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For today’s homeowners, the top five waterproof/water-resistant flooring options are:
- 1. Carpet
- 2. Vinyl
- 3. Laminate
- 4. Porcelain tile
- 5. Bathroom flooring (which can comprise several of the above)
How can you tell if these choices are really waterproof? Here’s how to find out exactly what “waterproof” means, and how to find the best type of flooring for your living spaces, as well as your lifestyle.
Best Water-Resistant Flooring — Or Is It Waterproof?In today’s marketing, “water-resistant flooring” and “waterproof flooring” are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Theoretically, water-resistant means that the item in question — in this case, flooring — is able to resist water so that it’s not easily penetrated, while waterproof means that it’s completely, 100 percent impervious to water.
In other words, a water-resistant floor might have some component — such as a fiber base — that can be damaged and warped by water or other liquids, especially if the floor is left wet. Conversely, a waterproof floor is made entirely of waterproof components, such as plastic, that can’t be damaged by water or other liquids.
Waterproof/water-resistant flooring is made from a material that repels, rather than absorbs, water and moisture. When you pour water on waterproof or water-resistant porcelain tile flooring or laminate flooring, the material will repel the moisture, so that it will bead into drops that you can quickly wipe away. If the material is completely waterproof, then no damage is done, even if the floor stays wet. If the flooring is water-resistant, however, the floor (or the base of the floor) might warp or rot if it isn’t dried in a timely manner — or if it’s exposed to large amounts of water on a regular basis.
Likewise, waterproof and water-resistant carpet is made from synthetic materials that repel rather than absorb moisture. This means that spilled liquids will remain sitting on the top layer of the carpet. To remove them, nothing’s easier — all you have to do is a dab at them with a dry towel.
The best types of water-resistant flooring are the ones that actually advertise their water-resistant qualities. If you’re not sure whether a flooring brand is water-resistant/waterproof or not, chances are that it’s not — because if it is, it will be specially marketed and advertised as being so.
As you keep reading, I’ll discuss some specific types of waterproof/water-resistant porcelain, laminate, hardwood, and carpet flooring that you might want to consider for your home.
Waterproof Vinyl FlooringVinyl flooring has come a long way since it was first introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. In recent years, vinyl has been transformed into a super flooring product that can stand up to all kinds of duress — which is why vinyl flooring is now second only to carpet flooring in sales.
What are the best brands of waterproof or water-resistant vinyl flooring on the market? One is Mohawk SolidTech, which is 100 percent waterproof, making it the perfect choice for kitchens, bathrooms and basements. In addition, it’s specially treated to be stain-resistant, scuff- resistant and dent-resistant, so it stands up to high traffic. It also comes in a huge variety of designer colors and patterns, as well as luxury wood-look veneers.
Another popular choice is Armstrong’s PRYZM rigid core flooring, a vinyl-like alternative that’s also 100 percent waterproof, scratch/stain/dent-resistant and comes in an amazing variety of colors, patterns and topcoat veneers.
Pros and Cons of Waterproof Vinyl Flooring
- A high-quality waterproof vinyl flooring is also low maintenance, and resistant to dents, scratches and stains.
- Vinyl provides an inherent comfort underfoot, because of its cushion-like “give” which other hard floors don’t have.
- Vinyl comes in a stunning array of colors and patterns, including faux wood and stone veneers.
- Vinyl gives a room the warm coziness of natural stone or hardwood, at a fraction of the price.
- Vinyl can be applied on a wide variety of subfloors, including cement, granite, tile and laminate.
- Vinyl looks good in every room in the house.
- Vinyl can be susceptible to cuts, tears and dents (especially when knives or cans are dropped).
- Vinyl will fade or get discolored if left outside.
- Vinyl isn’t biodegradable.
- Vinyl can be difficult to remove if it’s glued down.
Waterproof Ceramic and Porcelain Tile FlooringA classic choice for bathrooms (and old-fashioned kitchens), waterproof ceramic and porcelain tile flooring has a durable glaze that won’t allow liquids to seep through the tile. That’s why your bathroom doesn’t get flooded every time your dog jumps in the tub. As you’ve probably already noticed, it’s also terrifically easy to clean.
You can choose a ceramic tile that will compliment your walls, countertops, and cabinets. And here’s a tip — a darker grout shade will hide stains better.
Pros and Cons of Waterproof Ceramic Tile FlooringPros
- It’s easy to clean, easy to repair, and easy to remove.
- Ceramic is 100 percent naturally waterproof.
- It’s aesthetically pleasing and comes in a wonderful variety of patterns and colors that can mimic expensive flooring.
- Ceramic is eco-friendly and recyclable.
- Like vinyl, tile looks good everywhere.
- It’s often cheaper than vinyl.
- This one is personal — but to me, ceramic tile has a light, airy feel that can open up a room and make it seem larger.
- Ceramic/porcelain tile is harder, slippery and colder on the feet, as you probably already know (think of all those cold mornings in the bathroom). However, the good news is that you can lay heated tile underneath.
- Installing ceramic tile is not a DIY project — but if you do it the right way by getting a flooring/installation deal, this won’t be a worry for you.
- It’s ceramic — it can break. However, today’s styles are more durable than those from the past.
