Laminate floors have finally come into their own. A relatively new type of floor invented in 1977, sales of laminate flooring have grown rapidly in recent years. Abundant choices and realistic designs, coupled with its durability, make laminate one of the most popular types of flooring today.
Along with the outstanding variety of design choices, laminate floors are affordable, offering options for nearly every budget. Ease of installation makes laminate a first choice for the do-it-yourselfer. If you want a beautiful, durable, and easily maintained floor, laminate may be just what you are looking for.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Available in tiles and planks, laminate consists of layers of different materials that are fused together to form the end product. Topped with a photographic layer of real hardwood, tile, stone, or other natural material, laminate flooring is often indistinguishable from the real thing.
The transparent wear layer on top provides a protective stain and scratch-resistant coating, making laminate an ideal choice for homes with children and pets.
Installing a Laminate Floor
Today’s laminate floor coverings are installed using an interlocking, also called “clic”, system.
Adhesive or glue is rarely required. Planks snap together using a tongue and groove connection or mechanical locking system. Laminate flooring is never glued or secured directly to the subfloor, but “floats” above. Laminate flooring is ideally installed at any grade level, making it acceptable even in basement locations.
Caring for Laminate Flooring
Laminate floorcoverings require little maintenance, but they are not indestructible. Consider the following care tips:
* Use furniture protectors to protect from floor scratches
* Do not use abrasive cleaners
* Use rugs in high traffic areas
* Do not use polish or waxes on laminate flooring
* Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions
Laminate Flooring Trends
Exciting advances in laminates have made these floors even more desirable. Photographic images have attained an astounding realism. Some laminate manufacturers are adding new textures and actual authentic material chips, such as mica and banana fiber, to make floors look even more realistic and unique. There are even designs that look like hand-scraped wood and aged stone.
You also have choices when it comes to finishes. Glossy and matted finishes give any room its own unique appeal.
Shopping for Laminate Flooring
Laminate floors offer elegant looks at a fraction of the price of hardwood, tile or natural stone. As with all flooring, laminate manufacturers make products for a wide range of budgets. Higher end laminates will have more durable finishes and realistic looks. Warranties will also vary. Thoroughly read through each warranty before purchase.
Laminate flooring is very different now than it was just ten years ago. Advances in manufacturing and creative innovations have led to a beautiful, affordable flooring choice that will certainly enhance your living space.