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.
March 5, 2021
Looking into waterproof vinyl flooring? We get it!
There are certain areas of the home that see a bit more splashing and spilling than others, and they require some additional planning. Bathrooms, kitchens, and mudroom flooring are at the top of this list—and unfortunately, you can’t put just any ol’ types of flooring in these rooms!
Enter waterproof vinyl flooring. This stuff comes with a ton of styles and perks, so you’re sure to find a look you love while taking advantage of the extra protection it offers.
But we know—some people hear the word vinyl and think grandma’s kitchen.
That’s why below, we’re going to be reviewing 12 of the best (or at least the most popular) waterproof vinyl flooring options on the market. And before that, we’ll make sure to cover all the different types of vinyl flooring out there and go over some waterproof vinyl flooring FAQs!
Table of Contents
What Types of Vinyl Flooring are Waterproof?
You might be thinking: waterproof vinyl flooring? Aren’t all vinyl floors waterproof?
Well, yes… and no. All PVC flooring materials—that is to say vinyl flooring materials—are waterproof. But this only applies to the materials themselves. The way you install these materials has a huge impact on their waterproof qualities (or lack thereof). We’ll look into that in detail below.
The 3 Main Categories of Waterproof Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring comes in three main categories: LVP (luxury vinyl plank), LVT (luxury vinyl tile), and sheet vinyl.
LVP and LVT are essentially the exact same thing—a multi-layer vinyl floor that comes in pieces, just like wood planks or porcelain tiles. In fact, many people use the terms “LVP” and “LVT” interchangeably.
These luxury vinyl floors can have either a rigid or flexible core, and rigid-core luxury vinyl products are sometimes known as “EVP flooring”. We know, there are way too many acronyms in the world of waterproof vinyl flooring.
Let’s go over each of these floors in detail!
#1. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
Perhaps the most popular waterproof vinyl flooring option is LVP, or luxury vinyl plank. And what makes luxury vinyl plank (LVP) different from luxury vinyl tile (LVT)? The way it looks!
LVP is Easy to Install (And You Can Do it in a Number of Ways)
One of LVP’s biggest perks: it’s super easy to install, either as a do-it-yourself flooring project or for a professional installer (and to be honest, we’d recommend the latter).
Depending on the product, LVP can be glued down, loose-laid, or (most commonly) installed as click-together flooring to create a floating floor. What is a floating floor, exactly? It’s a floor that connects to itself using snap-lock grooves. Which means it doesn’t have to be attached to a subfloor!
But This Also Means It Needs to be Installed Properly to Be a Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Option
Because LVP can be installed in so many ways—and because it installs in pieces—it needs to be installed correctly. Otherwise, it can lose all of its waterproof vinyl flooring qualities!
Plus, one of the big disadvantages of floating floors is that, if they’re incorrectly installed, they can trap moisture between the subfloor or underlayment and the floor itself. And that’s a recipe for a bad time.
Just Remember: Vinyl Plank is Not The Same as Wood or Laminate!
A lot of people confuse vinyl plank (LVP) with engineered wood or laminate flooring. And while they are similar in some ways, they are not the same types of flooring. Both engineered wood and laminate use organic materials in their construction, like wood pulp. And the best engineered wood flooring products are made entirely of real wood.
Yes, laminate and vinyl plank are both fantastic fake wood flooring options. But besides construction, you’ll find one major difference when comparing vinyl plank vs. laminate: one is waterproof, and the other isn’t!
All you have to know is this: all the best vinyl plank flooring brands sell tile-look options too. So when it comes to waterproof vinyl flooring, you have endless options. And of course, if you want to get crazy and blend the look of wood with the durability of real porcelain, you can check out wood-look tile. Again: so manyoptions.
You Install LVT the Same Way as LVP
Like LVP, you can install LVT as a glue-down, loose-lay, or click-together floating floor. This makes it a great waterproof vinyl flooring alternative for real tile, which needs to be spaced and grouted (which is a huge hassle). And while snap-together tile flooring does exist, it’s nowhere as easy to install as LVT.
The third main type of waterproof vinyl flooring is sheet vinyl. Vinyl sheet is exactly what it sounds like—soft vinyl that comes in a huge roll and is cut to size. It comes in a huge variety of colors and patterns.
And if you’re thinking about the waterproof vinyl flooring from every non-renovated guest bathroom you’ve ever been in, yes—this is that material.
