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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

Vinyl plank flooring has many advantages. For starters, vinyl is exceptionally durable and scratch-resistant, able to withstand busy households and even light commercial traffic. With the ability to take on topical spills and puddles, many luxury vinyl manufacturers even claim that vinyl is waterproof. But is it really?

While it sounds like a dream come true to have these easy-to-maintain waterproof floors, especially in kitchen or bathroom spaces, you need first to understand what features to look for and what it takes to reach this level, instead of being simply water-resistant. 

So is vinyl plank flooring waterproof? That depends. Let’s explore what makes specific vinyl planks waterproof and set the record straight.

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Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof: What’s the Difference?

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular flooring option that is extremely resistant to water. So much so that many homeowners choose to install vinyl planks and tiles in moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, mudrooms and more. However, before you go installing this durable flooring, it’s essential to understand the difference between the terms “water-resistant” and “waterproof.” 

Water-resistant indicates that floors can withstand topical spills, pet mishaps or moisture tracked in on a rainy day. So long as you wipe up the spill quickly, the floors are fine, but don’t expect them to hold up to long-standing spills like plumbing leaks or an overflowing bath. Twenty & Oak's laminate flooring collections, for example, are excellent water-resistant options.

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Waterproof means that the flooring can not only take on topical spills, but is built with an impenetrable surface and material. Usually, waterproof flooring is also installed by a locking mechanism with tight joints. Keep in mind, the 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. 

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Now that you see the distinction, let’s talk about those impenetrable surfaces and locking mechanisms we mentioned.

Waterproof Vinyl Flooring: The Core of the Matter

What truly makes vinyl flooring water-resistant vs. waterproof comes down to its core materials. LVP and LVT core materials themselves are waterproof. However, installing a glued-down LVT, as opposed to a click-lock method, is not. 

Ultimately, if you desire a 100 percent waterproof vinyl, it needs to be SPC or WPC or a Hybrid model. Let’s take a closer look at these vinyl cores:

SPC/Rigid Core: Stone plastic composite and rigid core vinyl are designed to be 100 percent waterproof. This means that not even topical humidity or moisture can cause planks to swell or damage your flooring.

WPC: A combination of wood pulp and plasticizers, wood plastic composite cores are entirely waterproof. The composite materials also resist swelling should an accidental puddle remain on the floor for a while. Also, this flooring is installed by a glue-free locking plank system, eliminating the need for adhesives.

Hybrid: Hybrid flooring, such as Raintree, is a revolutionary flooring type. It combines real wood and rigid core to offer the best of both worlds. It is 100 percent waterproof and has the added conveniences of being stain- and fade-resistant.

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A Note on Commercial Flooring Applications

When choosing vinyl for commercial flooring applications, waterproof core materials are just the beginning. To hold up to commercial foot traffic and regular cleaning, your vinyl flooring choice should have a minimum wear layer thickness of 20 mils. Two great examples of this would be Palmetto Road’s Impact and Barrier 20

Be Sure to Read the Warranty

It’s always a wise idea to review the “Waterproof” section of warranties, as each manufacturer has different terms and various levels of integrity. Some manufacturers require the use of a subfloor moisture barrier to address moisture issues before installation for the warranty to be valid. 

The Best Waterproof Vinyl Flooring 

Beauflor Harbor Sunset Plank

As you can see, by choosing vinyl planks with a rigid core construction and a glue-free locking system, you can have completely waterproof floors. So if you’re persuaded by the thought of easy-to-maintain and worry-free flooring in a kitchen or bath, take a look at these highly-rated and durable waterproof vinyl planks and tiles.

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.  

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Palmetto Road Waterproof Flooring

Palmetto Road offers six waterproof flooring collections in both WPC and SPC constructions.  From budget-friendly collections like Grand Isle and Inspire to hardworking commerical grade floors like Impact and Barrier20, Palmetto Road features a range of options for home and business.  The Intrigue Tile collection includes wood looks and ceramic tile designs.

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modern bathroom design

Beauflor Parkway Pro Click

If you’re on the hunt for an easy-to-maintain waterproof vinyl that resembles authentic hardwood, check out Beauflor’s 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, more importantly, a secure waterproof barrier! 

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Beauflor Pure

The Beauflor Pure collection also features both planks and tiles, each with a 360-degree strong locking system designed to offer 100 percent water-resistance. Plus, Beauflor Pure is lightweight, which allows it to be installed over existing floors. Great for any room of your home but perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and mudrooms, this Pure collection also works in a light commercial setting. 

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Explore each of the waterproof vinyl options listed above–and more!–through our virtual flooring showroom. Once you find your perfect floor, request free flooring samples to see how it looks within your home. 

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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.