Is Vinyl Flooring Water Resistant or Waterproof? (Your Ultimate Guide)

Today, vinyl flooring is more and more popular in both residential and commercial applications. As a matter of fact, vinyl sheet flooring is the first choice for many commercial flooring. But still many people are confused that whether vinyl flooring is water resistant or waterproof. Actually the debate surrounding water resistant and waterproof is long lived, but few people truly understand the difference.

In this article we will talk about water resistant and water proof for vinyl flooring in details. I am sure you will be all clear after reading.

It’s an in-depth article that takes 25 minutes to read.

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Is Vinyl Flooring Water Resistant or Waterproof?

What is Water Resistant?

Water resistant is the lower level of water protection. It means it is able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely. It will make it more difficult for water to get inside of it, but after a period of exposure, or a certain amount of pressure, water will either soak it or seep through.

1 Water resistant vinyl flooring

What is Waterproof?

Waterproof means it is impervious to water. It will keep water from entering into it, even lots of water and after a long time period, the item with waterproof should be totally sealed or protected from the effects of water. Once you clean the water, the item will look fine without any damage.

2 Waterproof vinyl sheet flooring

What is the difference between water resistant and waterproof vinyl flooring?

Now that you already know the definitions of both water resistant and waterproof, it will be very easy to define water resistant vinyl flooring and water resistant vinyl flooring.

Both terms refer to vinyl flooring that can prevent water, which is great for bathrooms or kitchens.

Water Resistant Vinyl Flooring refers to the vinyl flooring that can substrate from water infiltration. It can withstand topical spills, pet mishaps or moisture tracked in on a rainy day. As long as you wipe up the spill quickly, the floor will be fine. But since it is only water resistant, you don’t expect the vinyl flooring to hold up to long time spills or an over flowing bath. It can only hold up to small spills that are dealt with quickly.

6 Water resistant vinyl flooring

Waterproof Vinyl Flooring also refers to the vinyl flooring that can substrate from water infiltration. This is a permanent effect which means the water will not penetrate the flooring. No matter how much time goes by. And more importantly, it can not only take on topical spills, but can with be with bigger accidents, like overflowing bath.

9 Waterproof vinyl sheet flooring

In a word, water resistant is for small spill of water with quickly cleaning. While waterproof can deal with more water and stand with the water for a long time.

3 Factors to make it waterproof vinyl flooring

1) Material (Flooring itself)

For the flooring itself, some of the vinyl floorings are water resistant, while some are waterproof.

Normally all the vinyl flooring is water resistant cause it is made by PVC powder and it is a kind of plastic flooring, or many people also call it PVC flooring. So it is not difficult to make it water resistant. But not all the vinyl floorings are waterproof; it will need better material, better production machine, and better production process to make waterproof floorings. Which means it will need higher cost to make the vinyl flooring from water resistant to waterproof.

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Flooring - The Aquarium Test

Tips: Normlally when people talking about waterproof flooring, they only mean the flooring material itself. While we still need waterproof installation to reach Installed Waterproof Flooring. (Which we will talk about below. ..)

2) Installation

Actually this is the key difference when we define an installed vinyl flooring is water resistant or waterproof. Actually if you need a vinyl flooring to against water, it will be very easy for you to find a flooring itself waterproof, but they fail to make it truly waterproof during installation.

This means we will have to make the installation process waterproof. Below are some requirements to achieve waterproof installation:

Sealing joint: you will have to hot welding and seal all the joints during installation. In this case we will make sure the joint area will have the same flooring effect as the flooring itself. There will be no gap at all, even the invisible gap. As long as it is not sealing joint, the water will go down eventually after a period of time. So if it is no sealing joint, it is water resistant, if it is sealing joint, it is waterproof standard.

