Water is one of the leading causes of damage to homes every year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage was the 3rd most severe and the 2nd most frequent cause of homeowner’s insurance claims.
This, along with a desire for durable, low-maintenance flooring, leads more and more buyers to seek waterproof and water-resistant flooring options. But what are those options? Why is one better than another? Where can and should I install them in my home? Or more importantly – where shouldn’t I?
Waterproof vs Water-Resistant – What’s the Difference?
Buyer beware! This is one of the most misunderstood and critical pieces of information when looking at your flooring options. Waterproof and water-resistant are NOT the same thing! They are NOT interchangeable terms!
In simplest terms, water-resistant means what the name implies: it can withstand, or resist, water for a period of time but it is not waterproof; it will get damaged by water or liquid eventually. Check out our water-resistant laminate online catalog.
Waterproof means it is impervious to water – water can contact it forever and it will never damage the flooring. That last piece is important to note – just because your flooring is waterproof and impervious to water and moisture, doesn’t mean the subfloor beneath it is waterproof. This is especially true for laminate options, which may have seams between planks that could allow moisture to seep through to the subfloor. Check out our waterproof luxury vinyl online catalog.
Pros and Cons
Both waterproof and water-resistant flooring have their strengths and weaknesses that should be considered before installing. After all, no one wants to pay money to have their floor warp and pull-up on them.
A big pro for water-resistant flooring is that it is generally less expensive than waterproof flooring. A con, however, is that those core materials that make it less expensive often contribute to it swelling, warping or peeling when exposed to excessive moisture. Basically, water-resistant flooring acts like a big sponge when exposed to liquid for longer than recommended.
Waterproof flooring, since it is impermeable, can cost more. However, the core material (such as PVC or wood plastic/polymer) helps make it more waterproof and prevents moisture permeation, which also can prevent mold and mildew development.
Where to Install
Water-resistant flooring is a durable flooring option for areas that don’t regularly get exposed to moisture, wet traffic, or spills. Occasional spills are ok if cleaned up immediately. Living rooms, family rooms, offices, dens, bedrooms are some great places to install water-resistant flooring. Any spills should be cleaned up and the floor dried off as soon as possible.
Bathrooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, entryways, and basements are NOT the best places to install water-resistant flooring. Remember – damp areas like basements are notorious for having a lot of moisture in the air that can penetrate and damage water-resistant flooring.
So, it will come as no surprise – bathrooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, entryways, and basements are GREAT places to install waterproof flooring. So, don’t worry about the days you wash the bath mats, or the kids tracking in rain and mud, or spilling that glass of water on the floor in the kitchen. Waterproof flooring is a peace of mind in those environments.
The Flooring Experts
At Quantum Floors, it’s our job to help you find the perfect flooring that you’ll love at a great value. We pride ourselves on educating our customers on flooring issues such as these so that they can make the most informed decision. A great place to start is the Flooring 101 section of our website where you’ll find free downloads on all types of flooring to aid you in your decision.