Laminate flooring has undeniable popularity among homemakers and households. In this article, we’ll talk about the biggest reasons why laminate floors are so popular. First, let’s talk about what makes up laminate flooring.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate floors consist of:
- Wear layer: the surface layer that’s made of two thin sheets of melamine-injected paper. This is a hard transparent plastic sheet that can withstand scratches and other damages.
- Image layer: the photorealistic image of real wood, stone, or other materials right underneath the wear layer. This gives the floor a realistic look for aesthetics.
- Particleboard wood base: a half-inch wood-chip composite that serves as the core of the floor.
They’re mainly used in living and dining areas, kitchens, hallways, bedrooms, and other home areas that don’t experience too much moisture.
The technology of creating laminate floorings has improved through the years since it was invented in 1977. They’ve also grown in popularity. The following are the main reasons many households use laminate flooring.
Can Mimic Almost Anything
Laminate flooring can imitate almost any look, whether it’s wood, stone, or other natural materials. Every board has consistent quality and appearance, unlike actual wood, which can have some defects.
It also comes in a variety of colors, lengths, and even textures, where you can emboss the flooring’s surface to give it a more realistic hardwood feel.
Overall, if you like the look and feel of solid wood but don’t want the accompanying disadvantages and inconvenience, laminate flooring may be good for you.
Cheaper than Actual Wood
The average material cost for plastic laminate flooring is between $1 to $3 per square foot, which is a lot more affordable than hardwood costs.
Professional installation is also inexpensive; the average price of installation plus labor is only around $3 to $7 per square foot. Hardwood installation can easily reach $15 to $20 per square foot.
On the other hand, as with wood, you’ll find varying quality. Some cheaper laminate flooring looks less realistic than others. Others are less substantial in terms of layer thickness, which renders them easy to wear out.
If you have a limited budget for professional installation, you’ll love the fact that laminate flooring can be installed easily. If you have a weekend to spare for installation, you can lay down a few hundred feet by yourself. Some tips and tricks may come in handy.
The planks are not glued to the floor, but they’re connected through snap-and-lock and tongue-and-groove joinery. They interlock with each other from edge to edge and end to end. The core is made of particleboard, so it’s also easy to cut them.
Laminate flooring is also considered a “floating floor,” since the interlocked planks rest atop a foam underlayment.
You must be careful when doing it yourself, however, since laminate floor planks can easily be damaged around the edges.
This can make them prone to water seepage and damage. Other times, professional installation is a requirement for you to be fully covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Comfortable and Non-Allergenic
Although laminate floors can feel hard underfoot, the foam underlayment also gives the floor a springy feeling and gets rid of hollow sounds.
At the same time, more modern laminate flooring planks have become more water-resistant and texturized. That’s a huge improvement from the previously slippery traditional laminate floors.
If you suffer from allergies, you’ll find laminate floors more favorable than others; they don’t trap dust or other indoor allergens. They’re also easy to clean.
Durable and Resilient
A laminate floor has a highly durable upper layer that’s meant to withstand foot traffic, fading, scratches, dents, and stains.
If a part of the floor gets damaged, you can replace a single plank, although this can be tricky if you haven’t done it before. Make sure you ask for help before trying to remove an installed plank.
Easy to Clean
Laminate floors are also easy to clean, although you need to be careful not to use excess water to avoid water seepage and damage. Too much moisture can cause the flooring to warp or stain.
Sweep and vacuum as needed, and clean the floor thoroughly with plain water. For more challenging stains and dirt, you can use a commercial laminate cleaner. Tough stains can be removed using acetone-based solutions like nail polish removers.