For many homeowners, while hardwood flooring is beautiful and luxurious, thanks to modern technology, laminate flooring offers a practical and affordable alternative. Laminate is an incredibly durable material made up of four pressure fused layers. It can offer the same beautiful look as hardwood, while cutting costs and care dramatically.
Laminate flooring is made up of four layers that are combined to create one extremely hard surface. A direct pressure process fuses each layer into one another, creating a single piece for easy installation. The back layer is the last layer, underneath the laminate. It’s reinforced with melamine to provide structure and water-resistance. The fiberboard core comes next. This is a super dense core board that helps provide impact resistance and stability to the laminate. The decorative layer is the aesthetic part of the flooring, it’s usually an incredibly detailed photo that gives the appearance of another material. The wear layer finishes the laminate off. This is a clear finish that’s reinforced with aluminum oxide to provide hardness, as well as stain and moisture resistance.
Since laminate is waterproof, scratch resistant and resists stains, it’s flexible and durable enough to be used in rougher environments like a kitchen and bathroom, as well as a dining room. Laminate is also relatively easy to clean. However, since it’s made up of four layers, sometimes water or cleaning fluid can seep in between layers, causing some of the fibers to absorb water and swell. This tends to happen with poorly produced and cheap laminate flooring, so it’s always a good idea to wipe spills up immediately.
Laminate is also incredibly easy to install. It usually doesn’t take more than a day or two, and it can be walked on and used right after installation. Most laminate flooring uses “tongue and groove” locking technology, which eliminates any spaces at the seams of the wood. Because of this system, laminate flooring can also be taken apart and reassembled with relative easy.
Aesthetically, laminate can mimic virtually any surface. A high-quality photograph of a real piece of wood, brick, tile, stone, or other material is used as the decorative layer. Often, advanced embossing can be added to put a realistic texture on the floor.
Although it’s inexpensive, it’s important to be careful about the quality of the laminate flooring you’re purchasing. Some of the really inexpensive flooring can skimp on the production process, making a poorly put-together product. Ask about warranties that come with the floor. If you plan on installing it yourself (a relatively simple process with laminate), check the warranty to make sure it won’t be affected by anything you do.