Laminate Flooring - What is it?
Laminate flooring is a beautiful, inexpensive alternative to hardwood flooring. With up to 25 year warranties on some laminate flooring, and it is a much less expensive alternative to solid wood. Laminate flooring is manufactured by bonding melamine resins and aluminum oxide under extreme pressure at high temperatures, and the result is a floor that is more durable than solid wood.
Types of Laminate Flooring
There are several types of laminate flooring available. The first choice is in the type of installation process required.
Laminate flooring can be found as ‘click flooring’, which requires no gluing. The planks simply click and lock together as the flooring is fit into place. Some laminate flooring will need to be glued together at the joints, which is more time consuming but results in a very strong floor. There are some types of laminate flooring that come pre-glued, requiring moisture to reactivate the glue as it is installed.
It is even possible to buy laminate flooring with under padding already installed to the bottom of the planks.
Laminate flooring has evolved from only the smooth surface flooring option to several others, including textured, embossed to mimic wood grain, and even distressed or hand scrapped to mimic older flooring.
AC (abrasion class) is another factor to consider when choosing laminate flooring. The AC rating determines how durable and how much traffic and use a floor can withstand. The higher the rating (from AC1 to AC5) the more durable and higher priced the flooring will be.
Where Can Laminate Flooring Be Fitted?
Laminate flooring can be used for many different applications, including bedrooms to commercial settings. Because of the manufacturing process, laminate flooring can be used below grade, something that is never recommended with solid wood flooring. This means it can provide a beautiful wood-look floor for a basement when installed correctly over proper subflooring.
Often laminate flooring is used on the entire floor of a home, providing a seamless floor all the way through the kitchen, dining room, living room and hallways. It can even be used in the bathroom, but laminate flooring, like hardwood and engineered wood flooring, does not hold up well to standing water.
Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring has many advantages, including the fact that it is easy to install for someone who has relatively average handyman skills.
Laminate flooring provides the look of wood, without the high cost, and it is easier to maintain, able to be installed in places solid wood flooring cannot, and it is often harder and more durable.
Cleaning is a breeze, simply sweep, vacuum, and damp mop. It tends to resist stains, and they are more easily removed if they occur.
Laminate flooring allows for a wide variety of wood flooring looks, including exotic woods that are not otherwise available as solid wood options.
Because of the material used to manufacture laminate flooring, it tends to be very slippery when wet. Because it is not real wood, it cannot be refinished like solid wood and some engineered wood flooring can.
Laminate flooring, although it looks like real wood, does not offer the same resale value as solid wood or engineered wood floors.
The hardness of the floor itself is slightly lessened by the use of under padding.
Laminate flooring offers a less expensive alternative to wood flooring, while providing a beautiful seamless finish. For someone looking for an easy to maintain floor that is easy to install and lasts for many years, laminate flooring is worth considering.
Please remember the above is just a guide and you should seek professional advice.