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AquaSeal Flooring Reviews: Worth Buying?

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!

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.

Cross section of laminate flooring

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 engineered hardwood, but they’re two completely different materials. 

What is engineered hardwood? It’s a real wood floor, just made of multiple types of wood. So if you compare engineered hardwood vs. laminate side-by-side, you’ll see that, while they look similar, laminate is a high-performance fake wood floor—whereas engineered hardwood is the real deal. 

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.

…But There Are Exceptions

Fortunately, laminate manufacturers have started to catch on, and both water-resistant and waterproof laminate flooring products are starting to pop up all over (like Floor & Decor’s popular AquaGuard flooring). 

That’s a lucky break for laminate flooring manufacturers, because luxury vinyl plank flooring was really starting to push laminate to the sidelines (seriously, the vinyl plank vs. laminate debate was getting hot). 

So these days, the best laminate flooring brands are once again legitimate competitors for fun titles like the best kitchen flooring and best flooring for dogs

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 hardwood flooring 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

Wine Spilled on Light Wood Floor

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)

AquaSeal flooring comes in about 50 different styles ranging from light wood floor looks to dark wood floor patterns. Most AquaSeal products mimic wide-plank wood flooring, and there are even a few that are reminiscent of parquet flooring

Here are the 3 board width categories:

  • Extra Wide (8 inches)
  • Wide (6 to 7.9 inches)
  • Medium (4.1 to 5.9 inches)

Most AquaSeal Flooring Mimics Hardwood Flooring (So There Aren’t Many Tile or Stone-Look Options)

Like many of the best laminate flooring brands, AquaSeal flooring focuses on making fake wood flooring. While there’re a handful of products that imitate various types of tile (both porcelain and stone), wood floor designs dominate the catalog. 

How Much Does AquaSeal Flooring Cost?

Let’s be clear: AquaSeal flooring is a budget brand of water-resistant laminate. 

For the most part, the pricing correlates with the product’s AC rating—a useful metric that grades how scratch- and dent-resistant a laminate floor is on a scale of 1–5 (1 is bad, 5 is great).

The options:

  • Planks with an AC5 rating cost between $2 and $3.20/sq. ft.
  • Planks with an AC4 rating cost between $2.20 and $2.40/sq. ft.
  • And planks with an AC3 rating cost between $1 and $2/sq. ft.

An AC3 rating is all that’s really needed for most residential applications, unless you have a super high-traffic home or extremely rambunctious pets. 

How Does That Price Compare to Hardwood?

To that end, if you compare AquaSeal laminate vs. hardwood floor prices (and we’re not even talking about the cost of the best engineered wood flooring here), you’ll see that AquaSeal is way less expensive. Like much laminate, it’s just a fraction of the cost of wood flooring

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 lowest oak 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).

Who Makes AquaSeal Flooring?

AquaSeal flooring is made by LL Flooring, which also makes a few other types of flooring. For example, you may have heard of their PVC flooring brand, CoreLuxe, as well as their many prefinished hardwood flooring products.

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. 

What is a floating floor, you ask? Most floating floors (aside from loose lay vinyl plank flooring) use a click-lock system to secure planks to one another. These planks then “float” on top of the subfloor—meaning they’re not attached to it with glue or nails. 

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).

How Is AquaSeal Flooring’s Warranty?

Speaking of which: aside from the AC3-rated options, all AquaSeal flooring products come with a limited lifetime residential warranty and a light 10-year light commercial warranty. 

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. 

AquaSeal Flooring Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of AquaSeal aren’t too different from the pros and cons of laminate flooring in general. 

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.”

You can find the look of many hardwood species in AquaSeal’s catalog too, though you’ll have better look searching for wood floor colors as opposed to searching for something like “hickory vs. oak styles”, for example.

AquaSeal Flooring Is GreenGuard Gold Certified (as Low-VOC Flooring)

AquaSeal flooring has a GreenGuard Gold certification, meaning it’s classified as low-VOC flooring by a third party. This is a step in the right direction for LL Flooring considering the company’s formaldehyde lawsuit.

Anyway, non-toxic laminate flooring like AquaSeal flooring is proven to be less harmful as it contains significantly fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

All that said, low-VOC flooring isn’t synonymous with environmentally friendly flooring. Both are good, but if you want flooring that’s both health-conscious and doesn’t harm the environment (remember, laminate is fully artificial), hemp flooring or sustainable wood flooring options (like pine flooring) are better choices.

Disadvantages of AquaSeal Flooring

Unfortunately, AquaSeal flooring reviews also note a number of complaints. Here are some of the most common issues.

Many AquaSeal Flooring Reviews Say It’s Hard to Install (Because of the Click-Together System)… 

The issue that pops up again and again in AquaSeal flooring reviews is that the click-together installation system is overly fragile. 

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

So what’s the prognosis? We recommend hiring a professional installer. Fortunately, the cost to install laminate flooring only runs between $1 and $6 per square foot (about the same as the cost to install vinyl plank flooring). If that sounds like a lot, just remember that the cost to install engineered hardwood floors can cost as much as $16/sq. ft. or more.

That being said, for a budget floor…well, we just wonder if it’s worth it.

Anyway, unless you’re looking for the easiest flooring to install (which might be peel-and-stick carpet tiles), there’s always going to be a learning curve. But again: we just wonder if it’s worth it. Oh, and if you want to know how to install carpet tiles, just click that link!

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).

As such, we’re not sure that anything but the AC5-rated version qualifies as scratch-resistant flooring (and certainly not for heavy-duty applications, like if you’re looking for the best basement flooring or mudroom flooring). Laminate should be able to stand up to some of the most durable wood flooring, but AquaSeal…seems to fall a little short. 

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. 

Of course, most AquaSeal laminate is relatively inexpensive at less than $3/sq. ft. Which means that, overall, AquaSeal seems to be in the same category as other budget box store products like Select Surfaces laminate flooring or Costco laminate flooring.

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?

So if AquaSeal flooring isn’t one of the best laminate flooring brands out there, what is? 

Well, there are actually a few contenders. Pergo is the original inventor of laminate flooring and they still make great products (our Pergo Outlast and Pergo TimberCraft reviews highlight two solid choices). Shaw laminate flooring and Mohawk laminate flooring are also great options. 

Of course, you might also consider the best vinyl plank flooring brands if you’re not married to laminate. Proximity Mills, for example, is a great choice, as are Mannington vinyl flooring and Karndean LVP (our Karndean vinyl plank flooring reviews explain why).

Whatever You Choose, Let the Experts Help!

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. 

About The Author

Christian Southards

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).

Show Comments (2)
  1. I BOUGHT AQUASEAL 12MM TAPESTRY OAK 7.56X50.63. AND I PAID FOR THE INSTALL. I HAVE 17 CHIPPED BOARDS THROUGHT THE ENTIRE INSTALL OF LIVINGROOM, BEDROOM AND DININGROOM. NOW THEY WANT TO UNDO THE WHOLE FLOOR TO FIX, WONDERING IF THAT WILL VOID WAERRANTY ?

    • Hi Siri,

      So, so sorry to hear about your issues with your floor! Unfortunately, when it comes to warranty questions, we have to recommend contacting the manufacturer directly as we can’t properly speak to what a company’s warranty will (or won’t) specifically cover.

      Best of luck with everything and please let us know if and how it gets resolved!

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