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Understanding Vinyl & Laminate Flooring Water Resistance

May 27, 2024 Author: Express Flooring
vinyl and laminate flooring water resistance
When choosing flooring, water resistance is a crucial factor to consider, especially for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and high-traffic areas. Two popular water-resistant flooring options are vinyl and laminate. This article aims to clarify the difference between water-resistant and waterproof flooring and guide you in selecting the best option for your needs.
 

Water Resistance vs. Waterproof

Flooring terms can sometimes be confusing. Here's a breakdown of water resistance vs. waterproof:
  • Water-resistant: This describes a material's ability to repel or shed water for a limited time. Spills and splashes will bead up on the surface, but prolonged exposure can lead to water seeping through.
  • Waterproof: While truly waterproof flooring options exist (like certain luxury vinyl tiles), for most homeowners, water resistance is sufficient. Waterproof flooring will withstand even long periods of water exposure without damage.

Vinyl Flooring Water Resistance

Most vinyl flooring, including luxury vinyl planks (LVP) and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), offer excellent water resistance. Vinyl's secret lies in its construction. The vinyl material itself repels water, and the click-lock systems used for installation create tight seams that prevent moisture from seeping through. Luxury vinyl planks (LVP) and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) often come in various plank widths and tile sizes,  mimicking the look of natural materials like wood or stone.  

An additional benefit of some LVT/LVP options is a waterproof core. This makes them ideal for high-moisture areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms, where spills and splashes are more frequent.
 
 

Laminate Flooring Water Resistance

Laminate flooring offers moderate water resistance, but it's important to remember it's not waterproof. The core of laminate flooring is typically made from high-density fiberboard (HDF), which is susceptible to water damage if exposed for extended periods. Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause the core to swell and warp, ruining the flooring.

However, high-quality laminate flooring with a well-sealed surface and tight seams can effectively handle spills. The key is to clean up spills promptly to minimize moisture exposure.  Regular cleaning and maintenance will also help to extend the lifespan of your laminate flooring.
 

Making the Right Choice: Vinyl vs. Laminate

Here's a quick comparison of vinyl and laminate flooring to help you decide which is best for your home:
 
Feature Vinyl Flooring Laminate Flooring
Water Resistance Excellent Moderate
Pros Highly water-resisant, durable, easy to clean Affordable, easy to install, variety of styles
Cons Can be softer underfoot Not as water-resistant, can scratch more easily
Ideal Installation Areas Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements Living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms

Recommendation: Due to its superior water resistance, vinyl flooring is the better choice for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements where there's a higher risk of moisture exposure. Laminate flooring is a good option for living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms where moisture exposure is minimal.
 
 

Maximizing Water Resistance for Any Flooring

Here are some tips to maximize the water resistance of your chosen flooring:
  • Prompt Spill Cleaning: Clean up spills immediately to minimize moisture exposure.  Blot up liquids with a clean, absorbent cloth and avoid using harsh chemicals.
  • Proper Floor Maintenance: Regular cleaning with manufacturer-recommended cleaning products will help to maintain a protective barrier on the flooring surface. 
  • Regular Vacuuming: Vacuuming regularly removes dirt, dust, and debris that can trap moisture and contribute to wear and tear.
  • Proper Subfloor Installation: A properly installed subfloor is essential for preventing moisture problems from below the flooring.

FAQs

Q: Is LVP completely waterproof?

A: Not all LVP is waterproof, although many LVP options do have a waterproof core. Always check the manufacturer's specifications to determine the water resistance level of a specific LVP product.

Q: What happens if I spill something on my laminate or LVP floor?

A: Clean up the spill as quickly as possible. For laminate flooring, use a damp mop and avoid excessive moisture. For LVP,  refer to the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations.

Q: How long will LVP last if exposed to water?

A: Waterproof LVP can withstand long periods of water exposure without damage. However,  even waterproof  LVT/LVP should not be submerged in water for extended periods.
 

Conclusion

Understanding water resistance is key to choosing the right flooring for your needs. Here's a quick recap:
  • Vinyl flooring offers superior water resistance, making it ideal for moisture-prone areas.
  • Laminate flooring provides moderate water resistance, but prolonged exposure can cause damage. Use laminate in areas with minimal moisture.
  • Regardless of the flooring you choose, practicing good maintenance habits can maximize its water resistance.
For a personalized flooring recommendation and professional installation, contact Express Flooring today. Our flooring experts can help you select the perfect water-resistant flooring for your home and ensure a flawless installation. We offer a wide variety of vinyl and laminate flooring options in various styles and colors to suit any taste and budget.
 

Beyond Water Resistance: Additional Considerations

While water resistance is crucial, there are other factors to consider when choosing flooring:
  • Durability: Consider the amount of foot traffic the floor will endure. Vinyl flooring is generally more durable than laminate, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Comfort: Vinyl flooring can feel softer underfoot compared to laminate, which can be a factor, especially in kitchens where you might spend a lot of time standing.
  • Style: Both vinyl and laminate offer a wide variety of styles that mimic natural materials like wood or stone. Choose the option that best complements your existing décor.
  • Cost: Laminate flooring is generally more affordable than vinyl upfront. However, vinyl's superior durability can translate to long-term cost savings.

Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Lifestyle

The best flooring for your home depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the following:
  • Traffic patterns: How much foot traffic will the floor receive? High-traffic areas require a more durable flooring option.
  • Presence of pets: Pets' claws can scratch laminate flooring more easily than vinyl.
  • Budget: Determine your budget for the project and compare the upfront and potential long-term costs of different flooring options.
  • Personal style: Choose a flooring style that complements your existing décor and reflects your personal taste.

Express Flooring: Your Partner in Flooring Solutions

At Express Flooring, we understand that choosing the right flooring can be overwhelming. That's why we offer a wide variety of high-quality vinyl and laminate flooring options, along with expert advice to help you make the best decision for your home. Our flooring specialists can answer your questions, guide you through the selection process, and ensure a professional installation.

Contact Express Flooring today for a free consultation and let us help you create beautiful and functional flooring that will last for years to come.