Best Waterproof Hardwood Flooring: 2023 Buying Guide

Waterproof Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring’s what a lot of us hanker for. Whether for a domestic or commercial setting, you can’t beat the look and feel of a luxurious hardwood floor. Not only does it look good. It lasts well and is better for our health than carpet. 

However, before you commit to the wood of your dreams, you should be aware that untreated hardwood is vulnerable to damage from liquids. That gorgeous expanse of rich timber can swell or warp once water has its wicked way with it. 

What can you do about this? Well, you can go for waterproof engineered hardwood flooring. We’ll guide you through the best waterproof engineered hardwood flooring, but first, let’s see exactly what it is.

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you click at no extra cost to you. All recommendations and opinions remain our own.


What Is Waterproof Engineered Hardwood?

First of all, to set your mind at rest, waterproof engineered hardwood is very much wood. Every bit of it. It’s just structured a little differently from the wood that comes straight from the tree. The natural timber is processed in order to ensure complete waterproofing. 

Here’s how it’s built. A high-performance core (usually made of plywood) is coated in a waterproofed, thick hardwood veneer. That’s it. 

Engineered in this context means the combination of two or more types of substance. In this case, both substances are still wood. So it’s important not to confuse engineered hardwood with other products, such as laminates, which are not 100% wood. 

So, it’s waterproof. What else? 

A key advantage of engineered wood is that it gives greater structural stability, which means it copes much better with environmental variations. In other words, extremes of temperature and humidity won’t result in any warping, which can occasionally be an issue with solid hardwood floors

This means that waterproof engineered hardwood gives great performance no matter where you’re thinking of putting it, even in high moisture areas such as kitchens or basements.

Is Waterproof Hardwood Really Waterproof?

The $64,000 question. The best waterproof hardwood flooring is very water-resistant. It stands up to spills and moisture far better than solid hardwood. However, if your floor suffers sustained dowsing from flooding or major leaks, then it will, in all likelihood, sustain some damage. 

Engineered waterproof hardwood gives very impressive results in everyday use and will cope extremely well with normal splashes and mishaps. But if immersion in deep water is expected, you might be better off thinking about another surface, such as tiles. 

Best Waterproof Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Mohawk UltraWood
  • Bruce HydroPel
  • LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood
  • Pergo Defence +
  • RainTree

These are our top five recommendations for the best waterproof hardwood flooring. We’ll now look into the details of each product and explain why we think it’s got what it takes. 

1. Mohawk UltraWood

Mohawk UltraWood Waterproof Hardwood
Mohawk UltraWood Gingham – Ember Oak

So, we start with our top choice: Mohawk UltraWood. It’s a premium product from one of the longest-established and trusted flooring companies in the US. Mohawk has been supplying American-made flooring solutions since way back in 1878 and is in the vanguard now of sustainable sourcing and manufacturing processes. 

There are six different styles of UltraWood, grouped into two lines: UltraWood Select and UltraWood Plus. Select is available in 9 colors, while Plus is available in 22 colors. Shades include the evocatively named Gingham Oak, Sebastian Isle, and Westport Cape. Both the Select and Plus ranges come in planks that are 9.5mm thick. Select is available in planks 7.5 inches wide and 48 inches long. Plus comes in planks 9 inches wide and 80 inches long. 

Select is the cheaper of the two. It boasts WetProtect technology, which features watertight plank joints, which, combined with UltraWood’s quarter-round edging, delivers great protection against water damage. Its Everlast technology gives great scratch and dent protection, and its EasyClean feature means it stays looking good no matter what gets spilled on it. Got pets? Not a problem – UltraWood comes with a guarantee against any pet damage. 

UltraWood Plus carries all these benefits as well as CleanProtect, which means that the finish has antimicrobial properties built in, which help to protect the floor. 

Finally, Mohawk UltraWood is a sustainable option for your new floor, being a very efficient use of virgin timber. In fact, turning timber into UltraWood results in 10 x more flooring coverage than using traditional wood. 

Why Mohawk UltraWood?

As befits a company that’s been producing high-quality flooring for almost 150 years, Mohawk manufactures products with very impressive warranty credentials. Both the Select and Plus lines come with pretty comprehensive guarantees. 

When you invest in a great-looking new floor, you want to be sure that it’ll stay looking great and that you won’t have to consider a replacement for many, many years to come. Reassurance is delivered by the WetProtect and EverLast warranties, which cover the floor for life, so they are a tremendous source of comfort. 

