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Is laminate flooring waterproof?

Is laminate flooring waterproof? Dark Laminate floors WestchesterIn 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.

 


Floating floor laminate Westchester CountyThere 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.

color consultation for paint and stain colorsIf 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.

 

Laminate flooring Westchester County2. 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.

 

Laminate floors - dark - Westchester NY3. 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.

 

laminate flooring maple Westchester New York5.  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.

 

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60 thoughts on “Is laminate flooring waterproof?”

      1. What can I do about this in your opinion?

        I paid to have aqua guard flooring throughout my home except for the bathrooms in the laundry room. Floor and Decour stated very clearly that it was very durable and could be used in wet areas including kitchens and bathrooms. I have several areas where the corners of the boards have expanded and now the top is peeling up. What can I do about this in your opinion?

        1. Cat – Sorry about your troubles. First, I have heard that aqua guard is NOT waterproof despite their claims. But, regardless, they did make the claims. I’m guessing that your floors are still under warranty. Go back to the store where you bought them from and file a claim. The store should be able to file the claim with the manufacturer.

          1. We were told/read that AquaGuard is water resistant; it has a 30 minute spill window on our information but, if flooded (like bathroom), water will be able to cause damage,although not as much as carpet, pad & subfloor.

          2. Payton – yes, that means it’s water resistant, not waterproof. So if you’re pet has an accident and you’re not home, you can have a big issue on your hands.

  1. I came over from Tammy’s suggestion that you had a pretty nice word press blog here. It’s obvious you know just about everything there is to know about flooring as well. Wish we had somebody like you up here.

  2. My husband is an installer and we have laminate flooring so I’m already aware that it is not waterproof. He explained to me that because it is a floating floor, the surface underneath it is not protected. He also will not let me use a steam mop on it but I’m not convinced that it would hurt it. What is your opinion on that Flooring Girl?

    1. Delilah – The fact that laminate is floating has nothing to do with the fact that it is not waterproof. It’s the material that isn’t waterproof. Hardwood can be nailed, glued and floated…it’s not waterproof in any of those scenarios. Vinyl is usually waterproof or very water resistant and sometimes is floated too…again, the installation method has very effect on whether it is resilient to water. (although some adhesives do not do well with water). I think using a steam mop on wood or laminate is a bit risky, but I would encourage you to call the manufacturer to check.

  3. Great post and something people need to know. I found you on AR and heard you are the go-girl for flooring. Although I’m not in your area I can certainly use your tips when the time comes. Thanks Debbie.

    1. Ruth – When it’s humid, I would try to stick to a product that is either waterproof or extremely water resilient. Usually, the best choices are either tile or some sort of vinyl (or lineoleum). The selection among these depend on the space, budget and how even the floor is. Tile will cost more than vinyl (usually), but often requires a lot of floor prep/leveling, especially if the floor is uneven. Vinyl comes in a variety of forms – some less expensive and some nicer (such as luxury vinyl). Linoleum is also a good option, but often costs more than vinyl as it is a green product (and thicker).

  4. traffic master allure laminate is waterproof so your info in not accurate..there are waterproof laminates and have been for a couple of years now

    1. Thanks for you comment Bob. Actually, no that’s not correct. Most of Traffic Master Allure is VINYL (not laminate). The vinyl is water resistant (the adhesive in it is not waterproof). The laminate is not.

  5. I put down laminate flooring thinking I could SEAL it afterwards. Tell me it is possible! I have a leaky elderly dog.

    1. Hi Karen – No, you can not seal laminate flooring. And, laminate is definitely not waterproof.

      I’m sorry about your dog. Maybe try some of those dog pads. I’ve had a few customers that have used those.

  6. Hi,
    Great info!
    Regarding your comment about the product Allure–since it’s vinyl, not laminate, and therefore waterproof (tho the adhesive is not), do you think it would be OK to install it in a Hybrid camper that lives in southern New England and is used June through Labor Day?

    1. Terri – It would be okay to use the Home Depot product, but I don’t think it’s a good product. The edges peel up. Alternatively, try Armstrong’s Luxe floating planks. They are much better.

        1. Oops, I should have clarified that is for the Luxe (and Shaw Floorte for that matter). So camper must be temperature controlled.

  7. Can we put in hardwood floors on a concrete slab in Houston, Texas? If not, what flooring would you suggest, barring vinyl and tile, for a large dog household.

    1. Yes, you can put hardwood on concrete, as long as there is not a moisture issue. You will want to make sure the floor is smooth and level (if not you should smooth it before installing hardwood.

