What is the difference between water resistant and waterproof flooring?

Waterproof flooring.

When exposed to water, it remains unaffected or undamaged. But keep in mind, this flooring is unable to make your home waterproof.

Flooring labeled as water resistant.

It handles a liquid spill just fine. Just wipe it up right away. However, water-resistant flooring offers limited protection from water.

Damage caused by water.

If water remains, it can seep into the cracks, seams, and edges of walls, causing water to travel under the vinyl flooring. That can create all kinds of problems, like swelling, buckling and blistering.

Water will damage hardwood floors, engineered wood floors, laminate floors, and other wood-related products, but not vinyl flooring products. They remain free of water damage. Why? They’re constructed with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, along with other natural stone source materials such as limestone.

At the same time, vinyl waterproof flooring is never a solution to water issues in the subfloor. Yes, it’s unaffected by water. That’s the advantage it has. But zero in on any water or moisture issues before you install flooring -- even vinyl waterproof flooring.

Glue down products.

Before using a glue down vinyl product, read the requirements by the manufacturer of the adhesive. Also, read the section about the pH level of your floor.

Important note: Use a vapor barrier to ensure the flooring adheres to the subfloor.

A quick review. 

Waterproof flooring stands up to water, resisting any damage from it. On the other hand, flooring labeled as water-resistant handles common liquid spills but offers little protection from water.

If you choose water-resistant flooring, install it where there’s little moisture and a low risk of ever being exposed to water.

Remember that installing waterproof flooring will never make a room waterproof. Only the flooring material is waterproof. Do what you can to get rid of moisture from the slab below or from above. If you do, you’ll avoid costly repairs in the future.