Exalt Weighs In: Water-Resistant vs Waterproof Flooring

waterproof flooring

When your customers enter your store, it’s likely that they will have questions regarding new developments in flooring technology. One exciting area of progress is fully waterproof flooring, which is useful for homeowners seeking to replace flooring in their bathroom, kitchen, basement, or mudroom. Still, customers may ask about water-resistant vs waterproof flooring—both of which are labels they may see within your showroom, retail space, or manufacturer’s sheet.

These terms are similar, yet not at all interchangeable. Let’s break down some key differences between these two categories, after which we’ll share ideas about advantageous sample display strategies.

100% Waterproof Flooring

When flooring is labeled “waterproof,” it is entirely unaffected by water. Whether it’s damp, soaked, or fully submerged, waterproof flooring will never be damaged by moisture. Waterproof flooring will not swell, crack, buckle, or rot in water, making it ideal for wet rooms, wet-mopping, and homes with pets and children.

Luxury vinyl plank, whether engineered (EVP) or waterproof core (WPC), is the most common flooring type to achieve the 100% waterproof label. Still, not all vinyl floors are waterproof, and this distinction can be a key step in demonstrating the value of a superior product to a reluctant consumer.

Waterproof vinyl flooring is composed of a base, a vinyl core, photorealistic printed vinyl overlay, and a wear-resistant urethane topcoat. The base, or backing, is commonly made from fiberglass coated with PVC. The urethane topcoat is the layer that’s embossed, giving luxury vinyl the texture that reflects light and casts shadow in much the same way hardwood flooring will.

Although waterproof flooring is impervious to damage from water, it’s important to note that it does not protect the home’s frame and subfloor from damage. For example, a flood entering a home would not affect the flooring, which could be reused once dried. Still, the home would be subject to the same level of damage it would receive were it furnished with any other type of flooring.

There are minor drawbacks to waterproof flooring that you may wish to share with your customer. Vinyl can be damaged by sharp objects, accumulate scratches from grit and dirt, and can fade after prolonged exposure to sunlight. While vinyl wood-like flooring may look just like its organic competition, the most superlative vinyl floor will not feel at all like wood. For these reasons, vinyl flooring does not add the same home resale value that hardwood flooring will.

Water-Resistant Flooring

Water-resistant flooring can handle minor spills, splashes, and moderately wet mopping. However, if a homeowner leaves water on the floor, water will seep into the seams between and around the flooring, which will result in damage to both the floor and the subfloor beneath.

Water-resistant floors are most commonly laminate plank coated with aluminum oxide, a water-resistant coating. For further protection from moisture, the seams between the planks can be coated with a chemical seal or waxed. Even with these steps, it’s important to note that water left for any length of time is likely going to bypass these safeguards and may cause damage.

For this reason, homeowners should avoid installing water-resistant flooring in wet rooms. Even in kitchens and laundry rooms, the risk of damage is substantial enough to warrant an upgrade to fully waterproof flooring.

Waterproof and Water-resistant Flooring Showroom Displays

When you are conceptualizing a new display for your waterproof and water-resistant flooring, consider how it would benefit customers to have these materials compared and contrasted side by side. Whether you choose a full-size sample display or a portable sample display board, consumers can examine these similar products while they weigh the pros and cons of each.

Additionally, you may wish to offer a brochure or one-sheet rundown of the pros and cons of each material, which rooms and environments to which they’re best suited, and a cost comparison for both short- and long-term time frames.

To discuss your plans to display, advertise, or educate your sales teams about your waterproof and water-resistant flooring materials, please contact us today. We’ll work in partnership with you to create the product displays you envision, crafted with the care and skill you have come to expect from Exalt Samples.