Advantages of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is a relatively affordable and durable floor covering that can look like real wood. It’s popular among DIYers because it can be installed without glue atop structurally sound subfloors.
The realistic appearance results from the pattern layer, which is a photograph of the specific wood grain encased in a protective top layer. Laminate first hit the flooring scene decades ago as a durable and inexpensive alternative to hardwood floors. Despite the competition from luxury vinyl and engineered wood, it still stands as a versatile floor covering with many advantages for homeowners.
One of the most appealing aspects of laminate is that it can resist scratching and stains better than traditional hardwood. However, no floor is scratch-proof, and some damage may occur with repeated use. To help reduce this risk, look for laminate floors with an AC (abrasion class) rating of at least 3. This is a good indicator of the durability of the wear layer and its ability to resist abrasions.
A high AC rating will also provide greater resistance to impact, a key consideration when buying laminate for children’s rooms. The abrasion resistance of laminate can also be improved by using furniture pads, which are easily available at most flooring stores and can help to protect your floor from scratching when maneuvering or moving pieces of furniture.
Although it can withstand a great deal of wear and tear, laminate isn’t impervious to moisture and can be damaged by water spills. Its fiberboard core can swell up if it’s exposed to moisture for an extended period of time, which can lead to warping and the need for replacement. To combat this risk, it’s a good idea to avoid water-based cleaning products and instead opt for products that are safe for laminate floors, such as vinegar or dish soap.
Another drawback to laminate is that it cannot be sanded or refinished like traditional wood flooring. While minor scratches can be repaired with a scratch repair kit, more serious damage will require the entire plank to be replaced.
For maximum durability, consider opting for laminate that’s made with a waterproof core or coating to prevent any moisture damage. This will make the floor safer and easier to clean and could potentially extend its lifespan by reducing maintenance costs and repairs. Waterproof laminate is typically marketed as HPL or DPL and comes in a variety of plank sizes and finishes. Some products even come with attached pad flooring, which makes the installation process faster and simpler for those who want to DIY their project.
Laminate is scratch resistant and stain-resistant, which makes it a good choice for busy families. It can be cleaned easily with a mop and water or a commercial laminate floor cleaner. It’s a good idea to mop or vacuum your floors at least once a week. Keeping your floors clean between cleanings will help to prevent dirt and dust from becoming embedded in the laminate. Sweeping and vacuuming will also help remove any loose particles of dirt that can cause scratches or stains on the surface.
Using a cleaning solution designed specifically for laminate flooring will ensure that your floors are free of any chemical residues that could damage the finish or scratch the surface. Generally, you should use a cleaning solution made with vinegar, mild detergent, or a mild degreaser. These solutions are available at most home improvement stores. You should always test any type of cleaning product on an inconspicuous area of your floor to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the laminate.
When you do need to mop your laminate floors, it is important to use very little water. Standing water on the surface of your laminate can cause it to swell or bubble, separating the seams and potentially warping the floor. It’s a good idea to use a microfiber mop that can be easily wrung out to avoid over-saturating it with water.
The best way to keep your laminate floors clean is to prevent dirt and dust from accumulating on the surface in the first place. Sweeping and vacuuming the floors regularly will remove most of the dirt that is tracked into the house. You can further protect the floor by placing entrance mats and rugs around the house to trap most of the dirt that is brought in.
Another good way to protect your floors is by putting felt pads on the bottom of chairs and tables to prevent them from scratching the laminate. It is also a good idea to trim your pet’s nails frequently to prevent them from scratching the floors.
Laminate floors aren’t only able to mimic the look of wood but also of tile and stone. Thanks to the technology that goes into creating them, laminates can now also be made with realistic textured prints that are often better than nature could do on its own.
For example, the base layer of a laminate floor typically features an embossed print. This adds texture to the surface and can give it a more authentic feel, especially when the grain is enhanced with rougher textures to match what you’d find on a natural wood floor.
The next layer up is the decorative layer, which can take on the look of any material that a manufacturer wants to offer in its line of laminates. This includes everything from a photo of real wood to concrete, cork or even natural stone. Manufacturers can make these laminate floors so realistic that many people cannot tell the difference between them and the actual material they are imitating.
Another option is to choose a glossy finish. While it might not hold up to water stains or scuff marks as well as matte laminates, the sheen can really add to the illusion that you’re looking at a natural material rather than a synthetic product.
Laminates come in a variety of colors as well as lengths and widths, so you can choose the style that suits your home best. The most popular option is a hardwood-look laminate, but manufacturers have also come a long way in replicating the looks of tile, stone and even brick. In fact, some of the laminates produced by Mohawk—which owns brands like Tecwood and RevWood—even include a veneer of real wood that is fused with the core and protective layer.
While you might be able to install a standard laminate yourself, it’s usually better to hire a professional for the job. This is particularly true if you have to deal with below-grade rooms, potential moisture issues and oddly shaped spaces. They have all the tools and experience needed to get your new flooring up and running much more quickly than you might think possible.
If you’re looking to replace your old carpet, tile or wood flooring with something that is durable, beautiful and affordable, laminate may be the perfect choice for you. It’s easy to install and can be done by almost anyone with a little bit of patience. It’s also easy to swap out when your tastes change or you want a new look.
Laminate floors are a great option for those with kids and pets because of their durability and resistance to scratches and stains. They’re also easy to clean, sweeping and mopping them is usually all it takes. They’re also resistant to water damage, unlike hardwood.
The outer layer of a laminate floor is designed to resemble the appearance of various types of wood, and it is available in a wide variety of colors. The core layer of a laminate floor is made from high-density fiberboard, which adds strength to the structure. The image layer, core layer and backing layer make up the basic composition of a laminate floor.
If you are installing a laminate floor in a room that is subject to a lot of moisture, it’s important to put down a vapor barrier before beginning the installation process. This will keep the moisture from seeping into the wood, causing it to swell and warp. This is because the outer layer of a laminate floor is only water-resistant, not waterproof.
It’s also a good idea to put furniture pads underneath your furniture to prevent scratching the floor and place mats in heavy traffic areas to reduce wear and tear. You should also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove dirt and dust on a regular basis.
Once you’ve finished laying the flooring, it’s a good idea to wait a few days before you begin using the room. This acclimation time is necessary to allow the laminate to adjust to its environment. During this time you should prepare the floor for installation by leveling any uneven sections, undercutting the doorjambs, removing any existing baseboards and thoroughly cleaning the subfloor.