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Armstrong Rigid Core: Award Winning 100% Waterproof Realistic Wood Flooring

  • Andrew Uhacz

Armstrong Waterproof Flooring

If you’ve had any prior experience buying and self-installing floors, then you know Armstrong is one of the most dependable flooring brands in the world. One element that makes them stand out is their extreme durability due to various patented materials and processes.

Armstrong PC012 Waterfront Sky Blue Room View

Rigid Core is a good example of how Armstrong creates specialized brand names for their numerous flooring collections.

Any floor that uses Armstrong Rigid Core is guaranteed the utmost in protection against natural and man-made elements. At the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy the look of faux hardwood and stone without having to invest in the real thing.

Take a look at these fifteen things to know before buying a Rigid Core floor.

Rigid Core is Made for Homes That Need a Durable Floor

Those of you wanting the realistic look of wood or stone in your home while avoiding dents, water damage, scratches, and stains will find Rigid Core a must-buy.

Armstrong Pryzm PC020 Elements of Heritage Vintage

When you buy real wood or stone, maintenance is typically tremendous, not including the likelihood of replacement in less than a decade.

  • Armstrong’s Rigid Core floors last for decades, giving you something that adds lasting value to your home.
  • Although it’s mainly intended for residences, many commercial businesses use Rigid Core. It all depends on how much floor traffic and general wear & tear you receive.
  • Hybrid layered construction is the secret behind the durability of these floors. Not only does it protect from the physical damage you see above, it’s also 100% waterproof.
  • Considering most homeowners use this flooring product in kitchens and bathrooms, you can see why durability should become top of mind.
  • This is just the beginning of what to look for in these products. You’ll find Rigid Core in several styles of floors, with Armstrong always standing by their sense of quality.

The Right Size is Always Available

You’ll find Rigid Core technology in two Armstrong floors: Luxe Plank, and LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile). These floors are known for bringing the most realistic look of wood, often fooling the experts.

Fortunately, Armstrong makes it easy to find the right size of plank or LVT floor to fit any room in your home or business.

Armstrong Pryzm PC001 Salvaged Plank White

In Armstrong’s Luxe Plank, you’ll find three main sizes: 6”x48”, 12”x24”, and 7”x48”. These give you good variety in fitting any space, even if it’s an unusually shaped room.

All vinyl flooring products from Armstrong offer the same sizes. Keep in mind that Armstrong considers these sizes acceptable for both residential and commercial environments.

Shipping weight has the exact same size per carton, so you won’t have to worry about struggling with overly large boxes.

The 6”x48” size is the most popular and most available. It’s ideal for your bathroom or kitchen, plus an easy install you can potentially do on your own.

Thickness Level

Be sure to pay attention to the thickness level on your Armstrong Rigid Core floor. This determines how much durability you’ll have over time, not including bringing useful features like sound absorption.

The overall thickness of most Rigid Core floors is 0.3150” (8 mm). You’ll find this with various Armstrong flooring products like Sahara Beige Luxe with Rigid Core. It’s an example of the thickness level you’ll find in LVT flooring.

Don’t forget about the wear layer as well. It’s a crucial part of providing further durableness and usually plays a stronger role controlling sound in a room.

Most of Armstrong’s Rigid Core products offer a 20 mil (0.020”) wear layer with a UV-cured coating. Latter helps protect your floor from fading if you have a lot of natural light being exposed to your floor every day.

Many of the wear layers available use UV Acrylic to give the above protection. Without it, you could easily experience fading sooner than you expected. Of course, with real natural floors, fading would happen within a few years if exposed to sunlight on a constant basis.

When buying Luxe Plank floors, you’ll be able to enjoy a rigid composite core directly in the planks. Rigid Core gets its name thanks to the innovative materials Armstrong is so renowned for worldwide.


To add further durability, take some time to learn about the underlayment Armstrong Rigid Core floors use.

You’re definitely going to need underlayment if you have any imperfections in your home’s subfloor prior to installation. While you’ll need to purchase underlayment separately from your Armstrong floor, the company offers its own underlayment product.

Armstrong Quiet Comfort Luxury Flooring Underlayment will do much to help further control sound while smoothing out subfloor irregularities. If you use this underlayment with Armstrong’s Rigid Core floors, you’ll be able to enjoy a lifetime warranty. Even if you use another luxury vinyl floor product, Armstrong will still give you a 30-year limited warranty, proving how generous the company is.

Remember that underlayment also does a lot toward helping make your Rigid Core floors feel more comfortable to walk on. Considering you’re placing these floors in rooms you’ll be walking on 24/7 for years to come, you don’t want it to feel like you’re treading on coral rock.

