Flooring Options for Wet Areas and the Facts You Should Know

When you want to install flooring at home, you need to know the hard-cold facts about flooring options for wet areas.

Flooring plays a major role in home improvement project. It is one of the costliest parts in the job, so you really want to be extra careful when picking the right one.

The problem with flooring is that water problem is always the biggest issue when it comes to flooring. Moisture will definitely wreck your floor.

Any moist and damp condition will be challenging resulting in rot, mold, and also mechanical breakdown that can lead to costly repair.

So, when you want to choose the right one, you need to know the various flooring options for wet areas before making any decision.

Inorganic vs Organic

Inorganic materials are generally stronger and more solid than the organic types.

Organic materials include bamboo, engineered wood, or solid hardwood, while inorganic materials include vinyl and laminate. Organic materials are porous.

When they are exposed to moisture, they will absorb it, resulting in rotting and decomposing.

When they are wet, bacteria and molds will swarm over and host it because the material has become a perfect breeding ground for them.

Unlike the organic materials, the inorganic products are made from synthetic and refined chemicals, making them immune to moisture well, most of them.

However, the main issue about flooring options for wet areas is that there is no single floor that is completely 100% inorganic or organic.

Most flooring materials are the mixed of both materials; thus, resulting in different abilities to deal with moisture.

For instance, the plastic laminate flooring comes with synthetic surface (totally 100% inorganic) but the base layer is made from fiberboard, which means it is from wood fibers. That’s why it is not so good for damp places.

Bamboo, however, is completely organic, but it is produced with big parts of glues and resin, which makes it somewhat ‘inorganic’. It is pretty logical that bamboo is better for damp (and wet) areas than laminate floor.

The Perfect Options

These are the perfect flooring options for wet areas. They are proven to be quite resistant and great when dealing with moisture.

They aren’t only 100% waterproof, but they are great for challenging areas, such as the basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Porcelain tile

It is a type of ceramic tile used in pools, bathtubs, and showers and other areas that are coming in contacts with water. It is made from fine clays, using high temperatures during the production.

According to ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), porcelain tile has 0.5% absorption rate even less. As long as you maintain the grouted seams well, you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Be aware of cracked grout seams it can be the entrance for the water to penetrate to the subfloor.

Vinyl sheet

This one surprisingly has 100% waterproof quality on the surface. Not to mention that the floor only has a few seam that enables the water to penetrate

Ceramic tile

Just like porcelain tile, ceramic tile is great against standing water or water puddle. Again, the main weakness of the floor is the grouted seams. Pay attention to it carefully

Vinyl tile

Just like the vinyl sheet, the floor is completely waterproof. But since it is tiles, the seams are the weakest parts of the floor. You need to pay attention to the seams

LVF (Luxury Vinyl Floor) planks

The planks are generally long and wide with lock and fold system. The floor itself is waterproof the core included. It is even better than the plastic laminate flooring.

But just like other flooring, the grouts and the seams are the biggest issues. Make sure that the installation is correct and the seams are treated well with proper sealer.

Concrete

Concrete is solid and tough, and when you seal it, it can be an excellent barrier against water.

Nowadays, concrete isn’t only used for the garage or basements, but it can be installed in living rooms and bathrooms thanks to the new technology in creating textures and colors on the surface.

The Acceptable Types

These flooring options for wet areas are still acceptable for the damp spots although they may not be 100% perfect.

However, these flooring options for wet areas are pretty solid, thanks to the waterproof top surface.

And if you are able to seal the seams tightly, you won’t have to worry excessively about water even water pooling.

Engineered wood

Engineered wood is basically better than laminate floor due to sturdier, stronger, and better water-resistant base. It is generally made from plywood with those positive features.

Standing water would be a huge issue, but puddling situation (occasionally) won’t be an issue. But keep in mind that you need to remove any splashes and spills right away.

Laminate floor

In moisture test, this floor is better than solid wood, but it doesn’t mean that laminate is perfect against moisture. When it is dealing with water, the core will definitely swell and then blister.

Even when you choose the one with waterproof or water-resistant quality, it doesn’t mean that it will be super good in dealing with water

Linoleum tile or sheet

Although this one is water resistant, it isn’t waterproof. You need to seal it regularly to promote better water resistance, but the seams may pose problems for you.

Bamboo

This one is constructed from organic material, but it is manufactured with resins and chemicals that make it water resistant. The floor holds up quite well against water, but it isn’t waterproof.

Poor Options

These floors aren’t exactly the best flooring for wet areas. But if you do insist on installing them in damp spots, you should be ready with the risks.

(Site finished) hardwood

This real wood is a very poor option for wet locations. It would be a bad idea to install it in bathrooms or basements.

(Prefinished) hardwood

This one shares the similar weaknesses of the site finished type. Even worse, this one is even more sensitive to water penetration because it doesn’t have any finish layer after being installed.

Carpets

Carpets dry out slowly, promoting (and even supporting) the growth of mildew and mold. Not to mention that the nature of the surface will trap any debris or moisture so it isn’t hygienic.

Those are the facts about the general flooring types including the ones that are perfect for damp spots as well as the ones bad for the damp areas.

After reading the facts about these flooring options for wet areas, you should be able to make the right decision and make up your minds.

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