This post may contain references or links to products from one or more partners of our parent company and/or subsidiaries of our parent company. For more information, visit this page.
January 3, 2022
AquaSeal flooring may not be the first product that comes to mind when you think of the best laminate flooring. But: this LL Flooring (aka Lumber Liquidators)-exclusive laminate product is popular, so we think it’s worth taking a look at!
That’s why below, we’ve created this total guide to AquaSeal flooring. In it, we’ll cover all the most important facts about AquaSeal flooring: who makes it, how much it costs, the different collections available to purchase, and a whole lot more.
We’ve even used hundreds of real AquaSeal flooring reviews to create an easy-to-use AquaSeal flooring pros and cons list—so you can decide whether this laminate floor is the right choice for you.
Ready for a complete AquaSeal flooring review? Let’s jump in!
👉 For those of you that are simply looking for the best laminate, we would recommend other brands besides AquaSeal. There are many others brands in the same price range that are more durable and a better value
Newton – has some of the best laminate products on the market. They are extremely durable and for the quality, are priced extremely reasonably. You can see their laminate products here.
TruCor – is not a laminate but it’s a good, durable alternative if you are looking for an vinyl plank.
Or, if you’d like to go straight to our “is AquaSeal worth buying” judgment call, click here.
Table of Contents
First, a Laminate Flooring Recap
We don’t want you asking “wait, what is laminate flooring, exactly?” halfway through this article, so here’s a quick recap of everything you’ll need to know!
Laminate flooring was invented in the 1970s, primarily as a substitute for more real (but more expensive) types of wood flooring. It’s a composite floor that’s made (in its most basic form) of a plywood or high-density fiberboard core, a realistic image layer, and a chemical coating for protection.
This makes laminate flooring cheaper than hardwood (on average), but with relatively similar performance attributes.
Laminate is Not The Same as Engineered Hardwood
Some people confuse laminate with engineeredhardwood, but they’re two completelydifferent materials.
Does that mean that engineered hardwood is better than laminate? Absolutely not! Laminate can offer a ton of upside that hardwood can’t. That’s why so many of the best hardwood floor brands make both products.
And of course, laminate allows you to get the look (and in some cases, the feel) of wood floors without paying for real hardwood.
Most Laminate Flooring Isn’t Waterproof…
Unlike vinyl (another hardwood floor alternative), ordinary laminate is not waterproof. Spills can easily penetrate the board fibers, causing them to expand, warp, and crack.
That’s why so many buyers have traditionally opted for waterproof vinyl flooring (aka any vinyl flooring) over laminate when water is an issue.
And yes—this susceptibility to moisture is still an issue for budget laminate brands like TrafficMaster flooring. So: is water a problem for AquaSeal flooring? Well, from its name, you can probably guess—but we’ll talk about that in detail later on. However, this brings us to our next point.
One thing to note, however: “waterproof” laminate isn’t quite as waterproof as luxury vinyl (unless we’re talking about mediocre vinyl brands like NuCore flooring) because it can generally only handle liquids for a set amount of time.
In other words, waterproof laminate is closer to waterproof hardwoodflooring as opposed to vinyl or tile. You still have to be careful, but common household spills shouldn’t be a problem as long as they’re cleaned up within a reasonable amount of time.
Let’s Talk About AquaSeal Flooring
Which brings us back to AquaSeal flooring! We know—that was a lot of information, but we promise it’ll help you understand this AquaSeal flooring review. So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.
AquaSeal Flooring Is a Type of Water-Resistant Laminate Flooring
AquaSeal is a type of water-resistant laminate flooring sold exclusively by Lumber Liquidators (sorry, “LL Flooring”). So long as it’s properly installed with a good underlayment (even an underlayment for vinyl flooring), AquaSeal flooring can handle spills and other common household liquid accidents for up to 24 hours.
There Are 50 Different Styles Available (With 3 Board Width Options)
Just how much cheaper is AquaSeal flooring? Well, buying a hardwood floor can cost anywhere from $3 to $20 per square foot or more. That means AquaSeal’s premier line is about equal to the lowestoak flooring costs you’ll find anywhere. Translation: pretty darn affordable.
Does this low price translate to better value? Well…let’s just say that AquaSeal flooring reviews speak for themselves (and we’ll get into those in just a moment).
