Water resistance or waterproof qualities refer to the ability of a flooring material to resist water damage or repel water completely.
Where and why are waterproof / water resistant floors recommended?
Choosing a water-resistant or waterproof flooring type is important in areas of the home where water or moisture is present, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, or basements. These areas are more prone to spills, leaks, or humidity, which can damage some flooring types and cause mold or mildew growth.
A water-resistant or waterproof floor can help prevent water damage, which can be expensive to repair, and can also prevent mold and mildew growth, which can be a health hazard.
How Are Floors Made To Be Waterproof / Water Resistant
There are several ways that floors can be made to be waterproof or water-resistant, including:
- Materials: Some flooring materials are naturally water-resistant, such as ceramic or porcelain tile, vinyl, and certain types of stone flooring. These materials are naturally impermeable to water, and as a result, are highly resistant to water damage.
- Surface coatings: Another way to make floors waterproof or water-resistant is by adding a surface coating that acts as a barrier against water. For example, epoxy coatings can be applied to concrete floors to create a waterproof barrier.
- Sealants: Similarly, sealants can be used to make floors water-resistant. For example, grout and tile sealants can be applied to tile floors to prevent water from seeping through the gaps between tiles.
- Interlocking systems: Some types of flooring, such as luxury vinyl plank and engineered hardwood, come with interlocking systems that prevent water from seeping through the joints between the planks.
- Underlayment: Adding an underlayment beneath flooring can provide an additional layer of protection against water damage. For example, a vapor barrier can be installed underneath laminate flooring to prevent moisture from seeping through the subfloor and damaging the flooring.
Waterproof / Water Resistant Floor Materials
Tile flooring is waterproof and one of the best choices if you’re looking for something that’s completely waterproof. However, proper installation is important when installing tiles, as the grout lines between the tiles can be susceptible to water damage if they are not adequately sealed.
Many luxury vinyl floors are 100% waterproof because of their rigid core construction and waterproof backing.
However some luxury vinyl flooring may not be 100% waterproof, for reasons such as having seams or gaps between the planks or tiles that can allow water to seep through.
Additionally, some luxury vinyl floors may have a water-resistant core but may not be completely impervious to water damage, especially if exposed to standing water for an extended period of time.
It is important to check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for the specific luxury vinyl product that you’re consider if you’re looking for something that’s completely waterproof.
Laminate flooring is water-resistant but not waterproof. It can withstand minor spills and splashes, but prolonged exposure to water can cause the planks to warp or delaminate.
Some laminate flooring options have a water-resistant core, however, making them more suitable for areas prone to moisture.
Engineered hardwood flooring is more water-resistant than solid hardwood flooring but is not completely waterproof. It has a layered construction that provides some protection against moisture, but prolonged exposure to water can still cause damage to the flooring.
Engineered wood floors that are constructed with interlocking systems are particularly advantageous in regards to water resistance, as they help prevent water from seeping through the joints.
Solid hardwood flooring on the other hand is not waterproof and is susceptible to water damage. Even minor water spills can cause the planks to warp or cup, and prolonged exposure to moisture can result in permanent damage.