One of the very interesting stories that Shirley Pai Hilton of Kahala Pacific Floors has chronicled over the last 10 years is the trials and errors of the flooring industry in developing just the right vinyl floor.

Hilton tells the story of luxury vinyl, one of her best sellers, each month at her Wood and Stone Flooring 101 seminar, and she decided to share it with Hawaii Renovation readers.


“Well, it started with the very popular Konecto line of floors,” Hilton said. “Unlike good old sheet vinyl, this flooring features individual planks of vinyl flooring, for a more elegant look and repair-ability.”

These floppy planks were installed by laying the next plank of flooring onto the pressure-sensitive adhesive tab sticking out from the piece right before it. While very easy to install, this overlapping product would prove to be problematic in the end due to adhesive failure. The other shortcoming was that the floor had to be prepped to perfection before putting it down due to telegraphing of imperfections through the soft material.

“So then,” Hilton continued, “manufacturers decided, ‘Why don’t we install the vinyl onto fiberboard, just like laminate flooring, and cut the click into the sides? We will have no more adhesive problems by having a floor that clicks together and it will be rigid enough to cover subfloor imperfections.’ However, what they forgot is that most fiberboard is not waterproof. They promptly kicked themselves in the head and went back to the drawing board.”


Next, manufacturers decided to add more layers of PVC with reinforcement, making the entire vinyl assembly thick enough to cut a click right into the material.

However, the material was still pliable enough that floor prep had to be extensive and expensive.

Finally, they came up with the latest version dubbed WPC for waterproof core or wood-plastic core, depending on whom you talk to. By installing the vinyl onto a rigid, waterproof core material, manufacturers seem to have overcome all the shortcomings of the earlier generations.


This is just a fraction of what you will learn at Hilton’s monthly seminar. The next session will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. at the company’s showroom. Sessions do fill up, so call to reserve your seats today.

contact // 847-7711
address // 926 Kohou St.
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