Is Waterproof Hardwood Flooring Really a Thing?

By Alex
November 8, 2022

The flooring in your home defines the entire space, which explains why many homeowners will go to great lengths to spiff up their floors. To this end, waterproof hardwood flooring options could do the trick. Oh, wait a minute – does such flooring exist?

Well, waterproof hardwood is what we like to call the new kid on the block. Hitting the scene in early 2019 or thereabout, this flooring option has since garnered rave reviews, with many homeowners calling it a game-changer. Let’s dig deeper to learn more about waterproof hardwood, including what sets it apart from its water-resistant counterpart.

Waterproof Hardwood Flooring: The Basics

In simple terms, hardwood flooring comprises planks milled from a solid piece of hardwood. These engineered planks are sometimes left unfinished or can be stained, coated, or otherwise finished creating the desired look – it’s little wonder why homeowners prefer hardwood flooring for its classic beauty and durability.


As the name suggests, waterproof hardwood comprises enhanced natural hardwood, making it more impervious to liquids than your average hardwood flooring. The waterproof technology used in this flooring option helps to protect against water damage.

All the same, every manufacturer has their way of waterproofing hardwood, but the process typically involves adding a waterproof sealant or layer to the wood. The finish also prevents scuffing and allows the wood to withstand the rigors of everyday use.

Upsides of Waterproof Hardwood

Waterproof hardwood flooring offers distinct advantages over traditional wood floors and even water-resistant options. Here’s a quick walkthrough of some pros of waterproof hardwood.

  • Durability – it’s more durable than regular hardwood, making it an excellent choice for homes with kids or pets.
  • Ease of cleaning – the finish makes it easy to clean and maintain
  • Water resistance – the waterproof sealant protects against water damage
  • Aesthetics – waterproof hardwood retains the classic beauty of hardwood floors, a much sought-after property by homeowners.
  • Versatility- you can use waterproof hardwood in any room in your home, including spaces that experience high foot traffic or moisture levels.

What You Won’t Like

Despite its pros, waterproof hardwood has some downsides. Typically, these include:

  • High cost – unless you’re prepared to pay a premium, it’s advisable to seek alternatives, as waterproof flooring costs a tidy penny.
  • Authenticity – some of the products passed off as real waterproof hardwood are, in fact, laminate floors or hybrids. Plus, if you’re uninitiated, you might not tell the difference.
  • Limited options – As a new entrant into the market, waterproof hardwood doesn’t offer as many styling options as regular hardwood or traditional wooden flooring.

Water-Resistant Floors

Wood floors tend to be beautiful, but they are porous. This means they can absorb water, leading to warping and other damage. Water-resistant floors resist water absorption, making them a better option for areas that may see spills or other moisture.

That said, water-resistant isn’t the same as waterproof. Waterproof means your floor won’t absorb water, not even a little. Water-resistant flooring resists water absorption, but it’s not waterproof. As such, you can get away with minor spills, but only for so long.

Several types of water-resistant wood flooring are available on the market today. The most common type is an engineered hardwood floor, with a top layer of real wood veneer bonded to a backing of either plywood or fiberboard. This flooring is often used in areas with the potential for moisture damage, such as basements and laundry rooms.

Similarly, bamboo wood flooring tends to be water-resistant. Such floors are a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability and ease of care. However, bamboo floors can be more challenging to install than other hardwood floors.

Also, water can cause significant damage to hardwood floors. The first signs of water damage are usually cupping or warping boards. Once the wood starts to absorb moisture, it swells and eventually cracks and splits. In extreme cases, you may have to replace the entire floor.

Regardless of the type of wood flooring you choose, it’s critical to seal the surface with a water-resistant finish. This will help prolong your floor’s life and protect it from damage. And let’s face it; you don’t have to redo your natural wood floor just to make it water-resistant. Some popular finishes you can go for include:

  • Lacquer
  • Varnish
  • Linseed oil
  • Polyurethane sealant

To use the sealant, simply sand or clean the hardwood floor in question and apply your preferred sealant. Once the finish dries, you can go ahead and replace your furniture.

Want to be part of the action? Or do you prefer to hold off a little and let others test the waters first? That said, waterproof hardwood floors may work for you. Sure, it’s new on the scene, but it offers plenty of benefits. But if you’re not prepared to pay top dollar, other water-resistant options may suffice.





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