      If you do have a moisture issue, I would suggest luxury vinyl that looks like hardwood. Luxury vinyl really does look and feel real. You could check out US floors Coretec Plus (which is a floating floor and looks like engineered hardwood). Or, try Karndean which is glue down. Many don’t realize that these are vinyl as they do look very real.

  8. What are your thoughts on aquaguard water resistant laminate flooring for a kitchen. Like the wood look and says water resistant.

    1. Brad – I’m not familiar with that product. I’d be skeptical though if it’s a laminate that claims to be waterproof. What makes it waterproof? Is it sealed? What happens after use? Maybe see if you can get a sample and expose it to water.

      1. Aguaguard is a new product trademarked by Floor and Decor. It is waterproof. It is sealed. It is a new product so there isn’t any long term reviews on durability. We are installing it in a rental to determine its viability.

        1. How did this turn out? On the floor and decor site it claims to withstand water for 30 hours and need no transisitions for at least 4000 sq ft.

    2. According to info I found on it it is “water resistant” wood based laminate. Website says it has an AC rating of 5.

  9. Sooo glad I found your website!
    I need flooring that will hold up to my rescues…(dogs) Everyone contradicted each other. One says, “stick with laminate”, another says, “vinyl”…I don’t want tile…..don’t like grout. My floors are on a raised foundation with plywood. Concrete….one yes, one no???? I’m fearful of cracks. Please help, before I make a very costly mistake. Hope to hear from you soon. God Bless, Francesca

    1. Francesca -Honestly, there are pros and cons with every flooring. And, I can see answers varying by geography (e.g. tile preferred in warm climates and over slabs…but that is not the case here in NY). I would probably go towards hardwood as that is much nicer and improves the value of your home. Yes, it will eventually scratch…but you can refinish it. (And, I would choose natural as it will look better longer). Laminate is more scratch resistant, but it will eventually scratch and need to be replaced. And, it isn’t water proof, so if the dog drool or get wet feet, it won’t hold up so well. I can’t imagine doing tile in the main area of the home here. It will be cold on your feet and good chance it will crack. And, it will hurt you in resale value. and, it will cost more (and you can’t put directly on top of plywood or it will crack). I suppose a luxury vinyl could work, but it scratches more than laminate. It is waterproof though…and the cost may not be much different than hardwood here in our area.

      So I would recommend solid hardwood natural. I would do white oak as it’s a bit harder and more water resistant vs. red oak.

  10. HI am installing flooring over concrete slab. I don’t have subfloor moisture. I want something that can continue seamlessly from front door to living room dinning room and kitchen. I have two small dogs. One has a dog version of acid reflux and tends to puke a lot. I live in Maryland. What flooring would you reccomend?

    1. This is a tough one given your construction and competing priorities. You really should consult a local expert who can see your situation and whether you have height constraints. If you do an engineered wood, most likely your dogs will scratch them and/or throw up, so I would probably rule out engineered and laminate flooring which will probably be destroyed quickly. I would probably consider a luxury vinyl such as Coretec Plus from US floors as it is waterproof so you won’t have issues with the acid reflux.

  11. I am currently in the process of putting laminate floor in my mobile home. I have two large dogs and a small dog that make mess with the water dish so I thought of placing the water dish in the bathroom with vinyl floor and placing rugs around at the doors and in the kitchen. But my question is will it hurt my floor if the windows are open in damp weather if no water hits the floor?

    1. First, let me caveat this by saying I don’t have experience with mobile homes. That being said, the laminate will not hold up well in damp weather or with water getting on the floor. Instead, consider a luxury vinyl like coretec plus. It’s waterproof and looks way better than laminate. It’s also a bit quieter.

  12. What are your suggestions on choosing a flooring that is consistent throughout the first floor that includes the living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, coat closet, and a half bathroom? My contractor is suggesting an engineered wood but having a different material in the laundry room. I have seen the Coretec Plus XL and impressed with what it purports but am skeptical.

    1. I think being consistent is a good thing, as long as there are no water issues. I love Coretec Plus, and it is an excellent choice for the laundry room. Try t find one that matches/is similar in color to the wood. Personally, I would strongly advise you to do solid hardwood over engineered if you can (especially if you have plywood underneath.

  13. Thanks for the great info here! We’re finishing our basement and looking at luxury vinyl. The Coretec is high on our list, but Floor & Decor has NuCore, which seems to be similarly constructed but lower in price. Are you familiar with it?

    Also, you mentioned in some of your posts about vinyl being more prone to scratching. Is this a big issue, or just that it’s a bit more scratch-prone than laminate. We love that it’s waterproof but with six kids scratches could be a big problem

    1. Hi David. I’m not familiar with NuCore. It sounds like a knock-off. Be careful as some of the knock-offs don’t have cork and that’s why they are lower priced. Coretec One is an example of that. It’s definitely not the same product and you need to add an underlayment if it doesn’t have the cork (so in the end, it may cost same or even more).

