Waterproof Flooring Guide

Posted on: 21 April 2021

Waterproof flooring is a must in certain areas of the home. Bathrooms, kitchens, and mudrooms are often wet places. The wrong flooring can end up warped, stained, or moldy. Waterproof flooring is available and can solve the problem.

Surface Material

Naturally, the surface material plays a key role in how waterproof the floor is. Generally, any type of wood will not be waterproof, although the finish can make it water-resistant. Cork and bamboo are other examples of popular options that are not waterproof and only water-resistant if finished specifically to that purpose. 

For a true waterproof floor, make sure that the surface material is completely impervious to moisture. Porcelain tiles that have been sealed are good options, although unsealed tiles are porous and can absorb moisture. Moisture won't be damaging to the tiles, but the moisture can damage the subflooring. Laminate, linoleum, and vinyl flooring are other waterproof options. 

Core Content

The core of your flooring choice plays an important role in whether or not it is truly waterproof. A waterproof surface alone is not enough. Vinyl and laminate flooring are typically waterproof, true, but cork and wood materials usually aren't. If water soaks in the joints or seams and into the core, then rot, mold, and warping can affect the flooring.

A waterproof core is necessary for fully waterproof floors. Look for flooring options that feature either porcelain or rigid core materials. The other option is solid cores, which means the interior is the same material as the surface — typically laminate or vinyl of some sort. 

Additional Concerns

Adhesives and grouting is the final weak point when it comes to a waterproof floor. Adhesives are used to adhere certain types of flooring, such as laminate, vinyl, and even tile floors, to the subfloor. If the adhesive isn't fully waterproof, then any moisture that seeps beneath the flooring can loosen the material and cause damage. Fortunately, there are waterproof adhesives available that will work with a range of flooring types, but you may need to request their use to ensure your floor is truly waterproof.

Another concern can be the grouting used on tile floors. By its nature grout is porous. This is part of the reason stains and mildew can be an issue in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens. There are some options that are less porous, usually because they are combined with an epoxy of some sort. You can also have the grout sealed to protect against moisture and other damage.

Contact a flooring service to learn more about waterproof flooring options available.