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Best waterproof flooring options you need to know about

Best waterproof flooring options

Do you want a type of flooring that not only looks beautiful, but can withstand the harsh environments that you may be able to find in places like the bathroom? Moisture and water are real concerns there, and you can’t simply install any kind of flooring you want. It has to be one of the best waterproof flooring options that you use, or you’ll end up ruining the floor too quickly.

Luckily, we’re here to help you figure out just which one is the right one for you.

You don’t have to give up the visual appeal anymore, as you can get both the waterproof functionality and the beautiful wooden look, if that is what you are after.

Waterproof flooring is a special kind of flooring. As you begin looking at the available waterproof flooring options know that it won’t be your cheapest option. The cheapest materials simply won’t both look like good flooring, and be able to stand up to the moisture involved.

There is a vast difference between water resistant, and water proof. Most floors, with the obvious exception of carpet, can be made water-resistant. This can be accomplished with a good topcoat that provides a waterproof barrier. Merely having this barrier does not make a floor water-proof, and many floors will be quickly ruined if moisture gets through or around this barrier.

If you’re operating either in the kitchen or bathroom, you know how hard it will be to keep the surfaces dry, and if you do that to untreated wood, you will quickly start seeing how it warps, possibly like this one.

Warped wooden floor
Picture from Wood Floor Doctor

The last thing you want to see is that happening when you’ve just spent thousands and thousands of dollars on the installation of a brand new floor. There are also different options you would never use for the bathroom, simply because it’d be a catastrophe.

Avoid these flooring options at all costs..

dog lying next to a spill

Carpet, get the thought out of your head, simply the worst choice in waterproof flooring. Carpet will mold, rot, and be a hazard if constantly exposed to moisture.

Beyond that even if you get the carpet seemingly dry the padding will retain water. There is no more less waterproof option than carpet. Stain-proof carpeting is no better, keep carpet away from moisture as much as possible.

Laminate, this is only slightly less a disaster than carpet. Laminate slightly resists moisture by having a top layer of melamine. A laminate floor that is glued together can resist the occasional spill, but it is not in any way waterproof. Should water get through this thin layer regular laminate will be quickly ruined as water ruins the core of the laminate. When water gets to the core the wood pulp will bubble, the boards will warp, and very quickly the floor will need to be replaced. Avoid placing laminate flooring in areas that need a waterproof flooring solution.

The Options to Consider

All of the options below have one thing in common, properly done they are basically waterproof. Waterproof doesn’t mean they magically make water go away. Waterproof means that even if they are beneath water for a time the flooring will not need to be replaced. This allows them to not be destroyed by spills, broken pipe, leaky fittings, or leaky pets.

Luxury Vinyl ($2-$7):

vinyl floor

Luxury vinyl is one of the best choices for waterproof flooring. Completely constructed from impervious vinyl you could submerge this material and once it dried off your floor would be fine. Luxury vinyl is a better choice due to the thickness of the vinyl, and the fact that it is often constructed as a replacement for other material. Luxury vinyl is found in two main form factors, planking and tile.

Planking: Plank vinyl is created to mimic hardwood. The material is imprinted to look like wood, and the top layer is often embossed to give it a ”grain” like wood. This is the best option for those who like the look of hardwood but need a waterproof option.

Tile: Tile Vinyl is usually constructed to mimic stone or ceramic tile. Again this gives you the flexibility to have the look of a softer and more pourous stone without the worry if they can stand up to the moisture you are worried about.

Pros

The luxury vinyl flooring is made in a lot of different varieties with different designs, and they can look like wood, stone or anything else.

It’s low maintenance and easy to clean so you won’t have to worry about spending all your Sundays trying to keep it stain-free.

Even with uneven subfloors they can be installed.

Cons

The price will greatly depend on the type you choose, and WPC vinyl is not the cheapest option you can choose.

Epoxy Paint ($4.50-$7.50):

epoxy floor

If your floor can be painted from wall to wall, epoxy paint can give you a waterproof surface. Epoxy resin creates a waterproof, non-pourous coating that once dried is impermeable to water. At the higher end of the cost listed is true epoxy surfaces. In true epoxy surfaces two different materials are mixed that create an incredibly hard surface that is impervious to water. This epoxy surface can be died or colored to fit your design ideal.

Pros

This is a very shiny and bright option to go with, as well as being very affordable.

Although it is commonly installed on top of concrete, it is not the only type of flooring that it can go on top of.

