Is Laminate Waterproof? What You Seriously Need to Know

December 4th, 2019 | by Christophe Selvais

Flooring is especially important in the kitchen as most consumers are concerned about spills and even the occasional leak. Naturally, waterproof options are the most desirable choice. The big question on everyone’s mind… “Can laminate be waterproof?” To be honest – ‘cause that’s our job – the answer is no.

Laminate tile is not waterproof, however widely believed that may be. The Flooring Girl, a flooring expert, believes that this misperception is due to the fact that many customers mistakenly confuse vinyl and laminate flooring (Debbie.gartner 2018).

What is Laminate Flooring?

laminate floor recently cleaned leaving the floor gently reflective and shining

Laminate flooring is synthetic flooring and was the first man-made alternative to natural wood to make a splash on the flooring market in the 1970s. As manufacturers created increasingly realistic looks that could pass as real hardwood, this easy to install flooring type quickly became more popular. 

However at this time, many contractors tended to stay away from laminate. Opting out because of the new vinyl flooring options. For homeowners who unequivocally prefer laminate or are looking to replace their pre-existing laminate floor, we are going to be covering laminate flooring pros and cons.

Laminate still stands as the alternative to go-to-wood flooring because people love the low cost. But a drawback has always been there. Laminate was never prized for its water resistance.

That is until recently! New breakthroughs have led to waterproof material that’s proving to be a game-changer in laminate floor care. 

If you feel that hardwood is not a good option for an area due to water or humidity, new composites of laminate flooring may be selected for the job. Special building technology has substantially improved the makeup of laminate flooring, and some manufacturers are now producing luxury laminate flooring with protective plastic coating. The plastic acts as a moisture barrier and keeps water out from potentially damaging the laminate wood flooring.


A few manufacturers offer laminate flooring products made entirely of PVC plastic, and these products are completely suitable for basements, family bathrooms, and other wet locations.

  • Parcolys: Based in Belgium, Parcolys offers truly waterproof laminate flooring made with a PVC core. It is 100 percent recyclable, stain-resistant, UV-ray-resistant, and has a 20-year residential warranty. However, availability in the U.S. is very limited.
  • Dumaplast: Another European-based company, Dumaplast makes 100 percent PVC flooring that is similar to Parcolys, but with an additional feature: The underlayment is built into the planks. Here, too, availability in the U.S. is limited.
  • Aquastep: Originally a product line within Parcolys, Aquastep is now its own brand, offering a waterproof and extremely strong laminate flooring that can even be used in garages. Aquastep uses a honeycomb PVC core and offers a good selection of wood-look, stone-look, and ship-deck styles. It is currently available through only one U.S. distributor in Massachusetts.

Lee Wallender

You can check out a write up of Plastic Laminate Flooring. Floor Critics has a review (Marino 2019) that you can read here

Waterproof and Water Resistance: How to Tell the Difference

wine glass lying sideways on a terrible scene of a horrible accident of spilt wine on laminate wood flooring

The term water resistance and waterproof are used interchangeably. Differentiating between the two can help prevent mistakes. Especially if you live in a normal household with kids and pets where dropping a glass of juice happens every so often.


Waterproof ensures that water can not reach the object’s central layer. While water-resistant means that the object doesn’t repel water, and does not fully prevent penetration of water entirely. 


If you unintentionally leave a spill on kitchen laminate flooring unattended, exposure to water can lead to warping over time. Water can seep into the top layer and cause cupping or cracks on the edges of the laminate.


In areas where there is a high risk of exposure to moisture, such as a bathroom, laundry room, laminate flooring on stairs, or kitchen, it is recommended that the joints be glued between the boards. Which ok, sounds like a lot of work because it is, as this solution normally involves a glue for laminate flooring i.e. laminate floor sealer. (2019) but the extra effort is well worth it. 

handyman gluing planks of luxury laminate flooring

Closing Remarks

Easy to maintain plastic laminate appears to be a very common remodeling practice across the pond, though a good idea in theory, not so much locally. That means customers in the U.S. are going to have to wait a while to get excited about using these products at home.

The good news is that due to the growing popularity of fully waterproof laminate, it is not a stretch to say that we will likely see a rise in brands selling these items in the coming years.

Meanwhile, you can still contact your contractor to waterproof your current laminate so that it can last longer until you can substitute it with one of the aforementioned brands. 

If you require additional information regarding waterproof laminate flooring such as the labor cost to install laminate flooring, we recommend reading Flooring Inc’s in-depth article titled Waterproof Laminate Flooring Buyer’s Guide (2019) to really dive deep into the nitty gritty of waterproofing options.

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