Waterproof laminate flooring is among the contemporary approaches in floor finishing. It offers a broad array of utility and aesthetics to fit different demands and tastes. However, just like any material, there are pros and cons to consider. Is this what you need for your flooring? Read this article to find out everything you need to know about waterproof laminate flooring.
What is Waterproof Laminate Flooring?
Laminates are composite materials configured in a succession of layers. As its name suggests, waterproof laminate flooring is simply a more water resilient version of the conventional type. It is sturdier and more resistant to moisture than its counterparts, such as natural hardwood floors.
Just like the standard version of laminate, the waterproof variant is composed of a core sandwiched between durable plastic layers. Below are the following layers that comprise laminate flooring:
The wear layer is the protective sheet responsible for preventing moisture penetration and damage from abrasion. As it is in contact with the flooring surface, the wear layer must be extra strong to bear impact. Aluminum oxide and melamine resin are the popular materials for wear layers.
The pattern layer is where the image or print of material is located. This layer is responsible for the overall look of your flooring.
The wood core or substrate layer is the main body of your laminate. It serves as a support for the upper layers and is responsible for soundproofing and dampening vibrations. Manufacturers commonly make the wood core from particle boards, plywood, or hardwood boards.
Backing layers comprise the glue responsible for bonding the upper layers to the wood core. To achieve more water-resistant laminate flooring, manufacturers use rubber or acrylics as backing layer materials.
Tongue and Groove Connection
The tongue and groove interlocking connection makes waterproof flooring easy to install. Waterproof laminate products also have uniform patterns across their surface for a seamless transition from one room to another.
Waterproof Laminate Flooring Is Not Really Waterproof
Waterproof is a very vague term that the design industry uses. Most of the materials deemed to be waterproof are not waterproof but water-resistant. And the same fact holds for any material that has permeable pores like wood in laminate flooring.
Waterproof laminate flooring products are designed to withstand small amounts of moisture but not continuous exposure from water. They can even develop mold and mildew if kept wet for a long time. Water is the enemy of material integrity in laminated floors.
The Pros and Cons of Waterproof Laminate Flooring
Here are few facts to consider before cashing out on waterproof laminate floorings:
- Better moisture-resistant than conventional laminate flooring.
- More scratch resistant than vinyl floors
- Amazing hardwood-like aesthetics
- Easy to install and maintain
- Less water-resistant than vinyl
- “Waterproof” variants have more limited designs
- Considerably more expensive than regular laminates
How To Install Waterproof Laminate Flooring
Once you decide on going with waterproof laminate flooring, all that’s left is to install it. For best results, it is highly suggested to work with flooring professionals. But if nothing can stop your DIY spirit, below are the steps to guide your installation.
Step 1 – Check Your Flooring Layout
Before purchasing your waterproof laminate flooring, you need to know the floor dimensions for installation. Waterproof flooring can easily go out of line if not laid based on a planned layout. It is imperative to set out mark guides first than to blindly dive into the installation.
Step 2 – Prepare Your Floor Surface for Installation
Clean out your floor surface and make sure all the necessary underlayments are in place. Common underlayments include vapor barriers to help manage moisture and absorb sound.
Step 3 – Start On Wall Edges
Once you laid out your waterproof laminate flooring, start on the wall edges with the tongue side facing down. You will have to trim the tongue for boards in contact with the wall edge. Don’t forget to leave out expansion spacing of about 1/4 to 3/8 inch or as specified by your manufacturer. Spacers like scrap wood can help you maintain this spacing as you work on the rest of the boards.
Step 4 – Work With The Rest of the Rows
Waterproof laminate flooring is not hard to install. It follows basic techniques of installing standard laminates like nudging and tapping them into place using a rubber mallet.
Step 5 – Finish The Last Row
You may have to trim your last row to fit the remaining space. Keep in mind to maintain the 1/4 to 3/8 inch spacing. You can use a table saw or circular saw, making sure cuts are squared.
Step 6 – Sealing, Surface Treatments, and Tidying Up
Make sure all your boards are snug, then you can start removing all the spacers. Make sure that your baseboard conceals the expansion gaps along the wall perimeter.
How To Maintain Your Waterproof Laminate Flooring
Just like any laminate floorings, Waterproof Laminate Flooring needs to be well taken care of. Here are few tips on how to maintain Waterproof Laminate Flooring:
- Sweep and vacuum your floor regularly
- Damp-mop and dry it right away
- Use only soft bristle brushes in the cleaning process
- Avoid harmful cleaning chemicals
- Never leave standing water on your floor during the cleaning process
- Avoid leaving Waterproof Laminate Flooring exposed to high temperature and sunlight as much as possible. It could lead to color fading or warping.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Waterproof Laminate Any Good?
Waterproofing laminate flooring is predominantly marketed to those who have a certain budget in mind and want their floors to look as close as natural wood. Waterproof laminate flooring gives you the advantage of being waterproof without affecting your house’s aesthetic look or feel.
What Happens When Laminate Flooring Gets Wet?
Waterproof laminate flooring isn’t where you can walk on it with wet feet, and your floor will be completely fine. It offers an extra layer of protection from water damage, but only to a degree. Water cans still seep through the wood grain and cause harm.
Is Waterproof Laminate Flooring The Best For You?
Waterproof laminate flooring has the charm of hardwood without breaking the bank. It can be a good alternative to hardwood floors in terms of durability and water-resistive properties. However, there are still precautions to consider to make it worthwhile for your application.
In the end, it’s up to your discretion to weigh up whether a waterproof laminate floor suits your requirements