Laminate flooring has become popular for its cost-effective elegance that achieves the appearance of expensive materials like hardwood or stone but at a much lower price point. Whether you have kids, pets, or a lot of foot traffic, this floor can withstand it all. Plus, laminate is really simple to clean.

However, one of the known cons of laminate is its susceptibility to water damage. This is due to the fact that the core of laminate flooring is made from wood byproducts, which can absorb water, and if water is left standing on laminate floors, it can seep into the seams between planks and cause swelling and warping, which is often irreversible.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean you should panic the moment you spill some water on laminate. Promptly cleaning water spillage on laminate is enough to keep it healthy. But if you plan on installing laminate in areas that get a lot of regular moisture and spillage, or if waterproofing is of particular interest to you because of kids or pets, we have good news for you:

You don’t have to give up laminate style and durability because you can find laminate products that are designed to be waterproof.

What is Waterproof Laminate?

Waterproof laminate is an upgraded kind of standard laminate because it has special elements that make it resistant to water. Waterproof laminate, which looks and functions much like regular laminate but can resist moisture, is a great option for places where there is a lot of humidity, spills, or standing water.

Differences Between Waterproof and Regular Laminate Flooring

  1. Core composition: The core layer in waterproof laminate is designed to be highly water-resistant. Unlike regular laminate, which typically uses a high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) core that absorbs water, waterproof laminate is often made from the composite core that is less porous and more moisture-resistant or with added special additives to a fiberboard core.
  2. Improved locking system: Waterproof laminate features a superior locking system compared to regular laminate. This system provides a tighter seal between planks, preventing water from seeping through the seams and reaching the core. 
  3. Specialized top layer: While both regular and waterproof laminate have a wear layer, the wear layer in waterproof variants is often treated with special coatings to enhance its water-repellent properties. This ensures that water sits on the surface rather than penetrating it.

Waterproof vs Water Resistant Laminate

The terms “water-resistant” and “waterproof” when applied to laminate flooring, while often used interchangeably, actually signify different levels of moisture protection.

Water-resistant laminate flooring offers basic protection against moisture and is suitable for spaces with occasional spills that are promptly cleaned. In contrast, waterproof laminate is designed to withstand prolonged exposure to water, making it ideal for high-moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens. The choice depends on the expected level of water exposure in the area.

Installing Waterproof Laminate

It’s about the same amount of work to install waterproof laminate flooring as regular laminate. To keep water from getting in from the sides, both types need level subfloors, time to settle in, and exact fitting. 

However, the key difference lies in the precision required for waterproof laminate. It’s crucial to ensure a tight fit between planks to prevent water infiltration. To improve their water-resistant properties, some waterproof laminates may also come with specific instructions regarding sealing or treating edges, especially in high-moisture areas.

What Are the Best Waterproof Laminate Flooring Brands?

Now that you know what you can expect from waterproof laminate, we can move on to choosing the right product.

And if water is a really big concern for you, it’s very important to choose the laminate that is really waterproof. Here, we’ll cover some of the best waterproof laminate brands known for making high-quality goods:

Best Brands of 2024

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Newton Waterproof Laminate

Newton’s waterproof laminate is well-known for being a great deal. It’s affordable and very durable, which makes it a popular choice for people who want good quality without spending too much money.

Newton’s Product Range and Aesthetics

Newton offers a variety of water-resistant and waterproof laminate flooring that suits many styles and preferences. Their products are great at mimicking the look of popular hardwoods with a range of realistic textures. Newton’s laminate is known for its excellent finish and unique patterns, challenging the idea that laminate can’t look as good as hardwood. Besides looking great, Newton’s laminate flooring is much more affordable than mid to high-end hardwood floors, making it a good option for those who want the hardwood look without the high cost.

Durability and Performance of Newton

Newton’s waterproof laminate is made to last a long time. It has an AC4 wear rating, which means it can handle a lot of foot traffic, like in commercial spaces. This kind of durability means it should last at least 20 years, showing it can withstand regular use and wear. It’s also easy to take care of, which adds to its usefulness.

