Exclusive to Home Depot, LifeProof is a range of value-for-money flooring that’s supposed to be able to deal with all the stresses, strains, and stains that life can throw at it. The range covers carpet as well as hard flooring, but we’ll concentrate here on their luxury vinyl and laminate.
LifeProof is intended to put quality flooring within reach of just about every American family, regardless of their economic status. It’s always good to find a range that is made to be affordable. However, affordability’s only a part of what you want in a floor. No point in being able to buy something that you wish you’d never bought in the first place. So, the question is: is LifeProof really life-proof?
We’ll look at the available ranges before assessing the pricing and durability. Also, we’ll see what LifeProof flooring reviews from customers say about it and assess the ease of installation. Then we’ll give a handy list of pros and cons before delivering our verdict. Let’s get started.
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LifeProof Luxury Vinyl
There are as many as 150 different varieties of luxury vinyl, covering both stone and wood. Stone varieties are, as you might expect, luxury vinyl tile, with dimensions of both 24” x 12” and 32” x 16” available.
Types of stone effects include marble, slate, and concrete, with marble, in particular, boasting an impressive assortment of types, including Sky Marble and Salt Throne Marble (ideal for those planning a coronation in their living room).
The wood effect range is much more extensive, with a veritable forest of varieties including stalwarts like Essential Oak, together with more unusual eye-catchers like Edgewood Cherry and Hudspeth Walnut. The luxury vinyl planks it comes in are sized 60” x 9” and 48” x 7”. However, there is also a variety (Catalina Grey) that comes, unusually, in a tile shape, 32” x 16”.
There are also interesting options in the shape of herringbone, sized at 28” x 4”, and parquet at 24” x 12”. These are only available with a small number of wood looks, such as Elliston Bay and Haystack. Finally, some varieties are available in a multi-width format for heightened authenticity.
LifeProof’s luxury vinyl comes with underlayment attached as well as Ultra-Fresh treatment which fights the formation of mold and mildew. The appearance of all these options is enhanced by the embossing given to the top of the vinyl, which gives it a more natural feel.
Eco-wise, LifeProof vinyl is phthalate and formaldehyde-free and FloorScore Certified, so VOC emissions are kept to a minimum.
- Available in approx 150 Options
- Multi-Layer Structure
- 100% Waterproof
- Suitable for Commercial Use
- Affordable Price Tag
- FloorScore low VOC certified
- Flooring Name: LifeProof Luxury Vinyl
- Thickness: 6.5mm-8mm
- Warranty: Lifetime Residential / 10 Yr Commercial
- Commercial or Residential Use: Both
- Installation Type: Floating
- Underlayment Required: Attached
- Material: Luxury Vinyl
- Brand: LifeProof
LifeProof offers a relatively modest range of wood laminates, with 13 to choose from. Don’t expect an arboreal cornucopia though. In the old Fordian fashion, you can have any wood look you like, as long as it’s oak. Yes, oak, including very light, like Corinth Oak, and very dark, like Bel Marin Key Oak, and various shades in between. As for size, laminate comes in at 48” x 7.5”, with some shades offering slight variations around this.
There are two standards of laminate in the LifeProof stable. The cheaper model is AC4 certified and 12mm thick with no underlayment attached. No underlayment is specified as necessary, but you can obviously add a layer should you want it for noise-minimizing or greater stability reasons. The more expensive variety is AC5 certified, also 12mm thick, plus a 2mm attached underlayment.
Embossing and a beveled edge add to the sensory appeal of laminate. Other benefits of LifeProof laminate include great waterproofing ability, ease of installation, and relative cheapness. Finally, it’s GreenGuard Gold certified and CARB (California Air Resources Board) Compliant, so the highest indoor air standards are guaranteed.
- Available in 13 Options
- 100% Waterproof
- Good Thickness
- Suitable for Commercial Use
- Affordable Price Tag
- GreenGuard Gold Certified and CARB Compliant (AC5 only)
- Flooring Name: LifeProof Laminate
- Thickness: 12mm-14mm
- AC Rating: AC4-AC5
- Warranty: Lifetime Residential / 7-20 Yr Commercial
- Commercial or Residential Use: Both
- Installation Type: Floating
- Underlayment Required: Unattached on AC4, Attached on AC5
- Material: Laminate
- Brand: LifeProof
LifeProof Luxury Vinyl Pricing
At the time of writing, LifeProof luxury vinyl is priced between $3.41 and $4.59 SFT. This is, perhaps, a little more than we were expecting, especially when other value ranges, such as Duralux, can be bought for as low as $0.99 SFT.
