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Home / Flooring Education / Flooring Shopping Guides / Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Flooring

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Flooring

Sometimes product performance expectations are not accurate, simply because a shopper is not well-informed at the point of purchase.  Waterproof and water resistant floors are both in high demand, but have different capabilities and limitations, within the sheet vinyl and vinyl plank and tile categories. Knowing the differences and the attributes of each product type will help you choose the best fit for your space.


The term waterproof simply means “impervious to water,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  So, you should expect that a waterproof floor would not allow water to permeate or penetrate through it, either from the top and/or the bottom surface.  Locking mechanisms found in a truly waterproof product are constructed to withstand and lock out topical water penetration at the joints.

It is important to review the “Waterproof” portion of the warranty.  You will find that the product’s integrity will not be affected by moisture, but it is probable that mold or mildew growth can occur when excessive moisture flows over the edge of the flooring surface onto the subfloor.  Flooring alone is not a moisture barrier.  Per installation instructions, care must be taken to alleviate any subfloor or crawl space moisture issues prior to installation.


Also, excessive spills not cleaned up within 24 hours, standing water, or flooding may be excluded from a waterproof warranty.

Water Resistant

Floors that are referred to as “water resistant” typically do not have any language in the warranty making claims to performance after water exposure.  You can count on these floors to hold up to topical spills, tracked in everyday moisture, and any pet mishaps that are cleaned up quickly.  However, don’t count on these products to maintain their integrity after a long-standing spill, or plumbing leak or bathtub overflow.  The construction of these floors include different core materials, not allowing for waterproof properties to be upheld in a warranty.  Beauflor Hydrana laminate is a great water resistant option with a locking system to handle standing water up to 72 hours.  

Moisture Staining

Moisture staining is a separately warranted condition and may have additional requirements for installation.  Products with a moisture stain warranty are usually constructed with a backing adhered to the reverse that includes chemical barriers to deflect moisture or inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.

Explore our Waterproof collections and consult a Twenty & Oak dealer to select a product that will express your style and give you the performance you need for your space and lifestyle.

Photo Credit: (middle, right) iStock


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.

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