Congoleum higher end vinyl vs. lower end counterparts
So is the higher end Congoleum vinyl (i.e Xclusive, Ultima) that MUCH better than its lower end offerings (i.e. Pacesetter, Concept, Prelude). The warranty is 10 years longer on the higher end vinyl and one of the offerings includes Scotchguard.
ConsumerReports rated the lower end vinyl, Pacesetter, as only fair on its water/moisture tests. Will the higher end vinyl provide significant more protection?
Ultima gets you into a wear layer that features aluminum oxide and it's a much tougher finish than the lower end products. The main advantage to Xclusive is the Scotchguard, and I'm not sold on that at all. We've sold tons of Ultima in the past. Xclusive has been a very rare sale, based more on the look than the features.
As for water, every sheet vinyl floor is about the same until you get into fiber backed products. The surface of the sheet good won't have any issues with water. If the water gets between the seams or around the edges and gets to the felt backing on the vinyl that's when you have issues. It'll dissolve the felt and cause the adhesive to dissolve as well. Fiberglass backed flooring (Congoleum does make this too, I believe under the name AirStep) is virtually impervious to water damage, but the glue can still dissolve. Stop putting so much stock in Consumer Reports. Their ratings are so far from realistic it's insane.
If you look at the fiber floor product and like what you see, look for an IVC dealer. IVC is a very good fiber floor product and usually runs a lot less than the major brands. Around here their top of the line products, which feature a 20 year warranty, run around $30 / yard at regular retail pricing.