What do you think of when someone mentions waterproof flooring?
For years, the only choice you had was to install tile.
Head into bathrooms all across the world, and you’ll find tile is on display in a great many of them. We’ve gotten so creative with tile it’s used on the floors, then moves up to the walls, backsplashes, countertops, even ceilings.
You’ll find tile in outdoor living situations. It makes a good base for pools, spas, and patios.
You’ll also find it throughout the home, especially in warmer parts of the country. That’s because tile is naturally cool. Of course, you can place radiant heating underneath, and install tile anywhere. Tile is truly a versatile flooring that’s going to remain popular for years to come.
But here in Colorado, we love our hardwood. So the question becomes: what’s more important, looks or durability?
Luckily, you don’t have to choose anymore. Waterproof flooring comes in many different styles.
Pick your materials wisely
As a general rule, flooring products made from inorganic materials will be more waterproof than those created from organic materials.
Organic refers to any product made from a living, growing resource. Think hardwood, bamboo, and fibers. When any of these materials are subjected to moisture, they will eventually break down and decompose.
Inorganic materials come from products made in a laboratory. They come from refined chemicals, and are often created solely to stand the test of time. They are immune to damage from moisture, and will do well as long as the product is properly installed.
Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule.
Laminate is made with a synthetic surface that is inorganic. But the base layer is usually a fiberboard, which is made from wood fibers. While the top layer may stand up to small spills, anything large enough to seep through the cracks will quickly damage the flooring.
Pay attention to the entire product, including the base layer. You should also pay attention to how the product is installed, as glues, adhesives, and protection layers can also change the dynamics.
What choices are good for moisture?
Some areas need the added protection of waterproof flooring. Think:
- Laundry rooms
- indoor/outdoor living spaces
- Pool rooms
Even your entryways or kitchen might need added protection from standing water and spills.
All of these flooring covers are one-hundred percent waterproof and can be used in confidence to stand up to moisture over time.
Sheet vinyl – still a great choice in some areas of your home. Roll it into place and it provides a waterproof surface with few or no seams to allow the water to penetrate.
Luxury vinyl – luxury vinyl is a step up from sheet vinyl. Luxury vinyl comes in planks or tiles – LVP or LVT – and is designed to resemble many of today’s hottest looks.
LVP, for example, comes in plank strips designed to resemble hardwood. It typically comes 7 inches wide and 48 inches long. They use click and lock technology that makes it easy to lay into place. Once joined, they provide a tight seal that stands against moisture and water.
Where luxury vinyl can fail is if the planks or tiles aren’t properly joined. If any gap is left between the planks or tiles, moisture can seep down into it. This is why it’s important to get the installation process right. While luxury vinyl is easy enough for a DIY project, be sure you know what you’re doing and can finish the project off correctly.
Vinyl tile – vinyl tile is similar to sheet vinyl, only easier to install because of its smaller shape. However, it also adds many more seams across the room, giving it more chances for water to seep down into the subfloor. Installed correctly, it can be a great waterproof flooring choice. Just be insure it’s properly installed and cared for over time.
Ceramic and porcelain tile – we’ve mentioned it before that tile is a great choice to add waterproof properties to your rooms. It’s worth repeating again because of the unlimited styles, patterns, and color choices.
Both ceramic and porcelain tile are waterproof by nature. Where its weakness lies is with the installation process. When installed, if not grouted properly, water can seep down and into the subfloor. And that’s where problems begin. For full protection, have a professional install your tiles, especially in places where water is an everyday thing – showers, countertops, pools, saunas, etc.
Want other choices?
If you need waterproof flooring, it’s best to stick with one of the options from above. But not all circumstances require waterproof flooring all the time. Can your room do well with water-resistance properties? What if the surface is waterproof, and it can stand up to water for short periods of time?
Engineered wood – engineered wood is made in layers, with different materials used in each layer. It has a sturdy base which gives it a more water-resistant property than certain laminate products. Pay attention to the protective layer placed on top. And as always, clean up any spills quickly to avoid potential problems.
Laminate – laminate is a composite product that is better at protecting against water than actual hardwood. Again, the base layer is made up of fiberboard which can be a problem if it comes into contact with too much moisture. Clean up spills quickly to avoid problems.
Linoleum – linoleum is made up of organic material, including linseed oil and wood flour. Regular sealing gives it a water-resistant quality, which means you’ll have to continually seal it to keep this quality in place.
Bamboo – people love bamboo because of its organic qualities. It doesn’t have heavy chemical or resin products. It’s a great way to bring a water-resistant product into your home, but keep in mind that it’s water-resistant, not waterproof. That means you should be conscious of where you install it.
Consider your options carefully
Before you make your final selection and choose a floor for a room in your home, weigh your options carefully. Waterproof flooring can mean the difference between replacing your flooring or keeping it looking and acting well for years.
If waterproof flooring is at the top of your wishlist, you’ll be amazed at the products available to you right now. Stop by today and let us show you your options, and help you choose the right product for your needs.