A real advantage to using Armstrong’s floors is the ability to gain the look of hardwood and stone while feeling comfortable on your feet. Real natural materials don’t always feel great to walk on with bare feet or slippers.

Colors and Looks are Plentiful

Since Rigid Core floors look like real hardwood and stone, you can expect available colors to mimic those textures. Nevertheless, Armstrong does give you a good variety to choose from so you can properly match your interior design.

The most typical color is brown, which you can find in products like American Elm Rigid Core with a Butternut shade. You’ll find this under Armstrong’s Rigid Core Elements collection.

For variation, you can receive the same type of floor using other muted colors like gray, or slightly darker tones.

Gray is the second most available color, with black, dark-brown, red-brown, and tan being other options.

It’s possible to obtain two different types of wood aesthetics to your floor. You can either choose the look of traditional wood or specialty wood.

Armstrong takes the look of your floor very seriously, particularly in recognizing the multiple types of wood species available in the world. Now you can give a truly rustic look to your home using the look of hardwood styles often rare to acquire and very expensive to purchase.

Proof of Waterproofness

As we mentioned above, Rigid Core floors are 100% waterproof. But, where’s the scientific proof? No matter what floor you buy, you should always check the evidence of what materials are being used to prove their claims of protecting from moisture.

You can place all trust in Armstrong thanks to their transparency on the type of materials they use. A dense polymer core is one of the main elements to how they keep their Rigid Core floors protected from water.

As a result, you’ll have plank or LVT flooring that won’t swell, buckle, or lose integrity after moderate moisture exposure.

This is obviously good news if you use this type of flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms. These places could easily become exposed to water, either from leaks, washing machine malfunctions, or tracking in water from outdoors.

Of course, minor flooding could occur if you live in flood-prone climates. Basements are especially vulnerable to this in many neighborhoods. It’s no surprise why so many residences choose Rigid Core flooring to place in their basements.

Whether you’re intending to turn your basement into living quarters, or use it for storage, you’ll want the floor protected as much as possible.

Before you buy, though, you’ll want to look at Armstrong’s Rigid Core warranties. Certain types of water damage aren’t always covered.


Different warranties exist for Rigid Core floors, and it’s important to know about some of the limitations. Despite these, you’re going to find very useful and generous warranties from Armstrong.

All residential warranties for Luxe Plank with Rigid Core elements last for 30 years.

Several commercial warranties are also available for these floors. For instance, Rigid Core Vantage commercial floors have a 15-year warranty. Commercial-based Luxe Plank with Rigid Core has a 7-year warranty.

Look over each warranty carefully, because three different ones exist for Rigid Core floors. Luxe with Rigid Core gives detailed explanations of what the warranty covers and what it doesn’t.

On water damage, they note that standing water or major flooding may not fully protect your subfloor. Rigid Core isn’t made as a waterproofing barrier for heavy amounts of water on your subfloor or surrounding structures. In other words, a heavy amount of standing water can’t be covered in the warranty terms.

Your warranty also won’t cover stains from pets that you don’t clean up immediately. Regardless, Rigid Core floors withstand most stains if you’re sure to do cleanup as soon as you can.

Any floor damage from fire, or any intentional abuse isn’t covered either. Mistakes or damages that occur from your own actions are all excluded, something that’s uniform in most flooring warranties.

Rigid Core Elements and Rigid Core Vantage warranties are very similar. All the warranties note you should always keep your receipt of purchase so you can prove the time when you bought your floor.

What’s most important to note is proper maintenance is very important to make your warranties valid. Any kind of damage you cause from improper cleaning solutions (or not using a vacuum cleaner properly) voids any repair from an Armstrong dealer.

Proper installation is also essential. While it’s relatively easy to install Rigid Core floors, not following proper instructions could also void your warranty and cause expensive damages.

Proper Maintenance is Essential

Rigid Core floors will hold up under a lot of foot traffic situations, though you still need to give it some maintenance.

Cleaning and maintenance here is far from what you’d have to do if you owned a real natural material floor. With real hardwood floors, you’d have to clean more regularly and provide a new finish for the floor every year to keep it looking pristine.

Armstrong’s Rigid Core floors only require some basic cleaning to maintain its appearance in the decades to come.

For spills, always be sure to clean them up as soon as possible. Stains could set in permanently if you don’t wipe them with a gentle paper towel or clean with a mop. Be sure to avoid any abrasive scrubbing tool since these could do damage to the surface.

Armstrong provides a patented floor cleaner called Once ‘n Done Resilient. It’s highly recommended you stick with their cleaners so you know you’re not causing any damage. They provide various other cleaning products to help with tough stains and any residues.