Talk to an epoxy garage floor contractor when you want this applied.

Their resistance and durability make them great, and especially popular in garages. Without this protective layer, the concrete will have a lot bigger tendency to get stained with grease, and cracks will also start appearing sooner.

Cons

Although it is durable, it will eventually need replacement to keep it looking nice. To avoid having to replace it too often, avoid dropping heavy things on it that could break the seal and cause it to deteriorate faster.

Some types of epoxy can also get extremely slippery when they get wet, and it’s important to take a look at whether it’s the case with the type that you’re buying.

Sealed Concrete ($3-$7):

If you are looking for a floor that is more durable, but still waterproof sealed concrete can be your best option. Concrete sealants penetrate the surface of the concrete and through a chemical change in the concrete make it impermeable. This doesn’t make it completely waterproof but it is one of the better options. The concrete is still vulnerable to moisture from beneath or beside the slab. If you are looking for a more stylish form of concrete there is staining, imprinting, and painting that will make it fit different areas. These options all add to the base cost though.

Waterproof Laminate Flooring ($5-$8):

Laminate floor being installed

This form of laminate is different, and more expensive, than your standard laminate flooring, which we mentioned you need to avoid. Normal laminate flooring is composed of a core of wood fibers. This core disintegrates in any sort of water. Waterproof laminate has a core that is composed of rubber instead of wood. This means that if it gets wet, the water won’t destroy the laminate.

Pros

If you want something that has the ability to look like wood, then this can be a great choice without giving you the consequences of having real wood installed.

Your home’s value will also really appreciate you installing this in the home. With it’s wooden look, it’s a great choice when your concern is recouping your investment by increasing your home’s value.

Even if the subfloor is having some problems, chances are you will be able to install the waterproof laminate floor on top of it. Of course, we still encourage you to get your subfloor repaired and make sure there aren’t any other issues you need to be aware of.

Because of its simple manufacturing with interlocking planks it is an option that will not break the bank to install, since it’s so easy.

Cons

One of the cons is that it doesn’t have too many design options available, since it’s still a relatively new phenomenon, and additionally, it’s not the cheapest option you can go with. If cost is your main concern, vinyl may be a better choice for you.

Waterproof Tile ($10-$21):

decorative tiles

Porcelain or Ceramic tile is relatively waterproof. Some stone tile is also waterproof, but this should be checked closely. When considering the waterproof qualities of any sort of tile, the adhesive used to keep the tile in place must also be considered. Tile is not a solid surface which makes the grout an important consideration. Use a grout that will stand up to immersion to have a truly waterproof tile floor.

These waterproof ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular in bathrooms because of their many design options, and you have probably seen a bunch of ways in which they have been creatively used to provide a waterproof surface in a moisture and water-filled room.

The glazing on top of the tiles is what keeps water from penetrating them.

Pros

We all love surfaces that are easy to clean, and the porcelain tiles is definitely one of these. As you can see from the image above, they come in so many colors and designs, and it’s completely up to the manufacturer and yourself which design you want to go with.

You can’t get around the need to vacuum them, but with a simple mop, you can remove whatever is spilled, and very easily.

If you are willing to spend more money, you can even get your own tiles designed by a company like Tile By Design.

A lot of people choose this option because of its ability to resemble wood or stone, although using these ceramic tiles can both be cheaper and more  convenient.

They’re incredibly durable and won’t need to be replaced any time soon, and they can fit in all rooms. Some people even choose to put one type of tile throughout the entire home.

Cons

It’s not ideal for someone with cold feet, as it stays cold, so if you would rather have something that feels warmer to walk on, tile is not the right type for you.

It’s not an option you’ll be installing yourself. It’s not easy to install, and requires the help of a professional tile installer.

ceramic tile being installed

For people wanting something that feels soft to walk on, you will want to choose an alternative to tile. It’s beautiful but since it’s so hard, it can hurt to stand on for longer periods of time.

You need to buy spare tile also, since one might crack and if they do, you’re not guaranteed to be able to find more of the same tile, so it’s important you prepare for it save a couple in case one breaks.

Final Thoughts

The thing to remember is that no matter how waterproof your flooring is, you have a subfloor that you must be concerned with. Your flooring option will be fine when immersed, but should this water get to your subfloor the results could be catastrophic. To prevent this either use an impermeable vapor barrier that will protect the wood beneath or use a subfloor system intended for high moisture areas.