Unlike traditional hardwood flooring, laminate planks have an outer coating that provides a layer of protection to the floor. Though most laminate flooring does not require any additional protection, sealants may prove beneficial in some instances.
When To Use Sealants
Sealants may be used in situations where the coating on the laminate flooring does not provide enough protection from spills or moisture or if the planks do not lock together well. Rooms where sealing may be required include basements, bathrooms and exterior locations, such as porches and sheds, though most laminate manufacturers to not recommend laminate flooring for use outdoors. Always consult the paperwork that came with your laminate flooring to get the manufacturer's recommendations as some sealants may damage certain laminate floors.
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Sealants To Use on Floors
If you want to seal the entire laminate floor surface, you can use a clear, waterproof sealant, such as polyurethane coating. This coating may be applied to individual planks or to the floor's surface with a paintbrush or paint roller. To seal the edges of laminate flooring in a room that may have moisture problems or possible leaks, use silicone caulking where the floor planks meet the walls and where the planks touch fixtures, such as toilets and sink pedestals.
Applying Sealants Prior To Installation
If you want to seal the laminate planks themselves against spills and stains at the time of installation, apply a polyurethane sealant to each plank with a small paintbrush. Be careful when applying sealant to the locking features on the planks. If the sealant dries in bubbles on these areas, the planks may not fit together properly when you attempt to install them. If you do end up with bubbles on the planks, sand them down with sandpaper to remove them from the planks.
Applying Sealants After Installation
Though applying sealant to individual laminate planks may protect the planks, water may still travel through the cracks where the planks come together and drip down to the subfloor, so you must have a waterproof underlayment installed beneath the laminate flooring on a wood subfloor. You can prevent potential leaks by applying a laminate floor sealer product or polyurethane coating to an installed laminate floor, which fills in these cracks. This does make the floor more difficult to take up when you want to lay a new floor, though.