LifeProof Flooring Review

LifeProof Flooring Review

If you have been following us for a while, you know I am working on my house.  I am doing this in two phases.  The first phase was gutting the entire house down to the studs and building it back up.  The second phase is a new addition.  While there is a lot to this whole project, flooring is just one piece of the pie, but an important part of the project.  For phase 1 I didn’t have any issues since there were hardwood floors and just needed to get them refinished and then install carpet in the bedrooms.  However, phase 2, since it’s brand new, flooring is something I am designing and working with from the ground up, which brings me to the LifeProof Flooring review.

Types of Floors

You may not think much of flooring until you either need to replace flooring in your home or when a floor really stands out and makes you notice the floor.  While there are a lot of flooring options, you really have four types of flooring, carpet, hardwood, stone, and vinyl.  Sure there are more options such as epoxy, but those are the four common types.

For me, vinyl isn’t an option or at least not until I heard about LifeProof.  Anytime someone talked about vinyl floors, all I could picture was the cheap vinyl from the 70’s and earlier.  The patterns are awful, they feel cheap, they sound hollow when you walk on those floors and it’s just not an appealing alternative. Which brings me to my addition, phase 2 for my basement.

My goal for the basement is to make it kid-friendly for my kids who are into baseball and hockey.  I want a place where they can be kids and not worry about breaking anything.  They have always wanted a hockey net to shoot goals and a baseball net to hit balls into. We live in the Chicago area so winters can get cold and it would be nice to have a place inside. With that said, I knew I wasn’t going to finish the basement as they will beat on the walls, floors and more.

So my goal was to install the bottom plates so I can frame it in the future when the kids get older.  I wanted a floor so they aren’t walking on the concrete but I wanted something tough. So what option does that leave me with?

Why I am using LifeProof

Since my basement is below grade I wanted something tough, I am only stuck to 1 option, porcelain.  I can’t install wood below grade.  The kids were hitting hockey pucks so the carpet wouldn’t work and as I noted, I had a misconception of vinyl floors.  And no, I didn’t want to epoxy the floor.

So my only option was porcelain, however, I was a little scared that I would get a lot of cracked tiles when the kids throw their aluminum bats.

So my wife and I went to our local Home Depot, which is in Lake Zurich, IL and yes, in my opinion, it’s the best Home Depot because I feel like it’s a small home town store with a huge selection.  I know a lot of the people there and they are great.  No, Home Depot didn’t pay me to say that, that’s just my two cents.

As we were at The Home Depot looking at the porcelain floors, a sales associate came over and started talking to us.  He took time and got to know our project.  He wasn’t one of these people who just start throwing products at you, he actually took time to understand.

While he agreed that porcelain is a great option for the floor, he started telling us about how he thought LifeProof would be better.  I have to admit, when he brought up that it was vinyl, my attention span decreased.  He took us over to the LifeProof section and started getting all excited, which did make me check in a little more and pay attention.  Then I started seeing the designs, which don’t represent the 70’s at all.  He showed me how easy it was to install with the tongue and groove, the underlayment attached, the toughness and how it can be installed below grade.  After he left, my wife and I talked and I couldn’t believe I was actually interested in a vinyl floor.  Well here I was, I was sold on a vinyl floor.  LifeProof flooring was the floor I was going to install in my basement.  I also have to admit that I was a little relieved because while I wanted porcelain, I wasn’t excited about installing porcelain with the grout, mortar and the wet cutting.

The price isn’t bad either compared to the alternatives.  LifeProof is $3.19/sq.ft. or $63.98 per case.  For some of the options, if you buy a large quantity, the price will drop to $57.58 per case.

LifeProof Options

LifeProof Flooring Review

As I noted earlier, LifeProof is not your traditional vinyl.  This flooring actually looks awesome and I would never in a million years think I would be talking about how vinyl flooring looks amazing.  LifeProof has a wide variety of options to choose from.  The flooring is designed to look like a wood plank with a ton of different grain and color patterns.  Each tile is 8.7″ wide by 47.6″ long.

