Shaw currently produces seven lines of luxury vinyl plank floors, each line having between seven and thirteen different variations in the form of colors or species.
Classico Better Buy Than Higher-Rated Premio
Premio, rated a Best floor (see below for category definitions), is by far the trendiest looking floor--which can be interpreted as good or bad, depending on your view.
These planks reproduce the look of extremely battered, "rain-struck" wood, as company literature says. Classico is a better buy than Premio, as it is $0.61 less per square foot. Plus it is the same 6.5 mm total thickness and 20 mil wear layer thickness as Premio.
Best Overall: Navigator, Aviator
Navigator and Aviator lines return good value.
The lines' 3.2 mm total thickness and 2 mil wear layer thickness plants them squarely in the comfortable middle of Shaw's vinyl planks--but with a precipitous $1.00 price drop down from Classico.
What Not To Buy?
Avoid Urbanality, unless you intend to install in a rental or beach cottage.
It is interesting to note that Shaw reproduces a few actual faux wood species in the Urbanlity line, such as maple and white oak. But most Urbanality planks are a bland, generic non-wood; Shaw calls them "woodlike but [they] don't represent a species." Thus, it's a flooring that can be used in many regions and many different types of homes.
Levels of Quality, Sizes, Edges, and Joining Systems
Shaw classifies its floors as Good, Better, Best, and Superior. Most floors fall in the Better or Best categories, with some floors falling into both categories at once (doubling the wear layer thickness bumps a product up to the Best level).
|Line||Joints / Edges||Dimension (In.)||Comments|
|Premio||Fold-n-Tap; beveled||5.83 x 48.03||Considered to be highest end Shaw luxury vinyl plank with a highly weathered, reclaimed look. Classed as a Best floor.|
|Classico||Fold-n-Tap; microbevel||5.83 x 48.03||Emulates basic finished hardwood, Shaw classifies Classico as a Better floor.|
|Aviator||Versalock; square edge||5.9 x 48||Lightly embossed, Aviator is a Better floor that represents a basic hardwood look with woods like scraped hickory and oak.|
|Navigator||"Locking" (type not specified); square edge.||5.9 x 48||Square edge, scraped-style embossed flooring that Shaw classes as Good.|
|Easy Street||"Locking"; beveled.||6 x 48||The large bevel edges give Easy Street (part of the Array series) a realistic look. These are the darker shades and wider grains that have a more down-home appearance. Considered a Superior floor by Shaw.|
|World's Fair||Glue down; square edge||6 x 48||Classed as Better (6 mil wear layer) or Best (12 mil wear) by Shaw. Take note that some styles are embossed, some are not. This is a basic, economy LVF.|
|Urbanality||Glue down; square edge||6 x 36||No embossing for this extremely basic commodity type of luxury vinyl flooring. Classed as Better (6 mil wear layer) or Best (12 mil wear).|
Thickness of Flooring and Wear Layer
With luxury vinyl flooring, total product thickness is critical. It is not that thicker LVF produces a softer footfall or absorbs sound better--in that respect, all LVF is essentially the same.
But what it does do is allow for deeper and more realistic embossing, beveled edges, and fold-and-lock type of joints. When you get down to those thin 2 mm boards, there is no joint option other than adhesive.
|Line||Thickness: Total Product||Thickness: Wear Layer (mil)|
|Premio||6.5 mm||20 mil|
|Classico||6.5 mm||12 mil|
|Aviator||3.2 mm||6 mil|
|Navigator||3.2 mm||6 mil|
|Easy Street||4 mm||20 mil|
|World's Fair||2 mm||6 mil and 12 mil are both available|
|Urbanality||2 mm||6 mil and 12 mil are both available|
Mil is one-thousandth of one inch.
Costs change all the time, of course. These costs come from major online retailer Wayfair.
What matters, though, is not the actual price but the relative price spread between product lines. For example, you can see that World's Fair is about half the price of Classico.
* = Price Spread means difference between cost of product line vs. the product line directly below.
i.e., Premio is twenty cents more expensive than Easy Street.