Luxury Vinyl Plank - is it waterproof?
What is Luxury Vinyl Plank?
Luxury Vinyl Plank is often referred to as “LVP”. Similar to LVP is LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile). For the purpose of the article, we’re going to discuss LVP as the characteristics between the two are similar. Depending on the LVP you choose, there are 5+ layers consisting of foam, core, and PVC material to provide structure. Next, finish and protective layers are added to make the flooring look nice and last longer. LVP comes with one of two options for installation – glue down or click together. DIY approaches are easier using click together, but your subfloor must be level for the planks to not separate. Glue Down is preferred for more unlevel areas because the glue adheres it to the floor, but it is harder to remove and harder to install.
There has been a lot of discussion around LVP and the term waterproof. At quick glance, LVP may seem like a no brainer with the waterproof claims. If you spill a drink or your pet dribbles some water from their water bowl, the flooring layer itself can temporarily repel water. They can also be mopped, albeit with a reasonable amount of water.
Waterproof vs. Floodproof
Often overlooked when purchasing LVP is the difference between Waterproof and Floodproof. A good rule of thumb is to think of waterproof as the top layer being water resistant. Floodproof means that a material can hold up when all sides get wet and/or submerged as often occurs with water damage. Due to how the LVP is constructed with foam and core structure, if these parts get wet, the often become compromised. Additionally, property owners should consider where they are placing this type of flooring and what type of water can affect it. Knowing that water can get beneath LVP, that means category 3 water can get beneath and fester if not properly dried and sanitized.
LVP is a great alternative for many property owners. It’s fast to install, usually cheaper to install, and holds up well to scratches from kids/pets. However, somewhat deceptive marketing tactics often lead consumers to believe this flooring is indestructible. Any time water gets underneath flooring, it must be dried. If prompt action isn’t taken, secondary damage can occur resulting in mold or other contaminants. Hardwood flooring can occasionally be dried in place and saved with wood floor drying mats, but LVP is not strong enough to handle the suction. Due water damaged the construction of LVP, if water gets underneath, it often is not salvageable. Moisture detection alarms may help avoid significant damage to your LVP.
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