SPC stands for 'stone plastic composite' or 'stone polymer composite'.
The 'stone' in this kind of flooring is ground stone. More precisely, limestone, which is an inorganic compound. It takes up 50-60 per cent of the flooring's content.
The 'plastic', or 'polymer' is in fact PVC, polyvinyl chloride. This material is stable, eco-friendly and renewable; the flooring contains a small amount of this material.
100 PER CENT WATERPROOF
The trait that makes SPC flooring stand out is that it is 100 per cent waterproof.
100 per cent waterproof means that SPC flooring can withstand soaking, and is suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.
Besides, SPC flooring is highly durable. The excellent quality of the core material makes it resistant to wear, which explains its wide usage in commercial environment and places which experience a lot of traffic.
Some homeowners might think SPC flooring's predecessor is wood plastic composite (WPC) flooring. In fact, the two's core materials are different. The former is ground stone while the latter is wood chips.
SPC flooring is an upgrade of WPC flooring because while the two are both waterproof, WPC flooring is a foam material and has a lower density. This means WPC flooring is lighter, softer and more likely to absorb odour.
In contrast, SPC flooring has a high density (1.987 - 2.05g/ cm3), which is comparable to a piece of tile's (2.0 - 2.3g/ cm3).
SPC flooring has been available on the market for a couple of years. In the last few years, its manufacture technology has gone through a lot of evolution and since then, SPC flooring has become much more stable as an advanced architectural material.
SPC flooring is in fact seen as a top-tier flooring material on the market. Although the planks are relatively thin, they have a high impact resistance and durability.
Normally speaking, flooring with strong mechanical specifications is not very attractive in appearance. However, SPC flooring can be manufactured to look like solid hardwood flooring, and even natural stone which is a rarity in itself.
This type of flooring scores high on both its visual appeal and functionality.
THE CONTENT OF SPC FLOORING
Both the flooring's material and structure contribute to its durability and visual appeal.
The core material of SPC flooring is composed of mixed limestone and PVC-based resin. Limestone is an inorganic compound that is found in natural stones like marble, calcite and granite. Animal skeletons also contain limestone.
The stone material does not shrink, expand, or absorb water. It is completely waterproof.
The core material of WPC flooring is instead wood and fibre. It is not as durable as SPC flooring, yet is more expensive in comparison.
Some might hold the opinion that SPC flooring does not have WPC flooring's flexibility. But aren't hardness and sturdiness better indicators of resistance to warping?
Why does SPC flooring look so good?
It's all down to the veneer layer, of course.
The advanced technology of photography and printing allow realistic imitation of wood, natural stone and concrete surfaces.
SPC wear layer
The wear layer on SPC flooring protects the printed layer and core. It is scratch-resistant, impact-resistant and anti-slip.
THE MERITS OF SPC FLOORING
Studies have shown that SPC flooring does not release formaldehyde or radioactive substance. It is a green and eco-friendly material.
Withstand heat and flame-retardant
SPC flooring's fireproof level satisfies B1 standards. It is flame-retardant, non-flammable and upon combustion, it does not release poisonous or harmful gases.
Waterproof and prevents bacterial growth
The vinyl resin in the core material is non-hydrophilic and resistant to hydrolysis. This makes SPC flooring resistant also to moulding.
The flooring itself is also treated to be resistant to staining and bacterial growth.
Excellent thermal conductivity
Since SPC is stable and can conduct heat effectively, floor heating systems will not cause the flooring to warp.
This might not strike Hong Kong homeowners as a significant trait. But for regions like Europe, America and Japan where central heating systems are the norm, this trait is very marketable and often sought after.
If you're looking to refurbish your home's flooring, consider SPC flooring. Not only is this material affordable, water-resistant and formaldehyde-free, the drop-lock flooring's thickness is only about 5-6mm.