Vinyl Sheet is Glued to the Subfloor—So it’s Very Waterproof
As we mentioned, sheet vinyl is cut to size from a roll. Then, it’s glued to a subfloor. This makes it a super waterproof vinyl flooring option if it’s installed correctly, as there are no seams for water to drip through!
However: if you’re on the hunt for low-VOC vinyl flooring, just remember that you’ll need to install your sheet vinyl with a special adhesive. Some floor glues can contain VOCs, which can cancel out the benefits of choosing a low-VOC flooring option in the first place!
This Means Sheet Vinyl is a Bit Harder to Install
Because vinyl sheet has to be cut perfectly to the size of a room (and glued down in one huge piece) it can be a pain and a half to put in. Translation: it’s a bit less DIY-friendly. After all, you don’t want your floor to bubble and warp.
Waterproof Vinyl Flooring FAQs
We know you have questions about waterproof vinyl flooring. That’s natural! Luckily, we’re here to answer them—so let’s get to it!
Is Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Really Waterproof?
Absolutely! Like we said, all it takes is the proper installation (which is why we’d recommend having your floors installed by a top-rated flooring store near you rather than by a faceless big box store).
What Are the Different Layers in Vinyl Plank Flooring?
That’s a great question! Most vinyl plank/vinyl tile is composed of 3 layers:
A rigid or flexible base or core layer that gives the floor its stability. Some specialty floors infuse their core layers with special materials like wood flour (in WPC flooring) or limestone powder (in SPC flooring) for added benefits.
A textured design layer that gives the floor its look and feel. These can mimic just about any hardwood species or type of tile.
A hard, transparent wear layer. Many of the best vinyl plank flooring wear layers include special substances like aluminum oxide crystals or tiny ceramic beads for a more scratch-resistant flooring material.
The life of any floor depends on how well it’s maintained (and the quality of the materials purchased). That said, many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands offer limited lifetime warranties—so the answer is clearly “a long time”.
How Do You Clean Waterproof Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl floors are incredibly easy to maintain. They just require sweeping and the occasional mopping. Just remember: only use approved vinyl floor cleaners if you need something a little tougher. Some conventional floor cleaners can destroy a vinyl floor’s wear layer!
Can You Refinish Vinyl Flooring?
Sadly, you can not refinish vinyl flooring the same way you can refinish bamboo flooring or wood flooring. Once the wear layer is worn through, the floor’s lifespan is done.
What Styles Does Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Come In?
Endless styles. Like we said, you can get wood-look or tile-look floors with LVP and LVT, or fun, intricate patterns (or no pattern at all) with vinyl sheet. Ash flooring? Sure. Teak flooring? Definitely. Wide-plank wood flooring? Why not. Again: lots of options.
The 12 Top Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Options
So, now that we’ve covered the basics of vinyl flooring and answered some FAQs, let’s look at 12 of the most popular waterproof vinyl flooring options on the market.
Keep in mind that these aren’t necessarily the best vinyl plank flooring brands on the market (though some are)—they’re just the most popular. You’ll see what we mean in a moment.
#1. Proximity Mills
Proximity Mills is a new kid on the block, but they’re our top pick for best overall value.
The company offers 11 different lines of SPC luxury vinyl plank flooring, each with numerous different colors and styles. The floors are waterproof and come with a very thick wear layer—at least 12 mils on every product. Plus, they’re ceramic bead-infused wear layers, which means they’re extra durable. And Proximity Mills reviews are, in a word, fantastic.
Although vinyl is not always known as the most environmentally-friendly flooring choice (because it’s made of plastic), Proximity Mills offers low-VOC and zero-VOC options. And as part of their commitment to sustainability, many of their products can be recycled, too. Not bad for $3.50–$7 per square foot!
COREtec believes in their core values—strength, style, and simplicity. Their products come in a variety of different styles and installation styles. The reviews for this product are great, but it’s on the more expensive side (ranging from $6.20 to $9.00 per square foot for product only).
Pergo Extreme is advertised as dent-proof, waterproof, kid-proof, and pet-proof. And to be fair, Pergo Extreme reviews are largely positive, if a little mixed. That’s understandable, though—the company has been making composite flooring since the 1970s, and with longevity comes ups and downs. Pergo Extreme is easily found at flooring stores nationwide if you want to see it in person.
