, and a few SPC installation tips to consider.
What Is SPC Flooring?
Short for stone plastic composite, SPC is designed to identically replicate traditional flooring materials such as stone, ceramic, or wood, yet provide many more practical benefits as you will see later on in the article. Using realistic photographic prints along with a clear, vinyl top layer, SPC opens the door to a wide variety of design concepts.
SPC flooring is generally comprised of the four following layers in mind:
- Wear Layer — Playing a crucial role in the lifespan of your tiles, this layer uses clear coatings such as aluminum oxide that will keep your floor from rapidly wearing.
- Vinyl Top Layer — Certain premium types of SPC come manufactured with realistic, 3D visuals that can be installed to identically resemble stone, ceramic, or wood.
- Rigid Core — The core layer is where you get the most bang for your buck. Here, you will find a high density, yet stable waterproof center that provides rigidity and stability to the plank.
- Backing Layer — Otherwise known as the flooring’s backbone, this layer provides your planks with added sound installation, as well as being naturally resistant to mold and mildew.
How Is SPC Flooring Made?
To go the extra mile in understanding SPC flooring, let’s take a look at how it’s made. SPC is manufactured through the following six primary processes.
To begin, a combination of raw materials is placed into a mixing machine. Once inside, the raw materials are heated up to 125 – 130 degrees Celsius in order to remove any water vapor inside the material. Once complete, the material is then cooled inside the mixing machine to prevent the occurrence of early plasticization or processing auxiliary decomposition.
Moving from the mixing machine, the raw material then goes through an extrusion process. Here, temperature control is crucial in order for the material to plasticize correctly. The material is ran through five zones, with the first two being the hottest (around 200 degrees Celsius) and slowly declining throughout the remaining three zones.
Once the material is fully plasticized into a mold, it is then time for the material to begin a process known as calendering. Here, a series of heated rollers are used to compound the mold into a continuous sheet. By manipulating the rolls, the width and thickness of the sheet can be controlled with precise accuracy and consistency. Once the desired thickness is reached, it is then embossed under heat and pressure. Engraved rollers apply the textured design onto the face of the product which can be a light “tick” or a “deep” emboss. Once the texture is applied, the scratch and scuff Top Coat will be applied and sent to the drawer.
The drawing machine, used with frequency control, is connected with a motor directly, which is a perfect match to the production line speed and is used to deliver the material to the cutter.
Here, the material is crosscut to meet the correct guideline standard. The cutter is signaled by a sensitive and accurate photoelectric switch to ensure clean and equal cuts.
Automatic Plate-Lifting Machine
Once the material has been cut, the automatic plate-lifting machine will lift and stack the final product into the packing area for pick-up.
The Benefits of Choosing SPC Vinyl Flooring
SPC can be easily installed in two ways, either with glue or with a loose-lay floor. Using newer loose-lay systems makes it possible to use SPC with minimal surface preparation. With this solution, flooring installation costs, as well as installation time, can be reduced.
One of the biggest benefits of choosing SPC vinyl flooring is that it is completely waterproof. Due to its rigid, PVC core layer, these planks can withstand liquids and spills unlike many of the flooring products that it mimics.
Style and Comfort
SPC has a softer surface than other flooring materials such as wood or stone. It is also more comfortable underfoot and sound-reducing, which is a very important trait for many facilities.
Choosing SPC can help your facility earn LEED certification, as many of the materials used in its production are those of renewable products, recyclable content, and low-emitting materials.
Want flooring that is waterproof, scratch, stain a fade-resistant, yet won’t break the bank? Look no further. SPC vinyl flooring is generally less expensive than the luxury floors that it mimics such as hardwood or stone.
SPC never has to be sanded or sealed, making it much easier to maintain than other luxury floors. Since it is completely waterproof, just grab a damp mop and you are all set!
SPC Flooring Installation
Get commercial SPC flooring installation from our experienced teams and receive unbiased, greatest-value flooring solutions for your facility.
At Spectra Contract Flooring, we’ve installed nearly every type of commercial flooring, including a wide variety of vinyl planks. We can show you samples and help you select the best floor for your budget, interior design scheme and the rigors of your facility environment.
When it comes to installing SPC vinyl flooring, the subfloor must be clean, dry, and leveled correctly. From there, installation is a rather simple process. Most SPC vinyl planks simply click together though tongue and groove technology. While SPC doesn’t require being glued to the subfloor, it may still be required in some areas or locations in your facility. Check out, Floating vs Non-Floating Floors: What Gives to better determine which method best suits your environment.