What is Laminate Flooring?
Jan 16, 2023
Laminate flooring is a type of floating floor product made up of a particle board wood base, an image layer, and a transparent wear layer. It was invented in 1977 by the Swedish company Perstorp as a way to use waste wood products and make them into usable floor coverings.
Over the years, laminate flooring has become popular in living areas, kitchens, and other areas that are not subject to excessive moisture. It is easy to clean, scratch-resistant, relatively inexpensive, but it can be damaged by moisture and has a lower resale value than other types of floor coverings.
Keep reading to learn all about the pros and cons of laminate!
Pros: Advantages of Laminate Flooring
- Easy to clean: Laminate floors have smooth surfaces that are free of seams, making them easy to clean. A dry mop or broom will take care of most of the dust and dirt. For deep cleaning, it's best to use a hard surface mopping tool that dispenses cleaning fluid instead of water.
- Scratch-resistant: Due to their tough wear layer, laminate floors are scratch-resistant, making them well-suited for homes with pets and children.
- Good for high-impact homes: Laminate floors can withstand heavy foot traffic and are great for homes with active families.
- Relatively inexpensive: Laminate floors are inexpensive compared to other types of floor coverings, although some premium laminate floors can cost as much as solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring.
- Variety of styles: Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of styles, colors, and patterns, making it easy to find a style that fits your home decor.
- Easy to install: Many laminate flooring options are designed to be installed as a "floating floor", which means that no adhesive is required. This makes for a relatively easy and quick installation process.
Cons: Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring
- Can be ruined by moisture: Laminate flooring is constructed largely of moisture-sensitive particleboard. If subjected to water for too long, laminate flooring can swell beyond repair. It is not suitable for any place where moisture is prevalent, such as full bathrooms, laundry rooms, and sometimes even key areas in kitchens.
- Top layer may chip: While laminate flooring's wear layer is tough, the boards are easily chipped.
- Lower resale value: Laminate flooring has a lower resale value than other types of floor coverings, such as solid hardwood or natural stone.
- Not as warm underfoot: Unlike wood or stone, laminate flooring can feel cold and hard underfoot.
- Not as durable as hardwood or tile: Laminate flooring is not as durable as hardwood or tile. It can get damaged by heavy objects and pets.
When it comes to laminate flooring, it's important to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it's the right choice for your home. While it may be less expensive and more durable than hardwood or tile, it does have its limitations in terms of moisture and durability. Additionally, it's important to keep in mind that laminate flooring is not the same as LVP (luxury vinyl planks) - which is another popular flooring option.
What is Laminate Flooring Made Of?
Another thing to consider is that laminate flooring is not made of natural materials like wood or stone. Laminate flooring is made of several layers of material that are fused together under high pressure. The primary components of laminate flooring are:
- The Core Layer: This is the base of the laminate flooring and is typically made of high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The core layer provides the structural stability of the laminate flooring and can also help to insulate against sound and temperature.
- The Decorative Layer: This is the top layer of the laminate flooring and is a high-resolution photograph or image of a natural material, such as wood, stone, or tile. The decorative layer is what gives the laminate flooring its realistic appearance.
- The Wear Layer: This is the clear, protective layer that sits on top of the decorative layer. The wear layer helps to protect the laminate flooring from scratches, stains, and fading. It also helps to resist moisture and makes the flooring more durable.
- The Balancing Layer: The backing layer is the bottom layer of the laminate flooring and it helps to balance the flooring, providing stability and support.
Styles of Laminate Flooring
There are several different styles of laminate flooring available on the market, each with its own unique look and feel. Here are a few of the most common styles of laminate flooring:
- Wood-look laminate: This is the most popular style of laminate flooring and it mimics the look of natural hardwood flooring. It comes in a wide range of colors and finishes, including oak, maple, and cherry.
- Stone or Tile-look laminate: This style of laminate flooring mimics the look of natural stone, ceramic, or porcelain. It can give a more elegant and luxurious look to a room.
3. Distressed laminate: This style of laminate flooring is designed to mimic the look of aged or worn hardwood flooring. It can give a more rustic and vintage look to a room.
4. Handscraped laminate: This style of laminate flooring is designed to mimic the look of hand-scraped hardwood flooring. It can give a more traditional and rustic look to a room
5. Wide plank laminate: This style of laminate flooring mimics the look of wide plank hardwood flooring. It can give a more spacious and contemporary look to a room.
6. Textured laminate: This style of laminate flooring has a textured surface which gives it a more realistic feel and look of natural wood or stone.
Ultimately, the choice of style will depend on your personal preferences and the overall look you want to achieve in your home. With a variety of finishes, colors and textures available, there is a laminate flooring style that can match any decor.
In conclusion, laminate flooring can be a great choice for homeowners looking for a durable, affordable, and versatile flooring option. However, it's important to weigh the pros and cons and keep in mind