Laminate flooring is a great alternative to hardwood when you want the warmth and beauty of wood flooring without the installation and maintenance hassles. This attractive flooring solution is available in a wide range of prices, colors and grains. It’s also more scratch and dent resistant than hardwood flooring, which makes it the perfect choice for homes with active children or pets. Laminate flooring is the one of the most versatile, durable and well-constructed types of flooring on the market today.
How to choose laminate flooring?
Laminates warranty range from 10 years to lifetime. Entry level laminates come with a 10 to 15 years warranty but they are designed for light traffic areas. Used in a high traffic area, they will begin to show wear and tear usually within 3 to 5 years. Remember that choosing the right laminate flooring is not as easy as it seems, but by doing that, you will save money in the long run. Just think of things like the amount of time you are planning on staying in that house or the amount of traffic, because there is no point in buying really expensive laminate flooring with extended warranty if you know that you are moving sometime in the near future. Also consider buying laminates with Paraffin wax impregnated joints, as this wax acts as a water repellent and prevents water from penetrating down to the core.
Laminate flooring is made up of six layers, and comes in varying sizes of either planks or squares with a tongue and groove interlocking system. The surface layer of laminate is the melamine wear-layer, which is a tough clear melamine layer with aluminum oxide particles. When fused together with heat and direct to the core the wear-layer becomes an incredibly hard, durable finish.
The resin-filled wear-layer is so dense it becomes extremely difficult to stain, scratch, or burn. The second layer is the Print Layer, which is the decorative layer giving the flooring its appearance of real hardwood or tile. The third layer is a clear thin plastic sheet that floats freely above the substrate before the laminate floor is floated. Melamine is a plastic-type resin used throughout the construction process to add durability and stability to the laminated planks. The thickest layer is the core, consists usually of harboard; also called high-density fiberboard (HDF), particle board to add resistance and form the tongue and groove locking system.
Melamine plastic resins are used to improve moisture resistance of the core by some manufacturers. A thing you should consider when buying laminate flooring for bathrooms or kitchens is it’s core. A thicker core is more stable, less vulnerable and sounds more like the real hardwood floor when walked on. Quality laminate cores are treated with water repellent chemicals. The melamine plastic backing is used to add more structural stability and moisture protection to the planks.
As glueless locking mechanisms has been introduced to the market, laminate flooring has become the perfect choice for households because it has a quicker installation, it’s easier to repair and it can be installed by people without experience or specialized tools. This will save you a considerable amount of money. Installing laminate floors eliminates the need to nail or glue your floor in place. It is also a very attractive, low cost and long lasting flooring option. With an easy to clean surface, impact and dent resistance, laminate flooring can be installed over many different types of sub-floors and on all grade levels, making it a versatile flooring choice.
Installing laminate floors can be used in any room in the house and in most commercial areas as long as they are flat and in solid condition. Installing laminate floors can be done over concrete, wood, ceramic tile and even your existing linoleum floor. Even though laminate floors can be installed in any room in the house, they should not be installed in garages or on outside porches. The biggest reason for this is moisture. Moisture and laminate floors do not mix. On a scale from one to ten, installing laminate flooring requires a skill level of about a four. The most challenging part of the installation process will be clearing your schedule for a couple of hours.
The easy to follow instructions and simplified interlocking clicking system mean that most do-it-yourselves will be able to install an entire floor in one afternoon. A laminated floor that is properly installed, protected and maintained will go a long way to help your laminated floor last as long as your home.
Different Types of Laminate Flooring
Laminate Flooring is available in one of 2 types, planks and tiles. Flooring planks can be interlocking or tongue and groove where flooring tiles have tongue and groove edges. There are many different manufactures of laminate flooring and as the laminate flooring producers continue to expand colors, styles and increase quality, the growth of laminate flooring industry will continue.
Reason to choose laminate:
- A laminated floor is tough and durable.
- A laminated floor is chemical resistant and harsh household chemicals and cleaning agents will not harm your laminate flooring surface.
- A laminated floor can resist dropped cigarettes for a time without burning the floor.
- A laminated floor will keep its color or design for years. The surface will not fade even when exposed to direct sunlight.
- A laminated floor is hypoallergenic, it doesn’t contain any hazardous PCB’s, dioxins, plasticizers or chlorine. It repels dust, dust-mites and other allergy causing particles.
- A laminated floor is stain resistant and can be easily cleaned. Cleaning up a spill on a laminated floor is as simple as wiping up the mess. Also, scuff marks can be easily cleaned off a laminated floor.
- Installing a laminated floor is quick and easy. It can be floated over your existing K-3/lino, wood, concrete, tile or even low grade commercial carpet saving value time and expense. There is no need to wait, you can walk on your floor immediately after installation is complete.
- A laminated floor comes in many different designs and colors.
- A laminated floor is easy to care for.