#4. SolidTech Plus by Mohawk
Mohawk is the world’s largest flooring manufacturer. And perhaps their most popular waterproof vinyl flooring product is called SolidTech Plus. The price point for the SolidTech Plus is around $3.50 per square foot, though you can get an exact quote at your local flooring store.
SolidTech Plus boasts an SPC core and a very decent wear layer—and with those features at its price, it’s easy to see why this is a popular option.
#5. CoreLuxe by LL Flooring
CoreLuxe is a product made by LL Flooring (aka Lumber Liquidators). There are three different levels of this engineered vinyl plank—CoreLuxe, CoreLuxe XD, and CoreLuxe Ultra. Quality and thickness are the biggest differences between the three types (as well as price).
CoreLuxe starts at just under $2.00/square foot, while CoreLuxe Ultra runs closer to $4.00/square foot.
That said, it is a very budget-friendly option when it comes to waterproof vinyl flooring—even if you do get what you pay for. LifeProof is priced between $2.00–$4.00 per square foot depending on your location.
#7. Cali Vinyl
Cali is better known for producing some of the best bamboo flooring than it is for producing waterproof vinyl flooring—but the company is branching out.
These days, they offer vinyl plank options with lots of different realistic grain patterns. Studied up on the pros and cons of hickory flooring but can’t stop thinking about how beautiful it looks? Cali has five different hickory patterns. You’ll find this flooring option for $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot at many retailers, so check out your local flooring store to see the variety.
Just remember, though: ask about their wear layers. They might not be what you’re looking for. Seriously. That’s all we’ll say about that.
#8. ADURA Max by Mannington
The ADURA Max product by Mannington is waterproof, kid-friendly, pet-friendly, easy to clean, and scratch-resistant. It’s available in both planks and tiles, and in a wide variety of styles.
One factor that sets it apart is its sound dampening, shock-absorbing backing layer. Manning claims this can dampen sound by up to 30%, bringing a little more peace and quiet to your home.
Mannington has been in business for over a century and has always been a leader in innovation. And while ADURA might not be the most budget-friendly waterproof vinyl flooring, people love it.
#9. SmartCore by Lowes
SmartCore flooring is Lowes’ in-house waterproof vinyl flooring brand. Like its competitors, it’s waterproof—but like Home Depot’s LifeProof, it’s very much a budget option (in quality as well as price).
That said, SmartCore comes in a decent variety of styles, including quite a few different options that resemble different shades of oak and pine flooring. Coming in between $3.00 and $4.00, it’s affordable, if not as good as other brands in the price range.
#10. PRYZM by Armstrong
Armstrong took customer feedback about their now-defunct Luxe line to heart and came out with a much better quality product—PRYZM.
Simply put, this is a very high-quality LVP product as waterproof vinyl flooring goes. It’s advertised a comfortable floor to walk on, and its wear layer contains industrial diamonds for extra protection.
PRYZM is comparable with other high-end vinyl plank flooring options at $4.00–$7.50 per square foot.
#11. Floorte by Shaw
Shaw Industries is the second-largest flooring company in the world after Mohawk, so we can’t have a list of waterproof vinyl flooring options without including them!
Their Floorte line comes in both a “classic” and “pro” series, the latter of which boasts a (ridiculously impressive) 30-year commercial warranty. It’s a high-end LVP option, and the price—$4.00 to $7.50 per square foot—reflects that.
#12. NuCore by Floor & Decor
Rounding out our list of waterproof vinyl flooring options is Floor & Decor’s NuCore flooring. What makes NuCore’s core so “nu”? Well… Floor & Decor doesn’t really say. This lack of any concrete information about the product is a common theme in NuCore flooring reviews.
All of that to say, NuCore is a budget option, and it performs like one. Enough said!
So What is the Best Waterproof Vinyl Flooring?
The best waterproof vinyl flooring is… whichever one works for you!
Whether you go with LVP, LVT, or sheet vinyl, the important thing is that you find a product that works for your aesthetic and price range.
And even more importantly, you need to install it correctly! As we said above, the only truly waterproof vinyl floor is one that’s been installed properly.
Steph is a book nerd, rule follower, and pizza lover who can't get enough of playing outside. She was raised on the ice rinks of MN and currently resides in sunny San Diego. As a freelance writer, she loves research, producing content, and organizing information for a wide variety of clients. She currently has at least 10 browser windows open at all times.
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. Updated 9/20/23 Want to give your laundry room an upgrade and looking for the best laundry room flooring? You’re in the right place! Laundry rooms see […]
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