Lifeproof is a very popular brand of vinyl flooring, mostly due to the fact that it’s on the lower-end of the price spectrum and that it’s sold by Home Depot.
Since vinyl itself is already an affordable option, it can be tempting to save even more money by going with something like Lifeproof, but it may not be your best bet.
When you’re thinking about the price of flooring, there’s more to keep in mind than just the raw upfront cost.
- How long will it last?
- How good will it look at first, and how well will it hold up overtime?
- How much will it cost to replace?
These are all important questions when you’re installing a new floor in your home. Lifeproof flooring has a lot of the same benefits as other brands of vinyl plank, however there are some downsides that explain why it costs less. These may not be deal breakers for you, in which case this is a good way to save a few bucks, but in most cases we would steer you towards a different option.
The Benefits of Vinyl Plank Floors
Here are some of the benefits that apply to all planks, including those offered by Lifeproof.
Compared to hardwood, stone tiles, and other popular options, you can get a new floor for a lot less money. Wood can get damaged easily and needs to be sanded and polished occasionally, something you can only do a finite amount of times. Stone can crack. Both of these require major renovations to install, whereas vinyl plank can usually just sit right on top of an existing floor, further bringing down the labor costs of installation.
There are only so many different styles available with certain types of flooring, but with vinyl you’ve got many to choose from. Along with different looks and patterns of vinyl, you’ve also got different tiers of quality, which we’ll discuss more in-depth.
Generally speaking, vinyl floors are quite durable. They’re resistant to most spills, they don’t stain easily, and even scratches from a pet’s claws are very rare. They should last many years, and they’re quite easy to maintain.
That’s in general, which brings us into some of the issues we have with Lifeproof…
The Problem with Lifeproof
Lifeproof is a brand that’s sold exclusively at Home Depot. It’s safe to assume that Home Depot has a strong relationship with them, and is possibly incentivized into steering people towards their products when they visit the store to look at flooring. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, the real problem comes down to quality and the time honored saying…
…you get what you pay for.
Yes, Lifeproof are very affordable, and you’ll see them recommended a lot, especially in-store. The problem with this is the fact that they’re not super durable.
The product itself is thinner and lower-quality than some other options out there, so if you’re already saving some money by going vinyl, you should look at higher-quality options.
Having said that, there is a time and place where something lower-end might be okay. If you have an addition to your home, like a spare room or a sunroom or what have you, this can be an affordable option for lower-traffic areas. You don’t always need the best, sometimes cheap and good enough is, quite frankly, good enough.
As long as you realize that Lifeproof isn’t a high-end, top-quality option, and you use it accordingly, you should be all set. The problem is when people use it for their kitchens, bathrooms, entrances, and other high-traffic areas in their homes and then notice it starting to wear out too quickly, or the colors starting to fade, or that it’s scratching too easily, or other issues of durability.
For alternatives to Lifeproof, we’re going to be sticking to other brands of vinyl. Of course, there are many other non-vinyl alternatives out there, but we’ll assume you’ve already made up your mind on vinyl and you’re just looking for a higher quality option.
A good indicator is price. More expensive doesn’t always mean it’s better, but it’s a start. With many of the options in the $1-$2 per square foot range, you’re missing out on important features like scratch resistance and waterproofing.
Another thing to look at is the thickness of the tile. Lifeproof isn’t the worst when it comes to this, there are cheaper brands that that can be insanely thin. The thickness of the planks can vary depending on the style you choose, and thicker is generally a better option in terms of quality and durability. Also, the thicker ones can have additional protective layers, which help them last longer.
There are Lifeproof planks that are quite thin, and thicker ones, which demonstrates that it’s important to look beyond just the brand name. Having said that, if you’re looking for some alternatives, here are some other brands that are worth checking out:
The Vivero line of products comes in 3 different durability options, so that you can choose according to your needs and where you’re putting it. It’s 100% waterproof, super durable, and comes in a number of styles.
You can install these yourself if you have even a bit of DIY experience. Armstrong’s Vivero products come with a lifetime limited warranty for the home, and a 15 year warranty for commercial installations. They can cost upwards of twice as much as Lifeproof, depending on the style of each.
DuraCeramic is like a mixture between vinyl and ceramic tiles. It has the benefits of both, with less of the downsides. The price of DuraCeramic is slightly higher than the pricier versions of Lifeproof, but put them side-by-side and you can tell the difference right away. Congoleum also offers tile and sheet flooring options.
This brand has been around for decades, and offers high quality vinyl flooring options at somewhat higher prices, in the $4-$8 per square foot range, give or take. They have a 20 year warranty, and a lot of unique designs and accent-pieces that you can use to really bring the look together.
When it’s all said and done, there are much better options out there than Lifeproof, but it isn’t the worst option out there, either. There are a lot of complaints about it scratching too easily, or not being as durable as advertised, but if you want something cheap, it fits the bill.