Kitchens are the most commonly used two rooms in a home. Next to bathrooms, they also are the most susceptible to water damage and moisture issues. But does a kitchen floor actually need waterproofing? And if so, how do you do it? We've researched the installation process for kitchen floors to get the answer for you.
The best way to install kitchen floor waterproofing is to use a combination of waterproof flooring material and sealants, and apply a waterproof membrane atop the subfloor. There are different ways you can do this, and it really depends on the type of flooring that you use. And in some cases, you can use water-resistant flooring and coat it with a sealant to make it waterproof.
There are different types of methods that you can use to waterproof your kitchen floor. This post will cover a straightforward yet effective method for waterproofing the floor safely and efficiently. Continue reading to learn more about the materials needed for this type of project and how to kick it off.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Waterproofing Kitchen Floors
Most kitchen flooring materials themselves aren't necessarily waterproof. However, you can purchase flooring that is either water-resistant or waterproof.
You can also simply waterproof the kitchen floor itself by using a sealant and a subfloor membrane. Moisture can wreak havoc on your kitchen floor, which is why waterproofing can be essential to the longevity of your floor. However, it does come with a few drawbacks.
Advantages of waterproofing
One of the biggest issues with flooring that isn't waterproofed is the potential for water to become trapped beneath it. This can and often does lead to mold and mildew. If exposed to mold for a long period of time, some people may develop physical ailments, including respiratory tract infections, asthma attacks, and skin irritations. Not to mention that the sight of mold surrounding or on top of the floor can be unsightly.
Issues with pests can also present themselves when there is excessive moisture on the kitchen floor. If your kitchen floor is waterproof, water and moisture can seep into the top of the subfloor, which will, in turn, attract everyday household pests.
These pests can include centipedes, spiders, termites, and ants. And though you can apply pesticides to help mitigate pest issues, your ultimate goal should be to remove moisture beneath the floor. If this underlying issue isn't mitigated, you will find yourself continuously dealing with the pest issue.
There is also the risk of potential structural decay beneath your kitchen floor. If the water gets past the subfloor, it can reach the joists at the floor base, weakening them, leading to other issues with the surrounding framing components. If these wood frames become moist, they can begin to rot and decay, which will weaken them. This, in turn, will present serious hazards to your home.
Disadvantages of waterproofing
The biggest downside to waterproof your kitchen floor is likely the cost of doing so. You will find that the water-resistant flooring may be a bit more expensive. In addition to this, you'll also need to purchase waterproofing materials and tools.
Though you can definitely complete this project yourself, it may be best to hire a professional if you have never installed flooring or applied some waterproofing membrane to your floor.
A contractor can charge anywhere from $50 to over $100 per hour for services or they can charge a flat fee based on the size of your kitchen floor and the type of flooring material installed. So, before you consider waterproofing your kitchen floor, it's best to determine whether it's something that you feel confident performing yourself, and if not, what budget you can allocate for a contractor.
Bad installation of water-resistant flooring or subfloor membranes can lead to potential moisture issues. For example, if there are gaps in the flooring or areas on the subfloor that have not been included in the membrane, this can lead to potential water damage.
Other common issues could be due to a lack of proper curing time, and insufficient thickness of the membrane or the wrong membrane being applied.
How do you waterproof a kitchen floor?
You can waterproof a kitchen floor by applying a sealant to the subfloor or a waterproof membrane as well. These products can also be applied together for an even more effective waterproofing application. There are also waterproof flooring materials that you can install on your kitchen floor to prevent water damage and leaks.
Things you'll need:
- Paint trays
- Floor primers
- Floor sealant
- Waterproof membrane material
- Utility knife
- Floor tiles or planks
- Paint rollers
- Worker's gloves
- Caulk guns
1. Clean the floor
The first thing that you'll want to do is to prepare the kitchen floor by first sweeping it. You also want to open up any windows in the room and nearby to allow for ventilation when you apply the sealant and waterproof membrane as these fumes can be a bit overwhelming.
2. Apply a floor primer
Most subfloors are made of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board), though they'll be made of concrete in some cases. Though you can find primers that work on multiple surfaces, you may want to find one designed specifically for the material that your subfloor floor is made of.
Pour the primer into a paint roller tray and grab your mop or a paint roller with a wand extension. Next, apply the primer to the entire floor. Start at the corner farthest away from the door and work your way back from left to right. Allow the primer to dry for the recommended drying time, anywhere from two to four hours.
3. Apply waterproof caulk
Next, apply a sealant to the subfloor. This will seal the gap between the corners of the floor and the wall. For this step, take your caulk gun and insert the silicone sealant. Then apply the caulk to the corners of the room.
If there are any cracks in the floor, you'll want to apply sealant to them as well to ensure that moisture does not seep through beneath the subfloor. Allow the sealant to dry if they recommend drying time.
4. Apply waterproof sealant
Before applying the membrane to the floor, take masking tape, and apply it to the bottom of the wall around the room to prevent it from being coated with the membrane. Pour an ample amount of the waterproofing sealant into another paint tray.
Next, take a sponge mop and apply the sealant to the entire floor. Be sure to start in the corner for this away from the door and work your way back from left to right. When applying the sealer, be sure to apply it evenly across the floor.
5. Apply a waterproof membrane
The optional last step is applying a waterproof membrane to the subfloor. These membranes typically come in rolled-up strips that you can lay flat and cut to your preferred size. After the sealant has dried completely, apply the membrane to the entire subfloor by laying the sheets down flat and ensuring that you cover any gaps between the strips of the floor and the wall.
6. Install flooring
After you have applied the membrane, you can begin to lay down your flooring. If you applied another layer of waterproofing sealant after the membrane, you'd need to wait until it dries first.
Do you need to waterproof under tile?
While it's not required that you waterproof the area beneath your tile, it can be especially helpful to guard your floor against moisture, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen areas.
What is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant flooring?
The difference between water-resistant flooring and waterproof flooring is the ability of the surface to absorb water. Water-proof flooring will not absorb water as it is not a porous surface. When water makes contact with the surface, it will simply roll off or bead up and remain until it evaporates or is physically removed.
Water-resistant flooring, on the other hand, simply has a slower absorption rate than non-water-resistant flooring. Meaning that it can withstand long periods of moisture before it shows physical signs of damage such as buckling or bulging.
What type of flooring is waterproof?
There are several different types of waterproof flooring available on the market today. The most common ones being luxury vinyl flooring (LVF), waterproof laminate, sealed ceramic tile, and linoleum.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has been helpful and breaking down how to install the kitchen floor and make it waterproof. Remember that there are different types of waterproofing options worth considering for your floor, including sealants and water-proof tiles.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: