waterproof laminate flooring

Best Waterproof Laminate Flooring Brand Reviews

By Fortino Rosas / July 6, 2020 / 36 Comments

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    Laminate was promoted in the 1970s as the next big thing in flooring. Affordable, durable, and easy to clean, laminate flooring seemed too good to be true—and it was. It simply could not hold up under any moisture at all.

    But technology has moved on significantly in the last 50 years, and it is now possible to get waterproof laminate flooring.

    If you are keen on laminate but worried about moisture, this is the flooring you have been waiting for.

    Read on as we go through what differentiates waterproof laminate flooring from traditional laminate flooring or laminate flooring that has been waterproofed.

    We will then introduce you to some of the best waterproof laminate flooring brands on the market and answer all your questions about this new, improved flooring option.

    The Usual Laminate

    You’ve already heard all about solid and engineered hardwood floors, but what’s the deal with legitimate laminate?

    The Usual Laminate

    Laminate floors are traditionally made of layers of mixed wood fused together with a printed layer and a plastic wear layer on top for protection and durability.

    The result is something that is highly affordable, relatively durable when it comes to scratches and scuffs, and easy to clean.

    But the floor is also very susceptible to water damage.

    Not-So-Water Resistant

    Many laminate floor brands say they’re water resistant. That’s great if you live in a normal household that drops a glass of juice every so often.

    What many of these brands don’t tell you is that if you leave any water or liquid on the floor for even a few minutes, your laminate will be doing the time warp while you’re left figuring out how to fix your new fun-house-esque floors.

    When water gets between the laminate planks, the shiny top layer will be unbothered. The reason your floor will start to bubble up like a casserole is because the fiberboard core will crumble when exposed to any sort of liquid.

    That’s certainly a huge downside, which is why many people stray away from using laminate in water prone areas like kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms.

    But wait: If you’re a diehard laminate fan and have been waiting to use it in every nook and cranny of your house, there’s hope for you yet.

    How To Waterproof Water Resistant Laminate

    One option to make laminate the future feature of your kitchen is to talk to a professional about waterproofing your existing laminate. Because the problems with laminate occur when water gets through the cracks, this solution normally involves caulking between each and every board.

    If that sounds like a tedious and time-consuming process, that’s because it is a tedious and time-consuming process. Companies thought there had to be a better way to waterproof laminate … and now there is.

    Welcome to the market, 100% plastic laminate floors.

    Waterproof Laminate

    People wanted waterproof laminate, so flooring companies delivered.

    Waterproof Laminate

    These new lines are designed to waterproof from the “top down”, which means the top plastic wear layer is designed to prevent water from soaking into the more water-sensitive wood layer underneath. This is in contrast to vinyl floors, which are designed to be waterproof from the bottom up, preventing moisture from sublayers affecting the floors laid on top of it.

    This means that waterproof laminate is great for kitchens, where spills may come from above, but is not as well suited to basements, where moisture is likely to come from underneath. Though a lot can be achieved with the installation of a good moisture- resistant sublayer.

    The resulting flooring still doesn’t approach the likes of tile or vinyl when it comes to waterproofing, but it is a significant improvement on what has previously been available in laminate.

    While some waterproof laminate lines can be purchased for a little as $2.00 per square foot, expect this to be more “water-resistant” than waterproof. For serious moisture protection, expect to pay between $3.00-$4.00 per square foot.

    Waterproof Laminate Brands

    There are a variety of brands that specialize in making wood-look floors without any of the hassle that comes with caring for traditional wood, vinyl, or laminate.

    Here are some of the brands out there that specialize in waterproof laminate flooring:


    AquaGuard really does set the bar in terms of waterproof laminate. It comes with a 15-year commercial/lifetime residential warranty and promises not to become stained or warped even if liquids are left on its surface for up to 30 hours.

    You can wet mop or steam mop these laminate floors without voiding your warranty. There are over 100 different style options available.

    The laminate flooring is also waterproof from below, thanks to a durable melamine balance back layer that sits under the wood-based fiber core, which has also been sealed to add water resistance. The top wear layer is made from AC-5 protective aluminum, which is both highly durable and waterproof.

    AquaGuard is only available online via the Floor and Decor website. Expect to pay between $2.50 and $3.50 per square foot.

    Audacity By Armstrong

    While this line markets itself as water-resistant rather than waterproof, it does a very good job. It similarly promises not to be damaged by normal spills and moisture from above, even if it is left in place for up to 72 hours (though, of course, they don’t recommend leaving any liquid for that long).

    You can wet mop this floor, but avoid steam cleaning as this will void the warranty. The floor is also not covered in the event of major floodings, such as a burst pipe or continuous leak.

    Audacity uses a rigid, non-absorbent core covered by a multilayer sealer applied to edges in order to stop water from soaking in. Therefore, they are able to offer a lifetime residential warranty and 15-year commercial warranty.

    There are five collections to choose from, each with a range of styles and colors on offer. It is available from most good floor retailers or online direct from the manufacturer. Expect to pay between $2.50 and $3.50 per square foot.

