Options for sealing laminate floors from water

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by raterus, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. raterus

    raterus Member

    I'm installing laminate in my kitchen/dining room, and want to do my best to seal from water (from the top down). I have kids, and they're great at spilling things and leaving it. I'm already going to take silicone caulk around the expansion gap, but would like to take it a step further and seal each individual piece.

    I found this stuff, DuPont? Teflon® Silicone Lubricant

    Thoughts? Something better I should use?

  2. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    It says right at the bottom of the Uses: list on the page you linked NOT to use on floors, may cause slipping or falls...
    ...so I'm gonna go with, "please don't", I'm sure you love your kids and dislike hospital visits.

    There's really nothing I know of that you can use that won't harm the laminate itself.

    If spillage is a constant or regular issue, then I would seriously reconsider your flooring choices.
    Perhaps a Luxury Vinyl plank/tile or even a sheet vinyl? They make some fantastic vinyl products these days that look much like wood and can take years of abuse.

    If you really want wood, I'd get a sand & finish product that can be top-coated with urethane.
    Can't get a much better seal than that.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  3. raterus

    raterus Member

    Right, I know it says not to use on floors, but I figured it would eventually wear off on the surface, but leave the seam waterproof. The laminate is already purchased, shipped, and in my room acclimating, so I'm not going to change that choice.

    I hate to just leave it be, but it sounds like there isn't anything else recommended here. What type of damage will occur by doing something to the seams?
  4. nimrod

    nimrod Pro Member

    when laminate first came out in the US it was all glued together,not click. the glue used to do a good job of sealing the joints but of course was messy because in order to make a good seal you were required to have the glue ooze out and then wipe the excess off.when click first started coming out some manufacturer would recommend still gluing in areas that would get more than normal TOPICAL moisture....don't know if they still say that or not ....
    best bet is to contact the manufacturer of your laminate directly and ask them.....
  5. raterus

    raterus Member

    Thanks nimrod, that's a good idea.
  6. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    Most laminates are some or another form of pressboard, which is ridiculously absorbent. ANY kind of 'sealant' (this includes glues) is going to potentially soak into the laminate and swell at the seams.
    Bear in mind also that 'click to fit' floors are also meant to be fairly easy to take apart in case of real damage....
    ...if you glue them, and you have to fix a small spot later, you'll need to be prepared to say 'bye bye' to the entire floor.
  7. nimrod

    nimrod Pro Member

    not true...small areas can be replaced without replacing the whole floor...just takes more skill to do it....
  8. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    :( didn't say he'd have to, just to be prepared to.... :(
  9. raterus

    raterus Member

    I sent off a message to my laminate manufacturer asking them for advice, but for now I think I'm going to leave it be and avoid doing something real stupid. I tried this lubricant on a few junk pieces and it sucked it up like a paper towel.
  10. wood butcher

    wood butcher Charter Member

    use uniclic locking system, which holds boards together tighter, unilin says its water tight.
    then use unika clickseal in joints (its a rubber adhesive) easy clean up.
  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Silicone can be made in many formulations, to lubricate, to seal, etc.
    Don't use the lubricant form, it's not made to solidify, quite the opposite.
    Pergo joints were waxed to avoid water absorption, I'm not up to date on latest procedures.
    Whatever product you use would need to be applied as boards go together, and be minimal/maximal. Minimal to allow the joint to go together, maximal to fill the joint and protect(surround) and seal the surface. Silicone caulking with a mildewcide(kitchen and bath) may work, the difficulty would be controlling the amount.
  12. joelt72

    joelt72 New Member

    Thompsons water seal

    I just installed some generic laminate flooring and the edges are eased which creates a valley where the water naturally wants to go.
    I used a saline bottle (for contact lens wearers) and flowed the thompsons into all seams. it went into the cracks and absorbed quickly, then I just wiped off the top surface with a towel. so far it has worked well, but I have not let water stand very long. This did not cause any swelling of the product.
    If I do encounter water damage, my next approach will be to chemically thin some silicone sealant and take the same approach to actually fill the tiny gaps
  13. Curt Durand

