A definitive guide to all sorts of laminate flooring for the year 2020. Design trends, patterns and much more in this article.
Are you ready to do some home renovations? Are you considering how to both spruce up your home and make it more friendly to the wear and tear it takes from your family?
You might be fed up with the old carpet full of spills from the kids and dirt from the dog. The truth is you can only clean the carpet so many times before it starts to show its age and wear.
If you're ready for a more friendly flooring for your home, consider looking at the new laminate flooring on the market. This is not your grandma's linoleum. Laminate flooring has made great strides in both function and style in recent years.
Read on to learn everything there is to know about using laminate flooring for your home renovation.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate is composite flooring. With its new incarnation, laminate has made great strides in both style and function in recent years. Today, it is even made to look like expensive natural hardwood.
While the laminate is not actual hardwood, it very much resembles it in look and feel. Laminate flooring also offers some real benefits when it comes to durability.
It has water-resistant properties, it's easy to install and it is more durable than traditional hardwood flooring.
Language of Laminate
To understand how laminate flooring looks and is installed, you need to have the flooring vocabulary in place. Here's some flooring lingo to become familiar with.
It's important before the installation of any flooring that you let it get acclimated to the conditions in your home.
Get the flooring delivered and let it sit in your house for a few days. It will take in the temperature and moisture of your home and contract and expand accordingly. You want it to do this before it gets installed.
Click Lock Installation
This is one of the many nice new features of laminate flooring. It does not need to be nailed or glued to the floor as hardwood or linoleum might.
Instead, it is manufactured with grooves that interlock with the previous piece. So, the installation is quite easy.
This is the edging that is intended to finish off the flooring edges. You can get a square edge or rolled bevel edge. Both will finish the flooring edges the same, so it is a matter of personal preference based on looks.
Because the floor uses the click-lock installation and is not nailed or glued to the subfloor, it is called a floating floor.
How is Laminate Flooring Built?
If you understand the concept of how laminate flooring is built, you will better understand the features of the flooring and even its advantages.
The top layer is called the wear layer. It is a melamine coating put over the top of the flooring. This layer is given an AC rating for durability.
The AC rating goes from 1 (lowest) to 5 (most durable).
The decorative layer comes under the wear layer. This layer gives the flooring its looks. It can be made from either printed on the core layer or be a high-quality digital photo layer.
The core is the thickest part of the laminate flooring. This part of the flooring is made from MDF, HDF or fiberboard. High-pressure compression is used to bind the pieces together.
Often the core is coated with melamine too to increase water resistance.
The balancing layer is the layer that actually touches the subfloor. It also has a melamine coating to increase water resistance in the flooring.
Types of Laminate Flooring
There are two different types of laminate floors to know about.
The first kind is what is called engineered wood. Some would argue that it fits in the laminate category, yet based on how it's made, it should be considered a laminate.
Engineered wood has a core made from real wood. Then the veneer layer adheres to the core. It is sealed with a UV acrylic layer.
This prevents the flooring from fading in the sun like some traditional wood floors might do.
The standard laminate flooring is more like what was described in the section on building laminate flooring.
What to Consider When Buying Laminate Flooring
There are several factors to consider when shopping for laminate flooring.
Thickness of the Board
The thickness of the board will make a big difference in how the flooring feels once it's installed. It also affects the sounds from the flooring.
The thickness can come from both the core layer and the wear and decorative layer. Generally, speaking the thicker the board the better for durability and many other factors.
Photographic Decorative Layer
If the laminate is made using a digital photograph, look closely. The quality of these photos has drastically improved the quality of the flooring in recent years.
If the photo is better quality the repeat of the pattern in the wood is more spread out so it's almost unnoticed by the naked eye.
Remember, the wear layer will give an AC rating. This will give you valuable information about the durability of the flooring. The higher the AC rating, the more durable the flooring.
Almost always, better quality flooring will cost more. Do your research to understand how the flooring is made so you can better understand the pricing.
You want to make sure your flooring comes with a warranty. This protects you in case a defect shows up down the road. You should be able to expect most laminate flooring to come with some kind of warranty.
Pros of Laminate Flooring
There are a number of positive reasons to consider laminate flooring. Some of these include:
- Cost (much less than traditional hardwoods)
- Ease of installation
- Great strides in quality
Laminate flooring is also easy to care for. It is made for the home where it will see a lot of wear and tear. Simply wipe it down and it looks good as new.
Style and Benefits of Laminate Flooring
If you are interested in laminate flooring for your home, we've got you covered. We offer free in-home estimates.
You are sure to find a style to fit your taste and budget in our wide selection of laminate flooring. Contact us today to set up an estimate.