I am jumping ahead but for the basement floor, what really stood out to me was the variety of pattern in each case.  I am not sure how many they have but I have laid numerous floors that mimic wood and you really have to be careful as each color might only have 4 or 5 patterns.  With the LifeProof, I did find some same patterns but I feel like there was a lot more variety so you don’t accidentally lay two identical pieces right next to each other.

Features and Construction

So here is where LifeProof gets interesting.  I have never seen a flooring product as well built as LifeProof.  Here are just a couple of features of this flooring.

  1. Waterproof – This means it’s great for a basement, mudrooms or anywhere water will be present.
  2. Acclimation – You don’t need to acclimate this product like you have to do with real wood.
  3. Tongue and Groove Floating Floor – The floor is installed with a tongue and groove which makes it easy to install and very secure.
  4. Underlayment – The underlayment is already attached to each plank so you don’t have to waste time or money installing it before the floor.  Makes installing much easier and quicker.
  5. Scratch Resistant – There is a topcoat that protects the floor from not only water but also scratches.
  6. Warranty – Lifetime warranty for residential and 5 years for commercial.
  7. Can be installed over other floorings – Since it’s a floating floor, you can install it over existing floors.
  8. Designed for residential and commercial use – You usually don’t see a product you can use for both places but if it’s strong enough for commercial use, it’s easily strong enough and durable enough for your home.
  9. Inhibits stains and odor – The planks are treated to prevent stains and odor from developing.

Texture and Feel

This is something I had to put forefront and have it’s own section because I have never seen this before.  If you have ever dealt with fake wood flooring products, you know it’s just a picture on top of the product.  When you rub your hand over the flooring, the texture doesn’t match the picture.  Here is another reason why LifeProof surpasses all other floorings.

When you pick up a plank and look at the texture, then you rub your hand over the plank, the texture matches the picture below.  If the grains are close together, you will feel the grains close together.  If the grains are far apart, then you will feel the grains far apart.  If you see a knot in the floor, you will feel the knot in the floor.

Again, I have never seen a product like this that mimics wood so well.


When it comes to durability, nothing comes close to LifeProof flooring.  We beat this stuff up to test it and see how strong it really was.  We ran it over with a Jeep, used is as skis on an asphalt road, hit it with a hammer multiple times, tried to scratch it with rocks and we couldn’t get it to scratch.  No floor will ever go through all that so if it can go through that, it can go through your everyday wear and tear use.

We even cut some up and put it in water for three days.  When we took it out and compared it to another dry plank, there was no swelling or damage from the water, which was extremely impressive.

As we talked earlier, one great feature is the underlayment which is already built into each plank.  This minimizes sound and helps enhance warmth.

Easy Care

Caring for the floor couldn’t be simpler which is the most appealing feature to my wife and myself.  I hate products that claim to be great but you have to treat them each year or can only use certain products to clean it.

LifeProof is different and very simple.  You don’t have to wax the floor.  Just use a simple dust mop, vacuum or a cleaner with a neutral pH.


LifeProof Flooring Review

Installing was a piece of cake.  Since it’s tongue and groove, it just snaps together.  You will have to buy spacers, a tapping block, puller, and a mallet.

You can start on one side of the room and insert your spacers so the floor stays away from the wall.  Once your first piece is down, the second piece just snaps into the first.  Use your mallet to tap it down and tight into the first piece.

As you move on and get to your second row. You can start using your tapping block and puller.  The floor snaps into place but the mallet and tapping block gives it a very tight fit without any space between each piece.

To get more details about installing, check out LifeProof installation guide.

Bottom line, the floor is very easy to install.  You can make cuts with a jigsaw and miter saw.  I had a cutter which makes it even easier and less messy but LifeProof is very easy to cut and work with.

LifeProof Flooring Review

Here is another example of a floor installed with Lifeproof that we did on a Tools in Action job site.  As you can see, they offer many different styles to fit your look.  Again, I love how real these floors look and as you can see, there is not much repeat in each plank so it doesn’t look fake.

