Laminate flooring resembles the look of hardwoods but offers easier installation and stronger durability. You can use laminate flooring in any room in the house, including hallways, foyers and family spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens. While hardwood floors are always vulnerable to evils like sand, spills, messy kids, and pets, laminates are better designed to withstand the trauma of daily life.
On the surface, you might mistake laminate flooring for hardwood. They look almost identical. What looks like natural hardwood is actually a layer of paper sealed below a super tough protective film that is then pressed and glued to a backing board.
When choosing a flooring material, a critical factor to consider is the amount of expected traffic. Durability the major advantage held by laminate flooring over hardwoods. Because of the high-density backing board, laminates are resistant to scrapes, cuts, and punctures. The high-pressure laminate coating will prevent stains from seeping through and damaging the floor. Sliding chairs and heavy falling objects that would normally dent or gouge a hole in hardwood will have no affect on laminate flooring.
Another big plus for laminate flooring is the ease of installation. Rather than having to rip out the existing floor, laminate can be installed over many existing floors, including wood, tile, vinyl, and linoleum. They do not fasten directly to the existing flooring material with nails or glue. Rather, it is fastened with an adhesive. The adhesive holds the flooring material together, while allowing the sub floor below to move independently of the laminate. The adhesive also helps protect the core material from moisture.
Maintenance is easy with laminate flooring. The coating will protect against liquid spills and moisture. As long as you wipe it up, the core material will not get damaged. If it does get through the coating, the material might expand and damage the floor. These instances are rare though, and overall, liquid that would cause major damage to hardwood will be harmless to laminates. Also, unlike hardwood, laminate does not need to be finished or sanded every few years. Just keep it vacuumed, mop it every once in a while, and you’re all set.
One last big advantage for laminate flooring is the cost savings over hardwoods. Your basic hardwood material, usually Oak, costs between $10-13 per square foot. More exotic or rare wood species send that price through the roof. Laminates, on the other hand, cost an average of $7-11 per square foot. And since the wood grain finish is actually just a photographic image, the look of the flooring will not increase the price.