Laminate flooring has been around for years, and yet it still seems to be a popular option for many people and their homes.
Since the 1970s, people have been enjoying the convenience and easy to maintain nature of laminate flooring, but have often been disappointed by its inability to withstand water.
This is where new waterproof laminate planks have come in handy. These types of laminate planks can provide the natural, stunning and realistic look of hardwood flooring for a fraction of the cost, and they can be waterproof.
If this seems too good to be true to you, then don’t just take our word for it.
We have created a guide of the best brands of waterproof laminate, to help you find an effective, attractive and water resistant laminate for your home.
Best Brands of Waterproof Laminate
One of the main issues with laminate flooring is that it can damage easily, and water can be a problem. This is why we have done our research, and found the best brands of waterproof laminate to help you find the perfect solution for your home.
Our top 5 best brands of waterproof laminate are:
- Shaw: With the Repel series, this type of laminate is suitable for most wet area installations.
- Armstrong: Their Audacity line of laminate is proven to be highly water resistant and waterproof.
- AquaGuard: This type of laminate does everything it says, and is exceptionally good for waterproofed flooring.
- Mohawk: This brand offers a RevWood laminate series that is 100% waterproof.
- Tarkett AquaFlor: This laminate offers wet area protection and is perfect for places where water may be an issue.
A History of Laminate
Laminate flooring first rose to popularity during the 1970s, where more and more people wanted an easy, simple to maintain flooring that they could sweep and be done with!
Laminate was therefore much easier to care for than carpets, and did not require vacuuming or deep cleaning, which made them a simple choice for many people.
During the 1990s, hardwood flooring was more popular, as laminate flooring was prone to tearing, bubbling up and was not water resistant at all.
However, many people enjoyed the convenience of laminate, but wanted the hardwood flooring look. This paved the way for laminate planks, instead of laminate sheeting which has been used before.
These laminate planks were far easier to install, and much more durable, yet still cheaper than installing hardwood floors. Therefore, laminate flooring became popular once again, but there was still the issue of water damage and water resistance.
This is why today, there are so many manufacturers of laminate flooring that offer options with waterproofing and water resistance, to help counteract the issue, whilst still providing that cost effective and aesthetically pleasing look of laminate flooring.
So, is laminate actually waterproof?
This is the million dollar question. Laminate itself is not actually truly 100% waterproof, so you may be wondering how laminate brands can market their products as waterproof.
Most laminate planks are made with a natural wood composite core. This core is what adds strength and durability to the laminate planks, for the top layer to go on top of.
As these planks are made of wood at their core, it can naturally bow, swell or crack, and it can absorb water. Therefore, individual planks of laminate floor can not be 100% waterproof, as, if water is left on them or seeps into them, it will cause some damage to the planks.
However, this can be counteracted with a waterproof and water resistant top wear layer, which works to prevent water from seeping into the laminate. In addition, when the flooring is completely installed correctly, it creates a preventative top layer that has a seal, which makes the floor top layer 100% waterproof!
Additionally, you can add underlayment, moisture barriers and sealants under the bottom of the laminate flooring to prevent any water or moisture from being absorbed from underneath the floor. With all of these sealing and preventative measures in place, your laminate flooring can actually be waterproof.
Things to consider when shopping for waterproof laminate
Finding the right flooring for your home is no easy task, and there are a myriad of different choices out there.
Before you make a decision on laminate flooring, there are a few things that you should consider to ensure that you get the best waterproof laminate for you.
The great thing about most laminate planks is how easy they are to install. That being said, when it comes to waterproofing laminate flooring, it may be best to leave it up to a professional, to ensure that the waterproof layer is intact and installed correctly.
This is mainly because when you do it yourself, you may not follow instructions 100%, and simple mistakes can lead to your warranty being voided, or worse, the floor not actually being 100% waterproof.
When it comes to waterproof laminate flooring, you will have to think about the construction.
Whilst construction is already highly important in your laminate flooring, and the base and core composition will have to be considered, you will also have to look at how the planks are made, and what makes them waterproof.
For instance, some manufacturers use top layers that are waterproofed, or build in additional layers underneath the core to increase its water resistance.
Clearly, the more waterproofing technology built into your laminate planks, the better the floor will resist water once it is installed.
Style and Color
You may be worried that if you want waterproofed laminate, then you will have to sacrifice the style or color choice that you were looking for. This is not always the case.
Many laminate manufacturers offer a wide range of colors and style options to choose from, including those of which are waterproof.
