Bathroom makeovers are a nice investment in your home, especially with Smartcore Natural Floors sold at Lowe’s.

One of the first projects that we wanted to tackle, once we were settled into our new home, was both of our bathrooms. It was easy to pick the smaller bathroom of the two to start with. Silke was less than enthused with the over-sized and outdated vanity and I wasn’t moved by the old flooring. The same wall color was used throughout the whole house so a different shade of paint was going to help out with setting the bathrooms apart from the rest of the house. Getting rid of the old, nasty flooring was a must.

Working from the bottom to the top. On the first day we took out the vanity and looked at the old, worn and dated linoleum that remained. We wanted it gone but I was even more reluctant to see what was underneath. The floor was fine structurally but of course the linoleum had been glued and it would be a huge mess to try and get rid of it.

Did you know? You can now purchase Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring at a great price online (includes free shipping). Check out Amazon for their flooring selection.

Small Bathroom Remodel Project

Procrastinating pays off. We really weren’t too keen on the idea of laying more linoleum. Silke just doesn’t care for it and I had kicked around the idea of putting down laminate flooring like the kind we had put down back in South Carolina.

Our First Laminate Flooring Project

It looked good, see picture above, but I wasn’t sure if this was a smart move to make because this floor was going into a bathroom. Moisture build up was going to be a constant issue. Then we talked about tiling the bathrooms, we even went to a ‘How To Lay Tiles’ class at Home Depot one Sunday afternoon. It was while looking at tiles and laminate floors in the store that we first came across vinyl plank flooring.

There was another couple looking at flooring when we came across it. They had laid out a couple of pieces right in the isle and he was examining how they looked and pointed out that they easily snapped together. It looked really good and the wood grain on the pieces actually had a nice feel to them. The thing that really garnered my attention was that this type of floating flooring is 100% water proof.

After taking home several flooring samples and reading a ton of reviews we decided to give Smartcore Vinyl Plank Natural Floors a try.

Shop For Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

The bathroom floor being wet is really not an issue anymore, and just when I didn’t think it could get any better, I read that this type of flooring could be ‘installed directly over other existing hard surface floors‘. Rather than ripping up the existing linoleum we could bury it… a fitting resting spot to it’s well lived life.

Laying A Floating Vinyl Floor - Tips & #Review

I was excited! We had something that looked good, is sturdy (the planks are 5.5 mm thick), and easy to install. Best of all, it fits the bill for our bathroom remodel. The cost is around $2.80 / Sq. Ft., we only needed 1 1/2 boxes for our small 6′ bathroom… there are 12 – 5″ x 48″ planks in a box.

Vinyl Flooring Review

Smartcore Vinyl Plank Flooring by Natural Floors

  • 100% waterproof and can be installed in wet areas, planks will never swell when exposed to water
  • Can be installed directly over other existing hard surface floors
  • Easy-to-install, drop and lock profile without glue and with no acclimation time needed
  • Dimensional stable; will not expand or contract
  • Limited lifetime-residential and 5-year light-commercial warranty

Installation is a snap. Literally! You just snap the pieces together. Relying on our experience with putting together our laminate floor, we forged ahead with putting down the SMARTCORE premium engineered flooring. The planks are very sturdy, inflexible and the tabs do not easily break off.

For our previous laminate floor project we bought a table saw, which we sold again after the flooring was laid. Owning a table saw wasn’t necessary with this luxury vinyl plank flooring. All we used to cut the pieces was our miter saw and for the cuts around plumbing fixtures we simply scored the pieces with a utility knife.

Our little bathroom got even smaller with both of us trying to work together to measure and put the proper pieces in place. We quickly got a system down… Silke would pick out the pieces so that we didn’t have the same pattern running together (we noticed 5 different patterns in a box). We measured together, then I cut them in the garage and handed them back to her so she could lay them down.

Floating vinyl floor how to and review

Vinyl Planks Floor Laying Tips

  • Measure your room side to side and corner to corner to figure out if the room is square

Our room wasn’t square. We split the difference between the two sides and we were able to cover the difference with the 1/4 inch trim.

  • Take your room dimension and divide it by 5 (width of plank) to figure out how many rows of planks you need (for instance, we needed 12.8 rows)
  • If you end up with .6 or less for your last row, cut your starting row in half
  • Don’t cut the length of your boards less than 6 inches
  • Use a rubber mallet and a wood or rubber block to get a tight seam

This flooring may be made out of vinyl, and is quite sturdy, but I really didn’t feel comfortable pounding on it with a conventional hammer. One thing I did notice is that when Silke applied pressure from the end of the row using a crowbar while I pounded on the seam on the other end, we could hear a definitive snap as the two pieces joined.

This is really a good video to watch and learn even if you’ve already laid out floating flooring before.

With each piece of flooring that we added we saw the bathroom take on a completely different feel.

