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Home / Flooring Education / Flooring Shopping Guides / Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Waterproof? We Set the Record Straight

Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Waterproof? We Set the Record Straight

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Mixing the versatile performance of traditional resilient flooring with the durability and aesthetic of gorgeous hard surface options, luxury vinyl plank flooring has become a fixture of residential properties of all shapes and sizes as well as commercial locations everywhere.

With dent and scratch resistance plus easy maintenance, vinyl plank flooring has become a go-to choice for active families looking to stress less within busy households. Not to mention the most publicized advantage that vinyl plank flooring has to offer: Some luxury vinyl plank can handle typical spills and puddles, allowing homeowners to have wood and stone beauty in kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms, and can even be warranted as waterproof!

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So, is vinyl plank flooring waterproof? This nuanced answer involves an understanding of vinyl plank features, composition, installation methods, and warranties. Here’s a deeper dive into what makes specific vinyl planks waterproof- It’s time to set the record straight:

 
  1. What’s the Difference Between Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof?
  2. Maintaining Waterproof Flooring
  3. How Is Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Constructed?
  4. What Is Rigid Core Flooring?
    A. What Is WPC?
    B. What Is SPC?
    C. What Are the Major Differences Between WPC and SPC Vinyl Flooring?
    D. When to Choose WPC or SPC Flooring for your Home
  5. Waterproof Vinyl Commercial Flooring Applications
  6. Importance of Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Warranty
  7. The Best Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Collection  
    1. Metroflor Engage Inception 120
    2. Metroflor Deja New Flooring
    3. Palmetto Road Waterproof Flooring
    4. Beauflor Parkway Pro Click
    5. Beauflor Pure

 

1. What's the Difference Between Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof?

Although vinyl plank flooring inherently offers greater moisture protection than other hard surface options, it’s still important to manage expectations and ensure that your choice can handle the conditions of a bathroom, kitchen, mudroom, or basement. When shopping for vinyl flooring, you will come across both “waterproof vinyl plank flooring” and “water-resistant vinyl plank flooring” product listings. Before you install any vinyl plank flooring as a moisture protection solution, it’s imperative to understand the difference between the terms “water-resistant” and “waterproof.” 

Water-resistant indicates that these vinyl floors can withstand the average household occurrence of topical spills, pet mishaps, or moisture tracked in on a rainy day. As long as you wipe up the spill quickly, your floors will not be compromised or damaged, but water-resistant vinyl planks cannot hold up to long-standing spills like plumbing leaks, an overflowing bath, or a flooded basement from a thunderstorm.

Waterproof vinyl flooring can not only take on topical spills and household moisture but is built with an impenetrable surface and material. Typically, waterproof vinyl planks are also installed by a locking mechanism with tight joints. This warranted waterproof claim is limited to topical moisture and does not refer to moisture that may migrate from beneath or around the perimeter of the floor. However, these planks can handle standing water without being compromised- which is an amazing benefit to bring home!

 

2. Maintaining Vinyl Plank Flooring

Just because your favorite flooring selection offers greater moisture protection, you still need to determine the proper care routine for vinyl plank floors. For instance, both waterproof and water-resistant floors are easy-to-maintain with regular sweeping, dust-mopping, and spot treatment when needed with a gentle cleaner.

However, if you are looking for a quick way to deep clean your vinyl floors, you need to verify that your waterproof flooring is warranted for wet-mopping and the splashes that come with it. Wet-mopping can actually void your product warranty as well as cause permanent damage or structural problems if the floor is not approved for this cleaning method. As a general practice, you should never let any liquids pool or collect on your floors and make the effort to dry your floors as soon as possible.
 

 

3. How Is Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Constructed?

What truly makes vinyl flooring water-resistant or waterproof comes down to its core materials. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is typically constructed from four layers of material and if you desire a 100 percent waterproof vinyl floor, it needs to be an SPC or WPC product: Many WPC and SPC options also feature an attached pad (underlayment) that offers greater sound insulation, enhanced comfort, antimicrobial protection, and allows for underfloor heating systems.
 

4. What Is Rigid Core Flooring?

When you see the term “rigid core flooring” while exploring vinyl plank options, just know that these products are built to last! Standard vinyl flooring of the past is a fairly thin, flexible material that is glued down to the subfloor. Rigid core is stiffer, thicker, and sturdier, which makes it an innovative vinyl flooring with unique advantages for today's educated consumers. Available in both plank and tile shapes, it’s a luxury material that can stand up to a lot of activity, foot traffic, and of course, water!

Rigid core flooring can also handle subfloor imperfections, offer excellent sound insulation, and superior comfort underfoot. All of these benefits can be transformative for a busy home with kids and pets. If you are interested in installing durable rigid core flooring, explore the differences between the WPC and SPC construction terms before you begin your color and design selection.
 
A. What Is WPC?
Wood plastic composite flooring, or WPC flooring, is a vinyl plank flooring with a rigid core that’s made from either recycled wood pulp and plastic or polymer composites that are expanded with air. This combination of wood pulp and plasticizers makes wood plastic composite cores entirely waterproof.

Also referred to as “wood polymer composite flooring,” these lightweight planks feature a low-density construction that is warm and soft underfoot with greater comfort. These composite materials also resist swelling when accidental spills or puddles remain on the floor for longer periods before they are discovered. Since WPC vinyl floors are installed with a glue-free locking plank system, installation is quicker and eliminates the need for adhesives.

