How Waterproof Is Laminate Flooring?


With laminate flooring being a popular flooring choice and often marketed towards people with kids and pets the question often comes up, is laminate flooring waterproof? Let’s find out.

How waterproof is laminate flooring? Laminate flooring is generally water-resistant. Any spills need to be mopped up as soon as possible to prevent and longterm damage. Some manufacturers produce a waterproof laminate board but they’re not common. There are a few options to protect your laminate floors from water and moisture.

Are There Waterproof Laminate Flooring?

Traditional laminate floors are made up of layers with fiberboard material and melamine resin. This is then topped with a plastic wear layer that protects the board and creates a barrier. The weakest link is the joints, where water and moisture can seep in and get to the fibrous core.

Recently, manufacturers have been coming out with alternatives to increase the water-resistance of laminate flooring. You will find different manufacturers claiming levels of water resistance.

Some manufacturers claim 72-hour water resistance which means that any spills need to be mopped up within the given time period. I wouldn’t recommend testing this claim as it will still come down to the joints and how well the floor has been installed.

The best waterproof laminate floors are made of 100% waterproof PVC. This ensures there is no concern of the fibrous core becoming wet. Most of the complete waterproof options are only available in Europe but local flooring shops should be able to show you a water-resistant option.

Will Water Ruin Laminate Floors?

Somebody spills a drink, the refrigerator leaks or you have water coming in through the roof on your laminate floor. Is my floor going to be okay, you ask? Well act quick and you might avoid a costly repair.

As we have mentioned above the biggest problem and weakness of laminate flooring is the joints. Even though the joints are tightly locked together, if water is left alone, after some time it will inevitably seep through. And once the inner core becomes wet, the problems begin.

Once water gets into your laminate flooring the fibrous core will become wet and start to expand, which will warp your flooring. Depeding on how much water gets in and how much time its had to work its way through the gaps will determine how much damage is

Unfortunately the only way to fix a water damaged laminate floor is to replace the damaged boards. Depending on where the boards are located in the room will decide how difficult it will be to replace them.

Can You Mop Laminate Floors?

Yes, you can safely mop your laminate floor. But make sure to follow these simple steps. It’s important what you use to clean your floor and ensuring you don’t damage your boards by using too much water during the clean.

  1. Firstly, it’s important to give your laminate floor a good sweep or vacuum. This will remove any debris that could cause scratching when mopping the floor.
  2. Choose your mop carefully. A microfiber laminate flooring mop works best but a sponge mop will suffice.
  3. The best solution to clean almost anything with is good old fashioned vinegar and warm water. Mix equal parts into a spray bottle. There are numerous laminate floor cleaning products available online but honestly, vinegar will work best. You can add essential oils to make it more fragrant if you prefer.
  4. Simply spray the solution on the floor and wipe with the microfiber mop. A little extra elbow grease may be needed on stubborn stains.
  5. Finally, go over the floor with a dry cloth to ensure there is no moisture left on the laminate floor.

What to Look Out For When Cleaning Your Floor

Although a simple process, there are a few things to make sure you don’t do that will ruin your laminate floor.

  • Don’t use any bleach, scented cleaners or oil-based cleaners. These products can all leave major streaks and residue behind.
  • Don’t use a steam mop or traditional wet mop. You will potentially cause water damage to your laminate floor.

Can You Waterproof Laminate Flooring?

If you are yet to install your laminate floor and want to make it more waterproof, you could take an extra precaution during the install to increase the water resistance.

Using a PVA type II glue along the tongue and groove joints. This will offer the best protection against water entering joints between boards. Also, it’s important to use caulking where necessary. Any areas where the board finishes to a wall that could potentially allow water to enter are best sealed with caulk.

Waterproofing Existing Laminate Flooring

Okay, you have laminate flooring already installed and you need a few key areas to be more protected from the spills and accidents of everyday life. Is there anything you can do?

Fortunately, there are a few solutions that will help protect your floor. You can use a laminate flooring sealant to go over the joints between boards. Make sure to only apply this to the joints and wipe of any excess with a dry cloth.

You could also use wax to rub in between the joints. This will offer some extra water resistance. This option would be best used in areas that are prone to spills such as in bathrooms and laundries.

Alternative Flooring that is Waterproof

If you are yet to install laminate flooring and are open to possible alternatives, there are a few options that may suit your needs better.

Luxury Vinyl Plank or Tiles

Luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are very popular nowadays and they come in a variety of colors and patterns. The planks have a locking system, which ensures they’re 100% waterproof, making them ideal for wet areas.

There are also luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), which are similar to luxury vinyl planks but resemble the shape of tiles. The vinyl tiles are water-resistant to a point but the lack of a locking system makes the joints susceptible to water. The benefit over laminate boards is there is no fibrous core, which means nothing will buckle or warp, only your subfloor will become wet.

Engineered Vinyl Plank

Engineered vinyl plank is a great alternative to laminate flooring and it offers the main advantage of being waterproof. The boards generally have an underlayment backing attached and are very comfortable under feet.

The planks are thick, providing great soundproofing and good insulation. With a massive range of styles and colors, you’ll be able to find a design to match your room.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

One of the best options for wet areas is ceramic or porcelain tiles. These are the go-to flooring for bathrooms and showers. If you don’t mind tiles in your living area, they’re one of the most durable flooring options that will take everything you and your family can throw at them.

Keep in mind that a waterproof grout will be needed if you want complete water resistance. If you think that ceramic tiles might make your room feel cold, check out our article on Do Tiles Make a Room Colder. There are a few ways in which tiles can be a great option in cold areas.

Polished Concrete

If you have concrete floors and are going for the modern industrial look then polished concrete may be a good option. Concrete is easily sealed and will provide excellent protection against water.

Polished concrete is an extremely durable surface and can add a certain look to your home. There are options to add dyes into the finish so the color options are endless. Even if you don’t want the concrete look in your living room it could work well in other areas that need to be resilient to water.

Sheet Vinyl

Another alternative to laminate flooring which is 100% waterproof, is sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl will not buckle or warp with any amount of water. Although the general look and feel of sheet vinyl is not comparable to laminate flooring it’s a great option for wet areas such as laundries or basements.

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