Hybrid or Rigid Core Flooring is the latest innovation in the flooring industry, promising major benefits over real wood, laminate and vinyl while being very reasonably priced. But what is it? In order to answer that question, we must first clarify the definitions and differences between Vinyl and Laminate.
You can be forgiven for getting these two products confused as it’s a common misunderstanding. In short, Vinyl is 100% plastic, so what it may lack in realism and warmth, it makes up for in high water resistance and low cost. Laminate is mostly wood, so is thicker and warmer underfoot than Vinyl floors with only the top layer being a synthetic wood effect featuring varying degrees of realism and texture depending on price point. This more realistic texture and appearance comes with a higher price tag and lower water resistance compared with Vinyl.
Rigid Core or Hybrid flooring, as the name suggests, is a Hybrid of Laminate and Vinyl combing the best qualities of both to create the ultimate flooring solution. Products with an SPC core (stone plastic composite) like our Hercules Hybrid Flooring range, offer an extremely durable and realistic surface that is warm underfoot and 100% waterproof. There is another type of Hybrid floor with a WPC core (wood plastic composite) which due to it’s construction cannot offer the same level of water resistance as SPC products.
Some Rigid core / Hybrid floors like our Hercules range, come with a built in acoustic underlay that, when combined with the 6.5mm thickness, are considerably better acoustically than vinyl and even some laminate products. The construction is also very DIY friendly as it’s easy to cut and install thanks in part to a click fit system.
Some of the better Hybrid floor options also feature a registered embossed texture. This means the faux texture on the top of the plank actually follows the grain patterns in the wood effect layer, giving a very realistic finish that’s also hygienic and very easy to maintain.