B. What Is SPC?
Stone plastic composite, or SPC flooring, is a vinyl plank flooring that has a rigid core made from powdered limestone, polyvinyl chloride, and stabilizers. Also referred to as “stone polymer composite flooring” or “solid polymer core,” SPC vinyl planks are dense, dimensionally stable, quiet, and strong. Designed to be 100 percent waterproof, not even topical humidity or moisture can cause planks to swell or damage your SPC rigid core vinyl flooring. Look for varieties in this category that include an attached pad for greater comfort and performance benefits in your home. 
 
C. What Are the Major Differences Between WPC and SPC Vinyl Flooring?
Since both WPC and SPC flooring products are water-resistant and incredibly durable, you can rest assured that your floors can handle high traffic, incidental scratches, and the fast, fun pace of everyday life! The essential difference between WPC and SPC flooring comes down to the density of that rigid core layer. Simply put, stone is denser than wood. Which of these materials will offer more give? Definitely wood. Which of these materials will resist heavy impact more? Stone without a doubt. When shopping for rigid core flooring, think of this material difference in terms of flooring:
D. When to Choose WPC or SPC Flooring for your Home

Depending on where you plan to lay your new flooring, selecting the correct construction can make a significant difference. Although the greater stability of SPC construction has produced an increase in overall popularity, here are some common household areas where it makes sense to choose one type of flooring over the other:

5. Waterproof Vinyl Commercial Flooring Applications

When choosing vinyl for commercial flooring applications, durability will be just as important a factor as waterproof core materials. The thicker the wear layer of a vinyl plank, the more durable the finished luxury vinyl floor will be.

To hold up to commercial foot traffic and regular cleaning, your waterproof vinyl flooring choice should have a minimum wear layer thickness of 20mil. For even better surface protection, a high-quality polyurethane wear layer with aluminum oxide or ceramic bead technology will provide even more durability in a commercial setting and preserve a better appearance over time. 

 

6. Importance of Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Warranty

Since the definition of “waterproof” can vary between manufacturers with different terms and various levels of integrity, it’s extremely important to review the warranty of your favorite product beforehand! Some manufacturers require the use of a subfloor moisture barrier to address moisture issues prior to installation in order for the waterproof flooring warranty to be valid. 

Almost any waterproof warranty is contingent on following the manufacturer’s specific installation instructions to be valid. Typically, across the board, a waterproof vinyl flooring warranty will guarantee that your floor will not discolor, damage, swell, buckle, or lose integrity from topical water exposure or topical moisture. However, these guaranteed claims extend to the vinyl product itself and do not cover damage to the subfloor, adhesives, or surrounding structure. To have a realistic expectation of the performance from your floor and to ensure validity, always review the waterproof warranty thoroughly before purchase and installation!
 

 

7. The Best Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Collections

Without a doubt, vinyl plank flooring with a rigid core construction and glue-free locking system will deliver easy-to-maintain, waterproof floors that can uplift the entire home. Whether it’s a worry-free kitchen with wood beauty or a soothing bathroom with rejuvenating vibes, these high-quality collections from the industry’s most in-demand waterproof vinyl flooring manufacturers will help you capture whatever aesthetic you aim to achieve:

A. Metroflor Engage Inception 120
An innovator in luxury vinyl flooring, Metroflor offers waterproof flooring solutions with an exclusive FX2 finish for superior stain repellency and abrasion resistance in its Engage Inception 120 Collection. Metroflor's 100% waterproof luxury vinyl flooring is versatile, unique, and affordable with on-trend designs. The attached underlayment provides comfort underfoot and reduces transmitted sound.
 
B. Metroflor Deja New Flooring
With a moisture-resistant solid vinyl construction, Metroflor Deja New Flooring provides high-definition visuals and rich surface textures to deliver a natural, authentic appearance at a fraction of the cost. The tough, transparent wear layer with FX3 Surface Protectant™ features Ultra Fresh, an integrated treatment that inhibits the growth of odor and stain causing mold and mildew. Ideal for resisting water, spills, and moisture in commercial and residential environments, Deja New Flooring is suitable for baths, laundry rooms, kitchens, and below-grade applications.
 
C. Palmetto Road Waterproof Flooring
Palmetto Road offers flooring collections in both WPC and SPC constructions. Palmetto Road’s Rigid Core Collections such as Inspire Flooring and Impact Flooring provide unparalleled spill and liquid protection within stunning surfaces. Whether for home or business, Palmetto Road features a range of impressive options that can handle the activity.
 
D. Beauflor Parkway Pro Click
If you’re searching for an easy-to-maintain waterproof vinyl that resembles authentic hardwood, explore Beauflor’s impressive Parkway Pro Click collection. The Parkway Pro Click offers modern wood tones on wide planks, making them perfect for modern kitchens. The Pro Click feature provides a sturdy locking system, along with an attached pad for an easy installation, but also a secure waterproof barrier!
 
E. Beauflor Pure Use
Beauflor’s Pure Collection and patented DreamClick® 360° locking system to achieve 100 percent water resistance where you need it the most. Featuring both planks and tiles, Beauflor Pure is lightweight, which allows it to be installed over existing floors. This unique locking system also allows you to create gorgeous installation patterns such as herringbone, and even integrate with options from the Beauflor Style Collection to create truly one-of-a-kind mixed floors! Great for any room of your home but perfect for kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms, Pure collection also works in a light commercial setting.

Talk to a Flooring Expert Today!

If you want to explore more vinyl plank flooring options, take our Floor Genius Quiz for thoughtful waterproof floorings ideas based on your décor preferences. Or, speak with a Flooring Expert for more information on what products will suit your needs best as well as important details for your waterproof flooring installation. Design a home that you and your family will truly love!
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts 
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.