About Laminate Flooring
Laminate is a popular flooring choice for home as well as the workplace. The variety is huge and there is something for everyone. Thanks to its many finishes available your floor can resemble an array of natural materials such as hardwood, ceramic tile and natural stone. Thanks to new technologies staining is a problem of the past for laminate flooring. Laminate is a great option for people who want to have inexpensive flooring with a natural look. Just like hardwood, it offers an authentic look at half the price.
How is laminate floor made?
Why do some laminate floors show fewer signs of wear and last longer than others? Having certain knowledge about the structure and manufacturing process of the laminate will make you better equipped to evaluate its performance aspects.
During the manufacturing process, the raw materials used in laminate floor production are stacked in large sheets. Next, these stacks are fused together under high pressure. After the pressing is done, sheets are laid out to cool. At last, they are cut and profiled and inspected for the last time before leaving the manufacturer’s premises.
Laminate is a composite flooring product that’s made of four layers of materials. Pressed together they create floors that are both durable and gorgeous.
The bottom layer also called “backing” poses the main resistance point to water spills and protects the floor from warping. Above it is the core of laminate flooring. Made out of high-density fiber it provides further moisture resistance and durability.
Next, comes the design layer with a high-quality photographic image of the desired material. In higher class laminate flooring in addition to an image, there is a texture to give the finished products a more realistic look.
Finally, there is a clear layer to protect the from any signs of wear such as fading, scratches and other damages.
Why install laminate flooring?
There is a stigma attached to laminate floors. Seems like being one the cheaper flooring options that also happens to be synthetic is putting off a lot of people who are concerned about the durability of their soon-to-be floor.
However, the general rule that you can’t get a quality product for a low price doesn’t really apply to laminate. Just because installing laminate flooring will cost you less than hardwood or stone tile doesn’t mean it looks cheap or isn’t durable. On the contrary, laminate flooring isn’t only equal but outperforms natural flooring materials in many aspects.
Laminate is easy to install
The DIY-ers among us will certainly appreciate how easy it is to install a laminate floor. The so-called click & lock (or fold & lock) design allows laminate boards to be fitted together like pieces of a puzzle. This accelerates the installation process and can save you valuable time and your installation team vital energy when remodelling your home.
The installation benefits of laminate floors don’t end here. Another great advantage of modern laminate flooring is that you don’t need to glue or nail it down.
Laminate is a floating floor and can be installed directly on pretty much any surface at any grade as long as it’s ideally flat. This includes not only underlayment but also any pre-installed flooring except carpet. Laying laminate flooring will save you the time and money you’d otherwise have to spend getting rid of your old floor.
The flooring installation enthusiasts will also appreciate the ease with which laminate planks can be cut and trimmed. Since laminate is made of soft particleboard even utility knife will do the job and make fitting border pieces less stressful and more time-efficient.
Laminate comes in great variety
Laminate offers one of the biggest selection of floor finishes. It’s a flooring option for everyone and anyone. The finish of laminate floor is essentially an image covered with a super strong clear protection sheet. The high-quality print can be made to resemble any and every natural material and not only that. Laminate floors also come in numerous patterns and colours.
Some modern laminate companies even go as far as reproducing the texture of a natural material such as wood or stone for better believability.
Installing laminate flooring in your home will not only give you the benefit of its strength and resilience but will transfer your space into a warm and welcoming setting that’s just as beautiful as the real thing.
Laminate is easy to maintain
When choosing the right floor for your home, it comes down to three major factors. The look of the floor, how much it costs and how easy is it to clean. Laminate gets satisfactory marks on all the above. Cleaning laminate flooring is as simple as it gets. A vacuum or a broom can get rid of most dirt accumulated on the floor’s surface. There are special laminate cleaners available for a more thorough cleanse. Cleaning laminate flooring using water is also a possibility, as long as the mop is just slightly damp and there is no excess water that could penetrate the planks and cause the floor to warp or even lose the protective layer over time (delamination).
Apart from regular cleaning laminate floors don’t demand much maintenance-wise. The edges of the planks fit together so tightly that they leave no space be sealed and grouted.
Laminate is affordable
The most common critique for laminate floors is that unlike stone or solid hardwood that can be sanded and refinished it has a shorter life span. At a price as little as ⅓ of that of hardwood, it’s well worth to install laminate flooring instead. Choosing laminate floor will not only leave you with a thicker wallet but it will also give you the flexibility and freedom many of the other flooring options lack.
Even if most laminate floors have 10+ years of guarantee, you won’t have to make it do with your choice of laminate floor for as long. With the money, you saved by installing laminate in the first place you can allow yourself to upgrade to a new floor and choose something more fitting for the time and the age.
The easy lock system laminate floors come with also makes it possible to replace just the damaged boards or even mix floors with different finishes as long as the boards’ sizes fit.
Where to install laminate floors
Every type of floor comes with benefits and disadvantages, some floors work better in certain environments than others. Being aware of those defining characteristics will help you avoid making disastrous flooring choices that may cost you a fortune in the end. Knowing what type of floor to choose for your home will make the daunting selection process a lot simpler and quicker and help you make the most of your space.
Having a clearer understanding how laminate’s capabilities and limitations change according to its location within the house will allow you to be a smarter planner and designer and benefit your home in ways you never considered before.
HARDWOOD VS LAMINATE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Affordability and Durability
Hardwood flooring is completely made out of wood. Most of the times it’s solid boards of wood laid out and nailed down (solid hardwood). Sometimes it can be several thinner boards of wood stacked on each other at 90-degree angle for more stability(Engineered Hardwood)
In the case of the laminate, the boards are made out of composite wood. The raw materials get pressed together at high temperatures to form large sheets. Then an image of hardwood texture is transferred to the surface to form the final product.
The service time of hardwood and laminate varies because of the differences in their construction. Hardwood is a beautiful addition to any home and can even add considerable value to your home. However, it’s easily damaged by water and over time will definitely show in areas of heavy use. Good thing? Unlike other wood based floors, solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished up to 3 times, allowing your floor to look as fresh as on the day it was installed.
Laminate essentially being hard pressed wood, withstands scratches, moisture and wear better than hardwood. Since the wooden pattern doesn’t run as deep in laminate products as it does in solid wood boards, flooring is also easier to clean. Laminate might be more durable than other wood flooring alternatives but it’s nowhere as visually appealing as the real thing. The lower the quality of laminate the easier to spot the artificial-looking wood grain textures.
Any flooring shows wear signs sooner or later. When it comes to repairs hardwood has a great advantage over most flooring options. It can be repaired by sanding impurities and applying a new finish. Some thicker laminate can be sanded very lightly to get rid of existing spots and scratches. However for most laminate floors best repair option is to replace damaged pieces with new matching boards.