Multiple times a week, I get questions about the NuCore flooring we put down throughout the living room, dining room and kitchen in our house. Apparently, it’s become a very popular option in flooring. NuCore is an engineered floor, that looks like hardwood, but is actually a tough top layer of luxury vinyl adhered to a stable, rigid, and waterproof core.
I don’t always get to answer those questions in a timely manner, so in an effort to be able to answer people’s questions more efficiently and to also give an update as to how well it has held up after a year, I decided writing a post about it was the best way to go.
Just so we’re clear, this post is in no way sponsored by Floor and Decor, which sells NuCore Flooring. They did provide me with the flooring last year in exchange for two product review posts, but this post was not part of that deal.
I figured the best way to go about this was in Q & A format, so I’ve gathered all the questions I get about NuCore and answered them below. Let’s get down to it, shall we?
Affiliate links may be included this post.
NuCore Flooring: How It’s Holding Up After a Year
Q: How do you install it?
A: I actually wrote a post about just that, which you can find it here. You can also watch the short video below as well, the post will go into more detail.
In a nutshell, it’s pretty easy to install.
Q: About how long did install take?
A: Of course this is going to depend on the size of the room you are installing it in, but once you get the hang of installing it, it goes pretty fast. My husband worked on ours after work for about two hours a day. On average, he was probably able to complete one good sized room done in 2-3 days time, so that’s about 4-6 actual work hours.
Q: How do you install it on stairs?
A: You can install a few planks on the stairs and then fit the edges with the coordinating stair noses that are offered. What we opted to do though, was replace our old stair treads with actual hardwood treads. We used the stair noses on the edges of where the top floor dropped off to the stairs.
The photo above shows NuCore on our landing and then a stair nose at the edge.
Q: Can you install this on top of existing tile?
A: Yes. That being said, you would want to make sure the tile was level and in good condition.
Q: How thin is it?
Q: What do I do if the transition from NuCore to another flooring in my home is of varying heights?
A: You should be able to use a coordinating reducer to make the transition smoother.
Q: How does this stuff stay in place without gluing it down?
A: NuCore is a floating tongue and groove installation. The more you snap together, the heavier it becomes, which helps to keep it in place. We also put quarter round trim around the baseboard and edges of the NuCore once it was installed to give it a finished look. This of course also helps to keep it in place.
Q: Do your floors need to be even for the install to be easy?
A: I don’t think they would have to be perfectly level, but you would want them pretty level. If the levelness varies by room, you could always use transitions and reducers in those areas.
Q: Did you lay down any kind of barrier or just install it directly on the floor?
A: No, we didn’t lay down a barrier underneath, just installed it straight on top of the floor. The flooring has cork on it which also helps as a sound barrier.
Q: Can you lay down a barrier underneath NuCore?
A: The flooring specifically says you don’t have to put any sort of underlayment or barrier under the flooring, however if you prefer to do so anyways, I would suggest asking the folks at Floor & Decor who sell NuCore.
Q: Is the flooring renter-friendly or would it ruin the floor underneath?
A: It shouldn’t ruin the floor underneath, as you aren’t having to put down a barrier underneath it or nail it down.
Q: My concern is that the cork backing might show imperfections in the sub floor over time. Do you have any places in your sub floor that is showing up after a year of being installed?
A: I haven’t noticed any places like that. There is one place where there had been two different subfloors and they didn’t meet up quite right. I can tell where that spot is when I walk on it, but not when I look at it.
Q: How can floors with joints be waterproof?
A: I am by no means an expert on answering this question. I’m not the creator of this product, an engineer or a scientist who could tell you the specifics on how that works. In my personal opinion, I would assume since this flooring has tongue and groove joints, that keeps water from seeping through. Of course, you do have to make sure that your joints are tight when you install it. That being said, the core of the flooring is also waterproof as I noted above.
Q: So is it really waterproof?
A: Yes, at least with the water issues we have had. Shortly after moving in, we had a major dishwasher leak. The drain was clogged up and the water came out all in our floor. The end edge of the NuCore flooring buts up to the dishwasher of course and we never had an issue with the floor buckling, deteriorating or anything else because of the water. Now of course, we didn’t let the water sit there for hours to just see what happened, but all in all, no issues. Our dog also had a few accidents on the NuCore and the flooring didn’t seem to absorb any of the urine at all.
