What is the Best Flooring for Wet Areas?
When selecting flooring, every homeowner considers aspects such as style, durability, and price. But, if you’re choosing flooring for a wet area—such as a bathroom, basement, or even kitchen—you need to take something else into consideration: What floors will withstand repeated exposure to water?
Water can easily deteriorate the wrong flooring, and you don’t want to waste time and money installing a new floor only to find that spills and splashes have destroyed all your hard work. So, what’s the right choice when looking for waterproof flooring? Here are some of your best options for those moisture-prone areas of your home or business.
There are many benefits to choosing porcelain tile, not the least of which is the fact that it is a stylish and durable way to provide your room with waterproof flooring. Porcelain tiles comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. This means that you’ll be able to have the waterproof floor of your dreams without sacrificing style. You can even purchase porcelain tile that looks like stone or wood.
Keep in mind that wet tile can be slippery, so if choosing porcelain tile, look for tile that has been certified as “slip-resistant.” You can also choose textured tile to provide more resistance to slips and slides. Another way to negate a slippery-when-wet tile is to use smaller tiles (4”x4” or smaller). The additional grout lines will add traction. To best maintain your waterproof floor, make sure that grout lines are tight when laying the tile to avoid letting moisture through.
Vinyl has the benefit of being easy to care for as well as affordable. If you choose sheet vinyl, you can more easily achieve a waterproof floor as there will be very few seams that can let moisture in. However, you can also choose “luxury vinyl plank flooring,” a more high-end vinyl. These vinyl planks provide more style options, as they can be made to look like wood or stone. Some brands of vinyl even feature mold and mildew inhibitors.
Vinyl provides excellent durability as waterproof flooring, which means there will be no buckling or warping with exposure to water. It is also scratch-resistant and holds up well in high traffic areas.
If you’re going for a true, luxury option for your waterproof floor, natural stone tile delivers. Stone tiles such as granite, marble, slate, or limestone will have no issue withstanding water. Natural stone is extremely durable and exceptionally stylish. If you have an ample budget, natural stone is a luxe option for your waterproof flooring.
Remember that, depending on the type of natural stone you choose, it may be slippery when wet. You can avoid this by having the stone textured, or by choosing a naturally textured stone (such as slate).
The Runners Up: Engineered Hardwood and Laminate Flooring
Some sources will suggest engineered hardwood and laminate flooring as options for wet areas. While they both hold up better than solid hardwood when exposed to water, they aren’t options for a true waterproof floor.
Because of the way engineered hardwood is made, it does not expand and contract as much as solid wood does. This means that it can be used in environments where temperatures fluctuate. The base is a sturdy, water-resistant plywood. The occasional splash and spill won’t be a problem (provided it’s cleaned up quickly), but it will not hold up when exposed to standing water.
Laminate flooring has a core made of stiff fiberboard and layers of wood by-products bonded together with resin. The surface is a hard plastic laminate with the printed design on top. Laminate is water-resistant, but because of the fiberboard core, any water that passes through the seams will cause the core to swell. This leads to buckling, warping, and gapping. If the laminate is exposed to standing water in a wet area, you will not be happy with the result!
The Big No-No’s: Carpet and Solid Hardwood Flooring
As you might imagine, if you are looking for waterproof flooring, carpet or solid hardwood should absolutely be avoided!
Solid hardwood is very susceptible to water penetrating the boards. Solid hardwood exposed to water for any length of time risks becoming waterlogged. It certainly does not belong in a bathroom or other wet area!
Carpeting should also be avoided in any area that sees water. The carpet will soak up the moisture like a sponge. Once the carpet gets wet, it is hard to fully dry and will take a long time to do so. This allows mold and mildew to grow in your carpet, leading to odor and even health hazards.
If you need help selecting the right waterproof flooring for a wet area in your home or business, contact the experts at JC Floors Plus. We can help you find the right solution for project and your budget. You can see our selections at either of our two Florida showrooms or call us today at: