Are you wondering whether laminate flooring is waterproof? By the end of this article, you’ll have the answer to that question and more; but first, let’s cover the basics.
What Is Laminate Flooring, Really?
In short, laminate is a synthetic flooring product that consists of multiple layers of recycled hardwood pressed together. A photographic layer is then added on top so that the whole thing resembles actual wood — that’s why it looks like an authentic wooden floor.
Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring
Over the years, its “click-and-lock” design has made laminate a favorite among DIY enthusiasts. This practical type of flooring offers numerous advantages, some of which include:
- Inexpensiveness — given that it’s made of recycled, pressed hardwood, the production process is much cheaper.
- Cost-efficiency — the fact that you can pretty much install it on your own means you save money on having someone do it for you.
- Low-maintenance — laminate is scratch and water-resistant.
- Versatility — it comes in a great variety of designs, patterns, and colors, and it goes well with just about any sort of decor.
However, since there is (still) no such thing as a perfect product, laminate flooring does come with a set of its own flaws:
- You can’t refinish it. While they’re resistant to scratches and easy to clean, laminate floors can’t have their appearance renewed, as that can destroy the photographic layer.
- It’s not completely waterproof. Laminate flooring is rather durable and can usually survive a water spill or two. Still, you should mop it up immediately, as prolonged exposure to water will inevitably cause some damage.
- It does not add value to your home. Since laminate floors wear out over time and cannot be refinished, they don’t add any resale value to your property.
Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof: How Does Laminate Bode With Water?
It seems that, in the case of laminate, the pros outweigh the cons, so this type of flooring became almost synonymous with a great choice for any household. It is not only inexpensive and stylish but also super-easy to clean.
However, that doesn’t make laminate the absolute best choice if you want your floors to be completely waterproof.
While other types of flooring, such as tiles, can withstand large amounts of water, that’s not the case with laminate. Granted, it’s more resistant to moisture than, say, hardwood, but laminate is by no means waterproof.
Still, that doesn’t mean the occasional spilled beverage or a few drops of rain are going to be an issue. Just make sure that you mop the floor quickly after it’s been exposed to moisture.
Leaving water on laminate can compromise the outer layer, so don’t even think about putting it in rooms that feature some sort of open water (like a hot tub or a pool, for example). Never forget that laminate flooring will inevitably suffer damage if there are any water leaks in your home.
In addition to that, I would also strongly advise against installing laminate floors if you live in a humid environment. For example, if you live in a coastal city and are looking for a more water-resistant option, vinyl flooring would be a much better choice. It offers most of the advantages that laminate does (such as the variety of colors and patterns), with the additional benefit of a lower price tag.
If You Already Have Laminate Flooring…
Now, you might be thinking, All this is fine and dandy, but I already have laminate all over my home — what do I do? Get rid of it?
No, absolutely not. Everything I said so far does not mean that you should write off laminate flooring altogether. If you take proper care of it, it can be just as durable as any other flooring out there — which brings me to my next point.
Protecting Your Laminate from Water Damage
As with everything in life, if you follow a few simple do’s and don’ts, laminate flooring maintenance becomes a breeze. Here are a couple of simple rules you should take into consideration:
1. Leave water spills unattended.
As I already mentioned, prolonged exposure to moisture will damage the laminate. So, always make sure to immediately mop up any water puddles. If you want to be extra safe, you can also blot any leftover moisture with a paper towel.
2. Clean your laminate floors using sponge or string mops.
Those types of mops can not only leave water streaks but also get water between the floorboards, which will cause them to swell later on.
3. Leave the windows open when you go out.
If you live in an area where rainstorms are a common occurrence, always remember to close the windows before you leave home. While a few stray droplets are nothing to worry about, heavy rain can easily form puddles and cause damage to your floor.
1. Use a vacuum cleaner when cleaning.
Vacuuming is probably the quickest and most efficient way to clean any type of floor. Just remember to avoid vacuum cleaners with a beater bar, as those can damage the laminate.
Also, it’s best to vacuum in the direction of the floorboards to avoid getting any dust or debris in the cracks. Of course, if you don’t own a vacuum cleaner, a good ol’ broom will do just fine.
2. Try a microfiber mop.
We already established that sponge and string mops are a no-go when it comes to laminate flooring. The good news? You don’t really need them anyway!
Microfiber mops have a larger and flatter surface, so they cover more ground and get the job done quicker. What’s more, unlike other mops, you can use microfiber ones completely dry. Just sweep up any dust or debris, and rinse the mop when you’re done.
You can also use steam mops for cleaning laminate floors, but you need to be extremly careful when choosing it. Without the right cleaning devices you can damage this type of flooring. Check this article for best steam mops for laminate flooring.
3. Get a laminate-safe cleaning product.
On the other hand, if you’re worried about invisible pollutants, simply sweeping the floor may not be enough for you. If that’s the case, you may want to look into some cleaning products made specifically with laminate floors in mind.
Laminate Flooring and Water: the Final Verdict
Laminate flooring is a great choice if you want something that’s easy to install and looks stylish to boot. It requires minimal upkeep and, with proper care, can easily last you a decade.
Still, while it does offer many advantages, laminate is not waterproof. If you live in a humid climate or in a household where spills are inevitable (because of kids, pets, etc.), you might want to explore other options.
That said, if humidity is not a concern for you, laminate flooring is a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret.