Laminate flooring is an excellent choice for those who want the look of hardwood or tile without the high cost. Technology has come a long way when it comes to laminate. Today, there are a plethora of looks and designs to give your floors a unique look that will impress everyone who sees them.
What is Laminate?
Laminate is constructed in layers. The top layer is called a wear layer which is usually made of a thin, clear plastic which helps protect the surface from scratches, stains, and fading from UV rays. The next layer is the design layer which is a high definition picture of the material you are trying to replicate. Under the design is the core layer which is usually made of pressed wood materials called fiberboard, and comes in different thicknesses. Finally, there is a balancing layer on the bottom which adds support and moisture protection. Some laminates also come with an attached padding to help with comfort and sound.
What are the benefits of Laminate?
Installation – Laminate is much easier to install than hardwood or tile. Almost all laminate has a fold and lock system. This makes it a great choice for a do-it-yourself flooring project.
Cleaning – Laminate is very low maintenance. You can use a broom, vacuum, or any cleaner designed for laminate. Just make sure not to use anything that may cause water to seep into the seams.
Durability – The top layer of laminate is extremely durable, especially when it comes to scratches and dents.
Versatility – Laminate can be installed over most solid and level surfaces, thus eliminating the need to tear up your existing flooring in many cases.
Things to consider…
Moisture – While laminate can hold up to occasional spills, if laminate stays wet even for a few minutes, it can be ruined. Water can seep under the surface and cause the laminate to warp and bubble. This is a HUGE factor to consider when buying laminate.
Wear – Depending on the quality of the laminate, it can wear out and lose its appearance and finish. Laminate cannot be re-finished so you may have to replace it sooner than expected.
Sound – Some laminate, especially without padding, can sound hollow or fake.
Value – Laminate generally does not add the same value to your home that real hardwood or tile would.
While laminate is slowly losing the race to luxury vinyl, it is still a viable option (especially if you want to try to install it yourself). However, make sure that you have the right tools and know what you’re doing. The experts at Columbia Floor Source can help you with any questions you may have.