Laminate flooring is an excellent choice for any home. It can look and feel like real hardwood (without the cost) and comes in a wide variety of styles.
It is a great option for DIY-ers as long as you do your homework and prepare the subfloor properly.
The durability of your laminate flooring is a major consideration when you’re choosing the right option for your home. It’s important to choose a product that can stand up to the wear and tear of daily life, which is why most floors have a variety of durability ratings.
Laminate is a synthetic flooring material that aims to mimic the look of wood, stone, or tile. It’s been around for a few decades, and manufacturers keep improving its durability and quality.
Most laminate floors feature a durable wear layer that can withstand scratches, dents, and stains. Some even come with long warranties that protect against these issues.
This durable wear layer makes laminates a good choice for high-traffic areas, like entry hallways or kitchens, where a high dose of traffic might not be as ideal for hardwood floors. However, it’s important to note that laminate cannot be sanded and refinished, so if the top layer is damaged by heavy wear, it must be replaced.
Aside from this downside, laminate is also relatively easy to maintain if you follow a few simple rules. Mopping once a month with a damp mop is usually sufficient, and you can use any cleaning product that is safe for your floors (no oils, acids, or abrasives).
Another key factor in the durability of laminate is its thickness. Many brands use multiple layers to create the appearance of hardwood, stone, or tile floors. Each layer consists of a core board, a design or image layer, and a protective wear layer that is sealed to the surface.
When choosing the best laminate floor for your needs, you’ll want to research different brands. These companies offer a wide variety of styles and GreenGuard certifications.
To determine the overall durability of a laminate floor, manufacturers test it using a Tabar rotary platform abraser. The test replicates years of wear and tear by putting the flooring through 50 wear cycles to simulate one year of residential use. Once the results are compiled, each floor is assigned an AC rating. The higher the AC rating, the more durable it is.
Laminate flooring is extremely easy to maintain and requires very little work to keep it looking good. It only requires vacuuming and mopping on a regular basis. However, to ensure the best results in cleaning your floors, it is important to use products that are specifically for laminate floor care.
It is also recommended to avoid using abrasive or harsh soap-based cleaning products. These can damage the top layer of the laminate and cause it to lose its shine.
The best way to keep your laminate clean is to establish a cleaning routine and do a deep clean every couple of months. You should also tend to spills and messes as soon as they occur and use rugs or mats in high-traffic areas to prevent scratches and stains.
You should also take precautions to prevent moisture from damaging your laminate. Water can swell the planks and make them warp or rip, so be sure to wipe up any spills immediately.
Similarly, be aware of oil-based stains such as paint, ink, marker, lipstick, or shoe polish, which may not come off easily. If so, acetone nail polish remover will work to get them out. You can also use a pencil eraser to get heel marks and scuffs off the surface.
Another easy way to keep your laminate floors clean is to use a mild cleaner. For tough spots, you can use a window cleaner on a cloth to buff away stubborn grime.
If you have children or pets, consider using a furniture pad to protect your flooring from scratches. You should also place mats at each entrance to collect excess dirt and dust.
Although laminate is relatively easy to clean, it does need to be kept dry. Water can swell the planks or rip them off, so you should always wipe up spills quickly and don’t use a wet mop. You should also be aware of acidic or abrasive products which can damage the laminate’s surface.
Laminate flooring has a wide variety of finishes, colors, and textures that can match the style of any home. It also comes in a variety of different materials and is easy to install.
Compared to hardwood floors, laminate is often cheaper and easier to maintain. It is also more durable, making it great for high-traffic areas.
The variety of laminate flooring available is so vast that it can be overwhelming for the average buyer. But if you know what to look for, you can find the perfect floor for your home and budget.
One of the most popular laminate flooring types is the pre-glued variation. This type is quick and simple to install, and it has a double-lock system that connects to the floor almost instantly.
It is also less susceptible to scratching than other types of laminate and is a good choice for anyone who wants a hard-wearing floor that is low maintenance and affordable.
Some varieties of laminate also come in wood-look designs that resemble real wooden planks. This is particularly popular with consumers who prefer a more authentic hardwood look.
Many laminate floors are also waterproof, which makes them ideal for bathrooms and basements. Depending on the material and the quality of the laminate, it may also be resistant to humidity.
However, if you live in an area where it can be very humid or wet, it is advisable to avoid laminate flooring. It is also a good idea to get a foam underlay to prevent any moisture from seeping into the floor.
Another popular option is the fold-and-lay variation. This method of joining two laminate boards is a great alternative to tongue-and-groove joinery. It involves a fold that is made by angling the boards inwards. This allows the boards to be held tightly together without any movement.
These laminates are very easy to clean and are a good choice for families with small children or pets. They are also stain-resistant and will not damage your carpet.
Some of the more expensive laminates have a layer of aluminum oxide to make them more durable. These floors are also more stain-resistant, which is a bonus for homeowners who have pets or children.
Laminate flooring is one of the easiest types of floor coverings to install. Its click-and-lock tongue-and-groove system makes it easy to install over a variety of subfloors without glue or nails. It also is a great choice for those looking for an eco-friendly option that doesn’t require trees to be cut down.
Before installing laminate floors, acclimate them to the temperature and humidity of the room they will be installed in. This will help the planks fit together properly and reduce the risk of buckling and warping.
To begin installing the laminate flooring, remove the baseboards and trim around the perimeter of the room as well as any heating resistors or air return duct covers. Then, clean the floor thoroughly to remove any debris or dust.
After the floor is clean, use the flooring cutter to cut the first and last planks of each row. Be sure to stagger the end joints of adjacent boards by at least six inches, which will provide additional stability and a more authentic appearance.
When you have a full row of planks in place, join the tongue side to the groove side using a pull bar from the installation kit or a hammer and tapping block. Start a new row by matching the tongue side to the groove side of the next board, and continue until you reach the end of the row.
For a seamless and professional-looking installation, ensure that all of the planks are measured correctly and cut to length as needed. This is especially important for larger rooms, as a single mistake in measurement can result in uneven or unattractive flooring.
Once you have the planks cut to length, begin laying the laminate flooring by lining the tongue side of the first row up with the wall. Then, begin a second row by matching the tongue side of the next row to the wall and aligning them together. Lastly, cut the last plank in each row to length and save the scraps.
After the flooring is laid, you can add thresholds and baseboard molding to finish off the edges. This will help to eliminate the expansion gap and give the floor a more authentic look.