Even in this very small space we didn’t have any trouble making the pieces fit together. We used a rubber mallet and a rubber block to ensure that the seams butted up together tightly. You can hardly see the seams at all now and water beads right up on the surface.

Once the trim was added we couldn’t help but marvel at how well it at all came together. We love the look of the planks, the color we chose is dark brown with a touch of gray. These vinyl planks feel surprisingly real, like actual wood, since they have ripples on top.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

To finish our bathroom redo project we installed a smaller, bright white vanity which makes the room look a lot bigger. It is nicely accentuated by the new darker flooring.

Vinyl plank flooring by #NaturalFloors

We are more than happy with how things had turned out and already calculated how many more boxes of vinyl floor planks we will need to purchase to finish the second bathroom.

Find SMARTCORE vinyl flooring in several different colored wood grains at Lowe’s.

We love the classy look of our bathroom now and highly recommend the vinyl planks by SMARTCORE Natural Floors Sold Exclusively At Lowe’s.

If you have any thoughts or experiences with vinyl plank flooring please share by leaving us a comment below.

125 thoughts on “Vinyl Plank Flooring Review And Tips”
  1. I like how you mentioned that you should be aware of the moisture that could affect your flooring. My wife told me the other day that she was planning to have waterproof vinyl plank flooring installed in our home for cost-effective flooring and easy cleanup, and she asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to consider. Thank you for the tips, I’ll consult a trusted waterproof vinyl plank flooring service as they can help us provide more information that will help us understand.

  2. Hi! I was looking for Vinyl planks floor laying ideas. I found it here and I also watched that DIY Plank Flooring video you mentioned, there some design ideas which I need to apply at home and office. Please keep up the good work. Thanks

  3. I want to install this on a covered, screened in back porch apprx. 15.5×12.5
    feet. Will it hold up in these conditions. Some Lowes people say yes, some say no. Who knows for real and can answer my question?

    1. Hi Randy, since the Smartcore planks are made from vinyl I would say that it will hold up just fine. The product description reads “100% waterproof; can be installed in wet areas and will never swell when exposed to water”. The boards held up perfectly in our small bathroom, getting wet from taking showers every day.

  4. We installed Smartcore Ultra in a small bedroom last Saturday and loved it, so decided to put it in the rest of the house. After reading these posts about large areas, I’m now nervous as we are about to lay 1,100 square feet. Does anyone have any experience with large areas?

  5. Can the Smart Core Premium Vinyl plank flooring be installed in an RV?
    Will it stay locked together with all the shifting and motion involved during the many travels we plan to take?

    1. Hi Vivianne, I have read an article about someone installing the vinyl plank flooring in an RV a few months ago. It’s actually one of the top three choices, who knew? You can find videos on youtube with tips on how to install the floor in your RV. Have fun on your travels. – Silke

  6. Can you install under kitchen cabinets? Not much just two cabinets with granite countertops is 15x 30. The other little bigger. No other cabinets? Since they do not expand contact?

  7. I have a question, please. We are getting ready to install SmartCare in our newly renovated sunroom. My problem is I have a stair step going into the house and I am trying to figure out how to finish the step. Are there are “nose” transition strips that might be available. The step is probably 7-8″ tall.

    1. Hi Sue, Yes there are transition strips available at Lowe’s, you can ask someone that works there to help you. Also, there are different video tutorials on YouTube you can watch to learn how to deal with your problem. I hope this helps, good luck!

  8. we’re getting ready to install this throughout the house. we have a German shepherd. anyone have experience with a large dog??

  9. Hi, we installed Smartcore thru out the whole house……love it!!! I have one question…..Rugs. We had Prego for about 20 years which was a great floor. That said I was told not to use any latex or rubber backing as it will discolored the floors AFTER the fact. Will the same be true with Smartcore? I don’t want the same thing happen to this flooring.

  10. We are doing our 600 sq foot kitchen with Smartcore as we were told we could put it over our ceramic tile which is in excellent condition. Has anyone else done this, and if so can you tell me any steps you took prior to installation? Also has anyone put heated maps under the smartcore? I would really miss the warmth coming from under the ceramic tile. Thanks for any ideas or tips!

    1. We haven’t work with any heat maps but we installed the Smartcore in our entry way that was tiled. This area was anything but level and we didn’t lay anything down but the Smartcore. The end result was perfect. The ugly uneven surface was both covered and is now level.

  11. Fred,
    I consulted with a professional floor installer and he recommended securing the transition strip. The way he describe it made sense. The floor is floating but the boundaries (Walls, transition strips) do not. Good question!

  12. I installed a Smartcore vinyl plank floor in my kitchen. I bought a Smartcore vinyl plank to carpet transition strip. Do I secure this strip to my floor or let it float. The floor looks great and installation went well.

