Due to water spills, leaks, pet urine, and drink spills that laminate floors are exposed to, it’s important to make the floor waterproof. So how do you make your laminate floor waterproof?
You can make your laminate floor waterproof by putting a few coats of laminate floor sealant on the laminate planks.
The laminate floor sealant is a waterproof plastic-like film that dries hard on the laminate floor to protect it from water damage and high foot traffic. Oil-based polyurethane can be used in place of laminate floor sealant.
You can also make the laminate floor waterproof by covering the floor with a waterproof floor mat or a carpet. The carpet will collect water and spills that fall on the laminate floor.
Is Laminate Floor Waterproof?
Laminate floors are usually not waterproof. Though the floor boats of amazing water-resistant qualities, the planks are not completely waterproof.
If the laminate floor is exposed to moisture for extended periods, the water will gradually begin to soak in the laminate planks through the edges, locks, and sides. When this happens, you’ll notice that the laminate floor is bubbling and damp.
Laminate floors are one of the most water-resistant flooring options in the market today. The flooring when installed correctly can withstand spills and water for a few hours. This gives you more than enough time to wipe off the water from the laminate floor.
If you don’t wipe the water, it will eventually soak in the laminate floor through the sides, edges, and locks between the planks. This is because laminate floors aren’t usually waterproof. Bubbling, white or black spots on the wood floor, buckling, and a damp appearance are all signs of water damage on laminate floors.
So does laminate flooring need to be waterproof? Let’s find out next.
Does a Laminate Floor Need To Be Waterproof?
Whether a laminate flooring needs to be waterproof or not depends on where the floor was installed. In places like the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, the laminate floor needs to be waterproof because these areas of the home see a lot of spills and water. However, if the laminate floor is to be installed in the bedroom, then it doesn’t have to be waterproof.
Generally, laminate floors don’t have to be waterproof since the floor isn’t designed for floors that will experience water spills and moisture. Though laminate floors can be installed in bathrooms and laundry rooms, the floor isn’t designed for such rooms because it is not waterproof.
Laminate floor by design is meant to be installed in living rooms, bedrooms, and so on. If you use the laminate floor in these rooms, the floor doesn’t need to be waterproof. This is because these rooms don’t deal with water.
And, even if you accidentally spill your drink on your laminate bedroom floor, the water-resistant feature of the laminate planks will give you enough time to wipe off the spill. But if you install the floor in bathrooms, then you need to make the floor waterproof.
How To Know If a Laminate Floor is Waterproof or Not?
To know if your laminate floor is waterproof or not, you need to pour a small cup of water on the floor and see if the water is soaked in the fiberboard or not. If the water soaks in the fiberboard core, you’ll first notice white water stains on the planks where you poured the water. Later, the spot will begin to bubble up and turn damp.
This shows you that the water has penetrated the plank and the floor is not waterproof. But if the water beads on the laminate planks, it means that the floor is waterproof and the water can’t penetrate.
Another way to know if your laminate floor is waterproof or not is to drag a blade over a hidden spot on the laminate floor. Then inspect the tip of the blade. If the blade has packed up a white film on the tip, it means that there is a sealant on the laminate flooring indicating that the floor is waterproof.
If the blade packs wood or a brown film, that’s just part of the laminate board telling you that there isn’t any sealant on the floor and the floor is not waterproof.
Are There Waterproof Laminate Floors?
Technically, there is nothing like a waterproof laminate floor. Even the laminate floors advertised as “waterproof” or “suitable for wet locations” are not completely waterproof. Though these types of laminate floors do well to repel moisture, the planks eventually allow water to get in. This is due to the dense nature of the fiberboard core and the seams of the planks.
Laminate floors are designed with a click and lock mechanism. While this mechanism allows the floor to stay strong on the subfloor, the locks also allow water to get in the wood gradually through the slots and holes in the lock.
Also, the fiberboard core of laminate wood is very dense since it is made from wood fibers or recycled wood. The dense nature of the core also means that water will easily soak in the wood if left long enough on the floor.
Laminate floors are also designed with seams around the planks that also absorb water with time and water can also get in the floor through the expansion gaps that are left during the installation of the floor.
So even if the laminate floor is advertised as being waterproof, you should not put total trust in that as it’s usually just a marketing strategy. Instead, ensure to make the laminate floor waterproof after installing the planks. So how do you do this? Let’s find out that next.
How To Make a Laminate Floor Waterproof?
There are different ways to make a laminate floor waterproof but this guide will reveal the top 3 methods, how they work, and how to use them.
Here are the top 3 methods to make a laminate floor waterproof:
Method 1: By Using Laminate Flooring Sealant or Polyurethane
The best way to make your laminate floor waterproof is to put a few coats of a waterproof sealant on the laminate floor. The sealant will dry to form a hard plastic-like film on the laminate floor that will repel moisture and make the laminate floor waterproof.
If you don’t have a laminate floor sealant, polyurethane works just as well. Asides from making the laminate floor waterproof, the sealant will also make the floor shiny.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to put a sealant over a laminate flooring:
- Wipe and clean the laminate floor to remove excess laminate glue and filth on the flooring
- Prep the polyurethane by stirring it and ensuring there are no clumps
- Apply the first coat of polyurethane over the laminate floor using a roller or a paint sprayer
- Wait a few hours for the first polyurethane coat to dry and then sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper
- Apply a second coat of polyurethane on the laminate floor.
Let’s check out the second method.
Method 2: By Covering The Laminate Floor with a Waterproof Floor Cover
This is another way to make your laminate floor waterproof. This method is very easy to apply as all you need to do is to place a waterproof carpet or floor mat on the laminate floor.
The carpet will collect food and water spills that fall on the floor. Another advantage of this method is that you can easily wipe the water off the laminate floor. Also, you can remove the carpet easily if you want to replace it, wash it, or even install another type of floor.
Method 3: Applying Caulk To Cover The Expansion Gaps
You can also make a laminate floor waterproof by covering the expansion gaps in the floor with caulk. While installing laminate floors, manufacturers advise leaving small gaps between the laminate planks and the walls and door frames. This is to give the laminate floor space to adjust to the floor.
The spaces left for the floor to adjust are known as expansion gaps and they can allow moisture to get underneath the newly-installed laminate floor. But if you cover these gaps with caulk or joint compound, the floor will become waterproof.
Here are other tips to make your laminate floor waterproof:
- Install a waterproof underlay before installing the laminate planks
- Apply silicone compound to seal the locks in the laminate floor
- Use laminate floor glue to make the planks stick better to the subfloor.
Tips For Maintaining a Laminate Floor
Here are expert tips to help you maintain your laminate floor:
- Wipe and clean water spills immediately they occur
- Vacuum the laminate floor frequently to prevent dust from getting between the planks and create spaces for water to get in
- Put waterproof floor covers and mats over the laminate floor to prevent water damage
- Always lay the laminate planks on a waterproof and firm underlayment
- Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach on the laminate floor
- Always leave expansion gaps while installing the laminate floor.
In summary, laminate floors don’t have to be waterproof unless you want to install the laminate floor on surfaces that will see moisture constantly. If you intend to do so, then follow the guide above to make the laminate floor waterproof. Also, ensure to follow the expert tips above for proper maintenance of your laminate floor.