I need a waterproof floor. What are my options? And what are my concerns?
If you have moisture concerns, flooding, lots of spills, or other water worries, there are several floors that will add some peace of mind to your decisions. From carpet to LVT, there are floors available that will stand up to moisture. Shaw has a line of carpet with a waterproof membrane that will prevent any moisture from transferring through. And in the LVT genre, most products are marketed as waterproof or water resistant. With all the options available to you, you need to be aware of the caveats and concerns that should come with them.
First, your floor may be waterproof, but that won't make the rest of your house waterproof. If you put down a layer of waterproof carpet and you have a flood (top down water, not water coming up from the slab) that water is going to go somewhere - down along the path of least resistance. Your carpet is safe, but the drywall, subfloor, padding will be saturated. If it is not quickly and thoroughly dried, then mold will grow.
Waterproof Carpet Pad
I have yet to see any evidence of a truly waterproof pad. Several pads will have moisture barriers, and we highly recommend them for spills such as drinks or pet accidents. With any type of significant volume, however, this pad will not hold up.
The good news is that carpet pad is relatively cheap to replace, so if it's all you have to buy, you shouldn't be out too much.
Shaw has a new line of waterproof carpet called LifeHappens. Paired with Shaw's R2X stain repellancy, it makes for a great start to building a great carpet. A dealer in Texas recently built a swimming pool out of LifeHappens carpet to demonstrate how it would hold water. It worked perfectly.
Waterproof Wood and Laminate?
Waterproof wood doesnt exist. Just like waterproof tissues or electrical components, it will never ever be waterproof.