  13. Thank you for sharing your great experiences. I wonder if I should put down a vapor barrier over the OSB boards in a bathroom as an extra moisture barrier?

    Also, for those who want to know some important tips and tricks like working with the last row or under doors I found the youtube videos under ” So that’s how you do that” very helpful.

    1. Hi Peter, Great tip on the youtube video, thank you! We usually research and watch how-to videos ourselves. Yes, using a vapor barrier certainly wouldn’t hurt, but I don’t think it’s necessary with the vinyl planks since they’re already 100% waterproof.

      1. Hi
        Great info. I want a continuous look in my
        1200 sq ft condo. Can smartcore be installed without t molding/spacers? Has anyone been able to do long runs with success?

  14. These are some great trendy tips shared and I appreciate your advice to remember creative lighting techniques, fixtures, and dimmers to create a luxury and relaxing feeling when doing a bathroom renovation.

  15. This is the best review/how-to I’ve found so far! We will also be installing this in two small bathrooms. Against the tub, did you use a quarter round, or just silicone caulk? (Can’t tell from the pic) Looks fantastic and if these go well I’ll likely be installing in the hall downstairs too!

    1. Thank you Freddie, we appreciate your kind words. We used both, quarter round against the walls and then we also used silicone caulk. Its a small bathroom and we didn’t want moisture to build up which would turn into mold pretty quickly where we live.

  16. Hey Guys :-) Loved your “How To!” I plan on installing the vinyl planking next week in my small kitchen. My question is: since this is a floating floor, how do you address the doorways? One of our doors is an entry door to the porch. It now has a metal (aluminum) trim piece nailed to the floor at the junction of the flooring and the threshold. The other doorway leads into the carpeted living room. That too, has the same metal trim piece which is nailed into the floor. Oh, one more question; the kitchen is a U-shaped area. It’s quite small in width, approximately 6.5 feet including 4 inch toe kicks. Will I have a problem snapping in the planks with only a 4 inch height for clearance? Thanks! :-)

    1. They make door/threshold molding to match the flooring and all the edge molding also…..leaves a wonderful finished room.

  17. We are installing Smartcore in our bathroom. What kind of bath mat did you use outside the shower, and did you have to use a pad underneath it to keep it from sliding? I know you can’t use a bath mat with rubber backing.

    1. Hi Mary, I have a memory foam bath mat that I purchased at Big Lots for like $3.00, LOL. I’ve had it for a couple of years now and washed it several times. It held up really well and doesn’t slip at all. You can actually see part of it in one of the pictures. I didn’t even think about beforehand. Nick always drips water all over when he comes out of the shower and we had no problems with it.

  18. I’ve installed 48 boxes of Smartcore. My whole first floor 800sq ft. It’s beautif and installing was not as at all. There is a flooring installing kit that made the installing much easier. Love my floors.

  19. Anyone with pets have an issue with this flooring? I am considering a whole house installation of this flooring because pets are so hard on my carpeting.

    1. Hi Keary, Our hallway leading up to the front door has been holding up very well for the past 1 1/2+ years. There are no scratches, score marks or blemishes of any kind on the vinyl planks. This area gets a lot of foot traffic (with shoes on) and a small dog has been coming in and out as well. I can’t attest how well this flooring holds up for larger dogs though. Hopefully another pet owner will leave us a comment.

    1. Allen, This is a floating floor and shouldn’t be glued down. As far as I know, he planks need to be able to move and expand with the weather. Does anyone know differently?

    2. I was told by lowes guy , that I was walking on it in the new store in st. aug. and told me I could glue it down with gorilla glue , so I did tight to walls in my rv and I love it !! this a off road unit towed thru very rough terrain , no problems so far , I seriously doubt you tow your house through this terrain ! I just hose it out and clean with soap and water , chuck176@outlook .com

      1. Chuck,
        For an RV I think that gluing it down would really be the only way keep it down. What you did sounds very practical and better than anything that the manufacturer could put together. The most impressive part is your clean up. Our bathroom install was specifically chosen because they are water proof. If you are taking a hose to it then your doing some serious off roading! If you ever decide to sell it you can actually make a point of showing them your ‘after market’ upgrade.

    3. We were told, “no glue” that is why it is made the way it is…..why would you do something you do not need to and the floor does not expand and contract but your house does so your flooring if you glue it will not be under warranty and you have a bigger chance of damage to the floor!!!

  20. Thinking about installing Smartcore in my kitchen. It’s gutted and we are installing new cabinets and appliances. I was planning on installing cabinets then laying the flooring. I can’t find info anywhere if the refrigerator and range can sit on the smartcore or if we need to fill those areas with plywood.

    1. Hi Sherry, we’re not professional flooring installers or carpenters. As far as I know it’s a floating floor, so you butt the planks up to the kitchen cabinets and then use trim boards for the finishing touches. Appliances can go on top of the floor, this way you can move them more easily to clean behind/underneath or if repairs are needed. Please check with a professional installer, the guys/gals at your local lumber yard should be able to help.