One of the biggest faults people make with cleaning their Rigid Core floors is using vacuums too roughly over the surface. Always use a gentle vacuum setting to avoid taking any chances.

Thanks to modern technology, you could just use a Roomba if you’re away from home for weeks at a time. Those of you who have to travel can simply program your Roomba to clean for you. These do just as good of job as mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming manually. It’s also much gentler for your Rigid Core floor.

Remember that cleaning your subfloor also has to take place before the installation occurs.

Installation is Easy

In most cases, Rigid Core flooring is easy to install. Armstrong makes it fairly simple thanks to an interlocking method between planks.

This method eliminates the need to use any messy glues or adhesives. It’s not to say you might not need adhesives for Rigid Core LVT. Underlayment isn’t always necessary, but you may still need to use it depending on the condition of your subfloor.

You can install Rigid Core floors over any type of subfloor like concrete, wood, or ceramic. No matter the material, you can have a successful installation even with minor subfloor imperfections.

Definitely don’t install this type of floor over existing resilient tile floors, carpet, or any rooms with slopes or drains.

You’re going to have to prepare the subfloor by making sure it’s thoroughly clean of debris and has no moisture. Since you might have to use adhesives on some Rigid Core floors, temperature control is a big factor in making sure the adhesive sticks. Armstrong recommends you maintain a room temperature between 65F and 85F for 48 hours before installation begins.

If choosing to use the locking installation system, you’ll see this described as a floating floor. All planks need to be installed ¼” away from vertical surfaces, which includes walls, cabinets, and pipes.

Any gaps you experience with this process along bathroom walls can later be filled in with wall base. With the latter, you’ll find numerous Armstrong product options.

Look out for any bright sunlight in your rooms as you install your Rigid Core floor. Too much bright light for a long period of time is known to cause discoloration. Plus, temperature fluctuations from the light can lead to expansion of the planks.

In the above scenario, it’s recommended you close your drapes in the room during installation and after.

Consider a Professional Installer as an Alternative

Never feel intimidated in hiring a pro installer if you feel like you wouldn’t be able to do the install properly by yourself. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable installing on their own if they’ve never done it before.

Armstrong offers some tips on hiring a pro if you’re not experienced using basic floor cutting tools. You’ll want to take this seriously by answering the four questions they pose on whether you’re a real DIY type of person.

First, be sure to analyze your experience level with handyman tools. Even a beginner with basic floor installation knowledge may not be able to do the job well.

Then ask how complex the install might become. Some rooms may require tricky cutting due to odd-shaped spaces. You may also need to adhere to some patterning.

Afterward, ask yourself how much peace of mind you’ll have if someone else installed the floor for you. Making just one mistake on your own could become a costly fix-it job.

Deciding whether you really have the time to install on your own is the fourth question you should answer. As a busy business traveler, it’s better to let someone professional install your Rigid Core floor so you don’t make a mistake due to being rushed.

No matter what you choose to do, we’ll help you make a good educated decision when you buy Rigid Core floors from Floor City.

Consider the Look of Stone as Well as Hardwood

You’ve seen how Armstrong’s Rigid Core floors convincingly mimic the look of hardwood. Take some more time to analyze the look of stone as well as an alternative to the real thing.

Luxe Plank with Rigid Core is the collection you’ll want to consider if you’re more interested in stone.

This floor gives the look and feel of natural slate and travertine. Once again, experts won’t be able to tell the difference between faux and real, even when looking up close.

Best of all, it feels like real stone. However, Rigid Core feels warmer and softer, making it more enjoyable to walk on with bare feet.

Another advantage is it won’t have any grout to maintain, something that’s often very messy. It won’t crack under any uneven subfloor either, making it a true wonder compared to dealing with real and expensive stone materials.

The way to obtain the look of stone is to buy Rigid Core in tile form.

Find the Best Places to Install Rigid Core

Kitchens, bathrooms, and basements are some of the best places to install Rigid Core as mentioned above. Many other rooms in your home also benefit from using this type of floor.

It’s made to install at above or below ground level, making it possible to place just about anywhere in your home.

Clearly kitchens and bathrooms will receive the most foot traffic in your house, though playrooms are also a good place if you have a lot of children.

Mudrooms, utility areas, and laundry rooms are additional places you should consider, especially since they’re prone to more moisture. Since you’ll be using these rooms every day to do household chores, the foot traffic is also going to become heavier than your kitchen receives.

These rooms are the most common places to use Rigid Core, but the beautiful designs lend themselves well to any room in your residence (other than garages). Living rooms, dining rooms, and even bedrooms are starting to see this type of floor used more often.