My Thoughts After Installing

The floor looks awesome and couldn’t believe how easy it was to install.  There are three things that impressed me the most after installing that I never thought about.

  1. Sounds – If you have ever walked on a vinyl floor, you know they can sound hollow.  The LifeProof floor has a nice solid sound to it and doesn’t sound hollow or cheap.
  2. Level – While the floor does have to be somewhat level, my floor has a little drop, not much but something I would have to build up if I was using stone.  The LifeProof worked well and stays strong even over the gradual drop in the floor.
  3. Feel – I have rough concrete right around my sump pump.  Since no one was going to walk there, I wasn’t going to grind it down since it only a little rough and not extremely smooth.  After installing the LifeProof over that area, I can’t even feel the dimple in the floor.  Now you always want a clean floor but sometimes you miss something as you are installing.  It’s good to know that you won’t feel it for years to come if you miss a small spot.

The Home Depot Reviews

Okay, so you might be saying I sound like a salesman.  Sorry, I am not trying to, it’s just one of the diamonds in the rough products that I truly believe in.  I love the quality and toughness of this floor.  In fact, I am going to keep revisiting it over the years.  If you don’t believe me, it has over 3,300 reviews on The Home Depot website with an average of 4.5 stars.  That says something if that many people are giving it high fives.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell I am a huge fan of this flooring.  In fact, I love it so much, I am going to buy some for my mudroom and install it in there.

Bottom line, this flooring is awesome.  I love the durability, the ease of installation, the design and the way they built the planks with the different layers.  If you are looking for the best quality flooring, LifeProof is an option you have to look into as you will not be disappointed.


  1. I am sitting in our den reading this and I agree with your enthusiasm about this flooring. We purchased Lifeproof flooring from Home Depot about a month and a half ago to replace carpeting in our master bedroom and den. We have two dogs and felt that this type of vinyl flooring would be much easier to keep clean than the carpet.

    It was installed yesterday and we really like it. It really does feel and look very similar to wood. I am now thinking that I will do the rest of the house myself.

  2. thanks for the reassurance! We are installing in our whole home over our existing floors as don’t want to rip up 2000 square feet of tile. My only question is the wear layer not the thickness layer. May I ask what yours is? I have read that a wear layer of 20mil is best and LifeProof is 6mil on their residential brand. My husband thinks I am nuts as I ordered several different boxes of different brands within the same price range, and the deciding factor was absolutely the texture of planks. I also ordered Montserrat a newer line which also is virtually non destructible , and had a 20mil wear layer, but the pattern is muted and smooth with no depth . Thank you for you review as reaffirmed our decision to use this product. What is the color of yours please.

  3. Great review. I never thought much of vinyl either but your change of heart is making me reconsider. I will ensure to give it a try.

  4. Thanks for the vid and review. Love the site as well. Did you have any issues when installing it if you had to undo/pull-up a piece after you locked it in? Did you see an improvement with the floor temperature? I’m debating whether to install an insulated subfloor. I’m in Atlanta so not a cold weather climate and would like to not have to build up the floor too much. Thanks!

    • I had two pull up three pieces while I was installing the floor. The first one cracked where the floor locks together but I think that was my fault because I didn’t know how to unlock them. The other two piece I was able to pull apart without breaking anything. I haven’t had to pull one up in the middle of the floor so not sure how that will go. In regards to temperature, I am not sure. I have a heated floor and not sure how it will all work out next winter when the floor is running. As of now, it’s still a little cold for us so it has only warmed up about 30 degrees from when we installed and I am not aware of any issues. I would think if your floor is sound, doesn’t move a ton and are within the tolerance of the level floor requirement, you should be good but I would reach out to them to make sure.

  5. Purchased lifeproof, waterproof Tupelo Oak rigid core flooring, I wish I would have investigated this and seen the reviews! I would love to try to save someone else the frustration and anger I feel about this floor! It is horrible, scratches ridiculously easy! Do not buy this product, other LifeProof probably better but not this particular one!