A selection of the different finishes of Lifeproof luxury vinyl is priced as follows:
|Variety||Cost per Square Foot||Thickness|
|Bienville Forest Oak (LVP)||$3.41-$3.79 SFT||6.5mm|
|Nutmeg Hickory (LVP)||$3.69 SFT||6.5mm|
|Sky Marble (LVT)||$3.69 SFT||6mm|
|Starry Light (LVT)||$3.89 SFT||6.5mm|
|Sterling Oak (LVP)||$3.89||7mm|
|Amherst Oak (LVP)||$4.12 SFT||8mm|
|Boardwalk (herringbone) (LVP)||$4.59 SFT||8mm|
How It Compares to Other Vinyl Plank Options
|Product Name||Price per Square Foot||Overall Thickness||Wear Layer Thickness|
|Home Decorators Collection LVP||$1.79||4 – 4.2 mm||8 – 12 mil|
|DuraLux Performance||$1.49 – $3.49||4 – 5 mm||6 – 12 mil|
|Mohawk SolidTech Essentials||$2.05 – $2.70||4.5 mm||12 mil|
|ProCore Plus (Lowes)||$2.49 – $2.59||5 mm||12 mil|
|LifeProof Vinyl Plank||$3.41 – $4.59||6.5 – 8 mm||6 – 22 mil|
|Proximity Mills LVP||$3.49 – $6.99||5 – 6.5 mm||22 mil|
|NuCore RigidCore 8mm||$3.79||8 mm||22 mil|
|SmartCore Ultra XL||$3.89||7.5 mm||12 mil|
|Optimax Eco Resilient||$3.99 – $4.99||7 – 8 mm||Not Stated|
|Pergo Extreme||$4.19 – $4.79||5 – 6 mm||20 mil|
|Mohawk SolidTech Plus||$4.35||6 mm||20 mil|
|Armstrong Luxe Plank||$4.39 – $4.79||7.8 mm||20 mil|
|Mannington Adura Max||$5.49 – $5.99||8 mm||20 mil|
|Coretec Plus Premium||$6.49 – $7.49||12 mm||20 mil|
|Cali Bamboo Legends||$6.49||12 mm||20 mil|
|Shaw Floorte Classic||$6.99||12 mm||30 mil|
|Coretec Grande||$9.99||15 mm||30 mil|
LifeProof Laminate Pricing
This is a little cheaper than the luxury vinyl. $2.09 SFT is its starting price point, which is a good price. This will buy you AC4-rated laminate. For the AC5 version, it goes up to $3.49, which is still good value.
|Variety||Cost per Square Foot||Thickness|
|Hillcrest Oak (AC4)||$2.09 SFT||12mm|
|Greystone Oak (AC4)||$2.69 SFT||12mm|
|Eagle Plains Oak (AC5)||$3.49 SFT||12mm + 2mm underlayment|
|Spanish Trace Oak (AC5)||$3.49 SFT||12mm + 2mm underlayment|
How It Compares to Other Laminate Options
|Brand||Cost per Square Foot||Overall Thickness||Warranty|
|TrafficMaster Laminate||$1.09 – $2.19 SFT||7 – 12mm||30year/none||AC3|
|Hydroshield Laminate||$1.59 – $2.49 SFT||8 – 12 mm||lifetime/10year||AC4|
|Home Decorators Laminate||$1.69 – $2.49 SFT||10 – 12mm||lifetime/7year||AC4|
|LifeProof Laminate||$2.09 – $3.49 SFT||12 – 14mm||lifetime/7year||AC4 & AC5|
|Pergo Outlast + Laminate||$2.84 – $3.19 SFT||10 – 12mm||lifetime/10year||AC4|
|Evoke Laminate||$2.09 – $3.29 SFT||8 – 14mm||20/3year||AC3 & AC4|
|Mohawk RevWood Laminate||$2.39 – $3.99 SFT||8 – 12mm||lifetime/5year||AC4|
|AquaGuard Laminate||$2.59 – $3.99 SFT||12mm||lifetime/15 year||AC5|
|Quick-Step Laminate||$2.89 – $4.59 SFT||8 – 12mm||lifetime/none||AC4|
|Republic Laminate||$3.09 – $3.39 SFT||8 – 12mm||lifetime/5year||AC4|
|Shaw Repel Laminate||$3.59 – $3.89 SFT||12mm||30year/none||AC4|
|Mannington Laminate||$3.99 SFT||12mm||25 / 5year||AC4|
Durability is a key characteristic of luxury vinyl. This is down to its multi-layer construction and a solid center. At the upper end of the range, LifeProof doesn’t disappoint. Amherst Oak, for instance, is 8mm thick overall and has a wear layer of a whopping 22 mil. Anything over 20, and you’re looking at some pretty hardwearing stuff. No surprise then that the warranty gives lifetime residential and 20-year full commercial cover.
