Home Vinyl FlooringBasics Is Vinyl Waterproof?

Is Vinyl Waterproof?

by Bestlaminate
Published: Last Updated on 28 comments 4 minutes read

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!

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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Ken August 19, 2019 - 6:34 am

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.

Alana Kane August 19, 2019 - 12:05 pm

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.

Edwin September 12, 2019 - 9:43 am

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 September 16, 2019 - 9:47 am

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.

Denise Bongiovanni August 7, 2019 - 3:55 pm

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 August 12, 2019 - 10:39 pm

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.

Joan Rasmusson August 6, 2019 - 9:00 pm

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 August 7, 2019 - 12:22 pm

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.

Linda Dienhart June 21, 2019 - 2:19 am

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 June 21, 2019 - 2:31 pm

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!

Gregory Elliott June 17, 2019 - 6:59 pm

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 June 17, 2019 - 11:14 pm

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.

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