    1. Hi Sue, You can clean your vinyl plank flooring like any other vinyl floor. I would recommend a mild floor cleaner like Bona and a damp mop/rag for the best results. You could also use a Swiffer WetJet mop or whichever brand you prefer. – Silke

  21. We love our floor. when it was installed however there are rubber mallet marks on some of the planks. I can’t rub them out. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Karen, thank you for your comment, we’re happy you like your vinyl plank flooring. As for the rubber marks there are a couple things you can try. Make a paste out of baking soda and a little bit of water, using a soft cloth the stains should rub right out. You can also try a simple tennis ball to rub out the stains. Let us know if that works.

  22. If a dog urinates on the Smart Core Ultra floor that snaps together .what are the chances that this urine will seep under the vinyl and into the wood beneath? I understand they snap together on the sides but what about where the butt together. It is going to be a very large investment for us and I do not want to think if a doggie spot was to get missed for cleanup it will get leached in the wood thru any pathway and thus become a stinking mess . I just wanna look at the worst case scenario . Even one leak could do this anywhere in the floor? Just asking and Thank you

    1. Hi Daniel, that’s a great question and I’m sure many dog owners have wondered the same. Since the vinyl planks fit together seamlessly on all ends, it shouldn’t be a problem. We installed the flooring in our tiny bathroom, and although we don’t have a dog living with us at the moment, we have had small water puddles on the floor from showering/splashing with no adverse effect. I hope this answers your question.

      1. No worries Doug! As you saw in the picture above we removed the toilet, cleaned the old floor, cut the vinyl boards up to it, used a new wax seal and replaced the toilet to sit on the boards. We also used caulk to seal around the bottom of the toilet.

  23. We bought the smartcore flooring for kitchen remodel. Kitchen gutted, new cabinets to put in. We wanted to put under the new cabinets. But, it’s a floating floor. Which previous comment said the house contracts which makes since. But could the flooring be placed under cabinets and glued? We were very disappointed when reading installation. I don’t have any product, as of yet. But should I cancel order, if recommended not to be placed under cabinets. Please advise.

    1. Hi Billie Dann, thank you for your comment. First off, neither Silke nor I are trained carpenters, just DIY’ers. That being said, I really don’t think that you should place the flooring under your cabinets simply because it will not allow it to expand and contract. Your best bet is to consult with one of the carpenters that work at Lowe’s or Home Depot. They’re usually pretty knowledgeable and can advise you on your best course of action.

    2. If you are putting a floating flooring in a kitchen, all you need to do is get some quarter round for around the cabinets to allow for expansion/contraction.

    3. We were told by the professional installers that it does not go under cabinets or dishwasher because of the permanents of the cabinets and dish washer and the shifting of the house…..the sub flooring is under the cabinets….

    1. Hi Toni, I would think a residential steam mop should be alright for cleaning vinyl floor planks. To be on the safe side, try it out in an inconspicuous corner to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage. As I said before, I usually just take a mild cleaner and get down on my knees with a rag in hand. For cleaning larger areas I would recommend a mild floor cleaner like Bona and a mop and bucket.

  24. Hi, we just ordered our smartcore from Lowes, does this have to sit in your home for 3 days until installed like other flooring or can we install right away ?

    1. Hi Trieste, It’s always a good idea to let flooring adjust to your home before installing it. Vinyl plank flooring, just like other types of floors, need to acclimate to the temperature of the room they are being installed into. Give them at least 48 hours before starting your project.

  25. Great job! I bet you can’t wait to do the fun stuff. I would love to share your blog with our website readers! You have some excellent points about Vinyl Plank Flooring! Feel free to email me and let me know if I have your permission! Thank you :)

    1. Hi Jeremy, Thank you for your kind words and for checking with us. We would love for you to share our blog articles with your readers via your favorite social media channels. If you want to add our content to your own website please give us credit and a link back to the original article on our own website.

  26. I have the Smart Core flooring throughout my home, we love it because we have pets inside. Just wondering I can’t seem to find anything on the Internet what do you clean your floors with ? Can I use Pinesol ? Lysol ? or is there a special brand you use ?

    1. Hi Patti, I’m glad you’re enjoying your vinyl flooring.
      When I clean our small bathroom I usually just take my bathroom cleaner, Lysol or Shaklee’s Basic H2, and get down on my knees with a rag in hand. For cleaning larger areas, like our hallway or in your case the whole house, I would recommend a mild floor cleaner like Bona.

  27. I am planning to install smartcore in the basement on concrete slab. The family room is of size 26 ft by 19ft. Is this too big for the plank to stay locked?

