Can you seal the seams of laminate flooring?

Written by sienna condy | 13/05/2017
Can you seal the seams of laminate flooring?
To seal or not to seal, that is the question. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Many people use laminate floors when they renovate their homes, and it's easy to see why. Laminate floors are durable and versatile. The installation is optimised for DIY fans, and they are a cost-effective alternative to hardwood or ceramic tile floors. While laminate floors are designed to resist water in small amounts, some users want extra assurance that the seams are sealed. However, most professionals recommend that you do not seal your laminate floors.

Why shouldn't I seal laminate floors?

If you've looked at laminate floor pieces, you may have noticed the tongue along one edge and on one end. This design allows the pieces of laminate floor to lock together. The tongue is slid under the abutting piece, which has a recess to accept it, and clicks into place. The locking design of these pieces keeps seams tight, and standing water will not penetrate unless it's left for a long time (five days, according to manufacturer TORLYS Smart Floors). Sealants are not needed and should not be applied between the tongue and groove.

A laminate floor is not designed to be installed where a large amount of water will be in contact with the floor. However, if you use a bathmat or mop up after yourself, laminate floors can even be installed in a bathroom. If you do decide to install laminate floors in a bathroom, there is an exception to the "never-seal" rule.

The exception

For bathroom installations, some professionals recommend that you use silicone caulk around the hole for the toilet and anywhere there are cut ends, which should only be around the walls. The reason for this is that the cut ends are no longer factory sealed and therefore might soak up water faster. Even in the bathroom, however, you should not apply any sealant to the seams.

Sealing products

Laminate floor shine restoration products that go under various brand names, such as Wood Laminate Polish, in the UK claim to seal the seams of laminate floors. This product is supposed to shine your laminate floors, hide small scratches and seal the seams. However, there's no documentation that this adds any water resistance to laminate floors.

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