    • Wow, I am surprised to hear that. Mine has been awesome and holding up well and that is with two boys who are always playing sports etc on the floor. I would contact them because maybe you have a defective batch.

  6. Hey Eric, loved the video. My husband and I had been looking at the Lifeproof flooring for a while. Our new puppy accelerated our decision when she started ripping up the carpet in our dining room.(she’s a hater, lol) we love our flooring. The only thing I would add is ladies, if you see a man scoring the flooring 4 times, double it and score it 8 times. Men are usually stronger and you will save yourself some frustration. Also, retap the ends of your tiles. Sometimes they don’t seat in the grooves. Thanks again. Michele

  7. While i like the flooring in general my big complain is the Tongue and Groove part – it breaks off so easily and then there is nothing to grab onto and it doesn’t lock in place. I had to remove some boards and replace them b/c of a slope in the floor and the little rubber pieces are all over the place no matter how carefully i tried to be. For me that is a major negative compared to other vinyl laminate floors i’ve put down.

  8. I am getting ready to do a renovation, I’ve been putting home depot “samples” in the dishwasher as my watertest. Lifeproof still comes out strong, with minimal warping or color change, I was especially surprised to see the lack of durability in comparison to other highly marketed brands, as my motivations are pet/mudroom related. Glad I found your site and your thorough review from prep to finish.

  9. Vinyl expands and contracts. Eventually you will see gaps between the planks. Have installed many of these and other floating floors. Not long and always gaps. Not worth the money time or effort!

  10. I have had the life proof vinyl floor for 3 years, in my mud room, hallway coming in from the pool and the pool bathroom. It gets a ton of traffic and has held up. No gaps or any issues. I just had the life proof bamboo installed over the last 3 days on my whole bedroom level of the house. It’s beautiful and I’m super happy with it. I was just looking for clean tips and found your site! I don’t work for Home Depot either but love these floors!

  11. I came across your blog when I was looking for reviews for Lifeproof vinyl plank flooring this evening. My husband and I are closing on a house this Thursday and are considering options for re-flooring the whole top level except for the kitchen and a full bath and 3/4 bath. We’re more than happy with the tile work that was done in those rooms – but, the carpet has GOT to go!

    We have some fairly heavy reclining couches, a super heavy king size bed and a few heavy dressers – and, have some concern about denting. Your blog was very informative and I enjoyed the durability test. I realize that was over 2 year ago – but…will you let me know what your opinion is about that before we take the plunge?

    Any help/direction you can provide is MUCH appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hello Krista,

      So far it has been great and nothing has come apart or peeled up. We played baseball, table tennis and more in the room and it has been great. I did drop a drill and it did take a chunk out of an area but luckily the color hides it. Would I use it again? Yes and I am going to use it in the mud room because I have some left over. However I do know there are also other brands out there that might be just a durable but not as expensive. I wish I knew the name but a friend of mine bought some flooring and his was much thicker and I feel it did a better job at damping the noise and didn’t sound as tinging as the life proof. I felt like it was at least 3/8″ thick or more.

  12. Hi

    Awesome review :). We got rid of carpet in basement and installed Lifeproof oak. We hesitated for a while just because the word vinyl reminded me of my in-laws super old kitchen. We took the plunge and oh my god we love love love this floor. It looks beautiful and it’s really hard to believe is vinyl. It feels soft, it cleans easy, it hasn’t expanded or contracted. We love it so much that we might replaced my old engineered hardwood in my main floor. The color has faded, lots of scratches, it looks dull, and it’s hard to keep up. I know it sounds crazy but I just find Lifeproof so easy to maintain and clean. And looks so pretty. I am sold!

  13. Could you tell me the name of the flooring in your photo that has a lot of different colors in it? Some light colors and some dark? I’m looking for a farmhouse-look floor. We have a German Shepherd so wanting Lifeproof for the durability/scratch resistance. Thank you!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here