However, going down the scale to the most popular variety, Sterling Oak, you get a less impressive result. It has an overall thickness of 7mm and a wear layer of 6 mil. Consequently. While the warranty gives a lifetime residential guarantee, the commercial cover is just for five years.
One aspect you can be sure of is waterproofing. Thanks to the solid core used in the construction, all LifeProof luxury vinyl is waterproof, even when immersed in water for an extended period of time. This is the case for all varieties, regardless of price point.
LifeProof laminate is exceptionally hardwearing. The top end is hard to find fault with, having an AC5 rating which makes it ideal for residential as well as all commercial use. Its 12mm thickness, backed up with 2mm underlayment, gives it great stability and wear.
This is why it comes with a lifetime residential guarantee and a very healthy 20-year commercial warranty. If you’re looking for something that will perform well over the years, no matter what the environment, this is clearly a good choice.
If you want to go to the cheaper end of the spectrum, the performance is still not bad. Just over $2 SFT gets you a 12mm thick AC4-rated material that’s guaranteed for a lifetime of residential use or seven years of commercial deployment.
One area where laminate performs worse than luxury vinyl is waterproofing. Water should not be allowed to stand on laminate, as it will eventually work its way in.
Unsurprisingly, it being such a huge flooring merchant, the Home Depot site carries an enormous number of LifeProof reviews from customers. At the time of writing, there were 18,551 up there. What is perhaps surprising for a low-cost brand is how overwhelmingly positive they are (4.6/5). Here are some examples:
Beautiful and durable Easy installation We love these floors
Beautiful flooring! This is my third room …. 2 rooms to go!
However, there is the occasional more restrained tone. Such as this one:
The flooring is nice, goes down easily, but is not scratch-proof. Moving my refrigerator and may two sons quality tested this. We did place cardboard under the frig before moving it, but we didn’t place cardboard under our kids.
Houzz.com carries a few discussions centering on LifeProof luxury vinyl. Most are reasonably complimentary, including this dog owner:
I have installed 3 different types of LVP with Lifeproof being one of them. Easy to install, wears very well, even with 2 large dogs and 1 medium dog with nails all over the floor.
However, one individual advised against the cheaper end of the range in no uncertain terms:
Run like hell. It has only a 6 mil wear layer.
Looking at HomeDepot’s site again, there are not quite so many reviews this time (254 at the time of writing) but they’re a little more positive (4.7/5) than the luxury vinyl. Examples include:
We love it! Its beautiful, easy to clean, incredibly resistant to wear and the kids.
Great product at an amazing price point. Would highly recommend to anyone considering laminate flooring.
Reddit carries a few threads that mention LifeProof laminate, usually with positive experiences being related, such as this one:
Have in kitchen – for most part it’s great and soft sound vs the other laminate in other area. 3 dogs – so far has withstood their claws. planning on putting it in our laundry.
So it looks like most reviewers are immensely happy with laminate, especially the dog owners (and perhaps even the dogs to!).
