Laminate sets itself apart from other flooring types because unlike hardwood, marble or carpet, laminate does not fade in the sunlight and is resistant to stains, impacts and scratches. Its durability comes from a strong melamine plastic wear layer that protects the flooring.
Due to more advanced technology, laminate can now take on the appearance, and sometimes texture, of a variety of natural stone and ceramic flooring materials. Laminate is naturally resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria but can also be treated with special allergen resistant and anti-bacterial coatings to make them even safer.
Since laminate isn't technically real wood, it has a different sound and feel underfoot. If the acoustics of real hard wood are desired, a thicker board, such as 12mm or 15mm will need to be chosen. A good quality laminate will typically have a life span of about 10 years if installed properly.
Why Choose Laminate Flooring?
- Extremely cost effective and a lower price alternative.
- Durable- Can withstand up to 1200 pounds of pressure per square inch.
- Easy installation and can be laid on top of existing floors.
- Textures and patterns mimic other materials, such as wood and stone.
- Helps with indoor air quality and reduces allergens.
- Resists fading from UV light exposure.
Laminate is made up of multiple layers beginning with a protective melamine overlay (wear layer) that protects the pattern layer that the wood or stone image is applied to. The base layer (also known as the substrate) is high-quality plywood that is compressed together. This is also the area where the interlock features will be placed for easy installation.
One of the greatest benefits of choosing laminate flooring is the nearly effortless installation. Laminate is typically installed as an interlock "snap together" system and can be "floated" over most existing floors. No glue, special skills or tools are needed; therefore, saving a lot of time and money on installation.
The most important things to consider when installing laminate are: sub floor prep and leaving room for expansion. Roughness or unevenness of the sub floor will potentially telegraph through the laminate, resulting in an unsightly surface and excessive wear on high spots. Ensuring the sub floor is relatively level and free from debris will help get the most life out of your laminate floor.
Another thing that will help your flooring last is by leaving an expansion gap at the time of install. As with any product comprised of wood, there is expansion and contraction when it is exposed to different temperatures and humidity levels. The recommended expansion gap is a minimum of 1/4 inch. If the proper size gap is neglected, this could result in the floor buckling and often leads to irreversible damage that calls for replacement.