All Newton laminate products have the GreenGuard Gold certification. This means they meet strict standards for having low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals that can be harmful. This certification shows Newton’s commitment to making flooring that is both eco-friendly and safe for health. The cost of Newton laminates is between $2.50 and $3.00 per square foot, making them an affordable choice that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

Warranty and Brand Reputation of Newton

Newton shows its trust in the quality of its products through its warranty options. Their waterproof laminate flooring comes with either a strong 20-year warranty or a limited lifetime warranty for home use. Also, most of their floors have a 5-year warranty for commercial use, which proves their durability and quality. These warranties, along with Newton’s reputation for good customer service, make it a dependable and customer-focused choice for flooring.

Newton’s dedication to quality, affordability, and customer happiness, along with its commitment to being environmentally responsible, makes it an excellent choice in the waterproof laminate flooring market.

Courtesy of Newton

Shaw’s Repel Waterproof Laminate

Shaw Floors, known as the world’s second-largest flooring company, showcases its expertise with the Repel laminate line. While it’s priced higher, Repel is notable for its lifetime residential warranty. This warranty assures that the flooring is resistant to common household issues like stains, warping, and wear from spills.

Shaw Repel’s Product Range and Aesthetics

Shaw Repel might have a smaller range of styles, with less than 20 options, but it includes all the classic looks like oak and maple, as well as some darker choices like walnut. Although Shaw offers a much bigger selection of over 200 laminate options that aren’t water-resistant, the Repel line is all about offering a refined and stylish collection that meets basic design needs.

Durability and Performance of Shaw Repel

Shaw’s Repel laminate is known for its strong warranty, which covers many types of damage and defects. This makes it a trustworthy option for flooring that will last a long time. Although Repel isn’t specifically called waterproof, the thoroughness of the warranty hints that it’s very resistant to water. It’s a bit unusual that it doesn’t have an AC rating, but the lifetime warranty suggests that Repel is made to be very durable. 

Repel uses advanced technology to resist water, which means that spills can be wiped up easily without harming the floor’s appearance. This makes it a great choice for homes with lots of people walking around, pets, and frequent spills.

Warranty and Brand Reputation of Shaw Repel

Shaw’s Repel laminate flooring line includes a solid lifetime residential warranty, showing the brand’s trust in its product. However, Shaw suggests keeping the humidity in rooms with this flooring between 35% to 65%, which is typical for most American homes. The cost of Shaw Repel is between $5.40 and $5.90 per square foot, making it a high-end choice in the market. Even though Repel is Shaw’s only waterproof laminate option, it offers different price points within its range to fit various budgets.

In summary, Shaw’s Repel waterproof laminate flooring combines a stylish design with advanced technology and strong warranty support. It’s a notable choice for those looking for long-lasting, elegant, and water-resistant flooring.

Courtesy of Shaw

Mannington’s Restoration Collection

Mannington is known in the laminate flooring market for its focus on sustainability and being environmentally friendly. Their products are made with 70% recycled materials and have low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which is good for the environment. Besides being eco-friendly, their laminate flooring is also quite durable. Although it’s not completely waterproof, Mannington’s laminate offers a moderate level of water resistance, which makes it a good option for many homes.

Mannington’s Product Range and Aesthetics

The Restoration Collection, Mannington’s special laminate flooring line, features a wide selection of over 60 styles that mimic the look of wood. This includes options that resemble light pine, darker shades similar to teak, and even some choices that look like parquet flooring. With such a variety, almost every design preference can be met, giving homeowners plenty of choices to get the exact look they want for their homes.

Durability and Performance of Mannington Laminate

Mannington’s Restoration Collection has a strong AC4 rating, which means it’s very durable and can be used in commercial spaces or homes with a lot of foot traffic. This rating shows that the flooring can handle heavy use and wear and tear well. The price of the Restoration Collection ranges from $3.40 to $3.70 per square foot, offering a good balance between quality and cost-effectiveness.

Warranty and Brand Reputation of Mannington

Mannington’s Restoration Collection comes with a 25-year residential warranty, which is not as long as the lifetime warranties offered by some other brands but still shows trust in the product’s durability. Mannington also states that the flooring can be safely mopped as long as the water is quickly cleaned up, indicating a dependable level of water resistance.

In conclusion, the Restoration Collection from Mannington offers a mix of environmentally friendly manufacturing, a wide range of styles, and solid performance. Its use of recycled materials and the variety of design options make it an attractive choice for people who care about the environment and those who want different design choices.

