Waterproof laminate flooring is a popular option for homeowners that want a beautiful, yet durable, floor. Giving the appearance of hardwood or tile at a fraction of the cost, laminate flooring is a popular flooring option for homeowners on a budget. However, contrary to popular opinion, traditional laminate flooring is not actually waterproof, since it is comprised mostly of recycled wood.
Fortunately, new waterproof laminate flooring — manufactured entirely of plastic — is an emerging trend in the housing market, giving homeowners an attractive, budget-friendly flooring option that is also waterproof, making it ideal for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and other moist environments.
Read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of waterproof laminate flooring, as well as reviews of the most popular waterproof laminate flooring manufacturers and retailers.
Benefits of Waterproof Laminate Flooring
It may go without saying, but the number one benefit of this type of flooring is that it is 100 percent waterproof. This means you can install it in notoriously damp areas of your home including basement prone to flooding, in your kitchen, and even in the bathroom. The waterproof quality of this type of laminate floor also makes it ideal for use in extremely humid and damp environments where typical laminate would warp and damage.
2. Budget Friendly
One of the main pros of waterproof laminate flooring is that it is a low-cost alternative to hardwood or tile flooring. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the upfront material costs of are drastically lower than the cost of other popular flooring materials, and second, laminate flooring is easy to install on your own without professional help or fancy equipment, which saves even more money.
Despite being an affordable flooring option, waterproof laminate floors are also a long-lasting flooring option for highly trafficked areas of the home — perfect for families with children and pets! These floors are not only waterproof, which means no more worrying about spills, but are also scratch and dent resistant. Even better, the coloring of the floor will not fade over time, which is an issue with many other flooring options.
4. Easy to Install
As previously mentioned, waterproof laminate flooring is also easy to install (and remove), making it a great option for the DIY household. This will not only save you money upfront but will also save you a major headache if you ever need to remove or replace and portions of your laminate flooring.
Another benefit of waterproof laminate flooring is that, due to its thickness, it is both warmer and more comfortable to walk on than vinyl flooring. You can even add foam underlay to laminate flooring giving it added comfort.
6. Easy Care
An added bonus of waterproof laminate flooring is that it is extremely low maintenance. Unlike hardwood floors, laminate does not require any special cleaners or soaps. Instead, you can get away with only sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping from time to time. Even better, laminate does not stain, which means you do not need to worry about waxing or other restorative treatments.
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Drawbacks of Waterproof Laminate Flooring
1. Less Variety
Waterproof laminate flooring is still relatively new to the U.S. market, which means there are less buying options than you will find with other more conventional flooring options. However, waterproof laminate flooring is quickly growing in popularity and is already quite popular overseas, which means it is only a matter of time before the domestic flooring market sees an increase in buying options.
Although laminate flooring can give you the appearance of hardwood or stone flooring at a fraction of the cost, it does not always look realistic — especially when examined closely. This is because there are only five to ten patterns used in production, which can be repetitive. It is especially important to keep this repetition in mind during the installation process to ensure two boards with the same pattern are not placed next to each other.
3. Can Harm Resale Value
If you are considering putting your home on the market in the next few years, waterproof laminate flooring may not be the best choice for you. Despite its many benefits, including a durable nature, affordability, and resistance to water, laminate flooring will not improve your home’s resale value. If you are trying to increase the value of your home, you should opt for hardwood or engineered wood flooring, which have been proven to improve the resale value of a home.
When you walk on laminate flooring you may notice that it makes a hollow sound, and if not installed correctly this flooring choice can also make an unattractive sticky sound. Although these sounds are not an issue to every homeowner, you can avoid sound problems by installing an acoustic underlay which will limit any “hollow” sounds and ensure that there are no air bubbles left during installation to eliminate any “sticky” sounds.
5. Difficult to Repair
Although laminate flooring is extremely durable, it is very difficult to repair if it does become damaged. Unlike hardwood floors, you cannot sand down and refinish laminate flooring and will need to purchase new flooring planks to replace any damaged areas. If this damage occurs and replacement is necessary, it can be difficult to find replacements that are an exact match for your floors.
Waterproof Laminate Flooring Reviews
A leader in waterproof laminate flooring, this Belgian-based brand is also available for purchase in the United States. With 23 wood options and 3 stone options to choose from, Aqua-Step’s selection is a bit smaller than other manufacturers, however, what they lack in variety, they make up for in quality. The waterproof laminate flooring from this company is 100% waterproof, which means it is not necessary to use a moisture barrier. Aqua-Step flooring planks are easy to install, relying on the click-and-lock method, and, unlike conventional laminate flooring, do not require expansion joints no matter how humid your climate may be.
This European brand is a trailblazer in modern flooring, manufacturing their waterproof laminate flooring from PVC, an incredibly strong and durable synthetic plastic polymer. Their one-of-a-kind design has a built-in underpad, which is soundproof and completely waterproof. Even better? All of the materials used in their manufacturing are environmentally friendly! However, since the waterproof laminate flooring market is only in its infancy in the United States, Dumaplast is not yet available for domestic purchase.
Another Belgian company, Parcolys manufactures waterproof laminate flooring in both wood and stone options that is also 100 percent recyclable. The brand’s flooring is also stain resistant and resistant to UV rays, coming with a 20-year residential warranty. However, similarly to Dumaplast, Parcolys is not currently available for purchase in the United States.
As you can see, waterproof laminate flooring is a versatile, durable, and affordable flooring options for any homeowner. However, due to limited selections in the United States, it may be a few more years before waterproof laminate flooring is readily available for purchase domestically.