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Laminate flooring: What makes it an ideal choice for homes?

[ecis2016.org] In this article, we will explore how laminate floors are made, what are its pros and cons, and how to install and clean laminate flooring

Are you thinking of putting hardwood floors in your house but are hindered by its expensive cost? Or are you not sure if you will be able to maintain hardwood floors? Laminate wood flooring is the perfect substitute for hardwood floors. In recent times, laminate flooring has become extremely popular, because of its affordability, easy maintenance, and durability. Modern methods can create detailed laminations that are extremely similar to hardwood floors. Laminate floors are also better for the environment, because they reuse discarded wood chips in their materials. The laminate flooring is best suited for people who are on a tight budget but still want the stylish impression of hardwood in their homes. In this article, we will explore how laminate floors are made, what are its pros and cons and how to install and clean laminate flooring.

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What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring: What makes it an ideal choice for homes?

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Laminate flooring was created by Perstorp, a Swedish company, in 1977. It is made with a lamination process that converts leftover wood products into flooring by putting them through extreme heat and pressure and treating them with chemicals.

They have gained popularity, because they are easier to install, cheaper in cost and have a similar appearance to hardwood flooring. Laminate floors are used in kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, etc. They are generally avoided in moist areas like bathrooms or laundry rooms.

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Laminate flooring layers

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Wood laminate floors are hybrid and multi-layered. The layers are brought together by extreme heat and pressure and each layer serves a specific purpose. 

  • The bottom layer is the foundation and provides support and stability. Laminate flooring is water-resistant and protects the subfloor against moisture.
  • The core layer is a fiberboard which is very durable and offers extra protection to the bottom layer.
  • The pattern/design layer is the appearance of the floor. Laminate floors can be made to look very similar to hardwood floors. The texture and finish of the pattern layer also accentuate its appearance and give the floor a similar feel to hardwood.
  • The top layer of wood laminate is the wear layer and it is made from aluminium oxide. This layer protects the flooring from scratches, stains, colour fading, etc. The durability and quality of laminate wood flooring depend on the thickness of this layer.

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Wooden laminate flooring: Pros and cons

The pros of using laminate floorings are:

  • Functionality: Laminate floorings are easy to walk and stand on, for long durations. For houses with pets, children, and the elderly, they are a perfect choice.
  • Cost: The cost of laminate floorings is very cheap and installation can be done easily by yourself. Compared to hardwood floors, they are 50% cheaper.
  • Maintenance: Laminate floorings can be made moisture resistant, and they do not get stained easily.
  • Durability: Wooden laminate floor is very durable and resistant to daily wear and tear. They are also easy to clean.

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The cons of using laminate floorings are:

  • Appearance: Laminate floorings can never replace the real feel of hardwood floors. On closer inspection, the wooden laminate can look artificial.
  • Resale value: In comparison to houses whose floors are made of real hardwood or stones like marble or granite, laminate floorings do not add to the resale value. Laminate floorings do not make much of an impression on home buyers like hardwood floors do.
  • Repair: The laminate flooring can be hard to repair as they come in individual pieces and are laid down together. If any damage occurs, they may have to be replaced completely.

Laminate wood flooring installation

Laminate flooring: What makes it an ideal choice for homes?

Source: Pinterest

Laminate flooring can be installed easily. Laminate wood flooring is not attached to the subfloor and the layers can be snapped together and put in place. It requires no adhesive, grout, mortar, or nails. The maximum time taken to lay this floor is one day.

The first step of the installation is that the base should be flat and smooth.

Laminate floors can be easily installed over existing flooring if it is even and hard. If the underneath layer is uneven, it may need to be taken out and thin plywood will need to be used. A foam sheet is laid down before the laminate flooring to make it better for walking. After the under layer is cleaned and the foam layer has been applied, the laminate floor planks can be locked piece by piece to create the floor.

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How to clean laminate flooring

Laminate flooring: What makes it an ideal choice for homes?

Source: Pinterest

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Proper cleaning is required to keep the wood laminate floors looking their best. Dust should be removed to prevent scratches and spills should be immediately cleaned to avoid water damage to the floor.

A daily wipe down with a dry mop should be enough to avoid surface damage. To wash the entire floor using a dampened cloth is the best practice. There are cleaning products available in the market that are designed for wooden laminate floors. To avoid water damage, always wipe with a clean, dry cloth afterwards.

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Avoid using steam cleaners, wet mops, wood cleaners, harsh scrubs, waxy products, and bristle brooms, as these can all damage the surface of laminate wood flooring. Vinegar and baking soda are also a no-no for this type of floor. 

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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