Courtesy of Mannington

Introduction to AquaGuard by Floor & Décor

AquaGuard, which is only available at Floor & Decor, is known for its excellent water resistance. It offers an impressive 30-hour protection against water that’s standing still. Even though Floor & Decor is a large retail store and there are sometimes worries about the quality of products at such stores, AquaGuard is surprisingly high-quality. It has an AC5 rating for durability, which is not very common in the laminate flooring market and indicates a very strong and long-lasting product.

AquaGuard’s Product Range and Aesthetics

AquaGuard has just one collection, but it’s quite large, offering 85 different styles. This includes a range of popular wood-like appearances, meeting a wide variety of tastes and fitting with different interior designs. With such a wide selection, customers have plenty of options to choose from, whether they’re looking for classic or modern styles.

Durability and Performance of AquaGuard Laminate

AquaGuard laminate’s AC5 rating marks it as extremely durable, capable of handling heavy traffic in commercial settings as well as in homes. Its standout feature is handling water spills and accidents for up to 30 hours, offering substantial protection against water damage. With a price range of $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot, AquaGuard provides a good balance between cost and quality. This makes it a competitive choice in the market for waterproof laminate flooring.

Warranty and Brand Reputation of AquaGuard

AquaGuard offers a strong warranty package: a limited lifetime warranty for home use and a 15-year warranty for commercial use. This shows the brand’s trust in the long-lasting quality and performance of its product. It’s important to install it correctly to keep the warranty valid. Despite AquaGuard’s great water resistance, Floor & Decor recommends not letting water sit on the flooring to avoid damage like mold or mildew.

In conclusion, AquaGuard from Floor & Decor is a strong and dependable choice for waterproof laminate flooring, especially for those who want high durability and a wide range of style options. With its solid warranty and impressive ability to resist water, AquaGuard is a standout choice in the laminate flooring market.

Courtesy of Floor & Decor

Other Notable Mentions

Here are a couple more waterproof laminate flooring options. They might not be the best out there, but they’re still worth mentioning:

  • AquaFlor by Tarkett (Cost: $1.00–$3.25 per square foot)

This is a budget-friendly, water-resistant laminate flooring. Tarkett, originally a big name in Europe, is now making its mark in the American market. Their AquaFlor brand offers 24-hour protection against spills, similar to AquaGuard by Floor & Decor. However, some people have mixed feelings about its quality, which is why it’s not considered top-tier.

  • AquaSeal by LL Flooring (Cost: $1.00–$4.00 per square foot)

AquaSeal could have been ranked higher, but its maker, LL Flooring, has had some legal issues in the past. Also, there are mixed reviews about this product. Most of AquaSeal’s products are affordable, and they come with a lifetime warranty for home use and a 10-year warranty for commercial use. The flooring has an AC4 rating, indicating decent quality. However, if you look at LL Flooring’s website, you’ll find quite a few negative reviews, especially regarding how long the flooring lasts.


Because it is both beautiful and practical, waterproof laminate flooring is a safe bet. Laminate flooring offers a practical option for high-traffic areas that are prone to water damage while preserving the traditional outstanding look. 

When choosing waterproof laminate, keep in mind the specific needs of the location, such as the amount of foot traffic and the amount of water exposure. Even though it provides excellent water resistance, not every waterproof laminate is suitable for use in areas that are constantly damp or might be immersed in water, such as bathrooms.

Our big advice here is to check warranties before you purchase. Remember: there’s a big difference between water-resistant laminate and waterproof laminate, and it’s important to know which is which. When in doubt, see what the product you’re interested in covers in its warranty.

About The Author

John Lahr

January 21, 2024

Associate Director of Content Marketing at FlooringStores (and its parent company, Broadlume), John is a former travel writer, English teacher, and semi-professional trivia host. When he’s not creating content, he can be found doing crosswords, drinking coffee, and petting the office dogs.


  • Berry Alloc Laminate Liverpool

    Very nice information! Waterproof laminate flooring can actually be a great thing to consider for sure. Thank you very much for providing this post here.
    Berry Alloc Laminate Liverpool

  • I think you should look in to Mohawk flooring. Their Rev Wood premier has a lifetime waterproof protection. How many other flooring company’s can say that about their laminate?

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