There's no longer any need to scrunch up your nose at the mention of laminate flooring. Today, laminate is one of the best options for floors that are good-looking, economical, and quick to install. Briefly, laminate flooring is made up of a particleboard wood base topped by a decorative layer and then a transparent wear layer. The material has plenty of other alluring features that will easily convince you to consider it as a top choice for flooring.
Laminate and Moist Environments
Laminate floors are susceptible to moisture damage so it's best to keep it out of bathrooms and laundry rooms where there's a constant risk of flooding. However, here are three surprising moist places where you can use laminate:
Installing laminate is lightening fast, which means you can install a room of laminate flooring in a day. There's no messy clean up because there's no need to mix grout or mortar. Laminate is like a puzzle; you can cut a laminate plank to fit using a light-duty circular saw, or even a hand saw. When laminate is tightly installed, the floor has a smooth and flawless finish.
Do It Yourself
Because it's so easy to install, laminate flooring is the perfect DIY job, even for beginners. Laminate is thin and flexible so your subfloor needs to be flat and level before you can lay laminate. But if your sub-floor is free of imperfections, the laminate goes down quickly with few complications.
It Uninstalls Fast
It's easy to put down and to pull up if you want to update your flooring. Since it's a floating floor, laminate is not attached to the subfloor so there's no labor-intensive scraping off of mortar or adhesive. The most complicated part of uninstallation you'll need to do is to remove any baseboards and shoe molding which hold down the edges of the floor. Then, uninstallation is as fast as taking an unglued jigsaw puzzle apart piece by piece.
Laminate's Bounce Factor
Laminate's base of high-density fiberboard gives the floor a subtle, barely perceptible bounce and "gives" more than hard floor coverings like stone, ceramic, porcelain, or concrete. However, if the floor is spongy after installation, it needs troubleshooting.
Laminate flooring is often perceived as flimsy, but that's not true. In fact, laminate flooring can be more stable than hardwood. While solid hardwood flooring is beautiful and long-lasting, it can warp, natural stone and ceramic tile can crack, and even engineered wood's thin veneer layer can eventually wear down to its plywood base.
The construction of laminate makes it ultra-durable. Laminate has a thin, transparent wear layer which makes the floor strong and scratch-resistant. Drop a glass bottle on laminate flooring and there is a good chance that it will bounce versus shatter as it would on tile or stone.
The best laminate floor installations will have tight seams that cannot trap debris. But even small puddles of water should be avoided on laminate floors. The best cleaning method for laminate flooring is a damp cloth or a spray mop. A wet mop is not recommended because water can infiltrate even the thinnest hairline cracks.
Older technology made laminate flooring appear fake when it tried to mimic the look of natural materials. Today's laminate manufacturers have developed products with greater surface texture and visual appeal.
More Wood Species
Laminate is better at mimicking conventional species like oak, birch, maple, and cherry. Now laminate comes in more unusual species, such as teak and mahogany, including variations such as aged, antiqued, and hand-scraped wood looks.
More Size Options
Conventional laminate planks of 3 1/2 inches are still popular. Sizes of planks have expanded. You can buy laminate planks in widths that measure up to 7 3/4 inches.
Better Surface Embossing
Embossing is the manufacturing technique that presses a wood-grain texture into the surface of the laminate. Deeper embossing, available on premium lines, offers more realistic-looking boards.
Embossed In Register
Embossed In Register (EIR) takes embossing to the next level. Instead of embossing imprints at random places on the board, the laminate is embossed exactly like the pattern of a piece of wood—grain, knots, and all. You'll find EIR mostly in premium lines by floor companies such as Armstrong or Shaw.