Your best option is to find a sort of color that you like, and look through the ones that are waterproof to find a similar match that suits your needs. This may take a little longer than choosing any old laminate design, but having it waterproof will make your life so much easier, and make your laminate last so much longer.
Price and Warranty
If you are refurbishing or renovating your home, then you already know how important it is to keep the cost down as much as possible.
Whilst laminate generally is a cheaper option than say hardwood flooring, you may have to splash a little more cash than you wanted to, to ensure that the planks are 100% waterproof.
The best way to ensure that you are not overpaying is to do your research. Look at the average costs of waterproof laminate across several brands to see if the sort of look you want it in your budget.
Most average waterproof laminate planks will cost from $2.50 per square foot, so make sure that you measure up the space of the floor before buying materials as you do not want to order more than you need.
In addition, you will want to think about warranties. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a brand new waterproof laminate floor, you will really want to get your money’s worth and protect your investment.
Most laminate planks come with warranties, with some covering plank defects for about 90 days, whilst others come with 10, 20, 25 to lifetime warranties. However, these longer warranties can be restricted to certain terms and conditions, so it is important that you find these out when you are purchasing your planks.
Some laminate planks will come with various waterproofing measures. These can sometimes be a top protective layer of sealant to increase the water resistance of the planks, but most of the time this only works once the floor is completely installed.
You may want to consider purchasing laminate flooring with additional materials under the laminate veneer, or with a stronger core for more waterproofing abilities, along with some moisture barriers and underlayment to really protect your floor.
You might have to pay a little more for the additional moisture barriers underneath your laminate flooring, but the results will be worth it.
Top 5 Waterproof Laminate Flooring
We have gathered the best waterproof laminate flooring options available, and provided a review of each one.
These reviews include pros and cons, waterproof abilities, and durability to help you make an informed decision as to which one will be best for you.
OUR TOP PICK
Shaw is the top brand on our list of waterproof laminate flooring. Shaw offers a Repel line that is specifically designed to provide the best protection from water, wear and tear, and stains.
With this brand, you are assured of the highest quality, superior flooring solution designed for longevity and durability.
The reason this brand is at the top of our list is because of its Repel line. This is the leading name in waterproofed laminate and water resistant flooring available.
Whilst they market their products as water resistant and not waterproof, you can even use a wet mop without damaging the floor or voiding the warranty. In addition, you can sweep, vacuum and wet spray this flooring for an easy clean up time.
Shaw Repel laminate also has a wear layer that can resist scuffs, scratches and stains for a much more long lasting perfect finish. In addition, depending on the style, this flooring comes with a 15-30 year warranty to back you flooring and protect your investment.
What is even more impressive is that the Repel line is made to withstand pet scratches, messes and everyday marks and scuffs from children, along with its waterproofing wear layer, this laminate truly is a no brainer!
Although this laminate flooring is exceptionally easy to install, and you can do it yourself, we would recommend that you do not, as for the best water resistance, you will want a professional to create the moisture barrier and to complete this installation.
- Highly protected and durable laminate
- Can use a wet mop without voiding warranty
- Many color and style options are available
- Extra added protection for homes with pets and children
- Easy to install yourself
- More expensive than many other options
- No bottom protection included
Armstrong is a reliable and much appreciates brand that often finds itself at the top of home improvement lists. Their products are high quality, impressive, and long lasting, so that you really get your money’s worth out of them.
The Armstrong Audacity line of laminate flooring is relatively new, with a wide range of colors and styles to suit your needs. You can also utilize Armstrong's colors assistance to help you find the right choice for your home just by using your smartphone.
You can then see for yourself the various flooring options superimposed into your home, to get an idea of what the finished result would look like.
With the Armstrong Audacity line of laminate, there are up to 30 different colors and styles to choose from, with waterproofed designs.
What is even better about this type of laminate is that it offers a 72 hour standing water protection, meaning you can clean up spills and messes for up to 72 hours before any water damage occurs.
You also get dent and scratch protection, due to this highly durable and composite core laminate for extra strength and long lasting quality. Even the cores themselves are more water resistant than rival brands, for increased protection.
- Many color choices to choose from
- Water resistance for up to 72 hours
- Scratch and dent resistant
- Extra hardy core for more durability
- Not real laminate wood composite core
- Some color and style options are only available in certain locations
AquaGuard is a great option if you want commercial grade laminate that lasts for an extremely long time.
With AquaGuard, it truly does everything it promises, and you can have liquid on the floor for up to 56 hours without having to worry about damage!
