7 Most Common Problems With SmartCore Vinyl Flooring (With Examples)

You’ve probably heard about this cool flooring option from Lowes made from tough plastic materials.

The interesting thing is, that it comes in all sorts of colors, sizes, and textures, and it’s got some impressive features.

However, life is not all rainbows and sunshine.

When it comes to SmartCore vinyl flooring, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

One drawback is that it doesn’t handle the hustle and bustle of high-traffic areas like kitchens and hallways very well.

It is also prone to scratches and dents, so it’s not the best choice for areas with furniture or pets.

It’s also difficult to install and not very forgiving when it comes to mistakes.

So, these are the primary downsides of SmartCore vinyl flooring.

Oh, also people have been complaining about how it can discolor, stain, peel, and even crack. Not the best news, right?

But hang on, it’s not all negative. If you’re into giving your space a modern touch, SmartCore vinyl flooring can totally do the trick.

Just install it down in areas that aren’t flooded with foot traffic, and it might stay loyal for years.

Want to know more about the problems with SmartCore vinyl flooring and how to handle them?

Well, keep reading this article! We’ve got the scoop for you.

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7 Most Common Problems With SmartCore Vinyl Flooring

1. DIY Installation is Difficult

Installing SmartCore vinyl flooring is not as simple as it’s made out to be.

You might have come across reviews praising its ease of installation, but here’s the real story.

The planks of SmartCore vinyl flooring use a drop-and-lock system.

The catch is that the groove sticks out quite a bit, while the tongue barely does.

This means you need a steady hand and a bit of muscle to get those planks to fit together just right.

But there’s more to it. You’ll need some specialized gear, like a tapping block, to make sure everything clicks together securely.

And here’s a little tip: don’t go mad with tapping; if you get too heavy-handed, you might end up breaking the locking system.

And there’s one more thing you should know – if you decide to go the DIY route and install it yourself, your warranty might as well be void.

If you want to keep that warranty intact, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Luckily, hiring a pro won’t break the bank, unless you’re planning some ultra-fancy parquet pattern that’s more complex than a puzzle.

Ease of Installation: 2 Out of 5

2. Scratches & Dents

While vinyl plank flooring, in general, is celebrated for its ability to resist scratches, the same can’t be said for SmartCore vinyl flooring.

Many reviews, including my own experiences, have shown that SmartCore floors tend to get scratched, and it can take a toll on their appearance, even when they’re still brand new.

Sure, SmartCore brags about its Urethane Ceramic Scratch Protection, which is meant to protect against those pesky scratches and keep your floors looking sharp.

However, in reality, it’s not entirely risk-free.

Over time, you might notice your SmartCore flooring losing its shine due to those sneaky scratches & dents.

What’s worse, these scratches can be a real pain to get rid of.

So, here’s the deal: if you want to keep your SmartCore vinyl floor looking its best, try to avoid dragging around heavy objects and stay away from wearing shoes that could scuff it up.

Scratch & Dent Resistance: 3 Out of 5

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3. Damage from Water

You might think, “Vinyl, it’s waterproof, right?” Well, not entirely in the case of SmartCore vinyl flooring.

SmartCore vinyl flooring often boasts about being water-resistant, which sounds great until you spill a glass of water or something more substantial on it.

The problem is that if moisture starts making its way in from beneath, like from a leaky pipe or a slightly damp subfloor, SmartCore can be a bit like a delicate flower.

It doesn’t handle water too well and can start acting up.

The result? It might swell, warp, or even come apart at the edges.

Not exactly the kind of performance you’d expect from something claiming to be water-resistant.

So, if you’re planning to use SmartCore in areas where water or spills are a regular occurrence, like the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want to be extra cautious.

Water-Resistant: 2.5 Out of 5

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4. Discoloration & Stains

Here’s another headache you might encounter with SmartCore vinyl flooring: it’s a bit of a magnet for stains.

We all know that little accidents are bound to happen, like the occasional spilled coffee or a dropped slice of pizza, right?

Well, when it comes to SmartCore floors, they can be a tad sensitive to staining.

The problem kicks in when your floor soaks up those spills like a sponge.

