Laminate

Laminate flooring has been a favorite option for years but with new technology and better quality materials, this popularity continues to grow. The construction of laminate is layered to include wear, image design, inner core, and backing. In this article, we wanted to discuss the layers of laminate flooring, as well as the best rooms of the home for this particular material.

Wear Layer

The wear layer of laminate flooring is a surface consisting of aluminum oxide. With this, you would enjoy benefits of an easy to clean surface, as well as the layer that helps protect the other layers of laminate from wear, fading, and stains. When shopping for laminate flooring, we suggest that you look for an AC rating, which stands for "Abrasion Classification," of three or more. This means you would have the best possible floor for your home.

Image Design

Another layer of laminate flooring is image design, which is the look you get from the design. In other words, you can now choose laminate that looks very much like marble, granite, wood, stone, and other natural materials. The design feature is so good today that it is difficult to tell laminate from stone or wood. The inner core layer is that gives the laminate floor its structural stability and strength. Made from High Density Fiberboard or HDF, you will find that many types of laminate also include a plastic resin that increases the strength and stability, as well as moisture resistance.

Backing

The final layer of laminate flooring is called the backing. Made from resin-saturated paper, the backing is designed to add a protective layer against moisture so your floor never warps. All four layers of laminate floor are fused using one of two processes. The first process is know as High Pressure Laminate or HPL, which is a hard construction whereas the second process is called Direct Pressure Laminate or DPL, being the most common choice. Cost, realistic design, and performance are the key differences between the two options.

The great thing about laminate is that it looks simply stunning no matter what room you install it. Many times, people will use laminate in the kitchen and bathroom because this material can handle moisture well while still providing class and style. However, remember that design options are so incredible that we now see laminate flooring being used for a dining room, family room, home office, and even bedroom. We do suggest that you take a few precautionary steps when using laminate in the bathroom due to high moisture content. Again, this material does well but choose the best quality possible.

Cost

Typically, the cost of laminate will vary depending on size, quality, design, manufacturer, and region in which it is being sold but most often, it prices out between .99 and $6.00 per square foot. Other aspects of this material include varying thickness, with thicker laminate being the more expensive, installation, again, the more installation the higher the price, and attached underlayment, generally boosting the price by another $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot.

In the first part of laminate flooring, we discussed what this material is, the different layers, the best rooms of the home where laminate would be installed, and even price. Continuing the discussion of laminate flooring, we wanted to go over things such as durability, life expectancy, warranties, and maintenance.

Durability

Today, you will find a number of excellent flooring options on the market but without doubt, laminate is among the best when it comes to durability. If you go with the better quality laminate, you could easily expect your floor to last and look beautiful for 15 to 30 years. The difference with laminate and other flooring materials is that laminate has an inner core and wear layer, providing the ultimate in stability and daily traffic.

Special Surface

Laminate flooring is designed with a special surface made from aluminum oxide, which protects the design layer of the floor not just from wear, but also stains. The only real downside to going with laminate is that if the floor should become scratched, torn, or damaged, you would need to have all or a portion of the floor replaced unlike wood, which is simply sanded out and refinished. Even so, it is difficult to find anything wrong with laminate flooring.

Installation

Sometimes, people will install this material as a do-it-yourself project but we strongly recommend you have this done by a professional. To keep your flooring beautiful, make sure you clean up any liquid spills immediately in that leaving standing water will cause significant and permanent damage. You will also need to make a decision as to DPL and HPL (Density Pressure Laminate and High Pressure Laminate) construction. Both offer advantages and disadvantages so you need to do some comparisons.

Warranties

For warranties associated with laminate flooring, most manufacturers will offer 20 years for fading, staining, and wear, 20 or more years for moisture resistance, and 20 years or more for unlocking seams. Of course, it would be a great investment to choose laminate flooring with the best warranty possible. With this, you would know your hard-earned money is providing you with a great product backed by its maker.

Simple Care

When it comes to taking care of laminate flooring, you will love the fact that all you need is simply care and no waxing. Typically, all you need is to clean the floor using a mop and clean water or a cleaning product recommended by the floor manufacturer. Now, before you mop your laminate floor, always sweep it well first. The reason is that any grit or sand on the floor could cause damage to the finish. Instead of a traditional broom, the best option is to use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush and wand attachment.

It would also be beneficial to use leg protectors on furniture so when you push a chair back from the table, the laminate floor does not scratch. Just remember, this material is so realistic in design that you can create whatever look you want but at a fraction of the cost for wood or stone.