The AquaGuard laminate is designed for commercial uses, and so this type of laminate is rated AC5 which is incredibly durable and long lasting, suitable for extremely high traffic locations.
Therefore, when installed in a commercial setting, this laminate comes with a 15 year warranty, but when installed in the home, the warranty lasts for a lifetime.
Keep in mind that because these planks are made for commercial uses, they are not soft, or comfortable underfoot, and you may want to consider something designed for home uses if that is what you want.
On the other hand, AquaGuard has over 100 choices of style, design, colors and grain to pick from, all of which are water resistant, which is more than you can say for many other brands.
When it comes to waterproofing, AquaGuard has an aluminum based clear coat protective wear layer, that once installed can provide a lock-tight finish for seamless waterproofing over the top of the flooring.
In addition, underneath, there is a moisture blocking melamine backing, so that there is no other underlayment needed, with 100% protection.
That being said, it is not recommended by the manufacturer that this floor is installed in wet areas like bathrooms or a basement.
If you are looking for a highly durable, strong and sturdy laminate with both top and bottom protection and water resistance, then AquaGuard is a great choice.
- AC4 and AC5 rated strong laminate
- Comes with underlayment
- Lifetime domestic warranty
- Water resistant for up to 56 hours
- Not recommended for wet areas
- Only available through Floor and Decor
Mohawk flooring is another popular choice for many people when it comes to laminate flooring. With hundreds of different colors and styles to choose from, you are guaranteed to find the right flooring for your home.
Additionally, Mohawk laminate flooring is so easy to install, looks incredible, and is highly durable and long lasting. What we like about this company is that they offer a wide variety of laminate flooring that is affordable and accessible.
When it comes to the RevWood line, there are three options, RevWood, RevWood Select and RevWood Plus. The last two are both marketed as waterproof laminate flooring, with the Select line being the cheaper of the two.
The RevWood series is equipped with Hydroseal technology, and UniClick planks for easy installation, and a watertight seal once this is done. In addition, with these types of laminate, clean up is a breeze. You can use a wet mop on this laminate to remove spills and messes with simplicity.
If you choose the RevWood Plus line, you also get Hydroseal and UniClick planks, but you will additionally have the new beveled edge called Genuedge which creates the authentic look of hardwood, but also improves the water resistance of your flooring.
With the Plus line, you also have the option to use a steam mop, without having to worry about damaging your flooring at all, and this will not void your warranty. However, with extensive use, the heat can break down the hydroseal, so we do not recommend using one.
The only issue we have with Mohawk is its selection. Whilst its basic line of laminate comes in up to 100 colors and styles, the RevWood Select series only has 6 options to choose from, and the RevWood Plus gives you 8 options.
That being said, you may want to sacrifice the wide range of style choices if it means you get a highly water resistant laminate flooring.
- Great water resistance
- Comes with underlayment included
- Hydroseal and Uniclic technology for increased water resistance
- Few style options to choose from
- Not much included in 1 year warranty
Tarkett is not as big of a brand as some of the others on this list, as it is exclusive to the American home improvement store Menard’s found in the Midwest of the United States. Despite this, their waterproofing laminate is durable, and highly resistant to water.
However, they are at the bottom of our list as there are only three options to choose from concerning colors and styles. Whilst limited, the options are stunning, with a choice of Sterling Ash, Cornerstone Oak and Praline Maple.
Whilst the colors are restricted, there are a lot of perks with this type of laminate. For instance, there is a 24 hour guarantee for pooled water on your laminate.
This means that you can mop up spills from the floor for up to an entire 24 hours before damage will occur, meaning you will not have to replace planks or worry about water damage to your laminate.
In addition, you get a lifetime warranty for defective planks, general wear and tear or peeling of the laminate flooring. You can also not worry about accidentally voiding the warranty, as you can wet mop over this laminate within the 24 hour period.
However, despite being water resistant, this laminate should only be installed in areas such as kitchens, bedrooms or high traffic areas. It should not be installed in bathrooms, laundry rooms or basements where a lot of water damage may occur.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Resistant to water and moisture for up to 24 hours
- Has a slip resistant and durable layer
- Only 3 choices of styles to choose from
- Can only be used in limited areas
Waterproofing: Top vs Bottom Protection
If you want waterproofed laminate flooring, then you will have to think about what type of waterproofing you need. With waterproofing laminate planks, there are two different ways you can do so.
