Water Test With Three Laminates

Discussion in 'Flooring Potpourri' started by Kevreh, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Kevreh

    Kevreh Member

    So I've been trying to decide on a floating floor for my basement game & craft room reno. I created this thread to get some clarity on options; Floating laminate vs glue down vinyl and water resistance

    But one thing I was curious about was how the floors would hold up when submerged in water. If there was a water leak what would happen? I took three pieces and submerged them in water for 24 hours.

    The first floor is from Nucore is supposed to be water proof, it appears to have a vinyl core and cork padding. Second sample is Harmonics brand from Costco, and has a HDF (high density fiberboard) core with foam pad. The third floor is a higher end Pergo laminate with HDF core and foam pad.

    Surprisingly the HDF core floors held up fine, along with the Nucore. The HDF material did not soften or start to come apart nor swell. Even after being in water for 24 hours I could barely put my fingernail in it. Also, after drying out it looked the same as non tested pieces.

    This makes me wonder if the higher end water proof and resistant floors are worth it. If you have a bad water leak, any of these will need to be removed so trapped water can dry out.

    Also worth noting is I did a surface water test on the cheapest (Costco) floor and after @12 hrs the water did not seap into the seam (the t&g was still dry).

    Just posting my observations in case it helps anyone. It's possible the cheaper floors have other shortcomings, like the wear layer or consistancy.

    Attached Files:

  2. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I hear a lot of talk about how well any given floor will hold up if exposed to water for X number of hours. Not bad but what happens if your water heater or dishwasher goes out? Not many wood floors, let alone a laminate floor, will come out unscathed from that. How about the floor being exposed to lesser amounts of flooding but for considerably longer periods of time as one might expect to encounter in a basement. Those things are what I would look at before I dropped a piece of Pergo or Harmonics in a bucket of water for a day.

    I install both Pergo and Harmonics and they are both decent floors but I personally wouldn't install a laminate floor in my house if I was wanting any kind of longevity out of it. Now I have taken out laminate floors that look almost as good as the day they were installed but that is not the norm. LVT or LVP would be a much better choice for a basement. I'd most likely say floating but that is up to you.

    Happy shopping.
  3. Kevreh

    Kevreh Member

    Yeah, all true. I guess I did the water test thinking the HDF would fall apart after a day and, in my mind, not be worth the worry.

    Its confusing that the sales guy at Floor & Decor said glue down vinyl would not last in a water leak, the glue would break down and the tiles would trap the water. He also said the vinyl planks would trap moisture on a slab install. Not sure if he was full of it or not.
  4. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    If you have moisture issues, you're gonna have a problem. Even ceramic tile can be affected if the moisture problem is serious enough. You know your basement better than I do but it would be money well spent to have someone test the slab. Might not be an issue at all in which case you could put down whatever you wish.
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Moisture Vapor is the issue for basement installations, if there is no barrier underneath then quantity is the factor. How much moisture will come up?

    Depends on adhesive, what's his credentials? Water on a gluedown vinyl plank is fine, it will not affect it if removed and dried promptly.

    So moisture vapor traveling brings with it alkaline out of the concrete and then it hits a brick wall(vinyl plank) it can dwell there for long periods keeping the adhesive moist and allow the alkalinity break down the adhesive.

    No way laminate will not be affected after a flood, it will weaken to some degree.
  6. Kevreh

    Kevreh Member

    Just to clarify the slab and basement are sound and dry. No moisture issues, I was concerned about a potential water leak (with our kitchen on the level above it). Its happened once in the 14 years we've been in the house (cracked water filter).
  7. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Then gluedown plank is "my" first choice. Always, no matter what.
  8. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    No moisture issues now. They may appear dry now if they are bare concrete but when you install a glued down plank you have just capped the surface. Now it will keep vapor emissions from evaporating. This is when issues may arise. Keep in mind, there is always moisture vapor passing through the concrete slab.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Have your basement slab professionally tested for moisture and alkalinity!!!!

    Concrete on or below "grade" (the earth/dirt level) will ALWAYS have moisture passing through unless thereis an effective moisture barrier under the slab or installed after the fact on the surface of the slab.

    So the average consumer understands when we say moisture PUDDLES OF WATER. But that's not at all what we're on about and its actualy less damaging and less dangerous to your health than the moisture VAPOR emmisions passing THROUGH the slab that brings caustic salt to the surface that will EAT YOUR FLOOR and potentially create an unhealthy air quality.

    Think about the funk you smell in some people's basements. What is it that you suppose causes that stench? Unless the homes are constructed with the intention to allow for a "living space" in the basement then there's no need for a moisture barrier under the slab. So for hundreds of years homes were built with the basements serving a structural/mechanical/storage function-----NOT bedrooms/livingroom/playroom areas. Now for some ungodly reason people want to live in basements but they REALLY do not understand anything about concrete, floorcovering, alkalinity and moisture vapor problems.

    The saddest thing here is that the people who sell laminate, LVT, wood, carpet and other floorings are not always up to speed on the negative consequences of basement installs either OR they just don't care about the "end user" issues.

    You WILL find the information on the legal waivers of every manufacturer----somewheres in the fine print if not front and center in bold letters.
  10. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Kinda like saying there's no moisture in the air, and how it moves about is very interesting.
  11. Kevreh

    Kevreh Member

    So do installers usually do a moisture test, or insist their customers have one done?
  12. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    "If" they follow the manufacturer's instructions, they do.
  13. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Every jobs I do gets documented moisture readings. If the readings are beyond the manufacturers specs, the job doesn't happen.

    If you're paying to have flooring professionally installed, your installers should have a Tramex meter or something similar.
  14. Kevreh

    Kevreh Member

    Thanks everyone!
    • Like Like x 1

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