How To Actually Compare Vinyl Plank

Blog Submitted by Quality Red Tag Floors

When customers come into our store, they are often frustrated and confused with all the varying opinions and information they have received.

My goal for every customer that walks through our door is to educate them on the aspects of vinyl plank. Now I get it. Flooring can be totally boring. But hear me out, if you want flooring that lasts a long time, there are important things to know and understand to compare vinyl plank effectively.

If you have gotten this far into the blog, there is a good chance you want to learn more about how to compare vinyl plank. For the purpose of this blog, we will compare the most popular type of vinyl plank: Click Vinyl.

Click Vinyl

There are two main categories of vinyl plank, click vinyl and glue down.

Click vinyl is any type installed using a locking system built-in or “milled” into the core of the material. Quality Red Tag Floors are Click Vinyl suppliers in Edmonton and are happy to answer any questions you might have about the product.

If you want to skip reading the rest of the blog, the #1 way to compare vinyl plank is thickness.

Focus on thickness. Especially the thickness of the core.

There are many good quality click vinyl plank suppliers in Edmonton. Don’t limit yourself to shopping at big box stores. There are many specialized flooring stores in Edmonton.

Of course, being a flooring store in Edmonton, we are a bit biased in our products and services, but we promise to not sell you a floor that is not suitable for the application! Our goal is an education first! This is why we are one of the best-rated flooring stores in Edmonton. Now done with the plug, on with the article.


Thickness is the total measurement from top to bottom of the product, including underlayment. The most important part is the thickness of the core material. Thickness is the most important comparison spec for vinyl plank. It gets quite technical when you explore the core materials and makeup, but the general rule still applies. Thicker, the better.

Total Thickness

The total thickness or overall thickness of a click vinyl will range from 4mm to 8mm.

The core thickness is a thinner range. 3.2mm to 6.5mm.

Most vinyl plank will have a maximum underlayment thickness of 1.5mm

It is important to not exceed 1.5 millimetres in thickness up underlay because it will create a spongy environment underneath the joints allowing too much play and possible future separation.

Don’t confuse wear layers with thickness

Wear layers are measured in mils. 1 mil = 1/1000th of an inch

The thickness of the product is measured in mm (millimetres)

Here is a cheat sheet for the conversion of common wear layers

6mil 0.15mm
12mil 0.3mm
20mil 0.5mm
28mil 0.7mm

As you can see by the above chart, mils are a very small unit of measure. Small than mm.

If a product is 6.5mm with a 20mil wear layer (great product thickness and wear layer by the way)

Then only .5mm of the total thickness is the wear layer

What is a good wear layer?

A good wear layer for residential spaces is 12mil.

A good wear layer for commercial spaces or very busy households is 20mil.

Big box stores love to stock vinyl plank with a 6mil wear layer. Not sure why, as there aren’t huge cost savings for them. But I guess if you sell millions of square feet to unsuspecting buyers, every penny matters to pad the profits.

Typically, don’t use a 6mil wear layer product unless it’s low traffic.

What is a good underlayment?

Since most underlay on a vinyl plank is 1.5 millimetres, there’s not much comparison here.

If you’re interested in comparing underlay, focus on the type of underlay, there are 2 main types EVA& IPXE. There is also cork.

EVA is generally better at sound reduction and is denser, it will smell the first day or two, but it does go away.

IPXE is generally less stinky and more of a lighter foam.

Cork: cork is a popular natural underlayment attached to many 8mm WPC Click products. Great sound reducer, is waterproof, and is not smelly. Totally natural and renewable.

Coles notes on comparing and shopping click vinyl

– Shop for a 6.5mm Thick product or thicker
– Don’t use a thinner product unless your floor is totally flat
– Ask about core material and core thickness
– Price out options with different wear layers. Maybe you don’t need a 20mil wear layer
– Ask flooring stores specific questions and see how they answer them
– Ask to see the product clicked together and get a demo
– Borrow samples to take home and test
– Consider not using vinyl plank if you are doing a DIY project and you can’t level your floor

This is just a brief article to get your feet wet. A showroom visit can be a great place to get a flooring education. If you are looking for flooring in Edmonton, check us out. Quality Red Tag Floors is one of the most established flooring stores in Edmonton that focuses on supplying affordable quality flooring options.


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