What makes LVT Waterproof?

How do I Know if my floor is Waterproof?
It's no secret, the #1 buzz word (well two actually) in recent years has been "water-proof",? LVT was water-proof all along, that's because the materials it is made from does not Absorp moisture.

What exactly does water-proof mean, though? Have you ever taken a moment to look at the manufacturer's guidelines for installation/maintenance as it relates to moisture (aka "water")? I cannot speak for our competitor's products, but our manufacturer's are very clear that while their products are indeed water-proof, they are not a moisture barrier. Simply put, if there is a known moisture issue (or possibility of an issue down the road) then a moisture barrier should be installed under the flooring. A basic 6-mil polyurethane film would be sufficient and the most cost-effective. Why though...isn't it water-proof?!

So as most of us know, these new LVTs, WPCs, SPCs, ETCs can endure all sorts of topical moisture, but what's happening underneath can lead to all sort of problems. While there will be projects that will require moisture barriers over wood sub-floors (ie. over a crawlspace) the majority of the concerns are over concrete. Every slab of concrete has moisture and will always have moisture; and since most concrete floors have a vapor retarder below them, this moisture must move upwards in order to escape. When this happens it can create something called hydro-static pressure. That pressure is what can cause even the best flooring products to fail and come apart. Just to give you an idea, it can be so high that it can cause a bonded ceramic tile to shoot off the floor and stick into the ceiling. Whoa, right?!

So do you need to use a moisture barrier on every job? No, certainly not. However, it should be part of the planning process. It's an inexpensive way to minimize moisture related problems down the road. As my 8 year old likes to remind me...it's better to be safe than sorry! As always, please reach out if you would like to discuss this topic further.