On the other hand, if LL Flooring doesn’t sound familiar, you may know them by another name…
LL Flooring Used to Be Called Lumber Liquidators
LL Flooring used to be called Lumber Liquidators, but the company changed its name after settling several different lawsuits (to the tune of $33 million) regarding excessive amounts of harmful chemicals in some of its floors.
What Is Wrong With Lumber Liquidators Flooring?
Okay, to be fair, the question should probably be “what was wrong with Lumber Liquidators flooring”, but the fact remains: lots of people are nervous to purchase floors from this retailer because of its past issues.
The Company Has a Checkered Past With VOCs
In 2019, LL Flooring had to pay that $33 million settlement we mentioned above because their laminate flooring (a different line, not AquaSeal) contained a lot of formaldehyde and was making people sick.
Now, LL Flooring wasn’t going around saying their laminate was eco-friendly flooring, but the levels of this harmful chemical were well above the legal limit. Worse,there was reason to believe that LL Flooring knew this.
The company essentially blamed manufacturers in China, then shook up its top brass (including ousting the company’s founder) and took on the new name.
Bonus: LL Flooring isn’t the only flooring company to find itself in hot water over harmful chemicals. Our Armstrong laminate flooring reviews highlight another big name brand that skirted VOC standards and paid the price.
All of this to say, LL Flooring doesn’t have the best reputation as far as making great products is concerned. But there is some evidence that their newer products (including AquaSeal flooring) are an improvement.
Where Is AquaSeal Flooring Made?
This is tricky. AquaSeal flooring is seemingly made in multiple countries, but LL Flooring doesn’t list any particular countries of origin.
That said, in a few online AquaSeal flooring reviews we read, there were specific instances where potential buyers asked where a product was from, and then LL would verify other users’ answers.
Using this source, we found that there are AquaSeal flooring products made in Germany and Spain. However, there’s no clear master list and technically speaking, these answers aren’t from the company itself.
Nevertheless, LL Flooring has noted in the past that it will no longer source laminate from China (where the lawsuit laminate was from) if that’s a concern.
How Do You Lay AquaSeal Flooring?
Generally speaking, laminate can be installed as a floating floor or glued down with adhesives.
This might sound risky, but it really isn’t—the disadvantages of floating floors are very minor compared to the advantages. Floating floors are relatively easy (and cheap) to install, and they stay in place just as well as traditionally-installed floors.
You Can Only Install AquaSeal Flooring as a Floating Floor
Like many floating vinyl plank flooring products, AquaSeal flooring can only be installed as a click-together floating floor. This has to do with its waterproofing, which is why you see it so much with vinyl.
Theoretically, you could glue these floating planks down if you wanted the extra security, but considering how specific AquaSeal’s warranty is, this might not be a safe choice (even if it works).
Both versions only apply to the original owner, but otherwise, the warranty is pretty standard.
But Remember: Proper Installation Is a Must
LL Flooring notes that if any of its install instructions are ignored, the company won’t honor AquaSeal’s warranty. This includes making sure the subflooring is prepared (check out our guide if you’re not sure about the difference between underlayment vs. subflooring), ensuring that all planks are secured properly, and so on.
DIY-ers will also be happy to know that they’re not required to hire a professional installer to comply with the warranty (though we might suggest hiring one anyway).
It’s Also Important That You Regularly Maintain AquaSeal Flooring
LL Flooring is also adamant about following AquaSeal flooring’s care instructions, as failure to do so may void the floor’s warranty. Fortunately, AquaSeal doesn’t require any crazy cleaning practices.
And How Do You Clean and Maintain AquaSeal Flooring?
Since AquaSeal flooring is water-resistant, you can clean it with a normal mop or laminate-specific cleaners.
Other Warranty Considerations for AquaSeal Flooring
In addition to the install and maintenance instructions, LL Flooring mentions a few other quirks that could hurt the warranty. For example, AquaSeal doesn’t offer outdoor flooring options whatsoever, and you should avoid any harsh chemicals that aren’t meant for laminate.
Additionally, if you want to use radiant heating systems (which are normally used for heating wood floors), it can’t touch AquaSeal flooring directly or be set to a temperature above 80℉.
Is AquaSeal Flooring Waterproof?