    Curt Durand Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Published

    The fact that you are putting a lubricant into a joint that is part of a T&G locking system bothers me. What if lubricant leaks/wicks down onto the T&G and lubricates it. Can see T&G pulling apart easier.
  14. jbom

    jbom Pro Member

    try clic seal. I have used this for cork installations in a bathroom. It is similar to the "glue" that comes on the back of a new credit card. this allows the floor to be taken apart again and reused if need be.
  15. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    I would also stay away from putting silicone in the expansion gap. That won't allow for any extreme expansion needs (it happens). Instead, if you're truly concerned, I would put a small bead of clear silicon on the bottom of your baseboards when you put them back. That way it's still fairly water resistant and is more likely to allow for that expansion if neccessary.
  16. Neil Preston

    Neil Preston New Member

    A solution? Melted Paste Wax

    Several years ago, I installed Pergo Presto flooring in our foyer and kitchen. We had a refrigerator that had issues with excessive condensation on the low pressure lines and defrost water that couldn't seem to hit the evaporation tray. As a result, the flooring under the fridge became badly deformed and warped.

    When the refrigerator died, I planned to replace the flooring. Before doing so, I wanted to find some way to seal the edges of the 'new' boards so it wouldn't happen again. I did some searching online for methods of sealing them, but I didn't have much luck. Someone suggested Thompson's Water seal, but since that takes a long time to dry I was afraid it might cause some joint swell.

    I did see some references to products called "ClickGuard"and "Click Seal", but couldn't find a retail source for ClickGuard, and the only site I found (on Amazon) for Click Seal was prohibitively expensive and had poor reviews.

    However, careful reading of the ClickSeal details revealed that it was made up of waxes and oils. The thought struck me: "What about paste wax?"

    I had a couple of old scrap pieces that fit together properly, so I decided to test it. I got a fresh can of Johnson's Paste Wax (about $6 for a pint-sized can) at Home Depot. I decided that melting it would probably be the best approach. I found that it wouldn't melt if I put it directly in the microwave, but I heated water about 1/2" deep in a container to almost boiling, then put a couple of tablespoons of paste wax in a plastic fruit cup and set it in the water, where it melted. I then used an acid brush (an inexpensive coarse bristled brush about the size of a large pencil - available at a hardware store) with the bristles cut to about 1/2" long to apply the melted wax to completely and liberally cover the unfinished edges of the boards. It soaked in quickly and congealed immediately. I then fitted the boards together and wiped off the excess wax. Now to test.

    First I let the boards sit for a few hours to be sure the wax itself didn't deform the edges. It didn't. Next I super-soaked a paper towel and laid it on the seam. Checking it over the next couple of days revealed no visible deformation whatever. A couple of days later the towel was completely dry, and the boards were still perfect. The wax does not interfere with locking or separation of the boards.

    I then proceeded to repair the floor using the melted paste wax method to seal the edges. After wiping up the excess, I am quite pleased with the results. Now I'm wondering if I can apply some melted wax to the old seams on the rest of the floor in the hope that it will soak at least partway into the joints and protect them. I think I'll give it a try.
  17. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published


    If ever this place had a disclaimer this would be the time to use it.

    I wouldn't even consider taking the above information seriously.:)
  18. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    It's not a health or safety risk, as far as I can tell. The member isn't a pro, so let the reader beware. At least someone with more experience with flooring has replied to let people know that might not be a viable way to prevent moisture damage in laminate. My personal advice would be not to buy laminate flooring. ;)

  19. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I could see that as a viable option, I was wondering why he melted it, but realized it was installed, I assumed he was going to disassemble and apply, where putting on with a cloth would suffice.
    It is the most vulnerable area on laminate, the sides. Not designed to repel standing H2O.
    You could use a wax scent warmer with good ventilation.
    Paste wax is for non urethaned hardwoods no?
  20. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    And the wax is placed in the grooves....how?

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