The first is top protection, to prevent any water damage coming from the top, and the second is bottom protection which will prevent any moisture from underneath the flooring.
In most cases, top protection will be the most expensive and this cost will be added to the overall price of the laminate planks, as this type of protection will typically be a sealing layer on top of the planks.
When the laminate flooring is properly installed, the sealant layer will then bond together between the planks, and will therefore create a 100% waterproof seal between them.
On the other hand, bottom protection can be provided on each individual laminate plank, as this will be installed underneath each plank as a rubber underlay. However, you will need a waterproof moisture barrier such as a roll of underlay.
This underlay will need to be laid over the subfloor, or the concrete floor, to keep moisture from the foundations or condensation from going anywhere near your laminate planks.
Adding a moisture barrier or underlayment will add onto the cost of your laminate floor, however it will give it protection against water and moisture, which can damage your floor, so it may be worth doing.
Maintenance of Waterproof Laminate Flooring
Before purchasing any type of flooring, you will want to think about what types of care and maintenance it requires. In most cases, laminate flooring is fairly easy to look after, and can last for many years before it starts to lose its appearance or value.
However, if you want your laminate flooring to last for those years to come, then you will have to know how to maintain it properly. The best way to look after your laminate flooring is by sweeping it with a broom or a dry sweeper to remove any debris or dirt that it may have collected.
Additionally, it is safe to vacuum your laminate flooring to get rid of any dust or dirt on the surface of the flooring.
You will want to avoid using any wet mops, steam mops and spraying mops to clean your laminate floors, as these may lessen the strength and durability of your laminate flooring over time.
The best way to clean a laminate floor is with light, non abrasive products. If you are unsure which are too powerful for your floor, our simple rule to remember is- if you have to wear gloves to use it, then do not use it on your laminate!
Unfortunately, laminate is prone to staining, so if there are any spills, stains or marks, then try to clean them up as soon as they happen to keep your laminate flooring in the best condition possible.
We would also recommend reading through the care instructions provided by your laminate manufacturer for the best results.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are unsure whether laminate flooring is right for you, or you have some burning questions and queries that need to be answered, we have created a frequently answered questions section with some of the most common queries for your convenience.
How long will laminate flooring last?
With the proper maintenance and care of your laminate flooring, along with accurate installation, your flooring can last up to 25 years or longer.
However, you will most likely change your floor between now and then as fashions change, but your laminate flooring will be strong and durable enough to last many, many years.
Can I lay new laminate planks over other flooring?
You can lay new laminate flooring over other flooring, depending on the type of flooring underneath.
If you want to lay new laminate over a subfloor, then you will need some sort of moisture barrier or an underlayment first.
If you want to lay the laminate over planks, tiles or sheet flooring then you can simply float the laminate on top with ease.
How long can laminate planks last before being installed?
How long the laminate planks will last before being installed really depends on how well they are kept.
If the packaging is intact, and still sealed so there is no chance of dirt and debris getting into the box, then they can last for years before installation.
How can I get a stain out of laminate?
This depends on how long the stain has been there. If the stain has set in, and it has been there a little while, then it is probably a lost cause, and you may have to replace the plank.
That being said, if it is a small stain, then you may be able to scrub it away with a cloth and vinegar solution.
With laminate flooring, you should avoid any abrasive cleaning products as these will be too harsh for your floor.
Is laminate flooring better than luxury vinyl?
Many people confuse laminate flooring with vinyl, and they are very similar. However, the greatest difference between laminate and vinyl flooring is that vinyl flooring is all synthetic.
This does however make it 100% waterproof, durable and long lasting, but laminate is much easier to install, looks much more natural and is very strong.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what aesthetic look you prefer. Whilst laminate is not completely synthetic and there is a layer of real wood, you may find that luxury vinyl flooring has the exact look and design that you wanted. It is more about personal preference.
There are so many different options when it comes to purchasing laminate flooring. With any brand, there are usually hundreds of options to choose from.
However, if you want the best laminate flooring, and you want it to be waterproof, you will have to do a lot more nitpicking to find the best choice for you.
Naturally, laminate planks are not actually waterproof, so they do require additional materials, sealants, layers and underlayments to give them the waterproofing properties that you will need.
Some brands do actually sell laminate flooring with the promise that it is completely waterproof, all of which we have included in our list.
If you choose to utilize any of the options on this list of top 5 brands of waterproof laminate, and it is installed professionally and accurately, then your laminate will have no problem resisting water, and will last for many years to come in your home.