Once that happens, it’s like trying to erase an ink stain from a white shirt – not easy. Restoring the floor’s original color can be a real challenge.

To keep those pesky stains at bay, you have to jump into action when accidents occur.

Now, if your home gets a lot of sunshine, you might also have to deal with discoloration from good old UV rays.

Clear vinyl floors, in particular, are prone to turning yellow over time.

You’ll either have to accept that vintage look or be ready to replace your flooring.

But hey, you can always play musical chairs with your furniture to save them from being sun-kissed all day long.

Stain-Resistant: 2.5 Out of 5

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5. Peeling and Cracking

One common concern that faces all vinyl brands is the wear and tear on that protective top layer.

SmartCore offers decent protection with its 12-mil layer on Standard SmartCore and SmartCore Ultra.

Plus, a beefier 20-mil layer on SmartCore Pro.

But here’s the twist: even with these robust layers, SmartCore can’t completely dodge the peeling and cracking bullet.

Over time, the adhesive hanging out around the corners of your SmartCore flooring can get a little worn out.

It’s not a SmartCore-exclusive problem; it’s something that can happen with any brand. So, we can’t point fingers at SmartCore for that one.

Another culprit behind the peeling and cracking drama is those annoying scratches.

When your floor gets scratched up, it messes with that protective layer, making it more vulnerable.

And when that layer’s defenses crumble, your flooring starts peeling and cracking. It’s like a chain reaction.

Abrasion-Resistant: 2 Out of 5

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6. Not Eco-Friendly

When it comes to being eco-friendly, let’s be real—no vinyl plank flooring brand can truly claim the title of being green.

However, if you’re looking for a more eco-conscious choice, SmartCore does have a low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) certification.

Which means it’s friendlier in the air-quality department than some other brands with higher VOC ratings and limited recyclability.

But, there’s always room for greener pastures. Enter brands like Proximity Mills, which are doing even better in the eco-friendly game.

So, if you’re all about saving the planet, you might want to check them out.

Eco-Friendly: 4 Out of 5

7. Bad Locking System

One significant problem with SmartCore Vinyl flooring that you might want to know about is its locking system.

It’s kind of like trying to solve a puzzle that just won’t fit together quite right.

You see, SmartCore uses a drop-and-lock mechanism to connect its planks. Sounds great, but there’s a catch.

The groove on one side sticks out farther than the tongue on the other, creating a mismatch that makes installation more difficult.

Getting those planks to lock together seamlessly requires precision, patience, and a good amount of elbow grease.

You have to align them just perfectly and apply enough pressure to make sure they hold together.

So, if you’re not up for a DIY challenge, it’s wise to consider professional installation to avoid the headache of trying to figure out this puzzle-like system.

Plank Locking System: 1.5 Out of 5

Pros and Cons of SmartCore Flooring


  • SmarCore Pro provides style and strength simultaneously.
  • The SmartCore is low-maintenance and includes an acoustic pad with enhanced performance.
  • It is usually not necessary to acclimate before installation.
  • It retails under $4 per square foot, making it a good product.
  • Visually appealing, with wood and stone options.


  • The scratch resistance isn’t as good as claimed.
  • The installation of SmartCore vinyl planks can be challenging for some people.
  • Warranty issues are a concern for many users.
  • With SmartCore Ultra, the wear layer is the thinnest available.

What Do The Reviews Say?

Well, when it comes to SmartCore vinyl flooring, it’s been a bit of a mixed reaction for most customers.

Many people have been pretty happy with how it looks and feels underfoot.

Some even thought it was a breeze to install although truth be told, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem.

But here’s where the not-so-happy campers come in.

Some SmartCore users have complained about its tendency for denting and scratching more easily than other vinyl flooring options.

And if you’ve got a lot of sunshine streaming in, you might notice your SmartCore floors doing a disappearing act, fading under the sun’s rays.

So, while many are pleased with SmartCore’s aesthetics and ease of installation (to an extent), those dents, scratches, and sun-induced fading are real buzzkills for others.

My Opinion on SmartCore Vinyl Flooring

In my opinion only opt for the SmartCore vinyl flooring, if you’re looking for a simple, low-cost flooring option.

Don’t expect it to transform your space into a dream home.