Installation instructions for both are available on YouTube. Laminate and luxury vinyl can be laid on most subfloors, including wood and concrete (if concrete, remember to lay a barrier to prevent moisture migration). Luxury vinyl will tend to cope with a degree of unevenness (up to ¼” in 10’) better than laminate will. Both use the floating method, which is always better than having to bother with adhesive.
An expansion gap is needed around the perimeter of the lay (laminate – 5/16” to ⅜”; vinyl – ¼”).
Acclimation isn’t required for either product unless you’re installing vinyl in a heavy commercial setting, in which case 48 hours is recommended.
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Care & Maintenance
Care and maintenance are critical for a long-lasting laminate or luxury viynl floor. Below are some tips and instructions to keep your floors looking fresh for longer.
Keep Your Floors Clean
Vacuuming and mopping your floor regularly is vital to its lifespan. Dust and dirt act as abrasive and cause scratches on the wear layer. Hence why, it’s crucial to always vacuum your floor before mopping. Unfortunately, some vacuums will damage your floor, so it’s essential to only use a vacuum suitable for hard surface floors.
As for mopping, it’s important not to over-saturate your floor. For best results, we recommend using a spray mop that dispenses a fine mist of water mixed with a cleaning solution on your floor with the touch of a button. This also avoids spillages caused by having to use a water bucket. Furthermore, it would be best if you used a PH-neutral solution. Household dish soap is fine as long as you don’t use too much soap. For best results, we recommend using Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner.
Furthermore, it’s important to avoid all-purpose or multi-purpose cleaner as it’s often not PH-neutral. Contrary to the fact that some brands allow it, we recommend not using a steam mop. Although they are easy to use, they will cause your floor to become dull faster due to the heat. Speaking of heat, avoid exposing your floor to direct sunlight at peak hours; use blinds or curtains if necessary.
Protect Your Floor
There are several ways to protect your floor from damage. Below are some of the best and most common protection methods to adopt.
- Attach large-diameter felt pads to furniture legs. This allows heavy furniture to glide smoothly on your floor without causing scuffs and scratches.
- Avoid wearing shoes as they can bring in dirt and damage your floor. It’s best to wear socks.
- Place rugs in high-traffic areas such as the living area.
- Be wary of office chair casters; they can destroy your floor. Either replace them with floor-friendly blade casters or place down a protective chair mat.
- Maintain a room temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This prevents moisture problems.
- Place down walk-off doormats at house entrances to avoid bringing in dirt from outdoors which can scratch your floor.
- If you have a dog, nail trimming will prevent them from scratching the floor. Plus, most dogs like their nails to be trimmed now and then.
Pros and Cons
Common to Both (LifeProof Vinyl & Laminate)
- Good Thickness – at the top end, LifeProof comes up with the goods.
- Installation’s Relatively Simple – if you’re a practical sort, you should be able to handle it.
- Multi-Use – can be used in any room, including basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.
- Easy to Clean – cleaning and maintenance are simple – a damp mop does the trick.
- Damaged Planks Can Be Replaced – any individual planks that have sustained impairment can be removed and replaced.
- Good Reviews – both laminate and luxury vinyl can boast some very enthusiastic reviews.
- Cannot Be Refinished – damage to a tile or plank cannot be repaired – replacement is necessary.
- Doesn’t Have Look or Feel of Natural – lumberjacks, and stonemasons will be wise to the fact that it’s synthetic in no time at all. Having said that, both vinyl and laminate will fool most casual observers at first glance.
- Massive Range – 150 different wood and stone looks make LifeProof vinyl one of the widest ranges on the market.
- Waterproof – 100% waterproof, even after extended immersion.
- Long Warranty – up to lifetime residential and 20-year commercial is available.
- Cheaper End is Disappointing – a 6 mil wear layer isn’t great, as a 5-year commercial warranty indicates.
- Could Be Cheaper – OK, $3.41 SFT’s not astronomical, admittedly, but it’s more than a lot of other value ranges cost.
- Environmentally Not Ideal – vinyl has a slightly problematic eco-profile because the PVC used to make it can’t be recycled into anything else. Industry progress is being made, though.
- Long Warranty – at the top end, lifetime residential and 20-year commercial is good stuff, as an AC5 rating.
