How to Waterproof Laminate Flooring

Laminate is a popular type of flooring for use in residences, businesses and commercial spaces. Laminate is commonly used for several reasons, including cost, ease of installation, variety of finishes and durability. Laminate's simple installation process makes it an ideal project for even beginner DIYers, which is nice because it helps to offset the cost of installation. However, moisture can be an issue for laminate flooring, so those looking to using laminate flooring in a damp room or climate should examine their options.

Spacious rambler home interior with vaulted ceiling
credit: irina88w/iStock/GettyImages
Moisture can be an issue for laminate flooring, so those looking to using laminate flooring in a damp room or climate should examine their options.

What are the Benefits of Laminate Flooring?

Beyond the obvious attractions of ease of installation, versatility in appearance and low cost per square footage, laminate flooring is desirable and popular because of how durable it is. It doesn't stain easily and is coated with a resin that prevents scrapes and chips. It's versatile and strong enough to be used in spaces with heavy foot traffic, especially those with pets and children.

Laminate flooring is also hypoallergenic because the material is made without any nooks or crannies where dust, dirt or other allergen particles might get trapped. Laminate floors are extremely easy to clean and require no additional special cleaners. Sweeping and wiping with a damp mop are all that's needed.

However, water damage is a threat to laminate flooring. For this reason, people who live in damp climates or who opt to put laminate flooring in places like basements and bathrooms often run the risk of damaging the integrity of the floor. People often wonder if they can waterproof laminate flooring, and the answer is both yes and no.

Can You Waterproof Laminate Flooring?

People who are interested in laminate flooring but want to be sure they can waterproof it before committing to the installation should be aware of several factors. Laminate flooring is vulnerable to moisture and humidity because it sticks to the subfloor surface, and the adhesive can easily be dislodged by moisture. For this reason, the joints of the laminate planks are particularly vulnerable.

Laminate flooring itself isn't typically waterproof. There have been innovations in the technology used to produce laminate that has created the possibility of waterproof laminate flooring, but the joint areas are still an issue. It's possible to utilize waterproofing sealant on the joints of the laminate flooring only. Using a laminate floor sealer, such as applying polyurethane to laminate floors, may damage the planks and, in many cases, cost you your warranty.

If you're set on using laminate flooring in a damp area, you should carefully and precisely seal the joints between each plank. The process can be slow and tedious, but the effort expended in keeping the floor as impervious to water as possible is more than worth it when you consider the significant cost of replacing the damaged laminate floor entirely.

How to Waterproof Laminate Flooring

After installing laminate floor planks or tiles that are of the highest grade and made of the most water-resistant material possible, you can begin the process of waterproofing. Begin by using a soft bristle broom to gently sweep the floor, clearing it of any debris and dirt. Next, use a microfiber cloth to carefully clear the joints between the planks where dust may have gathered. Finally, use a vacuum and hose attachment to draw out any dirt or dust particles that may have become trapped in between the planks.

Once the floor is clean and prepared, apply a PVA Type II glue to the joints of the planks, effectively gluing them to one another. Don't, under any circumstances, attempt to glue the planks to the subfloor. This will damage the planks' ability to expand and contract, damaging the integrity of the floor. Finally, finish the job by using a waterproof joint sealant to seal the joints between the planks.

Allow the sealant to dry before adding another coat. Once the second coating has dried, your floor should be as waterproof as possible. However, it's still vulnerable. Take care to mop up any spills as soon as possible.

Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.