YES!! In fact I have laminate flooring in both my kitchen and bathroom. Can you put ANY laminate flooring in areas that are most susceptible to moisture… absolutely not!!!
There are many laminate floors that are not well built, especially when it comes to withstanding moisture. This is why you will hear so many contradictions on whether or not they will do well on a moist area like a kitchen or bathroom. So how can you select the RIGHT laminate flooring for a moist area?
The number one consideration is the core density. What is that? That is the base or core of your flooring. Some brands use a medium density core and some use a high core density. You really only want to use a very dense high core density board. This can be difficult to find since most salesmen know very little about the products they sell. Feel free to ask your local Home Depot sales rep about the core density of their laminates… in my experience they have not even heard that term used. So the best way to check if you are getting a good core density is to get a sample and soak it completely in water for 2-3 days. A cheap floor with a cheap core with swell, and often even fall apart. A high quality core will hardly be phased by this test. No product typically likes to claim they are WATERPROOF… but a high core density laminate is very resistant to water damage. That being said don’t leave water on your floor… always wipe up spills when you see them. The floors that we have tested that have done the BEST with water are made by FINSA. This is a high quality European Laminate Floor. Even their $0.99 Fiesta Collection tested out very well.
The other product that helps with moisture is if the factory ads a WAX SEAL to the seams. (Finsa also provides this, even though they already use the highest core density we have ever tested). Your flooring is most susceptible to damage in the seams where the wood is cut and therefore RAW. The top layer of laminate has several layers of aluminum oxide sealed to it… you could literally caulk a glass of water to the top and it would not phase most floors. The bottom of laminate also typically has a thick melamine later bound to it… again you could caulk a glass of water to the bottom and no water would penetrate your flooring. But when the locking mechanisms are cut into the flooring, the core is exposed and thus it is most susceptible to liquids penetrating at the seams. This is why when cheap laminates get wet they “buckle” at the seams and joints where the moisture is able to adsorb into the core. Wax seals in the seams add one more layer of protection to your seams. There is also a AFTER market product called Click’N'Seal.
You apply this product to the seams as you install the flooring. You can even apply it after installation especially if you have a V-Groove flooring. (It is best to apply during installation and then seal from above as well. Unless you have a flat seam, the you really need to apply as you install your flooring) Please call in to order this product, we sell to our customers at cost. ($10 per tube, each tube does about 50 square feet). This is especially recommended to use at entry doors into your home, bathrooms, kitchens (in front of the sink and stove and under the dishwasher and fridge).
You also need to consider the locking mechanism. You want to test the lock BEFORE YOU INSTALL IT. Take two pieces and lock them together, while they are laying flat try to pull them apart. They should NOT pull apart and in fact you really should be be able to pull a significant gap in the flooring. This means that dirt, dust and moisture will works its way in the joints and wear them down. If you can totally pull apart the lock when the flooring is flat it will likely not stay locked once installed.
Also it is important to note you almost NEVER can buy quality laminate for under $0.69 a square foot. As we cannot buy quality laminate in BULK for that cheap. So when I see laminate specials for $0.39, $0.49, $0.59, etc. I just image the corners they cut to get the price that low RETAIL. Unless it is a discontinued floor that is then end of a pallet, never buy this super cheap of flooring. It will not last, and should NEVER be put in a bathroom or kitchen. Really poorly built laminate can look terrible in your home in just weeks or months. Even if they have a “warranty”, as often those warranties exclude about ever issue under the sun, or have so many exclusions that literally no flooring is covered by the time you get through them all.
If you need further advise our assistance please contact us at 800-603-0727 and talk to one of our installers.