The EverLast technology, for instance, gives 4 x greater scratch and 5 x greater dent protection than some competitors. The peace of mind this represents is invaluable, as is the confidence delivered to pet owners by the AllPet warranty. By AllPet, Mohawk means all pets. That’s right, no matter what species is intent on ruining your floor, UltraWood has it covered. (It might be worth checking though if your idea of a pet is what others might call livestock. Those hooves will be super-tough on your floor.) The fact that UltraWood is made in the USA (in Virginia) is a major plus point too. 

2. Bruce Hydropel

Bruce HydroPel Hickory – Medium Brown

Number two on the list is from another US company. Bruce Hydropel is made by an outfit that has been supplying homes with quality wood flooring for over a century. Part of the AHF Group, based in Pennsylvania, Bruce draws on its history and expertise to produce traditional flooring with timeless appeal, at the same time as being at the forefront of technological innovation, keeping its output on the cutting edge of flooring developments. 

Construction is based on a 5-7 layer plywood ‘Densitek’ core, crisscrossed and bonded firmly together. This is then sandwiched between a 100% wood veneer top and solid wood bottom. 

Hydropel has multiple water protection dimensions that deliver a solid waterproofing performance, giving protection for up to 36 hours against top-down water ingression. How does it do it? With a hyper-dense core, edge sealant, and precision locking – that’s how. 

Other benefits of Hydropel include good scratch resistance and zero buckling in sunlight. Installation is straightforward using nails, glue, or floating, and no acclimatization is required. 

Thickness is a mighty 10mm, and the 5” wide planks are available in four different lengths: 16”, 24”, 32”, and 48”. Two different types of wood are available – oak (America’s favorite flooring wood) and hickory, with color varieties to suit most interiors, including parchment and gunstock. All are finished in low gloss. 

Why Bruce HydroPel?

We’ve chosen Bruce Hydropel for several reasons, chief among them being its durability and water resistance. The water resistance is of a very high standard, and Bruce guarantees its solidity with a 50-year residential warranty. Even in commercial settings, the flooring comes with a 15-year warranty. Given the high-impact environments of some commercial milieus, this is not to be taken lightly. 

The range of finishes is pretty impressive, too, with hand-scraped and wire-brushed textures included in what’s available, as well as a decent spectrum of color possibilities. Hydropel scores highly for sustainability being a US operation and using over 70% American wood. 

3. LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood

Lifeproof Waterproof Engineered Hardwood Flooring
LifeProof Timber Wolf Hickory

LifeProof flooring is made by a company called Halstead New England Industries, a family-owned concern that has been engaged in the production and supply of flooring options for over 50 years, ever since Bob Halstead set it up in 1967. Now employing a workforce of more than 200 employees, Halstead’s a major player in the flooring stakes. 

LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood is made from a multi-layer construction of wood sealed with an aluminum oxide finish, delivering toughness, scratch-proofing, and extremely high water resistance. The appearance is enhanced by micro-beveled edges all around the perimeter of each plank. 

LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood is simple to lay, with a click-lock procedure, so most DIYers should have no trouble with it. It comes in a phenomenally wide variety of colors and finishes, including American Hickory, Shenandoah Oak, Maple Manhattan, and Arctic Gates. 

Thickness is 7.5mm. The width of each plank is 6.5 inches, and lengths are available up to a maximum of 48 inches. LifeProof waterproof hardwood comes with a lifetime residential guarantee and a limited light commercial warranty. 

Why LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood?

First of all, we chose LifeProof because of its great value. Depending on the variety you choose, it comes in at between $4.39 and $4.59 per square foot. It’s widely available (via Home Depot) and is easy to install.

On top of this, LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood has GreenGuard certification, meaning that it doesn’t impact at all on interior air quality, so it is good for use in schools and other areas, seeing a lot of use by children. 

4. Pergo Defense+

Pergo Defense + Antique Linen Hickory

This is one of the best waterproof wood flooring options. Moreover, these planks contain antimicrobial technology that protects for life against the harmful bacteria that damage floors. Waterproof, fadeproof, and wearproof, Defense+ has secured a name for itself as the go-to brand for those seeking durability and looks. 

Pergo Defense+ is built with SpillProtect technology, which makes sure that liquids stay on the surface rather than seeping into the wood. 

