Both Hybrid & Vinyl Plank floors are considered Waterproof for interior use. The term supports localised topical spills and short-term moisture exposure from household accidents. These types of events usually occur from the surface or top of the planks; kitchen, laundry & bathroom spills are common areas where this can happen. Generally, incidental spills are cleaned up within a reasonable period of time avoiding any long-term visual or structural damage.
What Waterproof doesn’t mean is that these products can be flooded or exposed to long-term sub-floor moisture excess without impacting the products shape and overall performance. Hybrid and Vinyl planks have a core construction that is largely inert, unlike timber planks the core has a very slow moisture vapour transmission capacity, therefore if the concrete slab or levelling compounds are not suitably dry or if extensive home flooding or building leaks have occurred the floor planks may be impacted by this moisture exposure. Slight cupping, twisting or delamination can arise because the excessive moisture remains trapped under the surface of the planks. In the case of exterior flooding harmful micro bacterial matter may be present therefore reuse will not be possible due to the hazardous nature of contaminants tracked in with the storm water. These events are not product warranty matters they are considered site related requiring your Building Insurer to cover the damage for rectification.
It is vital the installer carries out sub-floor testing prior to install to make sure the site is ready and suitable for the product selected. This is critically important for all new and old concrete slab installations as concrete will release moisture for a considerable period of time during the curing process. Older slabs can also prove problematic if the slab condition is porous, cracked or lacking in perimeter damp proofing.
In areas such as Bathrooms, Laundry and Powder Rooms you will need to confirm with local building regulations to determine if Hybrid or Vinyl Planks can be certified for installation in wet areas. Floating (Click) installations are generally not suitable for areas where topical wetting may occur, certain Vinyl Planks can be direct adhesive fixed to meet code requirements but floating floors are best suited to general living areas. It’s always best to get written confirmation from the retailer and installer prior to purchase.
Hybrid & Vinyl floors are a not a substitute for a waterproof membrane.