Guide to Sealing Laminate Flooring [Like a Pro!]

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guide to sealing laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a durable and stylish option for all kinds of interior decor. However, one of its biggest issues is that it is not as waterproof as other flooring types. 

If water gets into the cracks between laminate planks, it can cause the flooring to warp. It can also create dangerous black mold if it is not caught right away. 

To make sure this doesn’t happen, your best bet is to seal the laminate and make sure water can’t get in. 

By laying down a top coat, you can give the floor a protective layer and keep spills from getting underneath. You can also guard it against humidity and other atmospheric moisture. 

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of sealing laminate flooring step-by-step. Doing the job right means you can be confident your flooring will have the longevity you need. 

Sealing Your Laminate Flooring: Basic Idea

Sealing laminate flooring is a fairly simple process if you follow these simple steps:

  • Clean the entire floor
  • Remove the baseboards and moulding
  • Caulk the extension gaps
  • Apply layers of top coat

What You Should Know Before Sealing Your Laminate Flooring

It is important that you have some information before you begin laying down a top coat. 

Not all laminate flooring will be able to hold onto a clear coat and adhere to it. Check with the manufacturer of your laminate before you begin. 

If your laminate can not be clear coated, you can still do things to protect it from moisture. 

Fill any gaps in the floor with sealant or silicone caulk. If any planks of your flooring are damaged or chipped, repair them with wax or sealer. 

You don’t necessarily have to apply a top coat to the whole floor to safeguard it. However, if your laminate can adhere to it, doing the whole thing will offer the best protection. 

Clean Entire Floor

clean entire floor

Before you begin this process, you will want to give the floor a thorough cleaning

Any dirt, dust, or particles need to be swept up and removed. Anything that is left on the floor when you begin clear coating will end up stuck underneath it. 

Mop the floor with a damp mop, but not one that is completely soaked. The floor must be completely dry before you start. 

Should you use too much water when mopping, this could get underneath the planks. This will be very difficult to remove once you seal them and may require replacement. 

Remove Baseboards

Remove any baseboards or moulding from the bottom of the walls along the laminate. 

You want to put them back over the top coat once it is cured to get a complete, tight seal. If you don’t remove them, you won’t be able to get the sealant all the way flush with the edge. 

Use a pry bar to gently remove the baseboards by pulling out the finishing nails holding them in place. 

You will want to be as careful as possible since they are going right back into the same spots. Remove the finishing nails and replace them with new ones when you replace them. 

Once you have removed the moulding and baseboards, tape off the walls with painter’s tape. This will help protect them from the sealant. 

Caulk the Expansion Gaps

Your laminate will have small gaps between the planks and walls. These are called expansion gaps. 

Laminate flooring is meant to contract and expand with the weather. When it gets hot, it gets bigger and when the weather is cold it contracts back in. 

If you did not have these gaps, the laminate would crack or split when it expanded. 

To waterproof and seal these gaps, fill them with a high-quality silicone caulk. Silicone is waterproof and will keep out moisture, while still allowing the planks to expand. 

Allow the caulk to cure overnight before you move on to the next steps. 

Apply Top Coat 

apply top coat

Now that the entire floor is clean and the gaps are sealed, you can apply the top coat. 

You can use a urethane or polyurethane clear coat to seal the entire laminate floor. However, you should always check with the manufacturer before you do this. 

Some types of polyurethane can damage laminate flooring. This is caused by bubbling that can pull up the top layer of the laminate. 

If you have checked with the manufacturer and the laminate can be sealed, use a brush or roller. 

Rollers will get the job done faster, but it can be difficult to get clean, accurate strokes. If you want the cleanest possible application, use a large brush and apply the coat by hand. 

Let the first coat dry overnight with the room ventilated and unoccupied. After it has dried, you can apply the second coat. 

You will need at least two coats to seal the flooring effectively, but three is better. Always allow each coat to completely cure before adding a new one. 

Once the sealant is applied and cured, then you can remove the masking tape and replace the baseboards and moulding. 

F.A.Q. 

faq sealing laminate flooring

  • Is there a polish for laminate flooring?

There are several polishes available for laminate flooring. However, you should always be careful when applying it and make sure it completely dries. 

If you do not want to use polish, a simple solution of vinegar and water works as well. 

  • Why are my laminate floors suddenly slippery?

If your laminate floors are suddenly slippery, odds are they are just dirty. 

Dirt and fine dust can make the smooth finish of laminate feel slippery. Give the floor a good sweeping and this should improve. 

  • How do you replace a bad piece of laminate flooring?

The nice thing about laminate flooring is that individual planks can be replaced

The planks use a tongue and groove joint, which makes them easy to remove. Simply tap the old plank out and tap the new one in. 

Conclusion

Protecting your laminate flooring from water damage can add many more years to its life. 

Spills happen and wet weather is out of your control. Doing everything you can to make sure the floor is preserved can give you the peace of mind you need. 

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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