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Is Vinyl Waterproof

Is Vinyl Waterproof?

Is vinyl waterproof? This is one of the reasons vinyl flooring is so popular! Vinyl plank flooring is the perfect flooring solution for busy households, basements, bathrooms, and even kitchens.

The Claims Are True!

In short, vinyl flooring is waterproof, but that does not mean it will survive flooding! When a vinyl specifies it is waterproof, it simply means surface water will not affect the flooring or cause any damage. This makes it the perfect option for homes and businesses that could see spills and pet accidents. It is a great solution for those rooms that tend to see water, such as bathrooms and foyers.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring can come in a plank format that clicks together, glues down, or is a loose lay installation. It’s a perfect flooring for people who like to do their own home renovations. The best part? Vinyl flooring can look convincing as hardwood, stone, or even tile!

Vinyl flooring cutaway layers diagram
Vinyl Floor Layer Diagram courtesy of processsystems.sandvick.com

What Happens If I Do Have A Flood?

You should still clean up your spills and accidents. However, in the case of an extreme water incident, such as a flooded basement, you will need to do some damage control.

In the circumstance where there is water sitting underneath the planks, you will need to disassemble the planks and completely dry the subfloor and planks. Leave the vinyl out to dry and test the subfloor before re-installation.

If you experience a leak or a small amount of water, you may be able to just dry the flooring with a shop-vac or towel.

If your vinyl has attached underlayment, most can also dry completely and be re-installed. If you have a closed-cell underlayment, it can be re-installed after completely dried. If you have a cork underlayment, then there is a risk for mold and mildew to grow, so those are not recommended to be re-installed.

Now how is that for a waterproof flooring? But don’t take it from us, just look at this customer review:

Our basement flooded, storm water and sewage, during Superstorm Sandy. We pulled up the carpet forever and had Bestlaminate install a waterproof vinyl locking planks. We just flooded again last night and less than 24 hours later, the shop vac and fans have us almost back in order. Best home improvement decision we have ever made.”
– Stacy S.

Have a review you would like to share with us about your vinyl flooring? Write it in the comments below!

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22 comments

  1. Avatar

    Hi,
    Do you need to seal the joints on the vinyl flooring if is installed in a bathroom (over tile)? It seems to me that water could migrate between the joints and be trapped underneath the floor allowing mold to grow.
    Thanks,
    Ken

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Ken, thanks for the question. If the vinyl is installed properly, there should be no gaps for the water to get through. If there are gaps, then yes this could happen. We typically only recommend sealing joints on laminate, since it is not waterproof.

    • Avatar

      Hi, can anyone help with this, I have bought lifeproof vinyl planks in grey oak, I layed a few boxes of planks down interlocking the tongue and groove as a test in the kitchen. I did this cause I wanted to make sure that the edges on the planks and underneath the planks doesn’t get bacteria on it and start growing mold or something. My home is an old 1922 home and doubt there is any insulation anywhere except a tiny miserable amount in attic. So a few days passed and then I noticed black/ smudges -spots that have formed in those edges and tongue and groove areas not all the planks have them but many of them do.. I know this is not how they came so am concerned I can use these in the kitchen . Any ideas?

      • Alana Kane

        Hi Ediwn, I understand your concern! This definitely can be a moisture concern from the subfloor. Does any of your subflooring have mold or mildew on them? The first thing to do before you install is fix any damage or moisture issues you may have with your subfloor. Your vinyl installation will only be as good as the foundation! Once you check out your subfloor, I would recommend using either a vapor barrier or an underlayment beneath your planks to avoid any mold or mildew issues.

  2. Avatar
    Denise Bongiovanni

    I have vinyl plank floor in my basement glued over concrete. Last night my dog peed on it and there was a piece of plastic sitting on top of it all night. Needless to say the color looks washed out in a very circumscribed area where the plastic was. I tried baking soda, rubbing alcohol to no avail. Is it permanently ruined or does it just need more time to dry?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Denise, thanks for your question. Unfortunately, once you have this type of stain, it is permanent. Do you have extra vinyl tiles? The only real fix is to replace them.

  3. Avatar

    I have used vinyl plank for years over a plywood base. All is well, looks great! On this renovation project, I had vinyl plank installed on concrete with a cushion type underlayment. I had three different apartments done, two on the third floor, and one apartment on ground level.

    The prep work was not great, with some uneveness here and there. With two of the floors, first the seams show and then the vinyl has expanded, and the planks are actually popping up.

    The installer says its humidity, but why didn’t the third floor have problems? That floor was more even. Also, the exact same floor installed on plywood was in an apartment with the windows open for a month, exposed to humidity and its perfect.

    I think the cushion underlayment is the problem?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Joan, thanks for the question. I think the problem may lie in the uneven subfloor. Vinyl is less likely to have issues with humidity. If this was a laminate floor, then I would say that could be the issue. With an uneven subfloor, the planks can sink down into areas that are lower when walked on, which can cause issues with the joints.

