Laminate flooring is a popular choice because it's typically affordable whilst still being functional and it looks great. But...
It has a downside because laminate flooring and water do not get along with each other. Water can damage laminate flooring causing it to become uneven and warped in places.
If you’ve ever experienced a flood or a leak on your laminate flooring, you will know the pain we are talking about here!
So can you seal laminate flooring and protect it? There's a few pro's, con's and warnings you have to consider first...
Can you seal laminate flooring?
You can indeed seal laminate flooring, but you will need to be extremely careful when doing so.
Most laminate flooring features an aluminum oxide surface that should not be tampered with.
Applying a sealant to laminate flooring can cause more harm than good.
In some cases, applying a sealant to laminate flooring can void your warranty and leave you with a hefty bill when it comes to replacing or repairing the flooring.
In these cases, it is best to avoid applying a seal to your laminate flooring, and be sure to read the warranty thoroughly before carrying out any work on your flooring!
But all is not lost; there is a way to seal your laminate flooring! To help make your laminate flooring (see also how to install pergo flooring) more moisture resistant, you can apply some laminate flooring sealant. It is best to apply this to the joints only.
Make sure that the sealant does not extend to anywhere else on the flooring. It would be wise to avoid gluing your flooring to the subfloor, as it will not be able to expand and contract effectively.
General wood glue can be used on the flooring joints; just be sure to wipe any excess glue off while installing.
What about the edges?
It is not always needed to seal the laminate flooring, as they feature a super-hard finish.
If you are concerned about water entering the floor, sealing the floor’s perimeter is a better option. You can do this with sealant or glue, as we mentioned above.
You can apply a coat of 100% silicone caulk to the bottom edges of the baseboards to ensure water does not seep below your laminate flooring.
It is imperative to do this if your flooring is in a bathroom or kitchen.
The caulk can also be used around cabinets and plumbing fixtures to ensure that any water does not seep under the floor and wreak havoc on the underside of your boards!
You can do this yourself or seek help from a professional if you are unsure.
Factors to consider
Now that we have looked at whether you can seal laminate flooring let’s look at some factors to consider and why it is best not to seal your laminate flooring.
As we mentioned earlier, applying a seal to the top of your laminate flooring can damage the surface. As the top layer of laminate flooring consists of melamine resins and aluminum oxide, the surface is nearly plastic.
This means there is nothing to seal, so your seal coat will sit on top instead of penetrating the flooring.
Often, this leads to the seal peeling off and can make the floor slippery and dangerous. It is advised against by flooring professionals, and we would agree with them!
A seal on laminate flooring can also damage the core of the boards as well as the surface. In some cases, the sealer will seep into the laminate, often in the gaps between boards, but it can be dangerous.
It can cause the fiberboard to swell, resulting in curling and lifting on the board’s edges.
These days most manufacturers seal the locking tongues and grooves of your laminate flooring with wax, making any additional sealant you apply redundant.
If you want to apply extra sealant to the locking mechanisms, it is best to do this when your laminate flooring is installed. You can do this yourself or ask a professional for help if you are unsure.
While it may seem beneficial to apply a seal, if you are doing this to an already water damaged floor, you should ask yourself if it is worth it.
If the floor has already suffered water damage, it might be worth putting the cost of sealant towards purchasing a new laminate flooring.
Thanks to new developments, waterproof laminate flooring does exist and is probably better to invest in.
What is laminate flooring?
But first, before we get into it, let’s have a little recap for any novices in the room. Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring comprising four layers.
You have a high-density fiberboard, or HDF, with a balancing paper on the base as the main core. The top of the HFD core is finished with decorative paper and laminated.
This board is then cut down to create the laminate flooring we see in homes across the country. Laminate flooring is generally easy to install, affordable, and low maintenance.
Laminate flooring is an excellent option for those carrying out home improvements or who enjoy regular change, as it is also easy to remove.
Laminate flooring is not always 100% waterproof, and water damage is a real issue in many homes. While water-resistant laminate flooring does now exist, what can be done to protect existing laminate flooring?
Final Word On Sealing Laminate Flooring
So, although you can seal laminate flooring, it is probably best that you do not. It can cause further damage to your existing laminate flooring and void any warranties you have in place.
There are ways in which you can seal your laminate flooring, but your best option is to seal the edges of the flooring and any plumbing fixtures to ensure dry boards.