Construction is as follows. A super-tough HDF core board is backed with a balancing layer ensuring stability and minimizing the risk of bowing and twisting. The core is surmounted by a layer of hardwood and topped with a high-performance surface layer, which is where the clever stuff happens (like the SpillProtect and antimicrobial elements). 

The planks snap together with a Uniclic locking joint, so installation’s not a difficult job. Maintenance is easy, too, with just a broom and a damp mop being sufficient to keep the floor looking immaculate. From time to time, steam mopping will bring out the beauty of the wood. 

Pergo Defense+ is available in six different shades of oak and is 9.5mm thick. The width comes in at 7.5 inches, and the length is 47 inches. Each plank features micro-beveled edging and a satin finish. 

The warranty covers a lifetime of residential use or ten years in the case of a light commercial setting. In this case, light commercial includes such installations as a retail entryway, a hotel lobby, a doctor’s surgery, or an office conference suite. 

Why Pergo Defense+?

There are lots of engineered hardwood flooring solutions out there, but not many are as durable as Defense+. The antimicrobial performance is particularly impressive, meaning that you don’t need to use potentially harmful chemicals when you clean your floor. Water and a mop will do the trick. 

All this quality doesn’t need to cost the earth, though. Pergo Defense+ costs around $4.99 per square foot and is available from Home Depot.

Pergo is part of the Mohawk Group, which is the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, and one of its production facilities is in the US (North Carolina). 

5. Raintree Waterproof Hardwood

Raintree Waterproof Hardwood Floors
Raintree Laguna Vibes – Driftwood

Another of the best water-resistant wood floor choices is made by Raintree. Boasting 100% waterproofing, their range includes a variety of matte finishes, all with a very on-trend, slightly distressed appearance, ideal for the rustic look

Made with high footfall, children, pets, and all the usual household chaos in mind, Raintree engineered hardwood is not only waterproof. Its urethane and aluminum oxide finish means it’s also scratch resistant, so it stays looking good for life in any room of the house. 

Raintree centers the plank build on a 5mm hardwearing core, with an attached 1mm IXPE layer for acoustic and comfort benefits. 

Installation is relatively easy with the Ninjalock tongue and groove profile. Maintenance is best done with a lightly wet mop, but avoid wax and citrus-based cleaners in order to protect the finish from clouding. Recommended for residential or light commercial use, Rainwood prices start at $6.21 per square foot. 

Choose from oak or hickory, with seven shades in each wood, including names such as Egret, Music Row, Rocky Cliffs, and Whisky Barrel. Note that there is a slight color variation with each plank, but this serves to enhance the natural aspect of the floor. Each plank is 7.5” wide, with lengths of up to 75” available. The thickness is 7.2mm. 

Why Raintree Waterproof Hardwood?

In all honesty, Raintree doesn’t make the cheapest products. But what they do make is great-looking floors that keep their looks even in the most trying of circumstances. The distressed matte look is a real winner that will grace most home environments. 

Raintree also has GreenGuard certification, so they clearly put the environment first. For this reason and for its unmatched looks, Raintree waterproof hardwood is a great choice.

Compare Our Picks

Waterproof Engineered Hardwood Price per Square FootOverall ThicknessPlank Maximum Length x Width
Mohawk Ultrawood$3.99-$7.999.5mm80 inches x 9 inches
Bruce Hydropel$4.95-$8.9510mm48 inches x 5 inches
LifeProof Waterproof Hardwood$4.39-$4.597.5mm48 inches x 6.5 inches
Pergo Defense+$4.999.5mm47 inches x 7.5 inches
Raintree Waterproof Hardwood$6.21-$9.997.2mm75 inches x 7.55 inches
Best Waterproof Hardwood Flooring Compared

Things to Consider When Choosing Waterproof Hardwood Flooring

Choosing the best waterproof engineered hardwood flooring should occupy you for some time. Don’t rush into it. Let’s discuss what you should consider when choosing your new floor.

Durability

Durability is key to the longevity of your floor. It’s determined by many factors, such as top-layer finish and overall thickness. The type of the floor’s top layer is extremely important as it determines how well the floor deals with scratches, dents, and moisture. The overall thickness of the floor is another key aspect, as it greatly affects stability. Generally speaking, the thicker the floor, the better.