- Reasonably Environmentally Sound – the $3.49+ product is German–Constructed to relatively stringent eco-standards.
- Pretty Economical – LifeProof laminate starts at a mere $2.09 SFT, which is hard to beat, especially when it gives you lifetime residential cover.
- Limited Range – just 13 shades of the same wood will not excite many.
- Not Fully Waterproof – only water-resistant.
Style – 8.5 out of 10 points
A fabulous range of natural looks means that there really is a LifeProof luxury vinyl option for every room. Attention to detail seems to have been lavished on this range to great effect.
Durability – 7 out of 10 points
At the top end of the product scale, this has all the hardwearing nature you’d look for in luxury vinyl (and then some – 22 mil wear layers don’t come along every day). However, the cheaper end is a little underwhelming, so is recommended only for lighter-traffic areas.
Affordability – 6.5 out of 10 points
Starting at $3.41 per square foot, the price is not excessive, but there are cheaper options out there.
Online Reviews – 8.5 out of 10 points
When a LifeProof review base of getting on for 20,000 is so remarkably positive, you know you have a good product on your hands. Most purchasers seem absolutely delighted with their new vinyl flooring, which is a hugely encouraging sign.
Overall Score for LifeProof luxury vinyl – 7.5 out of 10 points
In all then, LifeProof luxury vinyl scored 7.5 out of 10 in our review. Good scores for style and reviews were tempered by dips in durability and affordability scores. Neither of these was disastrous, but they do reflect the poor performance of the lower end of the product range, together with the fact that luxury vinyl invariably costs a little more than some other flooring.
Style – 6.5 out of 10 points
The wood effect looks OK, but the range could do with being beefed up. 13 varieties of oak are nothing to write home about.
Durability – 8 out of 10 points
You simply can’t argue with a rating of AC5. Even the cheaper varieties are still rated AC4, so the consumer can derive a decent degree of confidence about the product.
Affordability – 8.5 out of 10 points
This is where LifeProof laminate really shines (remarkable for a low gloss product!). Coming in at $2.09 SFT for a perfectly reasonable product, going up to $3.49 SFT for the better quality end is a very affordable performance.
Online Reviews – 9 out of 10 points
You have to scour the net to find any significantly negative LifeProof flooring reviews for its laminate range. Its ease of installation and durability inspire rhapsodies from Rochester to Reno.
Overall Score for LifeProof Laminate – 8 out of 10 points
A total score for LifeProof laminate of 8 out of 10 is based mainly on its remarkable affordability combined with its hard-wearing performance. If you can get over the limited range of finishes, then you’ll be treating your home to a really quite impressive product at a price that is extremely attractive.
LifeProof has a great pair of product ranges here, with high levels of durability available, especially at the more expensive end. For range of looks, luxury vinyl is the winner, but for sheer muscular durability, it’s AC5 laminate all the way.
While a light-traffic residential environment will be graced and perfectly well-served by Sterling Oak or one of the other items in the cheaper end of the vinyl range, for areas of heavy tread such as busy stores or industrial applications, you need to be looking at the laminate top end. We hope we’ve helped you decide on whether or not to proceed with LifeProof. There’s more information online regarding both laminate and luxury vinyl, so well worth doing a bit of research yourself before you take the plunge.
What do you think of LifeProof flooring? Have you had any experiences with the brand? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Is laminate cheaper than luxury vinyl?
In general, yes. This reflects the greater complexity of construction and the generally better performance you usually see in luxury vinyl.
Which is easier to install, laminate or luxury vinyl?
There’s not much in it, although luxury vinyl has a slight edge. For one thing, you can cut vinyl tiles to fit with a knife. Laminate invariably requires a saw.
Do laminate and luxury vinyl require underlayment?
No. Neither requires underlayment, but you may decide that you wish to lay some down in order to reduce noise and increase stability. Some laminate and luxury vinyl options have a layer of underlayment already attached.
Is all vinyl damaging to the environment?
Steps are now being taken in the industry to recycle used vinyl into new vinyl, and although Home Depot hasn’t addressed this on their ecoactions page, they are looking into the notion of circularity, which will hopefully embrace recycling in due course.