    Tarkett AquaFlor

    If you are looking to spend a little less, Tarkett AquaFlor is a  good choice. It is quite a bit cheaper than its competitors and can be purchased for $2.00 and $2.50 per square foot.

    Tarkett AquaFlor

    It offers similar protection against spills from above, promising not to be damaged, even if reasonable water debris is left to sit for up to 24 hours. It achieves this with an angle-drop locking system that joins the planks tightly enough that moisture cannot get through.

    Cleaning with a lightly damp cloth is permitted, but wet mopping and steam cleaning are not recommended, though it is not explicitly stated that this will void the warranty. This product comes with a 10-year commercial and lifetime domestic warranty.

    AquarFlor is only available from Menards. With this affordable range, you make sacrifices on choice, as there are relatively few style and color options. But it is a great choice if you can find something that suits you.

    FAQs About Waterproof Laminate Flooring

    Is Waterproof Laminate Any Good?

    While, as a general rule of thumb, laminate flooring is not waterproof and should not be used anywhere that it is likely to be exposed to moisture, there are lines of waterproof laminate flooring available.

    Is Waterproof Laminate Flooring Really Waterproof?

    Laminate flooring that claims to be waterproof is waterproof from the top but not from the bottom.

    This is because the protective waterproof layer has been added to the top of the planks and the joints, to prevent any water from above soaking down into the lower layers of the floor. But the lower layers are not waterproof and therefore are still sensitive to water coming up from below.

    For this reason, do not install waterproof laminate flooring in areas where it can be exposed to moisture from below, such as basements, unless a good waterproof layer has already been installed.

    Which Brand Of Laminate Flooring Is Best?

    If you are looking for waterproof laminate flooring, we recommend AquaGuard, which is as close to 100 percent waterproof as you can get with laminate flooring. It combines a premium synthetic resin with a honeycomb structure to create something that is not only waterproof, but also wear and scratch resistant.

    Can You Mop Laminate Flooring?

    While you cannot use steam cleaners or wet mops with traditional laminate floorings, they are acceptable to use with waterproof laminate flooring. You should check the details of your warranty, though, as cleaning in this way may still void the warranty.

    How Do You Protect Laminate From Water?

    The main issue when it comes to moisture and laminate flooring is water seeping into cracks between the flooring and getting to the underlayer, where it can cause a lot of damage. The best way to prevent this is with a silicone caulking gun, which can be used to fill any cracks. This should not be necessary with waterproof laminate flooring, but may still be desirable for extra protection and peace of mind.

    How Long Does Waterproof Laminate Flooring Last?

    When properly installed and cared for, you can expect waterproof laminate flooring to have a lifespan of 15 to 25 years.

    Does Laminate Flooring Add Value To Your Home?

    Even if you purchase quality waterproof laminate flooring, do not expect it to add value to your home. It has a relatively short lifespan and cannot be refreshed or resurfaced. It also lacks “prestige” as far as floors go, and does not have the same desirability of solid wood or tile flooring.

    The Verdict

    For anyone who is looking for the affordability and convenience of laminate but has been reluctant in the past due to lack of water resistance, there is finally a product available on the market.

    But while fully waterproof laminate flooring has been popular in Europe for a number of years, it still feels relatively new in the United States, which makes it difficult to find a range of quality brands to choose from.

    Shop around for viable options, and pay close attention to just how waterproof your selection is. Just because it says it is waterproof in the headline advertising does not mean it is completely waterproof in the fine print. Make sure you are not installing or cleaning in a way that might void your warranty.

    If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with waterproof laminate flooring, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

    About Fortino Rosas

    Chief Floor Critic, 32 years of experience in flooring installation and sales

    Fortino Rosas is an independent flooring contractor with 32 years of experience in residential and commercial flooring installation and sales. He joined the Floor Critics team to share his expertise with our readers. Fortino has acquired vast knowledge and skills in the areas of product selection, space planning, and installation. He has installed flooring in residential, government, and commercial office projects in the Midwest. Visit Website.

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    36 thoughts on “Best Waterproof Laminate Flooring Brand Reviews”

    1. Deciding on what laminate flooring to use. I’ve always felt that you get what you pay for so I’m looking for durability and aesthetics. I would like to install the best available. I have ordered two samples of Aqua Guard. The Pergo available at Home Depot is mostly too wide for my application. Any thoughts ?
      Thank You

    2. Many of our customers face the same problems like you mentioned. Even though Rigid Core waterproof planks is bit expensive than laminate flooring it’s still a popular choice among all. You were Right! It has become a big flooring trend especially in London!

    3. Has anyone ever heard of static problems with plastic flooring? I have seen it many times on plastic coated decking, so I was wondering if flooring has any issue?

    4. I thought I had this all figured out – install “waterproof” not “water resistant” laminate in my 1,800 sq. ft. central Florida home. I have a pool and large dogs who like the pool. After reading these reviews I’m having second thoughts. Tile is a second option but not to my liking. Anyone have experience with “waterproof” laminate and pool homes?

