When it comes to choosing flooring for your home, there are many options available on the market today: ceramic tiles, vinyl, hardwood, carpet etc.
But few flooring options provide the versatility and durability of laminate flooring.
Laminate is a fairly recent invention that hit the market in the late 1970’s and was initially used on countertops and other surfaces. It was not considered to be strong enough for floors. However, with improvements in the manufacturing process over the years, laminate has quickly become one of the most popular choices for flooring today, due to its many positive attributes. We’ll get to that in a minute but first, what exactly is laminate flooring?
This type of flooring is usually made out of four layers that are fused together in a laminating process. Each of the four layers serve a distinct purpose. The bottom or backing layer is made of melamine and is responsible for protecting the floor from moisture. Above this is the core layer made of a dense, strong material like compressed wood fiber. This ensures that the flooring is durable and resistant to dents, cracking and breaking. The third layer is the design layer which, as it sounds, is the pattern or unique design that will be seen at the surface. It is purely for decorative purposes and is created by layering a printed high-resolution photo reproduction of a particular pattern on top of the core layer. This decorative pattern can be anything but it is usually made to imitate the look of wood or stone and often looks just as good as the real thing. The final layer is the wear layer, which is a clear aluminium oxide layer that protects the other layers and prevents fading, stains and other surface flaws.
Because of its multiple layers, laminate flooring is considered to be one of the most lasting flooring materials on the market. In fact, this is the material used in the bowling lanes of many bowling alleys, to withstand the impact of heavy bowling
balls! So this makes it ideal for areas that see heavy foot traffic. It is also ideal for commercial spaces. Experts say laminate flooring can last as long as 30 years depending on the quality.
So now that we know how durable laminate flooring is, what other benefits can you get from choosing this type of flooring for your home?
Well, laminate flooring is relatively low maintenance compared to other types of flooring. It doesn’t require frequent vacuuming like carpets. Carpets have a tendency to become dusty and attract odours but this is not an issue with laminate flooring.
Laminate flooring may also be a better choice than ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles may chip and crack easily, or become faded over time but laminate flooring maintains its vibrancy even in direct exposure to sunlight.
Laminate flooring, though much cheaper, also out performs hardwood and other types of wood floors in some aspects. As mentioned above, laminate flooring is usually made to imitate the look of wood. So you can get that same rustic, wood feeling but not have to worry about the drawbacks of a wood floor.
For example, wood is prone to swelling or contraction if exposed to moisture and heat. Laminate flooring will maintain its shape under moist or humid conditions. Wood can also be quite expensive and troublesome to maintain. Wood floors require periodic sanding and polishing to ensure they remain looking their best. Laminate flooring doesn’t require much more than regular sweeping or mopping to stay clean and sharp. In fact, laminate flooring is among the easiest materials to maintain and clean as it will not absorb stains or odours.
Because of its durability and resistance to impurities, laminate flooring can be installed virtually anywhere in the home be it the living room, bedroom, hallway etc.
Installing laminate flooring is also easier and more affordable than other types of flooring as it doesn’t require any adhesives or mortar and grout like regular ceramic tiles. It doesn’t have to be nailed together or screwed down.
Laminate flooring comes either in a tile shape or in planks and the pieces snap together much like a puzzle. So there is no waiting for tiles to set or for adhesives to dry. It can be installed in a short amount of time and can be placed over your existing floor material, with little preparation.
For the best results, your floor should be flat and even. If your floor is uneven, you may need to place a thin layer of ply wood or foam to level out certain areas. A professional can guide you on what is the best method. If using planks, you will need to measure and cut to fit the size and shape of your room.
Laminate planks or tiles have a unique locking mechanism that ensures each piece is tightly joined together. Once installed correctly, there should be no gaps. Gaps in your flooring would encourage moisture to seep below the flooring so you want to make sure the pieces snap together securely.
It is simple enough to install for yourself, but you may require professional help if your room is uneven or an unusual shape, as the pieces will need to be cut to fit.
Repairing laminate floors that have been damaged is also a simple process as the tile or plank that has been damaged can be removed and replaced easily, once you have a matching piece.
But despite its many positives, there are some drawbacks to laminate flooring that you should know before making the decision to install it in your home. As mentioned before, laminate flooring is one of the cheapest surfaces on the market and as a result, it will not add any resale value to your home in the event you want to sell. If you’re looking at resale value, nothing beats genuine hardwood floors.
Another drawback is that laminate can be slippery due to its smooth surface so it may be inadvisable to install it in areas where you expect frequent exposure to water like kitchens and bathrooms. However, modern laminate floors often contain a slip-resistant wear layer. Be aware of the type you purchase.
Our professionals at TriniHelper can assist you in choosing the best laminate flooring as well as performing the installation at an affordable price. We are here to work with you to transform your floors into the sleek, modern look that laminate can provide.
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