Many people are using laminate floors when they renovate their homes, and it's easy to see why. Laminate floors are durable and versatile. The installation is optimized for the do-it-yourselfer, and they are a cost effective alternative to hardwood or ceramic tile floors. While laminate floors are designed to resist water in small amounts, some users want extra assurance that the seams are sealed. However, most professionals recommend that you do not seal your laminate floors.
Why Shouldn't I Seal Laminate Floors?
If you've looked at laminate floors pieces, you may have noticed the tongue along one edge and on one end. This design allows the pieces of laminate floor to lock together. The tongue is slid under the abutting piece, which has a recess to accept it, and clicks into place. The locking design of these pieces keeps seams tight, and standing water will not penetrate unless it's left for a long time (five days, according to one manufacturer, TORLYS Smart Floors). Sealants are not needed and should not be applied between the tongue and groove.
Laminate floor is not designed to be installed where a large amount of water will contact the floor. However, if you use a bathmat, or mop up after yourself, laminate floors can even be installed in a bathroom. If you do decide to install laminate floors in a bathroom, there is an exception to the "never-seal" rule.
For bathroom installations, some professionals recommend that you use silicone caulk around the hole for the toilet and anywhere there are cut ends, which should only be around the walls. The reason for this is that the cut ends are no longer factory sealed and therefore might soak up water faster. Even in the bathroom, though, you should not apply any sealant to the seams.
There is a type of product that claims to seal the seams of laminate floors. It is sold under the brand name Laminate Restoration. As the name suggests, it's for treating worn-out laminate floors. Laminate Restoration is supposed to shine your laminate floors, hide small scratches and seal the seams. However, there's no documentation that this adds any water resistance to laminate floors.