How Much Water Can Laminate Flooring Take? (Answered)

Laminate floorings are a popular choice amongst homeowners old and new for their visuals, durability, and accessibility. Structure and budget-wise, they are a top-tier option since they come in different styles as well, allowing the owner to express themselves.

A lot of laminate floorings come in waterproof and water-resistant forms, but this does not mean you should douse yours in full-on water. This doesn’t mean you have to stay constantly vigilant to keep it dry, you just need to know how much water it can take.

How much water can laminate flooring take?

As laminate floors are not waterproof, there’s a certain limit to how much water it can handle, and for how long. If it’s submerged for 2 hours, the edges will maintain original dimensions, but after 4 hours it will start to soak up the water and will be damaged beyond repair.

As long as the spill is cleared up immediately there shouldn’t be much damage done to the flooring. Just make sure the water does not seep into the cracks or gaps between the floorboards and you should be fine.

Is laminate waterproof?

Laminate flooring is not waterproof. This is because it is made of recycled hardwood so it inherently cannot be completely waterproof.

Some variations are water-resistant and can have some sort of protection against water, but overall, they are pretty weak against continuous exposure to water and high humidity.

The melamine wear layer allows it to have a tough finish that helps resist scratches and provides minor protection against a minimal amount of liquid. If you are looking for waterproof floorboards with the same look and feel, you’re thinking of vinyl flooring.

How much water can laminate flooring take?

Now that we have established that laminate floors are not waterproof, but can deal with some amount of water, it is time to understand how much water they can handle.

It is not about the amount of water as much as it is the time it is allowed to be on the floor itself.

Water damaged laminate floors because of being made of recycled wood or wood fibres with melamine wear resistant layer on top. The problem arises when water seeps into the laminate core.

This is why it is important to absorb any and all water spilled on the floor instantly, and definitely before it is too late.

Mold can start to grow in 48 hours after water damage, with spores needing 12 hours to germinate. After this, within 1 to 12 days the mold will colonize and there is no going back after this.

In some high humidity cases, mold can start to grow unseen within 24 hours because moisture seeped below the hardwood floors. Clean water becomes gray water if it sits on the floor for 48 hours, which increases potential health risks with each passing time.

Please note that a quick spill with a minor amount of water can be tolerated, provided it is dealt with asap. 

What is the difference between water-resistant and waterproof laminate flooring?

There are two kinds of laminate flooring when it comes to dealing with water, water-resistant and waterproof. Waterproof laminate flooring is meant to be a permanent material where the water will not penetrate the flooring.

For water-resistant, which is a cheaper alternative, the top flooring layer has material that protects the flooring by blocking water infiltration for a while. A more in-depth explanation is given below.

Water-Resistant Laminate Flooring

Most laminate floors available are water-resistant. This means they hold up great against small, occasional spills but can’t handle a large amount of water i.e., big spills or flooding and heavy moisture.

The outerwear layer of laminate flooring is safe but it is the seams between the planks that you have to look out for.

The water needs to be cleaned up with the flooring being allowed to dry completely. Unless the core is damaged, water-resistant laminate flooring is easy to deal with and a cheaper, more affordable option for most homeowners.

The water-resistant feature basically buys you some time before the spill is soaked through, giving you time to react, but it will seep in eventually.

Waterproof Laminate Flooring

Waterproof laminate floors are supposed to withstand floods for any amount of time, regardless of being from above or below. Laminate floors are inherently not waterproof since they are made of hardwood layers.

Some luxury laminate floorings claim to be waterproof, but they are more expensive than usual. It should be noted that despite being called waterproof, it means the flooring might be, but the subfloor usually is not. 

So, if the water or moisture gets trapped in the subfloor, it will inevitably get damaged and will need repair and replacement.

Both options are a good choice, as the difference lies in the core and how protected it is against water. It ultimately depends on you, your lifestyle, and the area you live in for you to decide which one you should go for.

Can laminate flooring be mopped?

Laminate flooring can and should be mopped, in fact, it is one of the prime ways to keep it clean. However, there are still some rules and regulations you have to follow through.

It is recommended you mop them every one to two months using a damp, microfiber mop. If you have a regular mop, make sure to wring it out until it is completely dry to keep the flooring safe and humidity-free.

You can also add a special laminate cleaner product in warm water for further safety, they should be greenlit by the manufacturer of the flooring.

Does pet urine ruin laminate floors?

Pet urine does indeed ruin laminate floors if not dealt with immediately. Dog urine in particular will damage laminate flooring since their pee can turn acidic if left uncleaned.

You also have to make sure the urine isn’t absorbed into the floor itself and/or underneath which will make repair and replacement very tiresome and not to mention, expensive.

It can make the planks swell as well as emit nasty odors that can be very difficult to get rid of. This is why the urine must be properly cleaned as soon as possible.

Can laminate flooring be saved after flooding?

Unless the floor was specifically made to be entirely waterproof, laminate flooring cannot withstand any amount of flood.

As it cannot stand any kind of flooding, it is best to replace the laminate flooring rather than trying to repair it.

This is because after the water has dried in between the layers, the integrity of the structure is compromised, and the floor will begin to bubble or curl while pulling away from the board.

It is also easier to replace the floor as it saves time, effort, and money so replacement is recommended rather than repairment.

How long does it take for water to damage laminate flooring?

Water can be considered the natural enemy of laminate or hardwood floorings.

While the laminate flooring industry conducts tests where the floorboard is submerged into water for a full day, the damage happens long before that, which is more often than not irreversible.

In general, open-edged laminate flooring can maintain its original dimension after 2 hours of water exposure. After 4 hours, however, the water will be soaked in and this is where the most damage starts to happen, often towards the point of no return.

Seals and waxes can help prolong the resistance period of the board but they cannot completely prevent the absorption of moisture so any amount of spill should be dealt with as soon as possible.

What do I do if my laminate floor gets wet?

Now that you know how important it is to keep the laminate floor dry, here are a few pointers on what you should do if the floor gets wet.

  • Make it fast: Take action as fast as you can.
  • Dry the floors: It is essential to dry the floors quickly to minimize the chances of permanent damage.
  • Remove wet objects from the floor: Rather obvious, but you should remove anything that is soaked in water with the floor, such as rugs and furniture footings since they can create mildew and mold.
  • Soak up as much as possible: Try to take away as much of the water you can, so the floor can dry itself.
  • Dry the wood: After you’ve cleaned up the water and its moisture, it is not time to fully dry the floorboard. To be safe, you could use a dehumidifier at the highest setting for a couple of hours, if not a full day.

Later on, you should inspect for mold and perform a moisture test if you can, since it takes up to weeks for it to completely dry. You may need to remove damaged planks if it’s too late but they are rather easy to deal with.

Read more, Can Mold Grow Under Laminate Flooring?

Can I make my laminate floor waterproof?

While it is impossible to completely make your laminate floor waterproof, there are some ways you can use sealant to make it as waterproof as it can be.

  • Seal the locking mechanisms with laminate floor sealing. Buy a sealant that is specifically made for your laminate type.
  • Caulk the gap by using silicone to prevent liquid spills from slipping through the cracks.
  • Covering laminate with polyurethane is another effective solution. Apply it with a mop and let it dry, repeat the process for at least two coats.

Laminate floorings are a popular choice for a reason, for their stylish and affordable. As long as you can be sure it stays dry and clean, it will last you a lifetime.

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