After all, when you’re bringing the look of hardwood and stone, why just have it hidden away in areas only you and your family see? Show it off in places where you entertain guests.

In a commercial business with limited amounts of floor traffic, you should strongly consider Rigid Core floors as an alternative. Just because it’s made for residential use doesn’t mean businesses can’t take advantage of the durableness and top-tier aesthetic quality.


Those of you looking to live with and use sustainable materials in your home can feel assured Armstrong will provide what you need.

All Armstrong flooring adheres to strong eco-friendly principles you should know about before you buy.

On their Sustainability page, Armstrong explains their attention to environmental causes and processes during manufacturing. In the last century they’ve been in operation, the company has worked hard to recycle all waste and conserve resources.

One of those eco-friendly processes is their attention to reducing waste and consumption of energy and water.

They also focus considerably on providing safety for their employees when manufacturing their Rigid Core products.

Sustainable practices from Armstrong are considerable, yet you’ll find these processes in all their flooring categories. For example, you’ll find green materials in a lot of their luxury vinyl tile products using Rigid Core technology.

Through Armstrong’s I-Set Installation System, you’ll also have eco-friendly adhesive products eliminating fumes. It uses a non-wet system so you can start using your floor immediately without waiting for it to dry.

Along with various recycling programs, responsible citizenship in their local communities, and recognition on sustainability, you can count on Armstrong keeping their eco-friendly promises.

The recognition on LEED certification and other environmental programs are well noted on Armstrong’s Recognition and Awards page.


How much you pay for your Rigid Core floor depends quite a bit on where you buy it.

 If you go to big box stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Walmart, they all carry Armstrong flooring. But they frequently charge 20% more than what you’d find through an online store.

Armstrong’s Rigid Core flooring generally costs around $5 per foot. At Floor City, you’ll only have to pay between $3-$4 per foot for most flooring in this collection.  While you’ll find a lot of online stores selling flooring, our prices stand out from everyone else.

We recommend you call us to ask about price, because we frequently provide a discount if this is your first purchase. Other discounts may apply as well, making your purchase a true money-saver.

Even more important is we send out free samples if you’re not exactly sure what you need. We’ve put up a color disclaimer explaining that many colors you see online aren’t always accurate until you see them with your own eyes.

Our free samples are sent out the same day so you’ll receive them quickly. It’s the next best thing to going to a showroom so you can decide which Rigid Core floor is truly best for your living space.

Most important of all is our attention to customer service. In many home supply stores, you frequently encounter employees who aren’t really trained to give you the information you need.

If you ended up in Home Depot or similar store, you’d possibly receive blank stares from employees if asking about Armstrong Rigid Core floors. The problem is many of those employees are only there to make a sale rather than educate you on what you’re buying.

It’s better to go to a store that’s devoted strictly to flooring, and an Armstrong dealer. A lot of online stores are like this, though even they don’t provide the customer service you demand.

At Floor City, we’re available to answer any questions you have about Rigid Core. We can answer your questions through our online chat portal, by email, or by phone.

When you buy a floor from us, you’ll feel like you’ve talked to a real expert so you won’t end up making a major mistake. Nobody wants to buy a floor and realize later it isn’t going to work.

Our team has real flooring experts who know exactly whether Rigid Core is your right choice based on the information you give us about your home or business.

Making the Order Process Easy

Hopefully you know enough now about Rigid Core flooring to help you make an informed choice. Placing an order for this type of floor in a big box store could not only cost you more, it could also place you on a long waiting list.

Some stores don’t always have this floor in stock, meaning a long wait while they place it on backorder.

Obviously, this isn’t good if you have a contractor scheduled to install your floor by a certain date. On top of minimal customer service, you may end up wasting a lot of time, leading to an annoying exchange or return.

Online stores aren’t always perfect on shipping your order quickly either. At Floor City, we’re one of the few that ships your order out the same day. You’ll receive your Rigid Core floor within a reasonable time frame (depending on where you live) and get it installed without long waits.

Ordering from us is very simple. Call our order number at (800) 898-9540 and we’ll place your order immediately.

We have pickup centers across the country, so you’ll never have to worry about backorder issues. No matter where you are in the U.S., you’ll obtain your Rigid Core floor when you expect.

The fifteen things outlined above should help you make the best possible choice if you still have a flooring short list. Should you have any more questions, we’re available to answer any of them during our normal business hours.

Armstrong and our related associates guarantee you won’t find a better floor than what Rigid Core collections offer. Thanks to newer technology and materials, this floor is going to last you for at least several decades.

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