Updated: Oct 1, 2022
Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Really Waterproof?
Many vinyl plank flooring manufacturers promote their products to be "waterproof." The definition of "waterproof" can be somewhat deceiving. Companies hire marketing professionals to help promote and sell their products. One method of doing this is to promote a product to be "waterproof." While product manufacturers use fancy marketing names to say their product is indeed "waterproof," customers would be wise to read the actual product warranty to determine what is covered under their warranty, as well as what is not covered.
Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Really Waterproof?
Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring - Is It Really Waterproof?
Vinyl plank flooring manufacturers are in business to make money. They make money by selling their products. In an effort to sell their products, companies hire marketing professionals to promote and conduct massive advertisement campaigns. In the marketing world, no space is left blank. The back of a floor covering sample is prime retail space for advertisements and marketing materials.
Marketing companies are going to make the labels on the back of their samples look like the best thing since the invention of flooring. One method of doing this is to invent fancy marketing names that make that particular product look "special."
Coming up with fancy names that mean "waterproof," is a great method for a company to promote and sell their products. But, here is the problem: these fancy names are very vague in their definition. Companies (in our humble opinion), purposely allow customers to think whatever they want to, in an effort to help sell their products.
For example: if a company promotes a product as having "a proprietary waterproof system," customers might read this, and think this product will protect them from water damage. But, when that customer turns in a claim, they might find in the warranty, their product is only covered for normal household topical spills, and not for situations like a dishwasher overflow, or a leaky pipe, or a basement that floods.
Manufacturing companies leave out these important details...because they want to sell their products. This is not saying that companies are doing anything illegal or unethical. They are simply allowing their marketing department to develop materials that work.
This is why it is absolutely critical that customers look at the full product warranty before they make a purchase. Reading the information on a floor covering store display, or the information that is on the back of a sample board, won't get a customer the true information. Quite frankly, many store salespeople won't even know what is covered, and what is not covered. Product warranties can usually be found on the company's website.
If a customer ever has to file a claim, that claim will be approved or denied, based on the full written product warranty, not the marketing language on the back of the sample. It is the responsibility of the consumer to know this information.
The purpose of this article is to review some of the more popular vinyl plank products, and see what their warranty really says about being "waterproof."
It should be noted, we are not trying to pick on any product or company. We do not have any financial affiliation with any product manufacturer. This article is for informational purposes only, and we always recommend before making a buying decision that you consult with your local flooring professional.
Let's See What Information Is On Some Vinyl Plank Flooring Product Warranties
Mohawk SolidTech Flooring
A very popular and quality product from Mohawk, SolidTech Plus, is a product that is promoted as "100% waterproof." According to Mohawk, SolidTech Plus is:
Optimal for wet areas, such as basements and bathrooms. Waterproof to withstand spills and pet accidents. Mohawk Flooring
Mohawk Flooring has been a leader in the floor covering the world for many years and does a great job of standing behind its products. What exactly does it mean when they say "100% waterproof?" Let's find out.
In this warranty, we found some of the language to be very interesting. According to Mohawk:
Mohawk warrants that during the period of the warranty, SolidTech Plus Flooring will be 100% waterproof and the structural integrity of the floor will not be significantly diminished by exposure to water. SolidTech Plus Warranty
However, later on in the same warranty document, it has the following exclusion language:
These warranties do not apply to SolidTech Plus Flooring that has been subject to abnormal use or conditions or abused in any way. “Abnormal use or conditions” includes but is not limited to damage from plumbing or appliance leaks, storm, or flood; damage from smoke, fire, or other casualty events; damage caused by negligence or improper alterations of the original manufactured product. “Abuse” is any use of the flooring that is unreasonable considering the normal and expected uses of SolidTech Plus Flooring in a residential or light commercial environment. The feet of furniture must always be covered with appropriate protective material. Chairs, sofas, or furniture with castors must be fitted with soft rubber wheels and placed on an adequate protective mat or be placed in protective castor cups. SolidTech Plus Warranty
So, the question becomes, what does "100% waterproof" really mean? As we stated, earlier, Mohawk Flooring is a wonderful company, and they do stand behind their products. However, prior to purchasing this product, we would advise clarifying what is covered under their waterproof warranty.
Shaw Floorte Vinyl Plank Flooring
Another very popular vinyl plank flooring brand, Floorte, promotes itself as a product that is: "Waterproof. Built to Endure." Shaw Flooring is a wonderful company, a leader in the floor covering industry, and also does a great job of standing behind its products.
On the Shaw Website, they promote Floorte as a product that can withstand the toughest of spills:
Bring us your best mess: spills and stains are no match for these high-performance, low-maintenance waterproof floors. Shaw Floors
As a consumer, many might read this marketing language and see "waterproof floors." Once again, will this warranty cover a flood or dishwasher leak? What exactly is covered under the Floorte Warranty?
A few interesting statements in the Floorte warranty:
Shaw warrants that for the stated warranty period from the date of original purchase, your Shaw product will not swell, cup, or crack due to: Normal cleaning practices (see Care and Maintenance document for additional information) Moisture due to everyday household spills (see Care and Maintenance document for additional information) Moisture from subfloor when exposed to such conditions. Shaw Floorte Warranty
Consumers might read the marketing language about Floorte and see "waterproof," and think everything is covered under the warranty. However, later on in the same warranty document, Floorte lists the following exclusion:
Damage caused by fire, flood, moisture intrusion caused by emissions from subfloor, intentional abuse, damage caused by vacuum cleaner beater bar, indentations or damage caused by improper rolling loads, chairs or other furniture not using proper floor protectors or caster wheels, and cutting from sharp objects, asphalt staining and staining from rubber mats, surface scratches, changes in color or sheen appearance when exposed to a natural light source. Shaw Floorte
Once again, while Shaw Floorte has been a very successful product, consumers should clarify what is exactly on the warranty before they make a purchase.
Conclusion - Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Really Waterproof?
The purpose of this article is to draw attention between a product's marketing language and the real warranty document. Using the term "waterproof" is a hot button for buyers. Everyone wants to get a waterproof floor.
As a consumer, it is important to fully understand what "waterproof" actually means. It is extremely important to read a product warranty, before making a purchase. In many cases, "waterproof" is referring to normal household spills, and not flooding or dishwasher leaks.
There are many vinyl plank flooring products currently being sold by the retail floor covering stores. Each product has its own warranty. It is up to the consumer to read and understand the product warranty. Consumers should not rely on the information printed on the back of a sample.
In this article, we just picked two products (at random) to research. Both are great products, that perform well. The purpose was to show readers how the product is promoted, versus what is actually stated on the product warranty. This type of language is typical with just about every product in the marketplace.
In conclusion, when you see "waterproof" on a floor covering product, don't assume anything until you read the full product warranty. If you have questions, we always advise talking to your local floor covering professional. Likewise, most of the major product manufacturing companies will have customer service 800 numbers that you can call. Most companies are more than willing to help.
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