Laminate flooring is a popular choice for flooring because it is extremely durable, highly resistant to scratches and impact. It is stain, fade and moisture resistant! On top of all of that, it is affordable. When you add in the durability and longevity factors, it is much more economical than its hardwood counterparts.
So, is laminate flooring waterproof or water-resistant?
Laminate flooring is not waterproof no matter how you finish or seal it. Due to the nature of the way laminate wood is made, it is inherently vulnerable to water and prone to water damage. It is water-resistant, which means you can clean it without worrying about spilling water too much.
Laminate flooring has increasingly become a popular option for DIY home renovation. Unfortunately, it is not a suitable option for all rooms of your home! Learn what is holding it back from being the perfect flooring.
Why Is Laminate flooring not waterproof?
Laminate flooring is not waterproof because of its recycled wood materials that are pressed and packed into different layers that are permeable to water. Once water seeps into the layers it damages the laminate flooring from the inside out or from the bottom up.
It is accurate on the other hand that laminate flooring can be water-resistant. You need to seal the top of the flooring with a stain finish or with a polyurethane coat. It is not recommended tho – read more here: How to Seal laminate floors?
What is Difference between waterproof and water-resistant flooring?
Most laminate floorings are marketed as water-resistant and this is extremely, different than water-proof and it is important to know that difference!
Water-resistance means that the floor can withstand moderate water spills for a short time. If you spill some water and forget about it for an hour or so, that is not going to be an issue with water-resistant floors.
You can clean up water-resistant floors with a damp mop and regular cleaners without having to worry about ruining your flooring. Water-resistant flooring will not be safe if there is a flood or if a dishwater leaks or anything like that!
Even is sometimes laminate floors are marked as water-proof, this is impossible. The mere engineered design of the particles that make up the laminate are extremely vulnerable to water.
Water-proof means that if your house floors or your shower leaks all over the floor, you will not have to worry about your floor getting ruined. If your flooring is waterproof, it can withstand water and other moisture and just sit on the surface to be cleaned up.
Laminate Flooring VS Vinyl Flooring
Laminate flooring and vinyl flooring are often compared when deciding what flooring option is best for your home.
- Similar in appearance
- They both resemble a hardwood floor and are an excellent alternative.
- They both use similar Methods of installation.
- Easy to maintain
- Both are Durable – even if vinyl is slightly more durable, they will both do well and better compared to hardwood floors.
- Different materials – Laminate is a hybrid floor that consists of layers of recycled wood and other materials. The composite of the laminate flooring is what usually sets it aside from laminate flooring. It is made of several layers of plastic and the top layer is coated with a protective coat of urethane. The composite of vinyl flooring makes it more suitable for areas that will be exposed to water and moisture.
- Vinyl is a bit more expensive compared to Laminate – Luxury vinyl flooring costs about $2-$7 per square foot depending on if you are getting low or high-end materials. The laminate flooring has a cheaper range, from $1-$5 per square foot. Both are an affordable option compared to a lot of other flooring materials, but if you are really on a tight budget, you should consider laminate over luxury vinyl.
- Laminate is water-resistant and vinyl is 100% waterproof – as we mentioned above, you need to pay attention, where are you installing laminate floors.
Can you make laminate flooring waterproof?
To get a truly waterproof laminate floor, you need to get one that is engineered differently. The flooring must be engineered with a different type of construction that eliminates the material within the layers of laminate that are extremely vulnerable to water.
These laminate floors are suitable for bathrooms and are waterproof, but they still are vulnerable to flooding or large leaks.
These floorings are also considerably more expensive than other laminate flooring. It generally costs $3 to $5 per square foot compared to a standard cost of $2.50. If you are paying this price, you should get a floor that actually is waterproof and that you can depend on!
Luxury vinyl floorings average around $3 and are more reliable.
Is laminate flooring OK in bathrooms?
You should not use laminate floors in your bathrooms. Choosing laminate flooring for your bathroom is a very bad idea. Since your bathroom often experiences moisture from your shower and sink, it is dangerous and you are putting your flooring in a very vulnerable position. Even if you use a sealer on the surface of your laminate flooring, if there is any flooding, you will not only have the cost of fixing the issue causing it, but you will have to replace your flooring as well.
Are you supposed to seal laminate floors?
You can seal laminate floors but this will not fully waterproof it. As we said, the problem that laminate floors have with water is not from the surface, but from the inside out or the bottom up. You can use a polyurethane top coat to add some more water resistance, but this will not help with the other issues.