    1. Hi Cheng, The only time you might have a problem with the planks not locking into place is if you’re working on an uneven surface. Use a level and tape measure to determine if your floor is level. The guys at Lowe’s, Home Depot or where ever you decide to purchase your flooring, will be able to help you as well. Good luck with your upcoming project!

    2. Don’t do it and don’t listen to Silke Jager. That flooring is junk and doesn’t stay clicked together especially in a large area. The tongue and grooves are only about an 8th inch or smaller and made from cardboard type material. They will break off easily and you won’t know it until it’s too late. I’ve have laid many . laminate floors with not a single call back. But not with this Ultra flooring.

      1. Jeez, you’re getting a little personal Mr Heiss. I can only attest to my own experience and our floors still look great after several years of use. We didn’t have any issues laying the vinyl plank flooring and there is no separation. Personally I wouldn’t use this type of flooring in a large room either, it’s a vinyl after all, but for a bathroom, foyer or kitchen it’s a great alternative to more expensive types of flooring. – Silke

        1. I have laid this particular type of flooring for several of my clients and it has gone together seamlessly. If you look at the product components on the packaging you will not see the word ‘cardboard’ used at any time. For a small DIY weekend project this fits the bill. I would not recommend redoing a large area in your house with this product.

          1. Sorry Nick and Silke, but you have been going on about this floor being so good and easy to lay. But it seems if it’s only in a small room. It didn’t say anything on the box or the YouTubes I watched about not laying Ultra Flooring in a big room.
            This job was a walkout 40′ x 35′ with some odd corners, station posts to go around and a closet under the stairs in the middle of the room. As I said above I’m licensed have have been in business for 31 yrs with a great reputation. I also said I have laid lots of laminate and prefinished hardwood etc. This job is the only call back I’ve ever had on many many flooring jobs. It has made me look unqualified to my customer & my reputation. I wouldn’t lay this flooring for any amount of money. It’s not quality flooring.
            I apologize if I offended you.

      2. It’s not junk. You apparently do not know what you are doing. Suggest you hire a competent installer to make life easy for you.

  28. It isn’t the floating floor that expands/contracts. It is the house. Dimensionally stable vinyl tile has negligible expansion/contraction over a wider range of temperature than a house is likely to see. The same cannot be said for the wood or other construction materials, thus the recommendation for a 1/4″ space around the floor edges.

    I installed this flooring in several rooms of my home, by myself, with no previous experience. The key to making the installation easy is getting the first few rows STRAIGHT! Your existing wall will not likely be very straight so you need to work with your spacing materials to get a good start. Get a good start and the rest is easy. Once I got the first three rows in, I stacked the rest of the planks on the first row to help keeps things from moving. If everything is straight there is very little need for tapping to close the seams.

    Yesterday I completed installation in the third bedroom. The hallway was a piece of cake and the dining room is next. I like the looks of this so much I have now decided to install about 400 sq-ft in my basement.

    I purchased this flooring based on a recommendation from someone who installed this in her house last year, and did it herself. The only way to make a job like this easier is to hire someone else

    1. Hi Aaron, Thank you so much for your great comment. Everything you said makes perfect sense! We didn’t have any of the issues and difficulties Sue was talking about in her comment. Nick’s brother is a carpenter and he told us how to make sure the room is square. We did address this in our article: “Our room wasn’t square. We split the difference between the two sides and we were able to cover the difference with the 1/4 inch trim.”

      Thank you for explaining the vinyl floating floor factor to me and our readers. I never knew that it’s the house not the floor that’s expanding and contracting! It’s good to hear that you like the flooring as much as we do.

      1. Hi. I am looking at this product for my living room by the back door which gets a lot of traffic as I let the dog out to use the yard from there and I spend a lot of time in my back yard for the fun of it. It also rains a lot in Florida which is where I am.My dog has gotten older and can no longer hold her pee for long. She goes approx once a day by that door. Is the product still holding up after these few years and have you had any moisture problems yet. Sales people always tell you different answers depending on who you ask.

        1. Hi Laura, Yes our vinyl plank flooring is still looking like new in the front entrance area that has a lot of foot traffic and in the bathroom. My husband always leaves a puddle on the floor after taking his shower in the morning and we have no issues with moisture problems of any kind. Its a great product!

    2. we just put this in on several rooms, a dining room, kitchen, bathroom and utility room and its not that hard, there are tricks to it, but it is well worth the money doing it yourself and not that hard-buy the tool Lowes sell-and it just looks beautiful!!! I highly recommend this, and we had no issues with it coming up, locked together great-and looks great too

      1. Gail,
        Thank you for your comment! It’s good to hear that your projects turned out well. Being able to tackle these renovations by yourself, not only do you save money, but you also gain a sense of accomplishment, right? Which tool are you talking about? I don’t think we bought a special tool for our bathroom project. Is it something you need for a larger room?

