As you prepare to replace the floors in your home, you should know all the pros and cons of different types of flooring. With such an expensive and long-term decision, it's essential to get all the facts so that you can make the best decision. Do you want to go with the comfortable but hard-to-keep-clean carpet option? Or maybe you're thinking about going with expensive hardwood flooring.
As you go through the stressful task of choosing new flooring, you'll find that one of them, in particular, has a lot of benefits for DIYers and those on a budget–laminate flooring. It has plenty of advantages compared to carpet and hardwood floors, but is it the right choice for you? We'll go over some of the basic facts of laminate flooring, including its materials, benefits, and installation process.
What Materials Does Laminate Flooring Use?
Laminate flooring is an inexpensive and highly practical option for many homes. Laminate flooring consists of different low-cost materials layered together to create realistic and comfortable floors that look like natural wood.
What is laminate flooring? Most laminate flooring has three layers–a core layer (plywood or fiberboard), an image layer, and a transparent wear layer. Some laminate flooring comes with an additional underlayment layer that helps to protect from excess moisture and can also provide soundproofing qualities.
Thanks to recent innovations in laminate flooring, many high-end homes choose to use it due to its functionality, durability, and attractive appearance. How does laminate flooring provide durability and comfort? The core, or base layer, helps to provide stability and strength for easy footing. Additionally, the image layer offers the aesthetics of natural flooring, while the wear layer provides durability coverage.
What Are the Differences Between Laminate Flooring and Vinyl Flooring?
It's easy to confuse laminate flooring and vinyl flooring together as they look similar, and the installation process is relatively the same. So what is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring?
The most significant difference between these two flooring options is in their materials. Vinyl flooring is almost entirely made of synthetic materials, whereas laminate's core materials are wood byproducts. This difference is noticeable both in the products' flexibility and in their resistance to water. Vinyl flooring is more flexible than laminate. It is also fully waterproof. In comparison, laminate does have water-resistant qualities, but it isn't usually fully waterproof.
You may have a lot of questions about the two products as they share a lot of the same benefits. What is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring? Is one type of flooring better than the other? How do you decide between the two options?
If you're trying to decide between the two options, it's best to consider your needs. Do you have pets in the house? Thanks to its waterproof qualities, vinyl flooring is a great choice for households with pets. If you're after aesthetic qualities, laminate flooring often looks amazing and like real hardwood.
What Styles of Laminate Flooring Are Available?
Laminate flooring can mimic the appearance of a variety of natural flooring options. If you are interested in a specific look of wood flooring, laminate flooring can imitate it. Whether you're looking for a light hardwood floor option for a neutral look or you prefer the elegance of dark hardwood to match your home's interior design, you can find a laminate flooring option that suits your styling preferences.
Where Can You Install Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is great for high-traffic areas like hallways, entryways, living rooms, and kitchens. Its durability means that it can withstand scuff marks from shoes and scratches from pets and furniture. But, besides being durable, it's also stylish and comfortable enough for bedrooms. It's also moisture resistant, so if you clean up spills properly, your laminate flooring will remain in top condition, which is especially useful in rooms like the kitchen or dining room.
How Is Laminate Flooring Installed?
Good news for DIY enthusiasts–laminate flooring is simple and easy to install without a professional. Depending on the type of laminate flooring, it can be installed in a few different ways, including nailed down, glued, or stapled.
But for some options, installation is even more convenient with click-together flooring. For this option, the planks are put together by interlocking grooves, which snap together and lock into place. This type of flooring is known as "floating floors" and can be installed over existing flooring. With this advantage, people can quickly and cheaply install new floors without going through the hassle of removing existing flooring.
You can choose to install laminate flooring yourself if you're ready to take on the project. However, like most DIY home improvement projects, you'll have to allot the necessary time out of your schedule to complete the installation as well as put in physical labor. Professional installers can save you a lot of time and potentially money if you make a costly mistake installing it yourself. Many people choose to use a professional installer for these reasons.
How Long Will Laminate Flooring Last?
It's important to plan for the future when you pick out new flooring. Natural hardwood flooring is the superior choice if you want a floor that will last for your lifetime. Laminate flooring is cheaper than hardwood but has a significantly shorter lifespan.
Laminate flooring (with proper care and maintenance) can last anywhere from a decade to thirty years. In comparison, well-maintained hardwood flooring can potentially last from seventy to one hundred years.
If you plan to stay in your home decades into the future, then you may want to consider the costs associated with replacing laminate floors. Though laminate is more affordable at the outset, it ultimately may be cheaper to buy hardwood floors in the long run as you won't need to replace them if you maintain them.
