Is laminate waterproof?

Is laminate waterproof?

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Keeping your laminate flooring clean and dry

There’s plenty you can do to keep your laminate flooring clean and dry – and the most sensible advice we can give you is, don’t let it get wet in the first place! But if you’ve had a spill or a splash, then

  1. Act quickly and make you dry it thoroughly.
  2. Check regularly for signs of damage and wear; and
  3. Use mats and rugs to provide additional protection.

Laminate flooring is always a popular choice because it’s affordable, looks amazing in both traditional and modern homes and is easy enough to install. However, the one downside is it doesn’t like getting or staying wet as the moisture cause a plank to expand or buckle. However, we’ve plenty of products that are robustly water-resistant and one that is truly waterproof. With a little bit of maintenance, you will be rewarded with the floor of your dreams.

Understanding the difference between water-resistant and waterproof

Water-resistant and waterproof are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be!  Each one offers a different level of protection against moisture. We’ll explain in more detail:

  • Water-resistant laminate flooring

We have several collections that can withstand exposure to moisture without suffering significant damage. This type of flooring can handle spills, splashes, and occasional damp mopping but you mustn’t leave standing water on its surface, nor fit it in a room that stays humid for a long time. Great examples of our robust water-resistant laminate flooring include Laguna and Jura collections, which is water-resistant for up to 72 hours.

  • Waterproof laminate flooring

On the other hand, laminate that’s properly waterproof, not just resistant, is the unicorn of the flooring world. It’s rare – and it’s magical! It’s been cleverly engineered to lock tightly, with advanced core materials to prevent water from penetrating the surface completely. This makes it suitable for areas with frequent exposure to water, such as bathrooms and kitchens. We have a product called Oceana, which has a manufacturers’ guarantee to be waterproof for up to seven days. How did we test it? It was submerged in a bucket of water for a week!

The importance of an expansion gap

As our trained fitters will tell you, it’s essential to ensure that when you install your laminate flooring, you allow for an expansion gap. As laminate ‘floats’ on top of your subfloor, and it’s created from a material that changes when the temperature gets hotter or colder, it needs room to breathe. So it shouldn’t be pinned down as it could become bouncy and look warped. If you need further advice on expansion gaps, go to our Ideas Hub.

How does water-resistant or waterproof laminate flooring work?

Water-resistant laminate flooring is made up of many fantastic layers, each one doing a great job to protect and look good. Let’s investigate further…

  • Core: At the heart of every laminate flooring plank is high-density fibreboard
  • Surface layer: the top layer is a photographic print under a clear protective layer, to increase its durability and moisture resistance.
  • Locking mechanism: Most water-resistant laminates feature a specific locking system that locks tight reducing the gaps between planks, thus minimising where the water can go.
  • Water-repelling coating and sealants: At the seams, there’s also a wax or another water-repelling material to stop water seeping through the joints.  And if you’d like to know more about laminate flooring, then we’ve produced an easy-to-understand guide to ‘what is laminate?’ here.

How long does it take for water to damage laminate flooring?

The time it takes for water to damage laminate flooring can vary based on several factors, including the type of laminate, the amount of water, and how long it’s been left. Check out our hints below:

As you’d imagine, bathrooms, kitchens, and basements are the rooms most prone to high moisture. This is where you need to consider the laminate in your price range that’s the most resistant to water, and keep an eye on splashes and spills and don’t allow water to linger.

Living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways should have lower moisture levels, but the same rules apply – if you spill a drink, mop it up immediately and make sure your floor stays dry. 

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Does your laminate need underlay

You may find that you don’t need underlay at all, it depends on the product you choose as well as your subfloor. As you can imagine, as each laminate floor is different, so is the accompanying underlay. For further advice on the best underlay for laminate flooring, please go to our Ideas Hub for more hints, tips and advice as well as colour and style inspiration in our LookBooks.

While there’s so much scientific wizardry under your feet, it’s fine if you’re less interested in the technology and more excited about the laminate’s looks and its durability. Our floorologists in store and in our mobile showrooms vans will be able to help you decide what one is best for you, and give you an idea of what it will look like with our clever PictureIT tool, so you can look forward to a beautiful and functional floor for years to come.

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