Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Flooring: What’s the Difference?
When you’re deciding what type of flooring to get, you need to consider several options. Waterproof flooring has many advantages, but so does water-resistant flooring. Knowing what these differences are and what will be best for the area you’re installing it can save you time and money.
What’s the Difference?
First, you need to know what water-resistant versus waterproof means. Both terms refer to a material that can prevent or repel water from getting into a space, which is great for rooms such as bathrooms or kitchens. However, they’re not interchangeable terms.
Waterproof refers to a permanent material, which means water won’t penetrate the flooring, no matter how much time goes by. For example, waterproof flooring can be installed in any room, but it’s more expensive than water-resistant flooring. A water-resistant floor refers to how flooring material protects flooring substrate from water infiltration.
The Benefits of Waterproof Flooring
Waterproof flooring is more expensive, but it has benefits that water-resistant flooring does not.
Many people consider waterproof floors a better choice of flooring. This type of flooring, however, costs more than water-resistant floors, but the installation price can be worth it depending on where you’re installing them. If water absorbs into certain types of flooring, such as hardwood, the flooring material could swell and eventually crack, ruining the floor. When this damage occurs, you’ll need to replace the flooring, which is why it may be easier to install waterproof floors from the start. You can purchase hardwood floors that are waterproof, but this type of flooring will be more expensive.
WPC Vinyl flooring is a great waterproof option, as it won’t deteriorate if it’s exposed to water for an extended period. Additionally, the color of the floor will remain and won’t fade.
You won’t need to worry about the flooring curling up at the edges or the composition of the flooring breaking down to the waterproof properties of the flooring material. This type of flooring can also be installed in any room of your home, including the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and basement. However, this type of flooring is not recommended for any outdoor installation, as it’s not resistant against sun damage or any other weather elements.
A waterproof floor can prevent moisture in the air due to climate or flooding from infiltrating the flooring material. None of these events will damage the floor, which is important to consider if you live in an area prone to humidity or flooding. While many luxury vinyl floors are waterproof, you shouldn’t assume they all are. The ones labeled as 100 percent waterproof are what you want to look for. You should also keep in mind that while your flooring can be waterproof, the subfloor underneath may not be. As a result, you’ll need to keep water from getting under the flooring to prevent subflooring damage.
The Benefits of Water-Resistant Flooring
While waterproof flooring has many benefits, it’s not always necessary to get for every room.
One point to keep in mind about water-resistant flooring is the time you can allow water to sit on top of the floor. As long as you mop up water on the floor somewhat quickly, it won’t have time to absorb into the floor and impact the material underneath. Water doesn’t go through water-resistant flooring as quickly as it does with wood flooring. While you can install water-resistant flooring in a kitchen, you want to be attentive to water collecting on the flooring itself. A roll-on moisture barrier can also be applied when installing the flooring. This moisture barrier can help keep the floor protected from extra moisture and ensure the bonding adhesive is strong.
While hardwood floors can have a more beautiful look than some water-resistant floors, hardwood will eventually absorb water that sits on it. If the flooring is installed in a room that water won’t often be in, water-resistant hardwood floors may be OK. Hardwood isn’t a good option for many parts of a house, as only the top finish will resist water. Since water-resistant flooring can handle small spills on occasion, this flooring option can keep your floors lasting longer.
You may also be considering laminate flooring, which is often labeled as water-resistant flooring. You’ll want to check what the flooring is made of, as the top part of laminate tends to be waterproof, but the seams between the planks leave it vulnerable to any water that may enter through the seams.
When looking at laminate options, make sure the flooring you choose has a water-resistant core in addition to a top layer that’s protected. A top-protected layer means that water can sit on it for a longer period without damaging the floor. That said, water still needs to be cleaned up promptly so it doesn’t permanently damage the floor.
It’s important to do your research before deciding to buy flooring. You should decide where the flooring will be installed and if water has a high chance of being on the floor. You’ll need to consider your overall budget for your flooring project since waterproof flooring can cost more than water-resistant flooring. If you try to save money by installing water-resistant flooring in an area that gets frequent spills, you could end up spending more money in the future on flooring replacement.
Waterproof flooring can be used in all rooms, while you may want to avoid installing water-resistant flooring in rooms where water frequently collects on the floor, such as mudrooms. When you’re considering a flooring choice for your home, use this guide to help you decide whether you want to go with waterproof or water-resistant flooring for your intended space.