  29. I just returned 1400 square feet of this smartcore flooring ( approximately $3,400) to Lowes after attempting to install it. What a NIGHTMARE!! Do not buy this product. I am smart, patient and have done a ton of remodeling. As many others have expressed and experienced… you get some pieces “locked” together, and then you look right or left and there are edges popped up all over. I just couldn’t even imagine continuing with such a large space knowing the expense and the potential of it not staying locked together. And someone please tell me how in the world are you suppose to lock in a piece when you’re at the end of a row and the wall is there???? How would you ever be able to tap it in place with a rubber mallet? I am so thankful that I stopped when I did. The fact that you have to lock in a tongue and groove system both on the elongated side and the width is impossible. Thankfully, I dealt with a wonderful lowe’s manager in Indiana who immediately refunded my money and went so far as to give me an in-store credit when he heard about my travel expense (I went to two different lowes to get the total of 58 boxes that I needed in the color we wanted.) I spent hours both loading and unloading all of it (4 times total handling all of the boxes) and then attempting to install in… which I never made it past the 4th row. I spent at least three hours trying… but it was terrible!!!

    1. Hi Sue, I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties. It does sound like a nightmare, yikes! I’m glad you where able to get a refund.

      We only used the vinyl floor planks in very small areas (a tiny bathroom and a small hallway) not sure if that would make a difference. We did get the pieces to fit together nicely as you can see in the pictures, in case you’re wondering we didn’t alter the images in any way, and used a crowbar to ‘persuade’ the end pieces into place.

      It really helps having two people work together, but all in all I didn’t find the installation any more difficult than laying laminate flooring. In fact, I have worked with cheap laminates years ago where the edges break off very easily. Now there’s a waste of money!

      What type of flooring did you end up using then?

      1. I agree the product is junk. As a licensed builder I’ve put down a lot of laminate flooring with no issues or call backs. The Lowe’s Ultra vinyl flooring made in CHINA won’t stay locked together and you have to beat the Hell out of it trying. We looked the floor over before we put the base molding on and it looked fine. After the homeowner mopped it (water proof?) it started separating . Now I’ll have to go over there with one of my carpenters and spend all day trying to make it right. I liked to sue Lowes over this crappy flooring.

    2. We had professionals install our flooring and they had no problems with it coming apart, i know that because I stood in the sunroom and watched the whole thing 244 sq. feet…15 boxes…They arrived at 8:30 in the morning and left at 2:00 with molding, cleanup and everything……no spaces and this floor does not contract or expand……Love it!

    1. Cindy, the whole idea behind a DIY job is to forego the high costs of hiring a pro. The job did turn out very well, I really don’t think a pro could have installed the flooring any better. We are very happy with the results.

      1. My husband is having a terrible time with the installation. One part goes together and then a previous part comes undone. Is there no help number available?

        1. On no Grace, I’m sorry to hear that. As you can see in the third picture, we used a rubber mallet and a rubber block to help ‘pound’ the planks together. Sometimes you have to be a little forceful with them. Here is the link to a good how-to video:

          Also, the folks at your local Lowe’s store, where this flooring is being sold, are usually really helpful. They sometimes offer flooring classes and I’m sure they’d be more than willing to answer all of your husbands questions. Here is their toll-free number as well: 1-800-445-6937

          Good luck and let us know how it turned out. – Silke

        2. Probably a little late to help Grace with her problem, but thought my input may help others. Long story short: I think her husband’s problem is due to the planks not being aligned parallel to the wall. Now, here’s the long version: I hired someone with hardwood flooring experience to to install Smartcore Ultra for me. Despite my concerns, he refused to use spacers to leave an expansion gap. As he got further from his starting point, he obviously started having trouble locking the planks in place, so he started using a claw hammer to force them (I know this because the hammer left imprints in the flooring). I subsequently fired him. I had a friend with LVP flooring experience come over to look at it. He said that the reason the installer was having problems locking the planks together is because they were not aligned evenly from the starting wall. As the installer moved further from the starting wall, the degree of misalignment became more pronounced (remember he didn’t use spacers, so the floor was constantly shifting as he banged planks together with his metal hammer). So, I had to take out everything he had installed and start again. I used 1/4″ spacers along every wall. After the each of the first few rows were installed, I would go back and check to make sure the floor had not shifted out of alignment. As I got several rows from the wall, the floor shifted less so I did not have to realign it as often. I also placed the unused planks on the installed flooring so that the weight of the planks would help hold the floor in place. If I started having problems locking the planks in place, I knew that I needed to realign the flooring against the starting wall. Once I did that, the planks snapped together effortlessly. It’s not nearly as much trouble as it sounds. The floor shifts easily during installation, due to the nature of the installation process and people walking/crawling across it. I am a middle-aged, average-strength woman who has never done any kind of flooring or home improvements. I had never even used a saw! I read the instructions that came in the box and had no problem with basic installation. I did have to get advice from some friends, the employees at Lowe’s, and Google to help with some issues, mostly related to fixing problems caused by the original installer. One problem I learned about from my friend that was not mentioned any place else: another reason the original installer was having problems locking the planks is that he was “putting them in backwards”. It’s possible to lock them together from either of the long sides of the planks, but one way is far easier. My original installer had “back layed” one and a half adjoining rooms, so I had two choices: #1- take up and reinstall the flooring in both rooms, which would involve throwing out a lot of flooring that had been cut out around cabinetry and recutting new planks to fit, or #2- continue to back lay the remainder of the floor, even though it would be more difficult and time-consuming. So, I’m back laying the remainder of that room to save from having to throw out the cut flooring. It’s so simple to install, I’ve decided to use the money I’ve saved from paying labor expenses to buy more Ultracore for my living room, hall and bedrooms too.