Yes! Mostly. Ish.
We’ll talk about this further down, but basically, AquaSeal can repel spills for up to 24 hours. There’s one AquaSeal product that can repel for up to 72 hours as well.
However, after looking through hundreds of AquaSeal flooring reviews, we found a few characteristics that set it apart from other laminate floors—in both good and bad ways.
And remember: we’ve compiled this list of pros and cons by looking through hundreds of AquaSeal flooring reviews all over the internet, so this stuff is coming from actual buyers!
Advantages of AquaSeal Flooring
First, let’s talk about the good stuff—here are the advantages of AquaSeal flooring!
AquaSeal Flooring Repels Water for Up to 24 (or 72 Hours, Depending on the Product)
We didn’t find many AquaSeal flooring reviews that conflict with LL Flooring’s assertion that AquaSeal can repel water for up to 24 hours.
It is worth noting, though, that there is exactly one AquaSeal product that’s rated for 72 hours. Why is there only one product that can handle water longer? We have no clue. LL Flooring doesn’t explain! And ironically, it’s one of the cheapest options! Again: why? We still don’t know!
Anyway, AquaSeal might not be as good as some other waterproof laminates (like Mohawk’s RevWood) as far as water resistance times are concerned, but considering that AquaSeal is cheaper, it’s not a bad trade-off.
Of course, AquaSeal flooring isn’t nearly as waterproof as something like rigid core luxury vinyl flooring (aka EVP flooring), which doesn’t really have a time limit on water resistance—just something to keep in mind. AquaSeal is more like water-resistant wood flooring, in the sense that it won’t disintegrate with moisture, but it shouldn’t be left in standing water.
Nearly All AquaSeal Flooring Reviews Like the Floor’s Look
A common theme in AquaSeal flooring reviews: people love the look! Even “bad” AquaSeal flooring reviews usually point out that the floor does look authentic. LL Flooring credits its design and wear layer system, which “is designed to replicate the natural grain, color, and texture of real hardwood, and extra water protection.”
As such, there are a lot of complaints that buyers had a lot of trouble installing the floor—and a few of those complaints came from professional installers. In other words: if you’re looking for DIY flooring, this probably isn’t it.
This is a departure from the best laminate flooring products because laminate is usually pretty easy to install, at least compared to hardwood (and don’t even get us started on DIY wood floors).
…Which Means the Installation Cost Might Not Be Worth It
Some AquaSeal Flooring Reviews Also Say the Flooring Chips Easily
Another complaint we gleaned from AquaSeal flooring reviews: the floor scratches and dents easily. Now, to be fair, AquaSeal flooring with an AC5 rating seemed to be immune to this issue, but this version only represents about ⅓ of the total catalog (and it costs more).
AquaSeal Flooring Reviews Are Very Mixed (Possibly Based on Country of Origin)
And now for the bombshell: AquaSeal flooring reviews are a rollercoaster. Again, the AC5 version does better, but no version is particularly great.
Another concern: the reviews that are pretty good tend to be from buyers who haven’t had the floor for more than a few months. This is a red flag because it suggests that the floor doesn’t have a great lifespan.
Conclusion: Is AquaSeal Good Laminate Flooring? It’s Okay…ish.
Is AquaSeal flooring the best flooring out there? Absolutely not. Is it the worst? Also no.
Above all, AquaSeal flooring reviews suggest that this LL Flooring product is a true budget option. Even the premier version isn’t very expensive, and you get an okay floor for the price.
But: would we buy it? Probably not.
AquaSeal flooring’s best feature is that it’s relatively inexpensive, but when you look at its durability concerns and mixed reviews, it’s not the safest bet. After all, you’re not saving money if you have to figure out how to replace your flooring after just a couple of years.
If Not AquaSeal Flooring, Which Brand of Laminate Is the Best?
But whether or not these AquaSeal flooring reviews have made you decide to buy the product, purchase your floors smart way—at your local top-rated flooring store.
Local flooring retailers actually know what they’re talking about (unlike the box store clerks that work in 37 different departments), and they use trusted installers rather than 3rd-party contractors.
Whatever direction you go in, we hope this article was helpful and best of luck on your floor-buying journey! And for more info on brands, flooring types, and flooring ideas, check out the articles below.
Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).
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