What Are the Benefits of Laminate Flooring?
You will probably have different flooring needs depending on the room in your home. A laundry room will need different benefits from the flooring than a living room. However, laminate is highly versatile and comes with a lot of advantages over other types of flooring. It does well in a lot of different areas of the home.
One of the biggest advantages of laminate flooring is its durability. Laminate holds up well under foot traffic and spills. Plus, laminate is scratch-resistant, so you won't have to worry about your furniture damaging your flooring as much as you would with flooring like hardwood. If you're looking for the same flooring to install throughout your entire home or you just want to replace the flooring in a single high-traffic room, laminate flooring is a good choice.
For busy people and families, having flooring that is easy to clean and requires little to no maintenance can be a big selling point. With carpet flooring, professional cleanings are recommended close to yearly. With the price of these yearly cleanings and the time it takes out of your day, carpet is more high maintenance than laminate flooring.
It's also much easier to clean and keep in top condition than carpet. While some high-quality carpets can stain and are moisture-resistant, they are not as easy to clean as laminate flooring. Carpet also requires weekly, sometimes daily, vacuuming depending on if there are pets in the household. In contrast, laminate flooring requires less daily cleaning and vacuuming to stay clean.
For those looking to save money, simple DIY home improvement projects have the potential to save you a bit of cash, which makes laminate a great option. Click-together laminate flooring is super easy to install, plus the floating nature of this type of flooring ensures that you don't have to take out your previous flooring. Removing flooring can be a hassle, wasting your time and money. So avoiding this part of the flooring replacement process is a big benefit.
Of course, if you don't want to install it yourself, a professional will have no trouble tackling the job. Since it's relatively simple for someone who knows what they are doing, the professional installation process should move very quickly and smoothly.
Pet and Kid-Friendly
For families, finding flooring that can handle the accidents and spills that pets and kids cause can be challenging. Thanks to its durable top wear layer, laminate flooring is able to resist stains, scratches, scrapes, and footprints. Some types of carpets easily show footprints and regular wearing over time, and hardwood can be easily scratched. But laminate flooring is able to handle high traffic easily and for long periods of time without showing any signs of wear and tear.
Laminate flooring is comfortable to walk on because of its attached underlayment. Without this layer, your laminate flooring would sit directly on concrete or plywood. To increase the level of comfort you feel when you walk or stand on it, some types of laminate come with a built-in underlayment. The underlayment may be made out of plastic or foam, depending on the product. But this bottom layer provides cushion, soundproofing, and stability to your footing.
Is Laminate Environmentally Friendly?
For a lot of people, understanding the impact of the materials they use is important when deciding on using a product in their home. If you are eco-conscious, you'll be happy to know that laminate flooring is one of the best options on the market. Thanks to its core layer, which uses mostly organic materials, there aren't a lot of synthetic materials in its makeup, except in the top layer. In contrast, vinyl flooring is made almost entirely out of synthetic materials.
Is Laminate Appropriate Flooring in all Climates?
If you live in a humid climate, picking out the best flooring can be tricky. Laminate flooring generally doesn't do well in humid climates. Due to the natural wood materials in its core, laminate tends to absorb moisture and expand. This can cause significant damage to your flooring. For the best results, it's best to let your laminate floor sit out in your home for a while to acclimate to the humidity levels.
If you live in an especially humid place, then you might want to consider high-pressure laminate flooring. This type of laminate uses glue that reduces its moisture-absorbing properties, so your floor won't expand.
What Are the Costs of Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is generally affordable, especially compared to other types of flooring, like hardwood. Ultimately, the cost of laminate flooring can vary, but usually, quality laminate flooring is around four or five dollars per square foot but can go up to ten dollars per square foot for some types. In comparison to vinyl flooring, the prices are roughly the same. However, in comparison to hardwood flooring, laminate is a much more affordable option.
If you choose to install the flooring yourself, you'll be able to save a bit of money on professional installation fees. However, the professional installation prices for vinyl and laminate flooring are basically the same. Since they use the same installation process, these service prices won't be that different from each other. In contrast, hardwood flooring will typically cost more to install since the installation process is different.
How do you know if laminate flooring is right for you? If you want durable, scratch-resistant flooring that's easy to install yourself, then laminate flooring is a great choice. It costs roughly the same as vinyl flooring and also enjoys a lot of the same benefits. Laminate also has advantages over hardwood, including price and durability. However, the right flooring for your home depends on your personal preferences and budget. If you're interested in further exploring laminate flooring options, we have many different options available to browse.