          1. Loretta,
            I just read your comment out loud to Silke and we were both stunned and amazed! Stunned that you had such a horrible experience with your installer and amazed that you had better luck taking over the project yourself. You gave a lot of insightful information for anyone who is considering installing the flooring themselves. Thank you for sharing that with us and our readers.
            We had a similar situation when we did our living room back in South Carolina. We were two rows away from completion and realized that the gap between the flooring and the tiling was going to be way too big to even close with the biggest spacer that they had. We ended up taking all the flooring up and putting it back down again in the opposite direction. The end result was perfect and the stop gap was easy to cover. All of this could have been avoided if we had measured out the room first to make sure it was square. The room was square but the tile in the kitchen was crooked!
            There really is some gratification when you finish a project like this. We both high fived each other when we stood back and marveled at how well it turned out. The flooring not only changed the look of these rooms but also gave us a sense of accomplishment as well.
            Thank you for sharing your tips!
            Nick and Silke

  30. I installed the same product in our bathrooms and the laundry room. The installation is really easy if you have some patience and work well with your hands. The only issue I had was that every once in a while, the factory had a tiny piece of plastic shaving left in a plank groove that prevented planks from fitting tightly together. I just removed that debris and it fit perfect.
    I undercut the door trim so the planks slid under them a tiny bit.
    Also, after the first room, I now use a 2 mm underlayment, to avoid the planks making a little tapping noise in a couple of areas when you walk on them. (I put it over ceramic tiles.)
    This was my first time doing anything like this and was not hard to do, and my wife loves it.

    1. Hi Jim,
      Thanks for your comment, we had one or two boards that had the extra material still in the groove as well (we only used 4 boxes in total). We didn’t think it was a big deal either.

      Good idea with the underlayment, it gives the floor a little extra cushioning and eliminates traffic noise. We really love the look of this floor and have used it in our front entrance hallway since we wrote this DIY article. It’s a great flooring choice for high traffic areas.

    2. Hi Jim,

      We started putting 2mm underlayment down and then saw someone say we shouldn’t because it could potentially break the locking mechanisms. Since it’s so thin and Smartcore Ultra says it can handle uneven spaces up to 4.7mm, I was hoping it’d be fine.

      I was wondering how your floor has been all this time?


      1. We had professionals install our flooring and they said no underlayment because it has it’s own on each piece (ours look like tile) and it went together beautifully and is so quiet to walk on and warm in the winter….Love it!

    3. Hi Jim,

      We started putting down 2mm underlayment but then saw someone say that it shouldn’t be used because it could break the locking mechanisms.

      I was wondering how your floor has held up after all this time?


  31. Thank you for the tips on putting the flooring in. I have always found that my measuring is always off. That is something I will need to work on if I am going to do my whole kitchen ! I really appreciate the photos as well ! Thanks again.

    1. You are very welcome Robert! I’m glad you found this article helpful.

      Measure twice, cut once comes to mind, lol. One of the great things about a floating floor like this is that you do have a little leeway. There needs to be some space for the boards to expand, just make sure you can cover the gap along the sides with a piece of trim. Good luck on your upcoming project!

    2. We are looking to install this in our whole house. But I want a continuous look. No tmolding. Will this work with a floating floor??

  32. I found this floor hard to install. Does not lock together and stay to many seems show. Wish I would have done more research. If you look around Similar complaints are noted. I have installed laminate was expecting the same results. Not so.

    1. Michael,
      I’m sorry to hear that it gave you trouble. We used a rubber mallet and a wooden block on a few of the joints to get them to ‘snap’ together. No problems with the seams that you saw either. How large of an area did you cover?

    2. We had the tile look in our kitchen/dining room….I was concerned about the seam/caulking look but we had it installed by people who do this work and it turned out great….looks like tile (traverteen) and made the rooms look so much bigger and light!….I guess we could have done it but we are in our 70’s and so decided to have it installed and one good thing about this product does not expand or contract like pergo wood look floor!!!!

