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The Difference Between Water Resistant vs. Waterproof Flooring

May 24, 2024 Author: Express Flooring
Water Resistant vs. Waterproof Flooring
Imagine this: you're cooking a delicious meal, and a pot overflows. Or, your pet enthusiastically greets you at the door, leaving a trail of wet paw prints. These scenarios highlight the importance of choosing the right flooring, especially when it comes to water resistance. But with terms like "water resistant" and "waterproof" thrown around, navigating the flooring world can be confusing. Fear not! This guide will break down the difference between these terms and help you select the perfect flooring solution for your needs.

Understanding Water Resistance

Defining Water Resistance: When a floor is labeled "water resistant," it means it can repel or shed water for a limited time. Think of it like a raincoat – it protects you from a light drizzle, but a downpour will eventually soak through. Similarly, water-resistant flooring can handle spills and splashes if cleaned promptly. However, prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to water seeping through the seams or damaging the material.

Material Matters: Different flooring materials offer varying degrees of water resistance. For example, vinyl with a sealed surface is generally more water-resistant than laminate flooring with exposed seams. Engineered hardwood, constructed with multiple layers, can offer better water resistance than solid hardwood. Understanding the material properties is crucial when assessing water resistance.

The Importance of Time: Here's the key takeaway: water resistant is not the same as waterproof. Spills and puddles need to be cleaned up promptly to prevent water from seeping through the flooring and causing damage to the subfloor beneath. Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations for your specific flooring type.

Understanding Waterproof Flooring

Defining Waterproof: Waterproof flooring takes water resistance to a whole new level. It's designed to withstand complete water immersion for extended periods. Imagine a submarine – it's completely waterproof, allowing it to function flawlessly underwater. Similarly, waterproof flooring provides exceptional protection against moisture, making it ideal for areas prone to frequent spills and splashes like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Peace of Mind: Opting for waterproof flooring in moisture-prone areas offers peace of mind. Accidental spills, overflowing washing machines, or even pet mishaps won't cause you to worry about water damage to the subfloor. With proper installation and maintenance, waterproof flooring can withstand years of exposure to water, ensuring a worry-free experience.

Not All Waterproof Options Are Created Equal: It's important to note that some waterproof materials might have limitations regarding extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals. For example, certain waterproof luxury vinyl planks (LVP) might not tolerate prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or harsh cleaning agents. Always check the manufacturer's specifications for specific limitations.

Water Resistant vs. Waterproof Flooring: A Breakdown

Here's a table comparing and contrasting water-resistant and waterproof flooring across key factors:
Feature Water-Resistant Flooring Waterproof Flooring
Water Exposure Time Can withstand spills and splashes for a limited time Can withstand complete water immersion for extended periods
Ideal Installation Locations Living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, low-moisture areas Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, high-moisture areas
Maintenance Requirements Prompt spill cleaning, regular cleaning and maintenance Regular cleaning and maintenance (may vary based on specific material)
Examples of Materials Laminate, some LVP options, select hardwood varieties Luxury vinyl plank (with waterproof core), certain tile options

Express Flooring's Waterproof and Water-Resistant Flooring Options

At Express Flooring, we understand the importance of choosing the right flooring for your needs.  We offer a wide variety of both waterproof and water-resistant flooring options:

Waterproof Flooring:

  • Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) with a Waterproof Core: Many LVP options at Express Flooring come with a waterproof core, making them ideal for high-moisture areas. They offer exceptional durability, scratch resistance, and easy cleaning, all while providing superior water protection.
  • Certain Tile Options: Ceramic and porcelain tiles are naturally waterproof and a classic choice for kitchens and bathrooms. They are incredibly easy to clean and maintain, ensuring a beautiful and functional floor for years to come.

Water-Resistant Flooring:

  • Laminate Flooring: Laminate offers moderate water resistance, making it suitable for low-moisture areas like living rooms or bedrooms. It boasts a beautiful aesthetic mimicking natural wood and is generally easy to clean. However, prompt spill cleaning is crucial to prevent moisture damage.
  • Some LVP Options: While some LVP options have a waterproof core, others offer varying degrees of water resistance. These options are still well-suited for low-moisture areas as long as spills are addressed promptly.
  • Select Hardwood Varieties: Engineered hardwood can offer better water resistance than solid hardwood due to its layered construction. However, all hardwood flooring requires proper maintenance and prompt spill cleaning to minimize water damage.

Making the Perfect Choice: Selecting the Right Flooring for You

With a clear understanding of water resistance and waterproof flooring options, you're well on your way to selecting the perfect floor for your needs. Here are some key factors to consider:
  • Assess Your Needs: Think about your lifestyle and the specific room's functionality.  High-moisture areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms demand waterproof flooring for maximum protection. Lower-moisture areas like living rooms or bedrooms can benefit from water-resistant options like laminate or some LVP selections.
  • Express Flooring's Expertise: Our knowledgeable staff at Express Flooring is here to help! We can assess your individual needs and recommend the perfect water-resistant or waterproof flooring solution for your space. Don't hesitate to request a free estimate to schedule an in-home consultation to speak with one of our flooring specialists today.
  • Consider Additional Factors: Beyond water resistance, there are other factors to consider when choosing flooring. Think about aesthetics – do you prefer the classic look of hardwood or the modern elegance of tile? Budget is also important – waterproof flooring options typically come at a slightly higher price point than water-resistant varieties. Finally, consider the desired maintenance level – some flooring options require more frequent cleaning or specific cleaning products.


Understanding the difference between water-resistant and waterproof flooring is crucial for making an informed decision for your next flooring project. By considering your lifestyle, the room's functionality, and additional factors like aesthetics and budget, you can select the perfect flooring solution.

Let Express Flooring Bring the Showroom to Your Home!

Explore our comprehensive online selection of waterproof and water-resistant flooring options at your convenience. We are confident we can help you find the perfect floor that complements your style and protects your home for years to come. You can schedule a consultation with one of our flooring experts for personalized recommendations.

Don't wait any longer! Invest in beautiful and functional flooring that meets your needs. Express Flooring – your partner in creating dream floors for a lifetime.