Flooring is very very important and when winter rolls around, homeowners ought to be concerned about spills and even the occasional leak. Naturally, waterproof options are the most durable choice. The big question on everyone’s mind is… “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 with laminate flooring(Debbie.gartner 2018).
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring type and it was first made as an alternative to natural hardwood. At first, it made a splash on the flooring market as the trend grew in popularity throughout the 1970’s. Manufacturers increasingly installed it because of its realistic look that could pass as real hardwood flooring, which easily overtook its alternative.
However at this time, many contractors tended to stay away from laminate. Opting out because vinyl flooring was more commercially available. For homeowners who preferred laminate or were looking to replace their laminate floor, laminate flooring offered both pros and cons.
Laminate still stands as the alternative to go-to-wood flooring because people hope for lower costs. But a drawback has been that laminate was never promised as a water resistant material. That is until recently. A technological breakthrough has led to advancements in technology that led to waterproofed laminate options to be a game-changer.
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.
Manufacturers offer laminate flooring products made entirely of PVC plastic, and these products are completely suitable for basement bathrooms, and other locations in danger of flood damage.
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 type that can even be used in garage installations. 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. distribution in Massachusetts.
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 Spot the Difference.
The term water resistance and waterproof are not the same. Differentiating for each can help prevent mistakes when selecting the right flooring type. 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 core layer. Whilst water-resistant means that the flooring doesn’t repel water, and doesn’t fully prevent water damage all the time.
If you’ve unintentionally left 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 laminate flooring.
In areas where there is a high risk of exposure to moisture, such as a bathroom, laundry room, stairs or kitchen, it is recommended that the corner joints be glued for every board run. It sounds like a lot of work because it truly is, as this solution normally involved a glue for laminate flooring i.e. laminate floor sealer. (2019) but the extra effort is well worth the time.
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 that 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 is more durable until you can substitute it with one of the aforementioned brands.
IF you require additional information regarding waterproofing 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 devilish details of waterproofing options.