Waterproof Laminate FlooringToday’s laminate flooring is nothing like the old, cracked linoleum you might have seen in your grandma’s kitchen. Instead, it’s vibrant and luxurious and made in designer colors, as well as luxury stone and wood veneers. Best of all, it doesn’t yellow and cracks anymore as the old stuff did.
Here’s where it’s important to understand the difference between water-resistant and waterproof. In the US market, laminate flooring is made of a resin compound placed on a woodchip base, then glazed for durability. Because of this, technically laminate flooring is water-resistant, not 100 percent waterproof. This means that if water is left for a long time on the floor, it can seep into and warp the fiberboard base. Some European brands are now being made that are 100 percent plastic (including the base), but for the most part these aren’t available in the US yet.
However, unless you’re concerned about flooding, water-resistant is completely sufficient for most home flooring, as it will repel normal, everyday spills and leaks — just make sure to dry them as soon as possible, and try to keep the floor dry on a regular basis.
One leading brand of water-resistant laminate flooring is Kronotex — popular because it’s not only durable, it also comes in beautiful veneers that mimic expensive hardwood flooring.
Pros and Cons of Waterproof Laminate FlooringPros
- Laminate is water-resistant, extremely easy-care and durable.
- Laminate is easy to install on just about any type of subfloor.
- It’s often cheaper than vinyl flooring.
- It’s typically not 100 percent waterproof; but its water-resistant qualities are sufficient for most scenarios as long as you keep it dry.
- Laminate doesn’t cushion the feet like vinyl does.
Waterproof Carpet FlooringThere’s nothing like the feel of carpet flooring under your feet. It cushions and caresses them, and provides incomparable warmth to a room (both physically and visually).
It wasn’t until fairly recently that carpeting became a viable waterproof option. However, thanks to modern technology, many styles are made of synthetic fibers that not only completely repel water, but stains as well.
Case in point: Shaw’s LifeGuard carpet flooring is made of a patented technology called RX2 that completely protects the entire carpet fiber — including the base of the carpet — from moisture, spills, soil and stains. If anything is spilled, it can magically be blotted up. Plus, the LifeGuard backing is made of 100 percent, commercial-grade thermoplastic that is absolutely impervious to liquids, making this product a true waterproof flooring. To demonstrate this, Shaw has even made an amazing video of a swimming pool with a floor constructed entirely of LifeGuard carpeting.
Pros and Cons of Waterproof Carpet FlooringPros
- It’s waterproof, stain-resistant and mildew-resistant.
- It’s easy-care and low maintenance.
- It’s easy on the feet, and can actually make a room physically warmer.
- It’s carpeting — it’s beautiful. And it comes in every conceivable color and pattern.
- If you want waterproof carpeting, be sure you’re getting it instead of water-resistant carpeting (see above for differences).
- Be prepared to pay more for quality waterproof carpeting.
- If you have allergies, carpeting can collect dust, so be sure to invest in a vacuum cleaner.
Waterproof Bathroom FlooringSurprise — waterproof bathroom flooring doesn’t have to be porcelain. Thanks to today’s versatile materials, it can also be laminate, vinyl or other waterproof styles.
Pros and Cons of Waterproof Bathroom FlooringPros
- Ceramic and vinyl both come in 100 percent waterproof styles.
- Vinyl is warmer than ceramic and more comfortable to walk/stand on, because it cushions your feet better.
- Both vinyl and ceramic come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
- Both are easy-care and low maintenance — a quick wipe of the floor and you’re done.
- Carpeting is a bad idea for bathrooms because even if it’s water-resistant or waterproof, it will take a long time to get dry — and this can lead to nasty mildew buildup.
- Hardwood is a bad idea for bathrooms because it can’t repel water at all, and the boards will rot and warp.
- Laminate isn’t completely waterproof (just water-resistant), so it might not be the best first choice for bathrooms.
Finding the Best Flooring Sale and Installation DealWhen it’s time to choose your flooring, it’s crucial to get a comprehensive flooring sale and installation quote that gives you the total cost of your new flooring. In addition, a flooring sale and installation price should also include an itemized list of the cost of everything, from flooring materials to labor. Otherwise, you might end up not even knowing what you’re paying for — and this can lead to severe sticker shock.
By this time, if you’re asking “Are there flooring stores near me, or carpet stores near me that offer installation?” the answer is yes — just take a quick look online. A good flooring store will offer a huge on-site inventory that you can browse through, as well as a free professional design consultation and a full range of immediate installation services.
One of the biggest advantages of buying from Express Flooring is that it offers free in-home estimates (including a professional design consultation), so the entire store inventory is virtually brought right to your door. With Express Flooring, your flooring sale and installation estimate is included automatically, so you’ll know the exact price for flooring and installation, as well as any additional labor or material costs involved.
In addition, Express Flooring offers next-day installation services, extended warranties, and regular discount prices — including discounts for government and public service workers, seniors, and teachers.
When it comes to finding the best waterproof (or water-resistant) flooring for your home, the best thing to do is educate yourself by examining different materials. Would you prefer the warmth of carpet, the luxury of wood-patterned vinyl, or the easy-care qualities of waterproof porcelain tile?
Whichever you prefer, just be sure to find out whether it’s water-resistant or waterproof. Also, be sure to talk to an expert professional who can help you choose the right flooring for your home and lifestyle. And, if you live in or near Arizona, be sure to visit Express Flooring and schedule your free in-home estimate, so you can take the first step toward finding the perfect flooring for your home."
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