Why do you buy new flooring? We suspect you purchase it to enhance the look of your home for many years to come. Yes, you have to fall in love with your final choice today. But if it doesn’t look good for years, what’s the point?
That’s what pushes many homeowners to start researching water resistant and waterproof flooring choices. After all, if you’re installing new flooring in the parts of your home you use the most – kitchen, bathrooms, living space – it only makes sense it can take all your family can dish out.
Water resistant or waterproof flooring
The words sound similar, don’t they? In fact, you’ll find water resistant and waterproof are often used interchangeably as you read product descriptions. But we’re here to tell you that they are not the same, not when it comes to flooring.
Let’s say you drop an entire pitcher of water.
Water resistant means that your flooring will stand up to the spilled water for a short time. As long as you jump on it and clean it up immediately, your flooring should be fine.
Waterproof means it can withstand all that water and more, and be just fine.
The longer the water sits on top of your floor, the bigger the problem with water resistant flooring. Waterproof flooring should still be fine, providing the water doesn’t penetrate down through cracks, under wall boards, and seep below the surface.
Let’s talk about certain flooring choices
It’s easy to think of flooring choices that don’t mix well with water in any condition.
Carpeting might be able to take an occasional spill, but only if you clean it up immediately. If allowed to penetrate the fibers and remain wet for any length of time, water damage can quickly occur. A soaked carpet will often generate mold in 24 to 48 hours.
Hardwood, another Colorado favorite, does not mix with water, even for a short period of time. Hardwood flooring is porous, which means moisture can easily be absorbed into the material. Even with small spills, it can cause extensive damage almost immediately, especially if left to sit for any length of time.
You might have already known that those two choices aren’t right for the rooms in your home. If you have a busy household, filled with pets and kids and lots of activity, installing a more resilient flooring is high on your wishlist.
Does that mean laminate? Or maybe vinyl flooring?
We get it. We love our hardwood here in the Rocky Mountains. We’ve talked with many homeowners that are very skeptical about installing anything else.
But there are other great options that can offer both water resistance or waterproof flooring.
Let’s start with laminate flooring. Laminate is made out of recycled hardwood. Because of its hardwood core, it can never be waterproof. But laminate is built using multiple layers to give it its strength, and the melamine wear layer will make it water resistant. If you spill water onto the floor, and wipe it up promptly, the floor will suffer no damage. However, if flooring occurs, laminate will quickly saturate with water, which will cause it to warp quickly. It can also allow mold growth.
Luxury vinyl planks
One of the newest wood-look products on the market is luxury vinyl planks. These realistic planks often look so real, you have to get closer to them to determine they aren’t hardwood.
What’s more, luxury vinyl planks offer something you’ll never get with hardwood. They are one-hundred percent waterproof. That means you can enjoy the look of hardwood with the ease of care and maintenance of vinyl. And what makes it even more attractive is the price; it’s an affordable option that will allow you to put it anywhere in your home, especially moisture-prone areas like the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room.
Luxury vinyl is created with several layers that are fused together under heat and pressure. Four separate layers include:
- The vinyl backing
- A vinyl core
- A print layer which gives the planks their classic good looks
- A clear protective layer, also known as the protective layer, that combines a polyurethane coating with a reinforced layer from ceramic bead, silica bead, or aluminum oxide
The wear layer is one of the most important layers. It determines how well the product will handle under pressure, and how long of lifespan you can expect from your tiles.
For some homeowners, a step up might lead them to wood-look tile. Wood-look tiles are any tile that resembles hardwood. Ceramic or porcelain, clay and other materials are compressed together into plank format to resemble different shades of hardwood. They look like hardwood with the care and maintenance friendliness of tile.
Because it’s tile, it’s more scratch-resistant. Do you have pets? You won’t have to worry about scratches from their nails.
Do you suffer from allergies? Tile is a good option because the installation process can keep your indoor air quality in better shape than other flooring options, and you’ll be able to sweep surface dirt away easily.
Another benefit tile brings is that you can install it over radiant heating. In Colorado, cold tile is one of the biggest reasons homeowners look at other options. But if you install it over radiant heating, it can be a great way to keep your room comfy and cozy all year long.
Just be aware that tile is water resistant instead of waterproof. With proper installation, water will never reach the subfloor below the tile. A pro will ensure every tile is properly laid into place, the grout is correctly installed, and the tile is sealed, if necessary.
What’s important to you, water resistant or waterproof flooring?
The good news is, there are many options for finding a good looking floor and combining it with either the water resistance or waterproof base you’re looking for. You don’t have to put up with ugly flooring to get a base your family can live with.
Understanding the differences between water resistant and waterproof is your first step in making the right choice for your home.
Are you ready to see all of your options?