      1. David – I looked that up, and NuCore is an inferior product. There is no core under layment and it’s only half the thickness 4mm vs 8mm.

        Oh, and on Coretec Plus, I wouldn’t worry about the scratching. You summed up correctly.

  14. So if there is a little water damage on the center of my floor I have to pull out the entire laminate and install new laminate? I can’t just replace the affected area.

    1. Simon – That depends how much the boards are warped. That being said, if it’s the middle of the floor, you will need to at a minimum replace half way, starting from the wall to get to the center. Pull out boards very carefully. Often the locking mechanism will break on some, and if it’s a cheap laminate many/most may break. Makes sure you have enough boards to replace.

  15. Thanks for the great info! Have you heard of the company DDCC for laminate flooring. I was wondering if they were a quality product or if I should be looking at other companies.

  16. Do you have any thoughts on Pergo Outlast laminate that claims to be able to withstand standing water for 24 hours? I’m considering it for the entire main floor of my home.

    1. Renee – I’m not familiar with that product, but I would be suspicious about it. What is it made of? What gives it protection from the top? What is coreboard? What is giving it protection from the bottom? I would look up reviews online, too. It sounds too good to be true (in my opinion).

      1. That I know of there are three such products, Floor & Decor has ‘Aqua Guard’, HD has Pergo ‘Outlast’……I carry one called ‘Moisture Guard’ by Infinity. They all use the same method (basically) to achieve a measure of moisture resistance; a synthetic wax is applied to the edge of the locking system, this does form a seal when the planks are assembled. However! Cut edges will be susceptible to moisture damage, sooooo maybe not a great idea for bathrooms (we get out of the shower in the same 32″ every day, twice if I have a date :)). It’s a nice evolution of this type of product, but it IS NOT water proof!

  17. I had a pipe break (in the wall between bathroom and bedroom) over the weekend causing a flood in my bedroom with my newly installed (6 months) laminate flooring. As soon as I got all the water soaked up (about 45 minutes) I turned on the overhead fan & left sliding doors open to dry everything out. My question is, would I notice any warping/buckling by now? (It’s been 72 hours) Or is there still a chance the floor can be ruined?

    1. Kelly – You may be lucky. If the floor looks okay, it probably is. There is a chance that it’s slightly expanded and as we go into summer/humid months (esp August) that it may swell some more, and then you might have issues. However, if your floors are okay now, there is a good they will continue to be. And, if you do start to see some swelling when it’s gets warmer, do NOT wait. You may be able to have someone come in and remove shoe molding and trim the edges before it buckles. I’m hoping you’re okay. But definitely keep an eye on it, and try dehumidifiers (both now as well as if/when you see any swelling). I hope that helps.

  18. I want to install the CoreTec Plus in a family room (cement slab). There is about a 12 foot portion that will run along/against a gently curve of porcelain tile (1/2″ total depth). I want to do this without a transition. Is it advisable to glue a strip along the tile and float the remainder of the room? I’ve looked at flexible transition options, and just don’t like the look.

    1. Don – Oh yes, those curved transitions are a pain, and are so dated these days. Anyway, you will have an extremely difficult time without a flexible transition (generally rubber) and that’s what I would recommend. I doubt that glue will hold up, especially with the cork and the likely movement you’ll have on the floating floor. Further, it will be extremely hard to scribe the coretec (or any other product for that matter) so that it lines up correctly). And, most likely the tile and coretec plus will be slightly different heights (may be off by 1/8″ or maybe 3/16″ – might even vary a bit in different parts). I would get a rubber transition. You may be able to get a white one w/ wood graining and stain it to be similar in color to the coretec.

  19. Hi! My wife and I are wanting to replace the flooring throughout our whole house. It’s slab based, in Austin, Tx. We have a couple dogs that have an occasional accident. We’ve looked at pergo outlast, CORErec plus HD, and Evoke vinyl composite core. Fell in love with Evoke VCC Chip. Question is…how does the Evoke VCC compare to the CORErec? The only difference I can see is no cork layer. Your thoughts?
    Thanks, Jon

    1. Jon – I haven’t used Evoke. The cork underlayment helps keep the room warmer (via insulation) and makes the flooring softer. It also helps camouflage imperfections on the subfloor and helps the flooring last longer. it also makes it feel and sound more real. If you use Evoke, I would recommend you use an underlayment, even a cork one, of course, that will cost extra and will add another step in the process.

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