What Is Waterproof Laminate Flooring & Is It Really Waterproof?
Waterproof flooring has gained popularity recently and is an excellent alternative for high-traffic areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements due to its resilience to moisture and spills.
One very common question when it comes to waterproof flooring is addressed to laminate. We often hear these pharses: “I am looking for waterproof laminate flooring” or “I have heard they now make waterproof laminate”. Let’s clarify together what laminate flooring is and is NOT. Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring product that replicates the look of natural wood by combining together many layers of materials using a laminate technology. To be more specific, most laminate products are created of softwood fibers, broken down and combined with a wax and resin binder, formed into panels by applying heat and pressure.
Because of its durability, low cost, and simplicity of installation, waterproof laminate flooring has become a popular choice for homeowners who desire the appearance of hardwood or tile without the upkeep or expense.
Types Of Laminate Flooring
Given its durability, accessibility, and customization, laminate flooring has become increasingly popular as a hardwood flooring alternative. Even so, not all laminate flooring is produced equally, and so its performance can g
reatly impact the laminate’s waterproof claims.
TRADITIONAL LAMINATE, WATER-RESISTANT LAMINATE, and WATERPROOF LAMINATE are the three distinct types under the laminate flooring umbrella.
Traditional laminate flooring is definitely NOT waterproof nor water-resistant, however, it is durable, very common, and often quite affordable, since it is comprised of high-density fiberboard (HDF). This type of laminate will work great for households that don’t experience heavy foot traffic and are not experiencing any moisture issues.
Generally speaking, most manufacturers of this type of laminate flooring recommend water spills as soon as they happen and using only a slightly damp mop when cleaning. There are still great traditional laminate products out there that perform great without breaking the bank. One of our favorites is Mohawk Industries, Carrolton Collection.
Water-resistant laminate has a unique coating that makes it water-resistant but not totally waterproof. To a certain extent, this kind of laminate can withstand spills and moisture, but if water is kept on the top for a long time, it will still damage the core layer. Water-resistant laminates often come with warranties that include anywhere from 10 to 48hrs of water contact without creating any damage to the planks. Some great products in this category are also by Mohawk and are the Revwood Select category.
Waterproof Laminate flooring: Finally, the wear layer, printed design layer, core layer, and backing layer of a waterproof laminate flooring are created slightly differently. High-density fiberboard is often mixed with stone plastic composite and other minerals to create that waterproof core and to give this laminate flooring the essential stability and strength. This waterproof laminate type often comes as a more premium product, it is heavier and feels overall more luxurious and even closer to that hardwood look and feel. This category of laminates can withstand spills for a prolonged period of time without damaging the product. However, even this waterproof laminate type is not non invincible.
Most manufacturers specify that water that comes from underneath the laminate floor (think a dishwasher leak) is not a covered factor as part of their warranty. Another important cause that is often excluded from the warranties, that could damage your laminate floors is pet urine. Some of our favorite products in this category are shown below.
Is laminate really waterproof then?
If submerging laminate in water and leaving it like that for a week is what you are thinking when hearing “waterproof” then the answer is certainly No. While water-resistant and waterproof laminate can manage moisture to differing degrees, they are definitely not non invincible. However, if you are in a flood or water-damage situation, most types of flooring will have to be replaced entirely, since at that stage it’s not just the floor covering that would be affected. Your trim, subfloor and posibly even drywall would get damaged.
In the day-to-day activities with kids and pets, spills often happen and most modern laminates do a great job at withstanding those factors. To guarantee that your laminate flooring lasts for many years, it’s critical to select the best type for your needs and to properly maintain it. Waterproof laminate flooring is the best choice if you’re looking for a flooring solution that can handle o home full of life.
Waterproof Laminate Flooring Alternatives
Laminate flooring may be a popular flooring option but there are definitely other solutions that are 100% waterproof. There are numerous alternatives to waterproof flooring that can better fit your needs, whether you’re looking for something more enduring, trendy, or traditional.
- Luxury Vinyl flooring is one of the most widely used substitutes for laminate flooring due to its toughness, water resistance, and ease of maintenance. Vinyl flooring is available in an array of shades and designs and can imitate the appearance of tile, hardwood, and real stone. Luxury vinyl can be entirely submerged in water and won’t get damaged, thanks to its core made of plastic and stone.These can be used in almost any part of the house and are reasonably priced.
- Stone/ Ceramic/Porcelain Tile flooring: Tile is a great option for bathrooms, kitchens, and other spaces with a lot of moisture. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are available in a vast array of designs, colours, and shapes, and they require little attention. However, installation can be a little difficult, and to stop water from seeping, the grout between the tiles needs to be sealed frequently.
- Rubber flooring: Rubber is another long-lasting and stain-resistant material that can sustain heavy foot activity. It’s an interesting option for playrooms, laundry rooms, or home gyms. Rubber flooring is available in a wide range of colors and patterns and can give your home a contemporary-industrial feel.
In a nutshell, laminate flooring is a great option for an affordable and good quality flooring solution that can last for many years. However, there are several other options when it comes waterproof flooring. Luxury Vinyl, rubber, and tile all have advantages of their own and may accommodate a range of styles and price ranges. The greatest selection for you will ultimately depend on your needs and preferences, but by looking at your alternatives, you can choose the flooring that will be ideal for withstanding wetness and spills for years to come.