As one of the leading categories of flooring products for many years, laminate has undergone many transformations in style, design, installation method and composition. Through the years, laminate has evolved from a glued tongue-and-groove floating floor, to a product with robust locking mechanisms meant to not only install faster and easier, but to last longer too. The first laminate floors on the market were wide planks with a glossy finish, square edge and no embossing; over time though, manufacturers have developed boards of all formats, sizes and thicknesses, and a multitude of structures, surfaces and defenses against wear.
Why Laminate Flooring Isn’t Waterproof
The very nature of laminate flooring makes it particularly susceptible to moisture. Constructed of an engineered core made of wood fibers, any moisture that penetrates the joint system would be absorbed like a sponge – we’ve all seen pictures of laminate floors with swelling along the seams, a direct result of spills left to stand or using too much water when cleaning. If such swelling continues, the boards then become likely to chip, especially at corners. In an effort to minimize these effects of moisture on laminate, many manufacturers have developed their own version of water resistance features, and some even claim to be “waterproof”.
Selected Decors with Moisture Protection
Kronotex has always been on the leading edge of the evolution of laminate and has also taken steps to optimize select collections to better withstand moisture penetration. Their Moisture Guard Core, a resin-rich pine from the Mark Brandenburg forests of Germany, and special gluing processes ensure significantly reduced swelling of laminate flooring. This isn’t a guarantee that these products won’t be affected by the effects of moisture, instead they are designed to withstand moisture penetration longer than traditional laminates. It is still important that spills are removed as soon as possible and that the care & maintenance instructions are followed.
The Moisture Guard Core and logo can be found on products from the following collections: AMAZON, CHALET, MAMMUT, MAMMUT PLUS and ROBUSTO.
These products are SUITABLE for use in kitchens, corridors and entryways, but NOT SUITABLE for outdoor areas, rooms with permanently high moisture load (bathrooms, shower cubicles, saunas and rooms with floor drains, for example).
The natural product is particularly suitable for children and pets who are in frequent contact with the flooring; it can easily forgive a mishap or two.
Laminate floors with moisture protection can be easily cleaned with a damp mop. *Please refer to the Kronotex’s Laminate Flooring Guide for detailed instructions.
Although designed for improved resistance to water and moisture, it is not waterproof and excessive wetting and standing water should be avoided.
How do I care for my Kronotex Laminate Floor?
It’s really quite simple to keep your laminate floor looking like new: prevent soiling and wear, sweep or vacuum regularly, spot clean as required, and maintain ideal ambient conditions in the home.
Protective measures must be taken at all times to ensure that the surface of the product is not damaged from wear & tear and/or impact damage. Walk-off mats should be placed at all entrances to avoid dirt and debris from being walked on the floor, felt pads should be used on the bottom of chair and table legs and should be checked regularly to ensure they remain in place and not worn or covered in grit; and protective mats should be placed under any piece of furniture that moves on castors. Remove loose dirt and debris with regular sweeping or vacuuming.
Even with the Moisture Guard Core, laminate flooring needs to be protected from all types of moisture, at all times and this would include accidents of the human or animal variety, spills and during regular cleaning and maintenance; any residual water and moisture on the floor can cause the laminate to lift and swell. For spot cleaning, it’s important that the cloth isn’t too wet; it should only slightly moist so that the floor will quickly dry again afterwards. If anything ever spills on the floor, clean it up immediately and try to wipe the boards lengthwise. In most cases. clear water should be enough, however for tough spots, use a cleaning agent as gently and mild as possible. A special purpose laminate cleaner is recommended for stubborn spots as aggressive cleaning agents will damage the laminate; avoid products that contain wax or soap as they leave unattractive streaks and can build up over time if not removed properly.
One of the biggest sources of moisture is the home environment itself! It’s important that ambient conditions inside the home are maintained to the manufacturer’s guidelines – for our Kronotex laminate, that means a temperature between 20º and 22ºC and relative humidity of 50-60%. A bit more or less shouldn’t be a problem as these values will fluctuate naturally with seasonal and even day-to-day changes in weather, but it’s important to ensure these values don’t persist significantly higher or lower and equally important to avoid significant, sudden swings up or down. We recommend the use of a humidifier, or dehumidifier as the case may be – not only will this level off significant fluctuations, but it will also create a healthier, more pleasant indoor climate.
The Myth of Waterproof Flooring
“Water resistance” should never be confused with “waterproof”
By definition, waterproof means that water cannot penetrate the surface of the object and despite claims of waterproof flooring, you’ll find that most warranties contain caveats that indicate otherwise; most laminates with water resistance are still susceptible to moisture from below. Even if a flooring product itself is impermeable to water – some SPC and LVT products, for example – it doesn’t guarantee damages from moisture can’t and won’t occur – moisture trapped between such a floor and the substrate can result in mold & mildew growth; and floating floors are meant to have expansion space around the perimeter and fixed objects, leaving room for moisture to get trapped. All of these promises of waterproof laminate, really mean improved resistance to moisture as compared to untreated laminate and aren’t legitimately waterproof. The most important factors for longevity and lasting beauty start with a quality laminate floor that is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions; followed by ongoing care & maintenance also accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.