12 Waterproof vinyl sheet flooring

Protection of joints to the wall: In order to get waterproof effect, you will also have to make protection on the flooring joints to the wall. Actually this is the same problem of the joints between flooring, but sometimes people will do welding joints between floorings, but they will not do protection on the joints between flooring and wall. Normally we will fold a piece of vinyl flooring up, and weld the flooring joint if any. In this case even there is water on the flooring, it will not come down underneath. As long as somebody clean it, the flooring will still be in perfect condition.

5 Waterproof vinyl sheet flooring

3) Subfloor condition:

This is not essential, but it will help to increase the water resistant quality. That’s why many underlayments will mention waterproof function. I mean a good subfloor condition will not make it waterproof, but it will make the water resistant in a very high level and close to waterproof. This is extremely helpful when the flooring is waterproof, but there is not sealing joints on the floor. The waterproof subfloor will largely increase the water resistant function and keep the flooring from damage of water.

underlayment for vinyl flooring pvc flooring

Are CVT, LVT and LVP waterproof or water resistant?

Come back to the 3 factors of waterproof vinyl flooring:

CVT, LVT and LVP flooring themselves can be water resistant, this is the standard requirement, and they can also be waterproof if special treatments are made.

But the problem is it is barely impossible to weld joints of all the floorings, there are so many joints cause the flooring itself is in small pieces. That will be too much work to do if how welding all the joints.

So even though you buy waterproof CVT, LVT and LVP, but when you failed to install these vinyl floorings in waterproof standard, the water will eventually doing down from the gap, no matter how tight the joint it is, how close the nearby flooring you lay.

A very good subfloor such as waterproof underlayment will sure help, and actually this is the solution some people make it with CVT, LVT and LVP without sealing joints. It will maximize the water resistant capability.

But we cannot call CVT, LVT and LVP installed waterproof vinyl flooring.

7 Water resistant vinyl flooring

Are SPC and WPC waterproof or water resistant?

SPC and WPC are facing the same problem as CVT, LVT and LVP. Actually it is even worse.

Yes the SPC and WPC can also upgrade from water resistant to waterproof when there is extra cost.

But the same problem is installation. If you can still weld the joint for CVT, LVT and LVP, and fold those floorings up to the wall. ( with tons of works). It is impossible for SPC and WPC to do it.

SPC and WPC are rigid core vinyl flooring, it is impossible for you to fold it, and you can not weld it. So the only thing you can do during installation is to lay the vinyl floor as tight as possible.

Of course, a very good subfoor or waterproof underlayment will sure help to increase the water resistance.

But we cannot call SPC and WPC installed waterproof vinyl flooring.

8 Water resistant vinyl flooring

What category in vinyl flooring is truly waterproof? The answer is only vinyl sheet flooring

Vinyl sheet flooring is all waterproof itself. Both homogeneous sheet vinyl flooring and heterogeneous sheet vinyl flooring.

If there is water resistant and waterproof standard in the market for CVT, LVT, LVP, SPC and WPC, vinyl sheet flooring is the only vinyl flooring that the factory will choose to make it with only waterproof cause mostly they people who buy vinyl sheet flooring will require the flooring against water.

You will weld the joints after installation, this is basic requirements for sheet vinyl installation. And it is also easy to fold and weld the sheet flooring connect to the wall.

If the flooring material is waterproof, the installation process is waterproof, then you can call vinyl sheet flooring is waterproof vinyl flooring.

In this case, there is no need for extra requirements on subfloor, as long as it is suitable for sheet vinyl flooring installation.

So you can call vinyl sheet flooring waterproof vinyl flooring.

Installation of Waterproof Vinyl Sheet Flooring


  • Waterproof is better than water resistant against water damage.
  • Vinyl sheet flooring is only vinyl flooring you can called truly waterproof
  • You can increase the flooring material quality and subfloor quality to increase the water resistance of CVT, LVT, LVP, SPC and WPC, and make it as close to waterproof as possible.

This article is written by Longda Flooring (, the largest vinyl sheet flooring manufacturer from China. 

Please contact Longda flooring for a free quote on your vinyl flooring needs. We have quick response, efficient communication, quality products, on time delivery, and competitive price.

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