Water Resistant vs. Waterproof Flooring

When it comes time to shop for new flooring, the first thing you will do is determine the specifics needs of the rooms you plan to outfit. If you are shopping for flooring for a wet area, then you will probably be evaluating waterproof and water-resistant options. But, what does it really mean for a floor to be labeled waterproof or water-resistant? As you see these terms used to describe the various flooring materials you find as you shop, you may ask, “What is the difference between water-resistant and waterproof flooring?”

These terms are not interchangeable, and it turns out that there is a big difference between a simply water-resistant floor versus a waterproof floor. But, what is that difference, and how do you determine which one you really need?

What is 100% Waterproof Flooring?

If a product is labeled as waterproof, that means it really and truly is impenetrable to water. Waterproof flooring can be exposed to water for any length of time, and it will not be damaged. What does this mean for the consumer? It means you don’t have to worry about water warping your floor, or causing it to swell, buckle, or otherwise break down due to water exposure. You can wet-mop the floor, dump a bucket of water on it, and so on, and the composition of the flooring will not be changed.

What Types of Flooring are Waterproof?

Waterproof flooring is typically a luxury vinyl flooring, sometimes referred to as engineered vinyl plank (EVP) or waterproof core vinyl (WPC). When shopping for true waterproof floors, make sure you look for those that are marked as 100% waterproof. These include brands like Fortem, COREtec, and Maxifloor.

What Areas Require Waterproof Flooring?

You can use waterproof flooring in any room of the house, but it’s not really necessary for every room. True waterproof floors are more expensive than water-resistant floors, so you want to opt for waterproof flooring in areas that are more likely to see water, such as a bathroom, basement, or kitchen. Rooms that see standing water, or water that isn’t immediately cleaned up, are the areas that would benefit the most from having waterproof floors.

If you’ve experienced flooding before, you know how expensive and painful it can be to replace a ruined floor due to water damage. In the case of a flood, waterproof flooring remains undamaged by the flood water. But, keep in mind that just because the flooring itself is waterproof, it does not mean there will not be other damage from the flood, and if water gets to the subfloor, you could have damage there. Your waterproof flooring, however, will be able to be dried off and used again, even if you sustained other damage.

What is Water-Resistant Flooring?

Water-resistant flooring can withstand water for longer than some types of flooring, but prolonged exposure to water is going to eventually damage the floor. Think about flooring such as carpet or solid hardwood. If these get wet, the water is going to start immediately affecting the composition of the floor. The carpet will be wet and need to be dried, and the water may even get to your subfloor, depending on the amount of water. Hardwood will start to absorb the water, leading to swelling, warping, buckling, etc. Water-resistant flooring, however, is meant to be able to withstand some exposure to water, provided it is not for long periods. If you spill something on a water-resistant floor, as long as you clean it up, your floor will be just fine. If you leave the floor exposed to water, however, water can get into the seams and cracks and eventually cause damage.

What Types of Flooring are Water-Resistant?

Laminate is one of the most common types of water-resistant flooring. Due to its aluminum oxide coating, the surface will resist any water. However, spills left unattended can seep into the space between planks, or the seams. This will damage the flooring, so it’s not the best for rooms that will see a lot of water, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.

What Areas are Best for Water-Resistant Flooring?

Water-resistant flooring is less expensive than waterproof flooring, so even though you might be tempted to get a waterproof floor for every room of your house, it’s not actually necessary to outfit rooms like a living room, hallway, or bedroom with a waterproof floor. It’s always best to consider the amount of water you expect that room to see. If it is not a wet area, it may not be worth the added expense of a waterproof floor.

If you’re evaluating whether you need water-resistant or waterproof floors, JC Floors Plus is ready to help you choose the right flooring for your needs. We carry a variety of water-resistant and waterproof floors that will meet your tastes and fit your budget. Come visit us at either of our Florida showrooms, or call us at:

Lauderdale Lakes, FL 954-735-4005

Pompano Beach, FL 754-205-6196