What exactly is Laminate Flooring? It looks like wood. Or stone. It looks like just about anything because it is a high quality photograph! Is it wood though? Well, not really. But yes. Am I confusing you? Sorry! Let me explain.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring, sometimes referred to as Pergo or floating wood tile, is a synthetic flooring product with multiple layers which have been fused together through a lamination process. The top layer is a clear protective layer which lies over a photographic applique, giving infinite options. The inner core layer is usually made of fiber board (hence the ‘sort of’ wood classification) and melamine resin.
Swedish company Perstop invented laminate flooring in 1977. The original product had some definite drawbacks compared to laminate products available today. The first laminate flooring product, which came to be known as Pergo, had to be installed with a glue down and clamping method. The options were limited and quality of appearance was not always good. Now laminate floors are one of the most popular, versatile and durable options for new floors. Glue is no longer required as the adjoining floor sections snap into place. There are hundreds of patterns to choose from with realistic appearances of any type of wood, tile, stone, vinyl and more.
The Benefits of Laminate Flooring
Installation of Laminate Floors
There is no easier do it yourself flooring than laminate. Industry innovations mean you no longer need adhesive. Clean the surface underneath, lay down a sheet of underlayment material and the flooring pieces quickly and easily snap together for a seamless finish. It takes only a day or two to complete a laminate flooring project for a large room.
You don’t even need a pick up to pick up laminate flooring! Natural hardwood flooring is sold in long planks of 8 feet or more. Laminate planks are manufactured in tile form or as convenient 4 foot strips which are much easier to transport and carry.
Laminate flooring can be installed in any room and over almost any surface. A moisture barrier is essential, and certain steps should be taken to avoid potential water damage, but correctly installed, laminate is a great option for bathrooms, kitchens, garages, studios – anywhere you want to install a new floor, laminate works! Carpet should be pulled up before laying laminate floors down, but otherwise, any surface will do. This eliminates the hassle and expense of removing old flooring installations that you might encounter when installing hardwood floors.
Infinite Design Options for Laminate Flooring
Do you want the look of mahogany, but without the expense or difficulty of finding exotic hardwoods from a sustainable source? Or what about hard to find barn house antique oak? These options might run as high as $25 per square foot, but laminate options are available in any wood choice you could desire. The cost for laminate flooring is usually between $1-3 per square foot, a substantial savings. The photographic printing process can also reproduce the appearance of ceramic floor tiles and natural stone. Newer technology even allows for some embossed texturizing which recreates the surface texture of some of these natural materials!
Weather Wear and Tear
An active family can be hard on natural wood flooring. Dirt and mud can scratch, damage and discolor some hardwoods and other flooring options, but laminate flooring is very resistant to these elements, making it a great choice for entryways and hallways. And it is resistant to UV light damage, making it popular in sunrooms. While you don’t want to leave standing water on laminate flooring, a quick mop up can keep water damage from being a problem. There are also some great waterproof options now available as well.
Cleaning Laminate Floors
It is relatively easy to keep a laminate floor clean and fresh looking! The clear top coat protects the material from stains, making maintenance easy. Just sweep or vacuum as needed to remove grit and dirt. Build up can erode the floor’s wear layer over time, but this is no different than for any other flooring choice. The wear layer of a laminate floor protects the material from stains and some spills, making cleaning and maintenance relatively easy. Typically, the only regular requirement is sweeping or vacuuming of the floor to remove grit and dirt which can slowly erode the floors wear layer over time.
Naturally resistant to mold and bacteria growth, laminate flooring is an ideal option for those with allergies. It can be further treated with special coatings for greater allergen and bacteria resistance to make them even safer.
Expansion in Flooring
Changes in pressure and temperature are not an issue with laminate flooring. Because it is a floating floor, interlocked rather than adhered directly to the subfloor, the material can expand and contract without buckling and snapping.
Acclimation of Wood Flooring
Hardwood needs to acclimate to the environment of your home and area for 3-6 weeks before installation. Laminates can be installed after as little as 36 hours acclimation time.
Robinson Hardwood and Homes carries a great selection of laminate flooring for both DIY laminate flooring projects and for professional installation. Call or come in today to learn more and see what we have in stock!