There are pros and cons to consider when installing laminate flooring.
Is Laminate Flooring a Good Match for your Home?
Over the past few years, laminate flooring has become a popular option for homeowners who are looking for an attractive option on a tighter than average budget.
Laminate flooring is manufactured from various synthetic materials and it usually comprises of between four and five different layers. These include a base layer, a medium layer (which has a layer of extremely dense fiberboard), a decorative layer and a protective layer that goes over the top layer. In some cases, a fifth layer will be added, which helps provide additional durability and longevity to the flooring.
Below are a few of the pros and cons associated with having laminate flooring installed in a home:
1. Maintenance and Cleaning
One of the main advantages of laminate flooring is that it is easy to clean and remove spills, dust and dirt. Its protective covering helps ensure that it remains shiny and able to repel stains and liquid. In most cases, all that is needed to keep this flooring looking attractive is a weekly sweep or vacuum. In cases where heavier soiling occurs, damp mopping may be done – provided that the mop is not dripping wet.
In many cases, high quality laminate flooring can be obtained at extremely affordable prices. This enables homeowners to get the look of solid wood for a fraction of the cost.
3. Easy and Affordable Installation
Although laminate flooring is quite easy to install, professionals should still be hired to do the job. However, owing to its ease of installation, labor rates for installing laminate will often be far lower than that of carpeting, tiles or solid wood for instance.
4. An Eco-friendly Option
Most types of laminate flooring have been manufactured by using eco-friendly practices. For example, wood that is used can be recycled or may have already been recycled previously. If desired, you can even take up this flooring and reinstall it in your new home should you decide to relocate at any time.
5. Warranties are Available
Just because laminate flooring is more affordable than other types of floor covering, it doesn’t mean that homeowners will be left high and dry if something goes wrong. Most forms of budget laminate flooring are sold with a one-year warranty, while some of the higher end products may carry lifetime warranties. Always inquire at the time of purchase.
6. An Attractive Option
Laminate flooring is the only flooring that can be manufactured in such a way that it resembles the exact look and general appearance of solid wood. This makes them a great option for homeowners who would like the look of solid wood, but cannot afford the outlay for it.
7. Can be Installed over Existing Flooring
Owing to the fact that laminate flooring is installed over a thin cushion of foam, it enables it to be installed over many types of existing flooring – except carpeting. This prevents installers from having to remove existing flooring before installation can start – which ultimately reduces the price of installation substantially.
1. Can be Prone to Water Damage
Owing to the fact that laminate planks merely clip together, it can enable water to become trapped between them. If left unattended, this will result in swelling and warping. If spills occur on any type of laminate flooring, they should be thoroughly wiped up as soon as possible after occurring.
It is not recommended that laminate flooring be placed in rooms where sump pumps or floor drains have been installed. If it has to be laid in a basement area, it is strongly recommended that an additional moisture barrier be installed. It is not recommended that laminate be installed in bathrooms unless each plank and all edges have been thoroughly sealed afterwards. Installing in kitchens can be done, provided that spills are wiped up right after they occur.
2. No Option for Refinishing
When solid or engineered hardwood flooring starts to look shabby, it can usually be refinished a few times before needing replacement. Laminate flooring on the other hand cannot be refinished at all. This means that once it starts to show signs of wear and tear, it will need to be completely replaced. Stains, scratches and dents will unfortunately become permanent fixtures on this flooring until such time as it is replaced. As a result, it is recommended that a few additional planks be purchased at the time of installation. This will enable a few repairs to be done without full replacement being needed right away.
3. Poor Installation can Look Terrible
One of the main reasons why professional installation is required for laminate flooring is that it will ensure that patterns are repeated in the correct intervals. Each panel must be installed in a specific order for the flooring to look as natural as possible afterwards.
4. No Increase in Resale Value
One of the main disadvantages of laminate flooring is that it will not provide any form of increase in resale value of a home – unlike solid hardwood. This means that if a home is going to be sold in the near future, solid wood flooring may be a far better option.
5. Can Amplify Noise
Because laminate flooring is manufactured from synthetic materials in most cases, it will often feel unnaturally hard underfoot. As a result, it will also amplify noise when it is walked on, especially if high-heeled shoes are worn.
Finding a Laminate Flooring Installer
Although laminate flooring may look easy to install, it is recommended that the job be left to professionals who are experienced. This will ensure that the correct amount of space is left between each plank and between walls and flooring – this will prevent planks from potentially warping over time.
In some cases, planks may need to be cut or trimmed to size, and if this is not done correctly, it will result in a very poor quality end result. Qualified installers will have the required equipment on hand to ensure that trimming is done correctly as well.
Before signing or entering into any contract for your laminate flooring, it is strongly recommended that you perform online research regarding the company you would like to use. It is also a good idea to visit stores in person so that you can physically view the different types of laminate that are available. This will also enable you to obtain ideas with regards to pricing on the various options.
Another option for finding a reliable and experienced laminate flooring installer is to ask friends, family and coworkers for referrals. In most cases, they will be happy to let you know whether you were satisfied with a particular supplier or product or not.
When looking at the various types of laminate, it is not recommended that your choice be based on obtaining the lowest possible price. This will often result in your being provided with a poor quality or unattractive product that you will not be completely satisfied with over the long term.
If you would like to find out more about whether laminate flooring will be a suitable choice for your home or not, get in touch with one of our Empire Flooring America professionals right away.