A waterproof floor prevents water from penetrating underneath and causing warping, bending, mildew, mold, and rot. This means fewer health risks in your home. There are many other benefits of waterproof flooring. But is laminate flooring waterproof?
Laminate flooring is not waterproof because it is made from recycled wood materials that are pressed into layers. Some laminate flooring options are fairly water-resistant and you can use a wet mop to clean up slight water spills on them. If water stays still for long, it will damage your laminate floor.
When it comes to waterproof flooring options, it’s good to consider water-resistant laminate flooring as I’ve discussed below.
Is Laminate Waterproof or Water-resistant?
Many times these two concepts tend to be confusing. To address this misperception, we look at the two terms.
- Waterproof floors mean that the floor can withstand floods for unlimited time may it be from above or from below.
- Water-resistant floors are those that can withstand water spill for sometimes. This might have brought the belief laminate is waterproof.
Yes, a laminate floor is water-resistant and can allow you to look for mops to deal with water spills. But, laminate flooring is not waterproof. In case of floods or water spillage resting on it for some time, it will completely destroy your flooring.
Is there waterproof laminate flooring?
There are no completely waterproof laminate flooring. However, laminate can be water-resistant from the top, but not from below because of the melamine layer. This type of flooring is generally made from recycled wood materials which is why it is not waterproof.
The top layer contains a melamine wear layer. The layer is made with a tough finish to resists scratches and offers minor protection to water spills
Here is a list of laminate flooring that is considered water-resistant.
Parcolys: This is a company based in Belgium. It offers 100% recyclable, UV resistant and stains resistant waterproof laminate flooring. This is the first company to introduce the PVC laminate idea
Dumaplast: this is a European based company. The company provides 100% PVC laminate flooring just like Parcolys with additional features. The planks have inbuilt underlayment.
Aquastep: The company originally worked with Parcolys in the production line. But, it’s now an independent company offering waterproof and extremely durable laminate flooring.
It uses honeycomb PVC core capable to be used even in garages. Varieties vary from wood, stone and ship deck look styles.
Can water damage laminate flooring?
Water can damage your laminate floor because it is made from recycled wood or wood fibers. It is then engineered with a melamine wear-resistant layer on top that makes it eco-friendly for kids and pets. The water problem lies inside the laminate core, not the top layer.
The click-and-lock system in laminate flooring is not perfectly tight seams joints. These seams can allow standing water to sip to the fiber core and your laminate planks to bubble up, thus destroying your whole floor.
You’ll not be able to sand and refinish laminate flooring planks once water damage occurs. Instead, the only option you’ll be left with is replacing the planks.
Laminate flooring problems may also arise during board manufacturing. In case there is the high moisture content in the wood fibers, it would result in poor adhesion of the melamine top layer.
Unlike other water-resistant flooring options, laminate is resistant from top to bottom not bottom to top.
This means that if the water issue is from the laminate subfloor you may also need to put a water barrier on the underlayment.
How to make laminate flooring waterproof?
1. Apply hydro-seal on locking mechanisms
Traditional laminate flooring waterproof ability may be improved through applying “hydro seal” on the floor’s surface and side groves. This may help make your floor waterproof for a limited lifespan of up to a decade.
Select the best laminate from manufacturers who have altered the formulation of fiberboard in an effort to improve its waterproof ability. Due to the industry demands and technological advancement, there are some waterproof laminate options.
Currently, there are some manufacturers who have moved from the traditional way of making laminate boards. Plastic laminate boards are now becoming a reality although still rare in some countries.
PVC laminate floorings are now suitable for basements, bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room. Where the laminate locks apply a waterproof hydro seal to make it impermeable.
2.Caulk the Expansion and Contraction Gap
Caulk the expansion and contraction gaps with silicone. This will help prevent liquid spills from sipping in through cracks and destroy your laminate flooring.
Silicone tends to be flexible and doesn’t interfere with your flooring ability to expand and contract slightly without damage like chipping or warping.
3. Apply Polyurethane Coat
Coating your laminate with polyurethane is a great way to waterproof your floor. Apart from sealing and caulking the expansion gaps, it won’t protect your actual floorboards. Coating your entire floor with polyurethane can keep the entire floor safe from water and moisture damage.
Take note that polyurethane won’t adhere to the resin (top layer) on your laminate flooring. But, can you sand the laminate floor? This may be carefully done or it may ruin your floor due to its structural construction.
Consider applying the polyurethane using a mop and allow it to dry. You may repeat this process for at least two coats or more depending on your laminate coating brand. Check with your local expert, some DIY reported damage.
However, there are major debates and some cases of formaldehyde toxicity in laminate flooring that you as a consumer may need to be aware of just to take precaution.
Pros and Cons of Water Resistant Laminate Flooring
To overcome water or moisture problem you may consider waterproof laminate.
Here are the pros and cons of this kind of flooring:
- Easy to install. Laminate flooring is a good choice for DIY. It is installed as a floating floor.
- Easy to clean and maintain. Daily sweeping and occasional mopping may help to maintain your classic floor.
- Water-resistant/ Waterproof. Waterproof laminate has a more moisture-resistant than hardwood and traditional laminate floors
- Affordable and cost-effective. Waterproof laminate is inexpensive compared to hardwood. It’s also cheap to install compared with hardwood.
- Better mimic to wood and stone. Waterproof laminate is better mimic to natural hardwood.
- Scratch-resistant. Waterproof laminate has stronger wear later than vinyl flooring. It is can withstand starches, staining and wear and tear from all things including pets.
- Not sound resistant. Laminate flooring is not sound resistant. If installed poorly it can create an empty hollow sound and feel on your floor.
- Limited Waterproof than vinyl flooring. Waterproof laminate still has some limitation on the joints, that may allow water to sip in, unlike Vinyl flooring. Laminate flooring still cannot outdo Vinyl flooring in your laundry, bathroom or kitchen floor.
Tips for Maintaining Laminate Flooring?
Joints, click and lock seams are the main hindrance to the waterproof floor. This provides a weak point for water to sip to the subfloor.
- Clean all debris and dirt before installing it. Take more care on the corner and edges of laminate floors.
- Consider applying epoxy glue on the outer edges and press it down to firmly seal it. Allow it to dry completely.
- Cover the edges and apply floor sealant on your laminate floor. allow it to dry. You may apply a second and third layer for better results. Allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.
- You may also consider luxury vinyl plank as an alternative for your waterproof floor needs.