Until recently, spilled water on a laminate floor seemed like a real disaster. Even washing the floors had to be done with the utmost care, so that excess moisture would not swell the coating. But now it is possible to have laminate flooring even in areas with high humidity. Now the market has waterproof laminate flooring that can be used in any room without being swollen.
What is waterproof laminate flooring made of? Waterproof laminate flooring is made of PVC board, which is a chipboard created on wood fibers, where the adhesive is phenol-formaldehyde or pectin resin. The basis of the panels of the waterproof laminate is a plastic layer, therefore, upon contact with a large amount of water, the coating does not deform or deteriorate.
Is waterproof laminate worth it? Waterproof laminate is very durable, wear-resistant, safe, and easy to clean flooring. It does not scratch easily and it provides reliable protection against moisture and mold. Waterproof laminate performs an excellent decorative function and will fit into any interior. The only drawback of waterproof laminate is the high price (5$ per sqft). However, its service of life proves that a waterproof laminate is definitely worth the investment.
Is waterproof laminate any good? Let’s see if waterproof laminate is any good and what its pros and cons are.
Waterproof Laminate Flooring Pros:
- Durability. High durability protects finished products from mechanical damage. Waterproof laminate flooring is safe to use even if you have pets or wear heels. Waterproof laminate is more durable than ordinary laminate and it is more scratch-resistant.
- Absolute resistance to liquids. It doesn’t matter how long water stays on the surface of the laminate. In any case, the board does not deform and does not absorb liquid.
- Safety. The presence of a special layer that resists slipping, increasing the safety of movement on the floor surface.
- Easy to keep clean. Waterproof laminate flooring has an anti-static function. Thus, a large amount of dust, pet hair, etc. will not accumulate on the flooring.
- Safe due to the absence of mold and fungus. The hygiene of the waterproof laminate, which you can buy in a specialized store, is due to the fact that it has a reliable locking system. This prevents mold and mildew from accumulating between or under the boards.
Some people are still wary of buying laminate flooring because they think it can deteriorate from the water on the surface. However, today you can find a large number of various waterproof models of this floor covering on store shelves. They definitely have a huge advantage over standard laminate boards. But what about the disadvantages?
Waterproof Laminate Flooring Cons:
- Price. Probably the only drawback of a waterproof laminate for a kitchen or bathroom is its high cost. The waterproof laminate costs around 5$ per sqft while water-resistant laminate costs 3.99$ and laminate costs 2.40$. However, it is fully explained by the qualities that the flooring has. In any case, this purchase is one of the most profitable investments you can make while renovating your home.
- Not the best tactile experience. Waterproof laminate is cold and not as pleasant as wood or even linoleum, for this reason, laminate flooring is often made heated.
- High noise level. Laminate footsteps are loudest compared to all other floorings
Is waterproof laminate really waterproof? Yes, waterproof laminate is really waterproof. Waterproof laminate is not just resistant to moisture or dampness, but can retain its appearance and not deform, even after being under water for several weeks. These properties are obtained due to the use in the production of a plastic base, and not wood fiber. In addition, the gaps and joints between the slabs are closed with hot wax during installation. This eliminates the ingress of water, thereby preventing swelling.
Waterproof And Water-Resistant Laminate Differences
What is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant laminate flooring? A waterproof laminate, in contrast to a water-resistant one, is a flooring that is “not afraid of water” in the literal sense of the word. This is due to the fact that the base of the material is made of polyvinyl chloride (plastic or just vinyl), which is completely inert to water in any form.
Waterpoof and water-resistant laminate flooring similarities:
- The same installation technology (using a lock connection);
- Effective protection against water and moisture;
- Amazing sound and heat insulation.
Waterpoof and water-resistant laminate flooring differences:
- Waterproof laminate is based on PVC plate, while water-resistant is made out of fiberboard;
- The moisture resistance is higher for laminate with a plastic base;
- Water-resistant laminate is more affordable. However, this should not be a reason for buying: why buy such a covering for a bath, if it is absolutely not intended for these purposes?
All major manufacturers of laminate flooring today offer collections of the water-resistant laminate. It is less afraid of water than standard low-cost laminate flooring. First of all, due to the fact that a denser base is used in its production, which is an HDF-plate of increased moisture resistance.
In addition, laminated panels acquire greater moisture resistance due to the special impregnation of the locking mechanism with special compounds on a wax or silicone base. This prevents moisture from entering the seams between the panels. But this is what most often causes the laminate to swell.
The waterproof laminate is absolutely not afraid of water. At least that’s what the manufacturers of this type of flooring say. In its production, HDF-board is not used, it is replaced by a durable plastic base made of PVC.