Just as a little extra information, this is what one reader left as a comment on one of my previous posts about NuCore: “It’s the material that the flooring is made of that makes it water proof. I put a sample of NuCore halfway in a bucket of water overnight along with other flooring samples and the NuCore was the only one that came out undamaged.”
Q: Any thoughts on if it feels like vinyl? It looks really nice, but walking on it in shoes, socks, bare feet, does it feel cheap or “plasticky”?
A: Personally, I don’t think it feels cheap or plasticky. I always associate a vinyl floor with a slick feel and a shiny look and I don’t think that NuCore has either one of these.
Q: Does the flooring have any physical texture?
A: Yes, there is some texture to the flooring. It’s not too deep that it would catch and hold dirt and dust, but it does give it a little more character.
Q: Does it scratch easily?
A: It doesn’t scratch easily, but our flooring has gotten some scratches. You have to hunt for them though. The scratches aren’t white, but brown in color, so they blend in with the floor.
The scratches on our flooring was from our boxer dog. As she got older, she lost control of her back legs and they would often fall out from her under her, which caused some scratching on the floor and then caused her to try and get a better grip on the floor to get back up.
You can hardly see any of the scratches on the floor in our living room, dining room, or hallway. The only place you can really see them well are right in front of really well-lit places. The photo above was taken in front of our all glass sliding door. The scratches aren’t very noticeable or deep, you have to look for them. I noted some of the ones above with the arrows.
Q: Has it dented easily? Have you noticed denting or divots where chairs or furniture have been sitting on it?
A: No, we haven’t had any dents at all.
Q: Have you had any problems with it splitting at the seams?
A: We have one place where a seam popped. I think it is mainly due to the fact that we put a very large and heavy piece of furniture right beside that seam though. And when I say a large and heavy piece of furniture, I’m talking about a piece of furniture that my husband refers to as “the steel box.” It’s super heavy.
Q: Does it muffle sound well?
A: This is something I haven’t really paid that much attention to, so I might not be the best person to answer it. That being said, if I haven’t noticed it, maybe it means it does muffle sound pretty well. I think that the cork backing helps to absorb some of the sound. We live in a split-level house and the NuCore is installed primarily on the upper level. With the exception of spending some time in our den on the lower level, I’m not down there very much to determine if it does or does not muffle the noise significantly.
Q: Does it make a click-clack noise when the dogs walk across the floor?
A: Yes, the dogs paws and toenails do make that sound as they walk across the floor.
Q: Will it break under pressure of heavy furniture?
A: We haven’t had any pieces break, but we did have that one seam pop up as noted above.
Q: What do you clean NuCore with?
A: At first, I was using Mop n’ Glo, but then someone commented on one of my NuCore posts saying that Floor and Decor suggested not using that to clean it with as it could yellow it. So, I switched to just Swiffer Wet Pads. I usually go over it first with my Shark vacuum using the hardwood floor attachment (which is awesome), then the Swiffer Wet Pad.
Q: Is it ok to get your house sprayed for bugs with the NuCore? Will the flooring be ok being exposed to the spray?
A: I’ve had our house sprayed once every three months for pests since we’ve moved in and there has never been an issue with the spray damaging the flooring.
Q: Where do you buy NuCore and how much does it cost?
A: You can purchase NuCore at Floor & Decor and it costs about $2.40 – $3.00 a square foot.
Our overall thoughts:
We are really pleased with our flooring. I’ll be the first to say that we give our floors a beating. There’s me, Grunt Labor, the Circus, and a dog. We live in our house, we don’t tiptoe around it and this stuff has held up. We have dropped tools on the floor, drug things across it, and with the exception of those scratches from the dog, it’s held up. We have two more places in our house that we still need to update the flooring in and we’re considering NuCore for those places as well. Grunt Labor is really pushing for it because of how easy it is to install. The only other type of flooring we might put in those places would be tile. Either way, both places see a lot of foot traffic and potential water – one is the laundry room, the other a long hallway between our garage and den and both are in the lower level of our house, which is partially underground, since our house is a split-level.
If you’ve installed NuCore before and have more to add, then please leave your thoughts in the comments!
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