Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Laminate

By Sandy

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 9:09 AM

Water-Resistant vs. WaterProof Laminate 

Is There A Meaningful Difference?

waterproof laminate flooring

When it comes to the latest in laminate flooring, we’re starting to see both water resistant and waterproof options. But the actual difference for you as a consumer may be negligible.

Sure, water resistance and water proofing are different – one implies that while it will resist water, it won’t do so for ever. Waterproofing, on the other hand, implies that no amount of water can affect the product.

Surface spills are no problem for either waterproof or water-resistant laminate. Even water-resistant floors provide spill protection ranging anywhere from 24-, 48- to as much as 72-hours. For spills that sit longer than that, well, you’re likely on your own – chances are it will not be covered by the warranty.

It’s these situations where a waterproof laminate floor can offer the extra protection you might need, especially in busy households with kids, pets, lots of traffic and more. 

The great thing about both of these new laminate flooring treatments is that  they allow laminate to move into areas of the home where laminate may not have been optimal in the past. Bathrooms, mudrooms, kitchens and basements no longer pose the threat they once did. These treated laminate floors can definitely hold their own in these settings.

That said, the actual performance difference between a water-resistant laminate and a waterproof one is not likely to have any impact on your floor’s day-in-and-day-out performance. 

There is one area where you’ll notice the difference – price. I say opt for water resistant laminate and pocket the difference if you’re not too worried about spills. At the same time, the extra protection of a waterproof laminate may well be worth it for a busy household. 

The one problem for both of these floors is that while the flooring materials you use may indeed be waterproof, the complete system that is your floor – flooring, subfloor, moldings, underlayment – are not. 

Traditional Laminate Caveat

Even regular laminate flooring can stand up to spills – but not for long. More importantly, the way laminate is installed often involves cutting the final row of boards to fit the space. That leaves the vulnerable inner core exposed. If water makes it down to this exposed core of a traditional laminate floor, you may find yourself replacing it sooner that you’d like. 

- Sandy 

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