picture of laminate flooring

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood floors. Contrary to popular belief, laminate is not made out of plastic. Rather, it is a flooring material composed of four layers:

  • Back Layer: very bottom layer that protects the plank against moisture
  • Core Layer: second layer; high-density and durable board that protects from dents and moisture
  • Design Layer: third layer; has a high-resolution photograph of the desired appearance of the floor
  • Wear Layer: top layer; is a clear layer that protects against surface burns, staining, and fading

Pro tip: Laminate flooring is typically sold in planks ranging from 6mm to 12mm thick (not including the underlay). The thicker the plank, the quieter the floor will be when walked on. Thicker planks are also more durable and impact resistant than thinner planks.

When it comes to the appearance of this flooring type, the choices are nearly endless. While the most popular choice for laminate flooring are the “wood grain” options, which give the appearance of hardwood, laminate can be made to look like other types of flooring. For example, laminate can be designed to look like limestone, marble, travertine, and other popular stone choices.

Why Choose Laminate Flooring?

Pros of Laminate Floors

  • Water Resistant
    • Laminate can be used in areas that may get wet or damp. It is ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or anywhere prone to spills.
  • Resistant to Scratches
    • Laminate flooring is ideal for high-traffic areas due to its resistance to scratches and scuffs. A great choice for homes with kids or pets!
  • Heat Options
    • This type of floor can often be paired with heated underlayment that keeps the floors at a warm, comfortable temperature.
  • Affordable
    • Because it is easier to install and takes less time, laminate floors are much more affordable than hardwood floors.

Cons of Laminate Flooring

  • If laminate floor is heavily damaged it cannot be refinished like hardwood floors. Instead, it will have to be replaced completely.
  • Standing water can cause damage on laminate flooring. Be sure to clean up spills quickly to avoid swelling.
  • Laminate flooring is less valuable than traditional hardwood floors

Installation Process

picture of laminate flooring

Laminate floors are typically less labor-intensive to install than traditional hardwood floors. Because of this, installation is usually faster and less expensive. Additionally, this flooring type is easy to install for even the most rookie homeowner!

Glue-less Laminate Floors

Glue-less laminate floors are the most popular option when it comes to ease of installation and ability to use right after it is laid. There are two main types of glue-less flooring; adhesive laminate flooring and locking laminate flooring. The adhesive options have pre-glued edges that need to be moistened before fitted in to place. Locking laminate floors are a great option for people who do not have much experience with floors. Due to the tongue-and-groove features, the planks can be snapped in to one another and securely set in to place. A whole room can be completed in one day with locking laminate floors!

Note: Glue-less laminate floors are not recommend in rooms that will have a lot of moisture such as the bathroom. This type of installation is less durable than the recommended glue-down installation. 

Glue-Down Laminate Floors

Although less common, glue-down laminate floors are a great option for those who really want the floor to absorb noise. During the installation the planks are attached directing to the subfloor with an adhesive. This process takes much longer and is more labor intensive. However, the floor with be incredibly strong compared to the glue-less option.

Laminate Floor Care

Another reason why laminate floors are popular is the overall ease of care and maintenance. Generally, laminate is very easy to clean and take care of, which makes it a great option for busy individuals and families alike.

Daily Cleaning: 

  • Use a soft-bristled broom as needed to sweep up debris, dust, hair, or other items that not belong on the floor
  • If applicable, use a vacuum with the hardwood setting on to suck up any particles that were left behind. Make sure the brush does not rotate as it can damage the laminate over time

Deep Cleaning 

  • Use water sparingly on laminate floors. Water that sits for a long time can cause the laminate to bubble or swell
  • Use cleaner that is specifically designed for laminate flooring
  • Never saturate the floor with liquid. Mop with a damp mop only and finish up with a microfiber towel to absorb any moisture left behind
  • Do not use oil-based cleaners on laminate. These will leave unsightly streaks that are difficult to remove

Spot Cleaning

  • Use a microfiber cloth when spot cleaning
  • Clean up and dry any spills as soon as possible to reduce the chance of water damage
  • For stuck-on messes, such as gum or wax, gently use a scraper to scrape of the pieces. Follow up with a microfiber cloth
  • If oil or color messes get on the laminate use nail polish remover. Apply a small amount of the remover on to a clean cloth and wipe the stain away. Follow up with a slightly dampened microfiber towel
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