When it comes to remodeling your existing flooring, or choosing flooring for a new home, there are wide range of products on the market for every budget. In general, prioritize your flooring decision based first on how the room needs to function and then secondly by your budget. Some rooms function better with a particular material, or your lifestyle may determine certain types of material. Laminate flooring is a very popular choice as it’s both highly functional and inexpensive. However, before deciding, it’s important to know the pros and cons of laminate flooring.
What is laminate?
Also known as floating flooring, laminate flooring first made it’s debut in 1977 and was invented by the Swedish company, Perstorp. Laminate flooring consists of many layers of synthetic material that is then fused, or laminated, together. A laminate floor is typically made of four layers:
- Bottom layer: Usually made of a melamine resin. Gives structural stability and offers resistance to moisture.
- Fiberboard core: Made from a high-density fiberboard that provides stability and impact resistance.
- Decorative layer: This layer provides the style, design and color of the laminate flooring. Laminate flooring can now be made to look like a wide range of woods, stones or other decorative materials.
- Tread layer: The transparent finish that provides the top layer. This layer is highly durable, stain resistant and protects the decorative layer.
Why choose laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring is an innovative and budget friendly alternative to solid hardwood flooring, making it a “super material” for many. Your hardwood flooring can be subjected to stains, scratches, and damages if you have active households. Laminate flooring is an ideal choice for many rooms of the home as it is more dent and stain-resistant than hardwoods and warmer than natural stone. It’s offered in a wide range of colors and patterns, making it easy to find exactly the right style for your home.
Benefits of laminate flooring
- Extremely durable: Laminate floors are scratch-resistant, impact-resistant, resistant to certain types of pests, and are stain and fade resistant. There are even anti-microbial products on the market.
- Heavy traffic: Because of it’s durability compared with hardwood, vinyl or carpeting, it’s a great option for hallways and entryways.
- Versatile: With the help of the most modern printing techniques, the laminates can stimulate the look of dozens of different natural hardwood materials or natural stone.
- Available in range of styles, colors, and shades: Laminates are resistant to a number of outdoor agents that can cause discoloration of the floor.
- Easy to maintain and clean: The wear layer of the laminate protects it from stains and smudges due to dirt, spills, and mud. Laminates are naturally resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Reasonable price: The cost of laminate material and installation is generally less than installing hardwood flooring. Additionally, the durability and longevity of laminate will mean less maintenance over time.
- Ease of installation: It can installed almost anywhere in your home, except on carpets. The installation process does not need to adhere the materials directly to the subfloor; instead, they are interlocked, leaving enough space for contraction and expansion.
- Environmentally friendly: some laminate flooring is offered in a environmentally friendly versions. Check with your local laminate dealer and ask about eco-friendly certification seals.
- Suitable Packaging: In contrast to the big length of the hardwood planks, the laminate planks are available in convenient 4-foot strips. You can also get laminates in tile forms of any size.
Disadvantages of laminate flooring
- Cannot be refinished or sanded
- Hard to repair
- Can feel hard under your feet
- May not look as valuable as hardwood flooring
- May be slippery
- Some products may not perform well in humid areas
Caring for laminate flooring
Laminate flooring is a low-maintenance product and generally requires regular dusting or sweeping. It’s important that dust and debris is swept away, especially from high-traffic areas, as the laminate surface may scratch. If a more thorough cleaning is needed, use a small amount of moisture as too much standing water could damage the top layer.
Installation of laminate flooring
Laminate flooring can be a fairly easy DIY project or you may choose to hire a professional. Most planks are sold as tongue-and-groove, so it’s easy to fit the planks together. Some brands recommend using a glue to adhere the planks to the sub flooring. A pro can easily help measure your flooring and order the correct amount. They can also help cut the planks so that the lines are laid out correctly on the floor.
Need to find a professional flooring contractor? Find one on Porch today!