In short, the answer is NO, laminate flooring is NOT waterproof. There is a common misperception out there that laminate is waterproof, and I believe this is due to the fact that many customers mistakenly confuse vinyl and laminate flooring.
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Many types of vinyl flooring are waterproof and/or highly water resistant. Laminate, on the other hand, is made out of recycled hardwood, so it is not waterproof. Due to its melamine wear layer, it has a tough finish which resists against scratches and may have minor protection against minor water (quick spills). But, like hardwood, laminate does not do well with standing water…regardless of whether this water is topical (on top) or seeping into the sub-floor from below. Laminate also does not do well in areas with high humidity.
There are some laminates that claim to be “splash proof” (which is not an industry term) and they do still warn you not to leave any standing water on your laminate floor). If laminate floors become really wet, they will get ruined and buckle. Unlike hardwood flooring, laminate floors can not be sanded or refinished. If they get wet, they can not be repaired. (Whereas if hardwood gets wet in a few spots, you can usually replace those planks and refinish the floors and they will look good as new.)
If you feel that hardwood is not a good option for an area due to water or humidity, it is also a good idea to avoid laminate. An alternative and superior option is a new waterproof luxury vinyl called Coretec Plus. You can check out my review on this product here.
If you live in Westchester County NY, I offer color consultations to advise customers on paint colors and stain choices. My designer discount at the paint stores usually more than offsets the cost for the hour consultation. Read more here. Due to popular demand, I’m now offering phone consultations as well.
6 reasons why laminate flooring has become popular
Laminate flooring has been growing in popularity, and we’ve been getting more and more requests for laminate flooring in Westchester NY. Some of our customers are choosing laminate as an alternative to hardwood and others are upgrading from carpeting to laminate floors.
So, why is laminate flooring on the rise?
1. Laminate flooring looks like real hardwood. It is amazing how far laminates have come these last few years, and they come in a variety of colors and styles. They are made to mimic virtually every type of hardwood. They come in matte and shiny finishes and some even have micro beveled edges for a very impactful look.
2. Laminate flooring can be installed quickly. Often, if you subfloor is straight/even and secure, laminate flooring can be placed on top of the existing floor, so this reduces time and costs with rip up and floor prep. You can often install on top of vinyl, tile or hardwood floors. Do not install on top of carpet as germs/moisture can get caught in between, and this could create major issues later.
Installing laminate flooring is usually a bit easier and faster than installing hardwood floors. Some home owners even try to install laminate flooring themselves, but it is usually obvious when a homeowner or inexperienced handyman has installed them vs. a flooring expert.
3. Laminate floors are great for those w/ allergies or those with asthma. Unlike carpet, laminate will not allow allergens or dust to penetrate and settle in.
4. Laminate floors are easy to clean and maintain Hard surfaces are much easier to clean and you don’t need to worry about getting a professional carpet clean in annually. Because laminate is made with recycled hardwood flooring, you should treat it the same way you would treat hardwood. Hardwood cleaners will work well on laminate as well. Avoid products that have oil or glo/glow in their name as these will usually harm both laminates and hardwood flooring.
5. Laminate flooring is kid and pet friendly. Laminates have a melamine wear layer on top so they are pretty scratch resilient and will hold up much better to kids and pets (as well as high heals and moving chairs).
6. Laminate flooring is very affordable Laminates are a less expensive option vs. hardwood. The material and labor are generally less expensive, so this can really help those on a limited budget. While laminate flooring costs more than carpet, in the long run it will save you a lot of money. Often laminate will cost around 1.5 times the cost of carpet, so initially, your outlay will be higher. But, carpet is usually replaced every 5-7 years due to staining and spills. As soon as you replace the carpet once, you will have spent more than you did for the laminate. (Usually laminate will last 3-4 times as long as carpet). And, with laminate, you don’t need to worry about annual carpet cleaning which can add additional expense. Laminate flooring can really save a lot of money on rentals as tenants often move out quickly and carpets often need to be replaced every 2-3 years.
Laminate flooring is great for most areas, but as I mentioned above, I would avoid using it in wet or moist areas, such as bathrooms and basements, as it’s not a waterproof product.
Complementary products that will prolong the life of your laminate floors
I wrote this e-book to help new home buyers make smart decisions when looking for homes with hardwood floors…or looking to buy a home and then add hardwood. I’ve packaged all of my best tips into this book and hope it will help you make smarter choices in your flooring choices and in buying a home that can support high quality floors.