Special air chambers are arranged in the plastic base. They do not affect the strength of the laminated coating, but they perfectly isolate sound, and in addition, they retain and retain heat. Thanks to this, the floor covered with waterproof laminate does not feel cold, even if the floor heating system is not used. It is mounted in the same way as a conventional laminate flooring, using a padlock method without using glue.
Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Flooring – The Aquarium Test
Which Is Better: Water-Resistant or Waterproof Laminate?
Since the moisture resistant laminate is made from HDF board, it will still be exposed to a lot of moisture. This even shows such a property as the swelling coefficient. In contrast, waterproof laminate boards are made of specially processed plastic that can completely resist the action of liquids.
Waterproof models are more expensive than water-resistant ones. Therefore, before you buy a waterproof laminate, think about whether you really need it. If the room in which you plan to install the flooring is not exposed to high humidity, then you can completely do with a water-resistant laminate.
The difference in the care of these two floor coverings is that any liquid that has gotten onto the water-resistant laminate must be removed as soon as possible. Plus, it won’t withstand a flood in your home. Waterproof models are more reliable in this regard, since they are not exposed to water.
When choosing the type of laminate to be installed in what room, many experts recommend using a water-resistant laminate for the kitchen, since water does not often get on the floor there, and waterproof laminate is best suited for the bathroom. Choosing this or that laminate option, you first need to focus solely on your preferences. Each of the above types has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you need to treat the purchase quite carefully. A properly selected laminate is able to have not only good resistance to liquid ingress, but also a long service life, as well as the ability to withstand high loads.
Tips For Choosing Waterproof Laminate
- When choosing a waterproof laminate, always look for the word “aqua” in its description. In addition, any manufacturer makes the selection process easier for the consumer and makes a mark on his product, for example, draws a drop. Such markings immediately make it clear that the laminate is resistant to moisture.
- There are several options for the class of laminate. The higher the class, the more durable the laminate is. Choose a laminate class depending on the room in which it will be installed. So for the kitchen, you will need a laminate of the highest class, while for the bathroom you can take a lower class.
- Always look at the swell ratio of the laminate. The lower the percentage of swelling, the more resistant the laminate is to water.
- Don’t go for a low price. It is quite logical that the cost of waterproof laminate will be higher than usual (around 5$ per sqft).
- Pay attention to the warranty period indicated by the manufacturer. The minimum guarantee for a good laminate is 15 years. The longer, the better.
- When choosing a waterproof laminate, pay special attention to docking locks. They should connect the laminate panels as tightly as possible. This reduces the chances of water getting under the panels.
- The last tip is more a recommendation than a guide to action: the laminate is quite slippery, and if it gets on it, it can become a source of injury. To avoid many problems, opt for a textured surface.
- It is best to purchase a 32-33 class laminate coating, it will last longer due to the better characteristics of strength and wear resistance.
- The locks should be in perfect condition and slightly slippery to the touch. This means that the impregnation is done well. The coating of the board itself should also not have chips or cracks, the corners should be even. Any defects will affect its water repellency.
- It is best to purchase waterproof laminate flooring in specialized stores, which will competently advise you and, if necessary, provide documents confirming the high quality and declared characteristics of the coating. Preference should be given to well-known and proven manufacturers.
Choosing a quality waterproof laminate for your house is not so difficult. But so that the money is not wasted, it is necessary to take into account some of the nuances that were just mentioned.
The Best Waterproof Laminate Flooring Brands
What brand is the best waterproof laminate flooring?
- AquaStep. The undisputed leaders in the sale of waterproof laminate flooring are Belgian companies. AquaStep manufactures class 32 laminated flooring, which is highly durable and has excellent water repellency. The locks are impregnated with a resin composition. The Uniclick system provides a durable connection that does not allow a single drop of water to pass through the coating.
- Berry floor. Another Belgian company, Berry Floor, appeared on the market relatively recently. Their products are distinguished by high quality materials, as well as an increased level of protection of the lamellas from moisture. Even prolonged contact with water does not damage the structure of the boards.
- Dumafloor. Another leader is the French company Dumafloor. They produce two types of waterproof laminate flooring: class 31 and 32. The water repellency is enhanced by an electron beam treated coating. The Click system ensures quick assembly and secure grip.
- Egger is a powerful Austrian concern. EggerAqua+ products are designed for use in bathrooms and other rooms with high humidity.
- Panels of the Kronotex Robusto brand (Germany) are waterproof products of guaranteed quality, made on the basis of high pressure fibreboard. Due to the absence of phthalates in the slabs, they can be installed in rooms where children are constantly present.