Which timber-style floor coverings can withstand being fully submerged for days and still recover?
Apart from genuine, structural tongue and groove hardwood flooring fitted directly to joists, NO flooring system containing any wood, MDF or HDF content will remain unaffected by full submersion. Some newer laminates are touted to be “highly water-resistant” and certainly can withstand a lot more moisture than those cheap’n’nasties from your local hardware. Many engineered and laminate floors are fully enveloped in a layer that minimises moisture penetration to the ply or wood-pulp core, but these planks need to be cut at the walls and this allows moisture ingress and swelling or buckling. Waxy sealants along the locking joint can break down from detergents and joint-movement, also leaving them exposed. Sheet vinyl is out and of course, bamboo is out.
Ok, that leaves vinyl and hybrid planks. The majority of these are sold as water-proof and they have certainly proven to be just that. Not all mind you, just check with our experienced sales staff. Subfloors such as chipboard and hardboard underlay rarely survive and most adhesives will not tolerate submersion, so a water-proof vinyl is only good if the subfloor and glue survive. Click-lock hybrid planks and LooseLay type vinyl can be lifted and then relayed once cleaned down and dried because with flooding comes mud and nasty contaminates needing removal.
Our recommendation if laying flooring over a good concrete ground floor where flooding is expected one day, any water-proof vinyl plank that is fully stuck down with a fully water-proof adhesive.