Ease of Installation

Installation of flooring must always be done correctly and precisely, so most quality tradesmen will charge quite a hefty price for labor. Some floors are harder to install than others, but luckily, installation of engineered hardwood is relatively straightforward. Most waterproof engineered floors can be installed using the floating method, which requires no glue or nails. Always research youtube for installation guides for the flooring product you’re thinking of buying to gain insight into how difficult the installation is.

Online Reviews

Another crucial aspect you should pay attention to when choosing waterproof hardwood flooring is online reviews. For best results, you should only go for flooring products with a large database of positive reviews on their listings. It’s also a good idea to search for flooring reviews on youtube for a better visual experience.

Warranty

The manufacturer’s warranty is something that many online buyers often forget about. Still, it’s very important, especially if your floor buckles or warps. Comparing flooring options by the residential warranty is pretty much pointless, as almost all brands offer a lifetime residential warranty. Therefore, it’s best to look at the commercial warranty as it tends to differ from brand to brand.

Price Tag

Finally, of course, you should think very carefully about what you can afford. Nobody’s telling you that the best waterproof hardwood flooring’s cheap. Quite the contrary. But you do get what you pay for. You’ll be getting something that looks amazing and lasts exceptionally well. With the right care, engineered hardwood can last more than 20 years. And, compared with marble, it’s a bargain! 

The Pros & Cons of Waterproof Engineered Hardwood

Pros of Waterproof Hardwood

The advantages of waterproof engineered hardwood are many and significant. Firstly, despite what we’ve told you about the weighty cost, it’s actually cheaper than most solid hardwood. It’s also environmentally friendlier, necessitating fewer trees being cut down than solid hardwood flooring requires. Installation is usually quick, cheap, and easy, which makes it quite DIY-friendly. 

A great advantage that waterproof engineered hardwood has over a lot of other materials is that it’s likely to be less polluting in the home. Some materials, such as laminate and vinyl, can issue low but persistent levels of chemical ingress into the air

Cons of Waterproof Hardwood

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to waterproof engineered hardwood. Nothing’s perfect, after all. One of them is that you can’t refinish the wood. That shouldn’t really be an issue though, as, treated correctly, your engineered hardwood floor will stay looking beautiful and will need another finish like a dose of woodworm.

Other disadvantages are common to all wood products. Although engineered wood is extremely tough, if you’re determined enough, you’ll be able to dent or scratch it. Luckily, just like with other wood products, getting the odd knock doesn’t ruin its appearance. Sometimes it benefits from a little bit of wear – it creates a story and, thereby, character. 

The final disadvantage of engineered hardwood is that low-quality instances won’t last as long as higher-end products. But that’s true of just about everything in life. 

Waterproof Hardwood Alternatives

  • Laminate – Laminate flooring can be a good choice in that it’s low cost, convenient, and comes in waterproof lines. It’s not a perfect facsimile of wood though, which can put some off. 
  • Tile – Tiles are a great choice that can give a unique look and, of course, unrivaled waterproofing. The installation’s doable by most with a practical bent, but make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Maintenance is a joy – tiles will take every cleaner you can throw at them. 
  • Vinyl – Another waterproofing option, especially of interest if you’re on a tight budget, is vinyl. Again, some pretty striking designs are possible, and waterproofing’s a given. Check out our vinyl plank buying guide to see which options are best on quality and value.
  • Solid Hardwood – Another popular alternative to the best waterproof engineered hardwood flooring is, of course, solid wood. It has the looks that you crave, together with unparalleled warmth and personality. Unhappily, it tends to cost a fair amount and is not waterproof unless you protect it with a water-resistant sealant.


Final Thoughts

We hope we’ve given you some useful pointers in terms of the best waterproof wood flooring choices currently available. Flooring’s an area that can cause a great deal of woe, especially when it doesn’t perform and has to be replaced in a hurry.

This is where waterproof engineered hardwood flooring can really deliver. It will quietly get on with the job of making your home look fabulous and will carry on doing it, day after day, for life. Even if it sets you back a few extra cents, that’s not a bad return for your money.

Thanks for reading; feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

FAQs

Is waterproof engineered hardwood flooring durable?

Most waterproof engineered hardwood flooring is made from sturdy multi-layer construction, and coatings with durable and stain-proofing substances are common. This is why the best waterproof engineered hardwood flooring comes with a lifetime warranty for use in residential settings. 

Is waterproof engineered hardwood flooring waterproof?

In terms of everyday exposure to water, yes. But if a room is likely to experience prolonged periods underwater, it’s advisable to consider other flooring options. 


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