The design is pretty stylish, no doubt about it, but where it falls a bit short is in the quality department.

You might find yourself wishing it had held up better over time.

SmartCore LVF isn’t the lowest-maintenance floor out there, and it can take some time to install.

So, if you’re dreaming of a stunning home without the hassle, you might want to explore other flooring options.

The good news is, you’ve got a lot of choices out there.

I’d recommend checking out a local flooring store; they often have better deals and higher-quality products than what you’ll find online.

Furthermore, check out this Forbes article (here) if you wish to learn everything about vinyl flooring before you buy it.

Best Reasons to Choose SmartCore Flooring

SmartCore’s got some perks, especially for those quieter spaces and budget-conscious folks.

Just be mindful of the not-so-great stuff we’ve talked about in the other sections of this blog. It’s all about finding the right balance for your flooring needs.

When to Choose SmartCore:

  • Ideal for low-traffic areas: SmartCore shines in spaces that don’t see a ton of footfall.
  • Perfect for quieter households: If you’re pet-free and kid-free, it’s less likely to get scratched or scuffed.
  • No need for acclimation: You can jump into installation as soon as your subfloor is ready, without the wait. Just ensure your room is between 32 and 100°F for the best results.
  • Wallet-friendly: It won’t break the bank, with various options to fit different budgets. Here’s the breakdown.
    1. SmartCore Standard: $2.00 – $2.90 per square foot
    2. SmartCore Ultra: $3.30 – $3.40 per square foot
    3. SmartCore Pro: $3.50 – $3.70 per square foot
    4. SmartCore Naturals: $3.50 – $3.80 per square foot

Must See: SmartCore Pro Vs. Ultra Vinyl Flooring: What’s the Best for My Home?

FAQs: Problems With SmartCore Vinyl Flooring

Is SmartCore flooring Greenguard Certified?

Yes, SmartCore flooring is Greenguard Certified.

This certification ensures that the flooring meets strict indoor air quality standards by keeping volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in check.

How long does SmartCore flooring last?

SmartCore flooring’s lifespan typically ranges from 8 to 15 years, depending on factors like maintenance, foot traffic, and the specific SmartCore product you choose.

Higher-end versions, like SmartCore Pro, are more durable and have longer life expectancies.

Is SmartCore a good vinyl flooring?

SmartCore vinyl flooring can be a decent option, especially if you’re working within a budget and installing it in low-traffic areas.

It offers a range of designs, and there’s no need for acclimatization before installation.

However, it’s not the best choice for homes with heavy foot traffic or if you have pets or kids, as it can scratch easily.

Is SmartCore flooring waterproof?

SmartCore flooring is water-resistant, but the term “waterproof” can be a bit of a stretch.

While it can handle spills and splashes, it’s not designed to be fully submerged or resist water damage for extended periods.

As a result, it is reliable for everyday accidents.

Is SmartCore Pro or Ultra better?

Choosing between SmartCore Pro and Ultra depends on your specific needs.

SmartCore Pro offers a thicker wear layer, making it more durable and suitable for high-traffic areas.

On the other hand, SmartCore Ultra may have a wider range of design options.

If you want toughness and can compromise a bit on design, Pro is the way to go.

For a Complete Guide, Read this:SmartCore Pro Vs. Ultra Vinyl Flooring: What’s the Best for My Home?

Read More on Vinyl Floors



  1. I have purchased 7400.00 of this Southern Pecan SMARTCORE Ultra XL Flooring. DO NOT BUY this flooring. It has separated in more than 18 places in the home. I was told this was the best flooring to put down in a house by the Lowes salesman. We contacted Lowes and they sent a flooring man out and he said it was installed correctly and could not find any problems with moisture or being out of level. They then called us from the Lowes and the flooring company and would not refund our money or send someone out to repair the home. I am very dissatisfied with Lowes and this flooring company.

  2. We installed Smartcore Pro in our entire house. This flooring was highly recommended from Lowe’s. The floor started peeling and cracking after a few months. Shaw sent one of THEIR inspectors out to look at it. They claimed it was due to our floor not being completely level. They would not stand behind their warranty. Stay away from this flooring. It’s total junk.

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