    3. I agree. I put a post above about the crap. As a licensed builder that has put down may types of flooring I wouldn’t recommend Smartcore Ultra.

      1. Terry, have you tried the LifeProof through Home Depot? I have seen your comments about the Smartcore and would like a comparison. Trying to decide what to put down in our home.

        1. The Smartcore Ultra is locked in place and works excellent. No gaps for me in a 16X14 room and over time has proven to be a great product . The install technique is similar to wood laminate. I agree it will move around or unlock during installation and I decided to modify my technique . The key is understanding this flooring has little to no expansion from heat or moisture change. The recommended 3/16 spacing was not used and was the hardest for me to not do. The first run I even used small screws to secure until finished and removed before installing trim. I could have left the screws in but didn\’t. I recommend installing real hardwood flooring or ceramic tile if the person has the time and money for durability and value . I can recommend the Ultra because it is so easy install and prep for if a DIY , and replacing a damaged piece isn\’t that hard ,but you will possibly need to remove the molding and do the whole row.

  33. Just curious how you sealed the Smartcore around the tub? We put smart core in our kitchen last year and love it. My hubby is just concerned about putting it around our tub because of the floating nature of the product and it can’t be held in place by molding.

    1. Hi Robin, we used Silicon based caulk around the bathtub. The floor is still floating on the three other sides and we figured that was all it needed. I did a little research beforehand and found others doing the same thing.

  34. Any update on durability and wear after a couple of months? Looking at the same product and would love some additional info. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jean, Sorry for the late reply. So far the Smartcore flooring is holding up very well. I have noticed no wear and tear at all in the bathroom. Since we first installed the vinyl planks in our bathroom we have also used the same flooring in our front entrance hallway (about two months ago). There is lots more traffic by the front door, people with shoes on, and the planks don’t show any wear there either.

    1. Hi Kristi, I can’t believe we didn’t mention the floor color in the article. Sorry for the oversight. We decided on Acacia, its a warm and inviting color that goes well in the bathroom as well as our entry hall. It’s been a few months now since we installed the first planks and we don’t have any scratches or marrs. We’re very happy with the color.

      1. We just bought the Ultra Smartcore Vinyl 11.97″x23.62″ planks from Lowe’s. Hubby is a builder and said it wasn’t an easy drop and click, tok a little bit of tapping to get the planks to click together. The only question I have for you or anyone in this forum, we have a hatch in our walk in closet that we have to GLUE down the planks to – does anyone know what glue to use? Any help appreciated, hubbgy thinking PL400 glue but not 100% sure?

        1. I’m a builder who has been in business for over 30 yrs. I;ve put down many types of flooring. A lot of customers were buying their own flooring at Walmart etc and it was junk. You’d have to sort thru ea box for planks that were not defective which cut into your labor time. I got to the point that if it wasn’t Pergo brand (or better) I wouldn’t install it. Now Lowe’s has this Ultra Smartcore Vinyl flooring made in China. We did a whole basement with it and there was a lot of cuts and things like closets etc to go around. This crap would not stay clicked together and the tabs that click them together was made form particle board and were barely 1/8 think. In some cases you really had to pond them together so they would click together and some of them would break off the tabs and you wouldn’t know it. About five rows later you would look back and see a gap between the pieces. So then you’d have to try and slam 6 rows worth of flooring to try and get it together again. What a pain in the butt. After finally completed the job and looking over the whole basement to make sure we had no gaps we put the base moulding on. I give my final bill to the homeowner and 2 days later he has found gaps where the flooring didn’t stay clicked together. I would NOT recommend this flooring to anyone. Maybe a small area like a bath room but anything bigger and you’re gonna have trouble.

  35. How do you like it now that it’s been in awhile? I am worried about durability as the samples I see in the store are pretty well beat up with the wear layer peeling off.

    1. Hi Pati, so far the floor in the bathroom still looks brand new. No wear and tear at all. We just laid more of the same vinyl flooring in a small hallway by the front door a few days ago. This will be the true test since it’s a very high traffic area.

    2. Pati, here is an update on our vinyl plank flooring.

      We have had this floor for just over two years now and couldn’t be happier. There has been no peeling or unusual wear & tear. We are not just talking about a small bathroom floor (which I have cleaned with Lysol bathroom cleaner many times now), but the entry way which we completed a couple months later, as well. This area of the house gets a lot of foot traffic, with shoes on, and still looks great as well. I hope this helps anyone looking to purchase vinyl plank flooring.

  36. Woohoo, that’s exactly what we were hoping for. The bathroom does look and feel a lot more spacious now after the redo. You can’t see this in the pictures, but we also installed a rounded shower curtain rod with a white ‘hotel-style’ curtain that has a see-through section on top (like this one This gives us a ton of extra elbow room and lets in the natural light while taking a shower. I love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the best blog stories into your inbox!