      1. This is a bit late, but for future reference or anyone else scrolling through… for “waterproof” flooring, you need to look for an SPC (stone polymer composite) luxury vinyl planks that are at least 60% limestone. This basically guarantees that your floor will not be absorbing any moisture at anytime of it’s life. The only thing you will be worried about is not dragging a giant piano across the floor. Some great brands inclued Mannington’s Adura Rigid, Paramount Rigid Core and Neptune SPC flooring. Do your research! SPC doesn’t always equate to waterproof, it’ll be hard to pull the information out of a salesperson but you need the facts before purchase, don’t just let them sell you the info they have.. good luck!!

    5. Thomasena Sanderlin

      I heard about this company, Cali Bamboo, that sells waterproof laminate. Has anyone checked it out?

    6. Hello! I am trying to find a laminate with a high gloss finish in a light color, not too busy (off white or light beige). My decor is ultra modern. What I have been able to find in an off white does not have a sheen and does not accent my decor.

      Please let me know where I can find this type of laminate. I do not want hardwood. Thank you for your response!

    7. Can you provide opinions of most durable, waterproof flooring in preferably engineered or laminate wood flooring?

      Thank you,

      1. No such thing as a waterproof engineered or laminate floor. Only water resistant. And even at that the resistant part is specific in the warranties. If your looking for a water friendly floor, look at LVP’s, most of waterproof flooring is in SPC format. Ask about SPC, stone polymer composite when you go to a flooring store. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, walk out.

    8. I have lifeproof in my kitchen and bathroom. It is available at Home Depot. It is waterproof and well made with a variety of colors.

        1. We installed the Lifeproof sawcut and have had no issues with scratching. We have two large high energy dogs and the floor still look like new a year later. We drag our heavy furniture around and don’t have to worry about scratches.
          We Love it!

    9. Pergo WetProtect claims to be waterproof. It is available at Lowe’s. I like the Fiji Acacia. It is 10 mm, costs $2.58 per sq ft (1-3-19) and requires an underlayment. Pergo Gold strongly recommended (60 cents less per sq ft). Click-lock install. Sample is $1 from Lowe’s. There are 14 different colors/textures. I’m trying to find a stone lookalike, and Pergo doesn’t make one yet. You can probably see them at your local Lowe’s.

      1. Timbercraft is not 100% waterproof, the core is not.. if you don’t caulk and put the strips along the wall it can swell. Take a piece and drop it in water… LVP is a better product.

    10. If y’all think about it, the cheapest hardwood flooring I’ve found is $1.49-1.89 sqf, why would you want to pay $3 per sqf for plastic if you can get solid wood floors for cheaper and raise your home value. I’m from europe, and yes 90% of the people only use waterproof laminate because it’s very cheap there.

      1. Are hardwood floors waterproof? We have rescue dogs and because they are already adult when we adopt them, sometimes they never stop marking.

    11. I’m still looking for waterproof laminate, and I think republic is coming out with a laminate that has a limestone core, or waterproof mineral core. Not a wood based core.

      Republic already has a triple resistant wax seam floor. Not sure if I want to spend the money on engineered wood flooring.

    12. I am on Floor & Decors website looking at the Aquaguard and comparing the two products. It seems the Aquaguard is just water resistant, where Aqua Step is completely waterproof. It states right on their installation instructions, the product is not waterproof and requires a moisture barrier. You also can’t install this over radiant heating, Aqua Step shows you can. Aquaguard is def less expensive, but def not the same type of quality or benefits.

      1. Christine L miller

        I bought aquaguard for my kitchen. I have had so many problems trying to install it, a lot of the boards were chipped on top so you can’t use them unless you can hide them in a corner. The connector lines on the sides peel off. It is a horrible product, do not waste your money.

        1. Sorry your experience was as described, ours was the opposite. We just finished installing over 1200 sq ft of Aquaguard. Our waste level was less than 3% overall. We had one bad board out of nearly 80 cases. The pros: looks great, locks tightly, 12 different “prints / patterns” so staggering look was easy, appears tough and durable, and very quiet with the highest level underlayment used. The cons: messy when cutting, tough product to cut, can only lay boards in one directional flow (can’t leave a bedroom, work into a hall, and then back into another bedroom) so plan on using transitions and T’s.

    13. Trying to be patient while waiting for this as a flooring option! We installed laminate throughout our home back in 2006. It’s still beautiful save for the “spots” our incontinent pups have ruined when we didn’t catch/find the liquid in time! I’m not sure what people complain about with regard to cleaning laminate. When it needs to be “mopped” 15 minutes with a steam mop does the trick!

      I would love to replace our floors with waterproof laminate as soon as it becomes available. I’ve visited the aqua-step website but no pricing available and I’m guessing it’s off the charts since they’re the only game in town! LOL!

      Thanks for this article which relieves me of the chore of continuing to research this flooring since now I know it’s not yet available!

      1. Christi Christian

        Hi. Did you look at Builddirect? I’ve ordered some samples from them and am very impressed with the ones i’ve gotten. Still trying to decide but I am thinking of ordering the flooring and just installing it myself.

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