  4. Avatar

    Had vinyl plank flooring installed in bathroom over old sheet vinyl because no installers would remove the sheet vinyl which is glued to concrete slab. The new planks are floating on top of that old sheet vinyl. They said it added cushion. I had the toilet replaced right after the flooring was done. Today I had a plumber out because the toilet was running on and off. Found that the toilet flange was broken, the plumber who installed the toilet didn’t notice this (?) and the toilet has been slowly leaking water for a month. The plumber came out and replaced the flange but now there is water squishing up around that toilet floor flange so he left the toilet off and I called a water restoration company. They came out and using a meter like an infra red meter and said there was very little water and it was only around the toilet and would evaporate on its own in a couple days. But 12 hours later I walk into the bathroom and the water is squishing up between the planks all over the bathroom flooring. Why did the water meter test not detect the water? I know the vinyl planks won’t be damaged but the sheet vinyl has a cardboard like backing that certainly is wet now and will obviously mold. Is this not what water restoration companies take care of? Now I have to find someone to take the new flooring up and take the sheet vinyl up. The flooring is only 2 months old. Very upset with the cost and work if I can even find someone that will even take the sheet vinyl up. All this and the toilet can’t be put back in place. If I knew better I would never had had this vinyl plank floating floor installed in a bathroom. What a nightmare!

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Linda, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have with the water. If you used click floating vinyl, you will be able to re-install it, but yes, it is important to make sure the subfloor is completely dry and play before reinstalling the flooring. This goes for the concrete slab as well!

  5. Avatar
    Gregory Elliott

    What if I don’t pull the floor up and let it dry? Room flooded. Cleaned up standing water. When I walk across floor water comes through seems. I clean that up as I go. Stepping firmly several times with rags. Question is should it be able to dry on its own without pulling it all up?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Gregory, thanks for the question. It sounds like there is water beneath the planks. Unfortunately, if the water is stuck beneath the planks, there is a possibility for mold to start growing under the floor. I would recommend uninstalling the floor, letting the subfloor and vinyl dry completely and re-install the planks.

  6. Avatar
    Sandy McDonald

    I have luxury vinyl planks quick clic with separate underlayment. My dishwasher flooded under the vinyl planks, underlayment, old sheet vinyl(3 layers) causing swelling of the particle board subfloor & wood subfloor! Plank flooring was pulled up three times checking for water over a three week period. Should the (year old) vinyl planks be reinstalled or new installed?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Sandy, great question. As long as your vinyl planks didn’t suffer any mold or mildew damage, you should be able to re-install them! Just be sure all of the subfloor damage was fixed before re-installation.

  7. Avatar

    We have HydraCore Luxury Vinyl Plank in our basement installed directly over the concrete. It has an attached underlayment (not cork). We had a layer water standing on it for 8-10 hours…in the morning much of the water had disappeared with a few puddles left here and there so we are fairly certain an amount seeped into seams. We have shop vacced and are using fans/dehumidifier to try to pull out any moisture. We are unsure if we need to pull up the planks for drying or if it will dry out OK on it’s own. Any advice appreciated.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Danaca, thanks for the question. In this circumstance, I am most concerned about the potential of mold that could form under the planks if water is beneath the planks and does not dry. If the water was close to the edge, I would recommend removing the molding and pulling up one plank to see what the subfloor looks like. You should be able to easily re-install the planks. Once water gets trapped, it can create some problems! Better safe than sorry 🙂

  8. Avatar

    Just wondering. Can a heated floor system be used with vinyl flooring?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Lisa, yes you can use vinyl with a radiant floor! Just be sure to follow the manufacturer instructions on both the heating system and flooring.

  9. Avatar

    If the vinyl plank flooring has the backing attached can this still be pulled up and reinstalled if there was several inches of water?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Pat, great question! Most vinyl underlayments are “closed cell”, meaning they can dry perfectly fine and be re-installed. For vinyls with a cork underlayment attached, there is a risk or mold starting to grow in it if not dried completely, so those would not be recommended to be re-installed. We will update the article to mention this! If you have any other questions, please let us know.

  10. Avatar

    We are worried about subfloor under vinal in case of flood. We have to have one because of uneven concrete. Is the sub floor water prof? If it’s cork wouldn’t it swell like wine cork? Also did a floor with first vinal that came out 5 years ago and have a lot of separation between planks with temperatures changes. Is the new vinal different from thes issues?

    Like the concept but my husband is skeptical?

    Any advice?

    • Tyler

      Hello, that is correct, cork is not mold or mildew proof, so an extensive amount of direct moisture will cause issues. All floating floors need a controlled temperature or you will see the separating of the planks like you do on your original floor. This would be the same with any floating floor though.

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