Laminate flooring is a synthetic alternative to hardwood flooring. The idea behind laminate flooring is to offer a floor that is an exact representation of a hardwood floor, but is more durable, cheaper and easier to install and maintain.
Contrary to popular belief, laminate flooring is not a plastic floor. The basic structure of a laminate floor is:
Top Layer: This consists of a photograph of real hardwood covered with a protective chemical layer that is sprayed on during the manufacturing process. The chemical layer protects the floor from daily wear and tear such as scratching, denting, fading and staining.
Core: This is the middle layer which gives the boards rigidity. Laminate cores range from 8mm to 12mm in thickness, a thicker core is more stable, absorbs more sound and feels more like real hardwood when walked upon.
Balancing Layer: The backing layer is a balancing layer that equals the pressure exerted from the top layers and prevents the boards from warping and buckling.
Since the introduction of laminate flooring into the US in 1982, the sector has experienced growth of up to 20% per annum at the expense of other floor types, making laminate the fastest growing floor type in the country.
While capturing all the beauty and elegance of hardwoods, laminate floors are both durable and easy to maintain. Its machine made construction will not stain, warp or buckle and the coated surface gives it a high degree of scratch resistance that is perfectly suited to heavy foot traffic. Unlike hardwood, a laminate floor has a water resistant core and wax impregnated edges making them resistant to topical water spills, and allowing for installation in kitchens.
The allure of a laminates flooring lies not only in its representation of real hardwood and its incredible durability, but also in the ease with which they are installed and maintained. The introduction of glueless laminates has revolutionized flooring, opening the door to the DIY market and weekend enthusiast. No prior experience, specialized knowledge or tools are required. Simply place on the floor, cut the odd piece, click, and your floors are ready to be walked on. The work is time consuming and hard on the knees, but with savings of up to 40% of total cost, it just might be worth the effort.
Laminate floors are highly stain resistant and require very little routine care and maintenance, freeing up your time to relax by the pool. Simply sweep the floor daily with a soft bristled brush and damp mop as required. As a precautionary measure, place foot mats at external doorways, thus preventing the tracking in of dirt, and furniture pads under the feet of furniture in order to prevent scuffing and scratching.
Laminate floors are available in a plethora of styles and designs. Each wood species displays its own unique characteristics, each lending itself to a different design aspect. Choose the grainy appearance of Oak to add charm to any rustic interior, or utilize the grain-less consistent landscape of Maple to bring continuity to modern décor. Remember to use light colors to visually expand a room, while adding dark color for a more intimate feel.