Vinyl plank flooring has become increasingly popular in residential and commercial renovations today. With its impressive ability to mimic the authentic color and texture of wood, it’s a great alternative for hardwood flooring.

Vinyl plank floors provide different style selections at a fraction of the cost. Besides being durable, water, and scratch-resistant, vinyl plank floors also offer ease of installation and maintenance, making them an ideal flooring for spaces with heavy traffic activity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and restaurants.

So how do you decide which vinyl plank flooring is the right one for you? We’ve narrowed it down to two brands, Smartcore and Lifeproof. Below is the breakdown of everything you need to know and consider about the two: cost, warranty, durability, and installation.  

SmartCore Overview

SmartCore is manufactured by COREtec®, a brand of luxury vinyl created by USFloors®, and now patented and acquired by Shaw Industries®. 

USFloors®  is an importer/producer of sustainable flooring products, including bamboo, cork, linoleum, and hardwood floors. Shaw Industries®, founded in 1967, is a well-known Dalton-based manufacturer and distributor of flooring materials, including hardwood, carpet, laminate, resilient, synthetic turf, tile, and stone for commercial and residential markets.

SmartCore offers three vinyl plank flooring lines: SmartCore Ultra, SmartCore Pro, and SmartCore Naturals.

SmartCore features a wide range of wood species, namely Oak, Pine, Acacia, Maple, Walnut, Eucalyptus, Hickory, Bamboo, and Mixed species, with seven finish options: Brown, Gray, Black, Off-white, White, Copper, and Multiple colors. For the flooring looks options, Smartcore provides Wood, Stone, Tile, Marble, and Solid.

All three are available in six categories: Vinyl Plank, Vinyl Tile, Sheet Vinyl (cut-to-length), VCT tile, Sheet Vinyl (pre-cut), and Vinyl flooring samples.

Lifeproof Overview

Lifeproof is Home Depot’s in-house brand, manufactured by Halstead New England Industries. Halstead New England manufactures flooring products, including click-clock, vanity top, flooring, and wall plank for homes and commercial spaces.

Founded in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, Home Depot is one of the largest home improvement retailers, supplying construction and home improvement products, tools, and services.

Lifeproof features three thickness categories for their vinyl planks: 6.5mm, 7mm, and 8mm.

6.5mm thick vinyl planks are available in eight different colors: Seasoned Wood, Walton Oak, Shadow Hickory, Tekoa Oak, Seaside Oak, Essential Oak, Breezy Stone, and Starry Light. For 7mm thick vinyl planks there are five color options, Trail Oak, Sterling Oak, Fresh Oak, Scratch Stone, and Biscayne Oak, while the 8mm planks only have two color options: Ocala Oak and Alys Oak. 

SmartCore vs Lifeproof: Cost Comparison

Smart Ultra vinyl planks’ cost ranges from $3 –  $4 per sq. ft with two coverage options: 15.71 sq. ft and 15.76 sq. ft. The overall purchase price ranges from $47.13 to $63.04. 

The average cost of Smart Pro vinyl planks range from $3 –  $4.3 per sq. ft. Smart Pro has two coverage options: 15.83 sq. ft and 16.54 sq. ft. The overall purchase price ranges from $47.49 to $66.16.

Smartcore Naturals vinyl planks’ with coverage of 20.01 sq. ft. cost ranges from $3.80 – $4.20  per sq. ft. The overall purchase price ranges from $76.04 to $84.04. 

All three lines of SmartCore vinyl plank flooring are purchased in cartons.

Lifeproof vinyl planks’ prices vary, depending on their thickness and wear layer. For both 6mm and 7mm thick vinyl planks with a 6 mL wear layer, it costs about $2.59 – $3.09 per sq. ft. For 8.5mm with a 6 mL  wear leather, it costs about $3.29 – $3.59 per sq. ft. 

Lifeproof’s 8mm plank with a 12 mL wear layer costs about $2.79 – $3.59 per sq. ft, while an 8mm plank with 22 mL wear layer costs about $4.09 – $4.39 per sq. ft. 

SmartCore vs Lifeproof: Warranty Comparison

SmarCore offers a wide range of warranty coverage. Both SmartCore Ultra and SmartCore Naturals offer a Lifetime Limited Residential Warranty and a 5-year light commercial warranty, while Smartcore Pro provides a Limited Lifetime Residential Warranty with a 10-year commercial warranty.

Lifeproof provides a Limited Lifetime Residential Warranty and a 10-year Light Commercial Warranty (though it only applies to the first owner).

SmartCore vs Lifeproof: Durability Comparison

SmartCore Ultra is a WPC flooring made of wood fibers and polymer plastics. It has a 12 mL wear layer, which provides durability and prevents stains, and scratches.

Smartcore Pro is an SPC flooring made of limestone powder and plastic polymers, making the vinyl planks durable and resistant to dents. With a 20 mL wear layer, SmartCore Pro is suitable for places with heavier traffic conditions, such as buildings and restaurants. 

SmartCore Naturals is a hybrid vinyl engineered wood composed of actual hardwood and bamboo veneer layers with its top layer sealed with a protective coating. It also features three hardness scales: 3 (Janka rating 1261 – 1400),  4 (Janka rating 1401 – 2500), 5 (Janka rating 2501+).

Lifeproof is made of rigid PVC composite materials with an ISOCORE or closed-cell foam core, making the vinyl planks waterproof and lighter. It also has a wear layer infused with ceramic beads that enhances the planks’ stability and strength. It also makes the planks durable, and scratch- and mold-resistant.

SmartCore vs Lifeproof: Installation Comparison

Both SmartCore and Lifeproof offer easy installation by using a floating floor method, making them DIY great flooring options. With a simple interlock system, installing the planks over wood, concrete, and tile with the proper preparation requires no acclimation, adhesives, or subfloor prep. 

SmartCore vs Lifeproof: Final Showdown

Both SmartCore and Lifeproof have sound suppression properties. SmartCore has a separate underlayment item called SMARTCORE Soft and Sound™, which reduces noise and protects planks against moisture. Lifeproof has an already attached underlayment that absorbs impact, which reduces noise and provides insulation too. 

Moreover, both brands are 100% Waterproof and formaldehyde and phthalate-free, making them an ideal flooring option even for places exposed to water. 

If you want sustainable, eco-friendly vinyl planks, SmartCore is the best flooring option for you. SmartCore is GreenGuard Gold certified, which is proven to have low chemical emissions and manages indoor air quality. 

Both SmartCore and Lifeproof are durable and easy to install, but if you prefer lower-priced vinyl planks with notable warranty coverages, then Lifeproof suits you best. 

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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