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Can Water Get Through Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring offers the beauty of natural materials while also being constructed in such a way that it is much more durable and resistant to everyday wear and tear. However, when it comes to water, can it get through vinyl plank flooring? 

Vinyl plank flooring is designed to be water-resistant and is very good at repelling water at the surface. However, constant exposure to a leak can cause water to seep below the surface and damage the flooring. Water can also come through the subfloor if not properly sealed before installation. 

Vinyl flooring with wooden planks pattern imitation, low point view

For the most part, vinyl plank flooring is going to do an incredible job at keeping water and other liquids from permeating its surface. It takes a very constant leak to seep through the tight barriers of vinyl plank flooring, but with enough consistency, it is possible. Continue reading to see all the different ways water can affect your flooring and what to do if you find yourself in a position where you have to combat this problem. 

Can Water Get Through Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

Woman looking at a laptop screen struggling to find something

The quick answer here is, yes, water can get through vinyl plank flooring. However, the answer is not as simple as it may appear. Vinyl plank flooring is ultra-resistant to the wear that other, more natural materials are susceptible to and this makes them a very appealing product for those who want a floor that can withstand heavy use. Even more than being a strong material, it is also essentially waterproof. 

Vinyl plank flooring is manufactured to be water-resistant in a way that other types of flooring, like wood or bamboo, are not. This increases consumer appeal even more because vinyl plank flooring is even better suited for areas like the kitchen, the bathroom, basements, and mudrooms. This type of flooring is able to handle moisture in a way that does not affect its appearance and does not degrade its overall structure over time. 

However, this is a bit of a double-edged sword. Although vinyl plank flooring superbly handles those every-day spills, leaks, and wet messes without showing any type of surface damage, they are still susceptible to water when it comes to larger-scale mishaps and sneaky leaks beneath the surface of your floor.

If you had a dishwasher that continually leaked in the same area over the course of several months or even over a year, water would begin to seep through the vinyl plank flooring. But an even larger problem is the subfloor beneath your vinyl planking. Concrete can be one of the biggest contributors to moisture when it comes to build-up beneath vinyl. Without proper testing and moisture control measures, concrete can be a main culprit for water build-up. 

Will Water Dry Under Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

Gray luxury vinyl plant boards

If water gets through to your vinyl plank flooring, you may be wondering if the problem will take care of itself on its own. This issue is also one that is not so cut and dry when it comes to the answer, but is more dependent on each particular situation. Regardless, water is not something you want pooling under your vinyl and it is certainly not something that should remain there long-term, but will it dry without intervention? 

The biggest thing to remember here is that vinyl is water-resistant. Therefore, it is going to take quite a bit of leaking or a relatively large-scale problem for water to find its way beneath its surface. This means that it is unlikely that a small drip would find its way through the cracks of your vinyl plank flooring. Therefore, if water does find its way under your flooring, it is likely that you will be dealing with a larger amount of water than a small, irrelevant spill. 

With the amount of water present beneath the floor and the inability for evaporation to occur due to no air circulation beneath the floor’s surface, water will not dry under vinyl plank flooring. The small space that water is trapped within becomes an area that makes it almost impossible for water to dry on its own and does not allow for proper ventilation so that there is a conducive environment for hands-off drying. 

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on March 1, 2021.

How Do You Dry Water Under Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

Modern floor made of vinyl planks

Having water beneath your vinyl plank flooring does not always mean a complete tear-out and replacement if the problem is manageable and you catch it in time. There are two different ways that vinyl plank flooring can be installed and that includes them being installed directly over the subfloor without being glued down, or they are installed with actual glue which binds them right to the subfloor. 

If you have discovered wanted under your vinyl plank flooring and know that it has been installed above (rather than glued) the subfloor, try to get below the flooring in either the crawlspace or below the room that is on the second or third floor. See if you can find an area that shows where the water has pooled. This can be a spot that hosts watermarks, is dripping water, or is even discolored from mold. 

Once you have found the spot, the area should be ventilated with a fan for two days (at minimum) or for as long as two weeks, depending on how damp the area is. If the area dries out, be sure to find and fix the originator of the leak that caused the water to pool beneath your vinyl plank flooring. 

If you have vinyl floor planking that has been glued and want to fix the problem at its source rather than installing another layer of flooring on top, you will likely need to locate the area that has procured water, take up the planking in that area, and let it dry completely for a few days using a fan before replacing that section of the flooring or reinstalling the original planking. 

Can You Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

Wood texture vinyl plank flooring

When you refer to the floor itself – that being vinyl plank flooring – you may be inclined to look for ways to avoid water disasters by waterproofing its surface. This is a great thought when it comes to preventative measures, but it would be an extra step that would have no effect short or long-term. Lucky for those purchasing vinyl plank flooring, the material is made to be completely water-proof and comes to you ready to withstand even the biggest spills.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on March 1, 2021.

Keeping that in mind, there is no need to waterproof vinyl plank flooring as it is already equipped with that feature. However, waterproofing the surface of your vinyl plank flooring is not the only level that you have to consider. If you are installing your vinyl plank flooring with glue, you don’t have to worry about waterproofing the subfloor. For those of you that are installing one as a floating floor though, you will need a waterproof solution. 

This doesn’t mean that your vinyl plank flooring needs to be treated, but that your subfloor (especially if it is made of concrete) must be tested for moisture and then should be properly waterproofed to ensure that no moisture is able to come through the subfloor and rest beneath your vinyl. Therefore, it is not the surface of the vinyl plank flooring that you need to worry about when it comes to waterproofing, but what lies below. 

What Happens if Water Gets Under Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

Vinyl planks being installed

Water damage can appear in a few different ways when there is water under your vinyl plank flooring and all of them are rather unsightly. Below are a few ways in which your vinyl plank flooring can change due to water damage. 

Adhesive of Seam Deterioration 

If you started with a new vinyl plank flooring, when you walked over its surface you likely never felt any movement beneath your feet. The flooring was solid and unwavering no matter the amount of traffic it encountered. If you start to notice that the planking seems to move or spread with weight on them, this could be a sign that water has gotten under the flooring. If you also see that the seams are beginning to open, this could also be an indication of water. 


The color of your vinyl plank flooring should be something that remains consistent no matter how much use it sees. This material is easily wiped clean and is incredibly resistant to staining. Therefore, if you see that a few planks have begun to discolor or areas begin to bleed a bit larger with discoloration, this could be a sign that water has gathered beneath your flooring. 

Uneven Surface 

Just as your vinyl plank flooring should remain consistent in color, it should also stay consistent in its overall smoothness. Nicks and chips may happen here and there from major impacts, but if you find planks with bubbles on their surface, with small ridges that look like tiny veins, or with bubbles, there is a high chance that water has gotten beneath the surface of your floors.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on March 1, 2021.

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