When you want to install new flooring, you may envision the classic look of hardwood or the timeless appeal of ceramic tile. However, these flooring materials can take up a significant portion of your remodeling budget. Laminate is a cost-effective alternative that can mimic the look of more premium flooring materials and offer a layer of durability that’s ideal for homes with kids, pets, or frequent visitors.
If you are considering laminate flooring for your home, continue reading to get a full rundown of what this flooring material has to offer.
Exploring the Many Looks of Laminate
Most varieties of laminate flooring are designed to mimic the look of hardwood. Laminate can take on the look of any wood species with planks of any thickness. You can capture the look of rustic antique hardwood, distinctive wood stains, or exotic wood species for an entirely unique aesthetic. Laminate may also be designed to resemble tile flooring.
Don’t worry; modern laminate is a far cry from your grandmother’s linoleum flooring. The look on the surface of laminate flooring is achieved with photorealistic printing on the veneer of each plank or tile. But one distinct advantage of laminate is that it goes beyond appearances. This type of flooring is embossed to create the texture of various types of hardwood and tile flooring. The final finish of these floors may be anywhere from matte to high gloss. Both are durable finishes, but matte flooring tends to do a better job disguising small scratches.
Laminate Floor Construction
Each plank or tile contains an inner core of pressed composite wood that’s layered with a decorative veneer and topped with a clear, protective finish. Laminate flooring is thicker than alternatives like vinyl, which is why it can be embossed for added texture to create a more realistic wood or tile appearance. But because laminate is constructed from more cost-effective materials, the price tag is much more approachable for many homeowners.
Laminate Flooring Installation
Laminate should be installed over a thin underlayment, which helps this type of flooring feel softer underfoot than choices like hardwood. It also dampens noise. For this reason, laminate is a versatile flooring choice that may be a good fit for spaces where traditional hardwood and stone or ceramic tiles would not be ideal.
Laminate flooring comes in interlocking planks or tiles that have tongue and groove construction to snap each piece into place. Once this flooring is installed, you can walk on it immediately. Keep in mind that laminate is a floating floor, so it needs a small perimeter space for expansion in humid conditions. Therefore, you’ll want to select the right floor trim to finish the look.
Although laminate floors are known for being easy to install, you should still count on professional installers rather than take the DIY approach. When installed correctly, laminate flooring is tight and seamless, so water damage is unlikely. In addition, you may run into unforeseen problems when you pull up your old flooring that could require the help of a professional. Calling on the pros from the start of your project will eliminate any potential headaches and ensure that your new floors are put in as quickly as possible.
Ideal Areas for Laminate Floors
Thanks to a huge variety of design options and high versatility, laminate is appropriate for many different areas of the home, including hallways, living rooms, dining areas, finished basements, and even bedrooms. Laminate is easy to clean and maintain, so it can function well in busy homes.
Where to Avoid Laminate Flooring
Not all laminate flooring is designed the same, so you should be careful when choosing laminate for the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or other high-moisture environments. For these spaces, opt for water-resistant or waterproof laminate flooring. If you are installing laminate in the basement, you’ll want to have your installer lay down a vapor barrier under the underlayment. This will prevent damage in the event of flooding.
One drawback to keep in mind with laminate is that this flooring material does not have a long lifespan like hardwood or tile. It cannot be refinished, so you may need to replace your flooring sooner if you install laminate. For this reason, laminate may not be ideal in rental properties, and it does not tend to appeal as much to potential buyers if you are planning to put your home on the market soon.
Shopping for Laminate Floors
To find the perfect laminate floors for your home, don’t hesitate to explore a wide range of samples so you can select the right look for your interior design. However, you’ll also want to think about more than just appearances. The thickness of your flooring will make a difference for durability and sound dampening. Laminate flooring is sold in thicknesses ranging from about 6-12mm. Water resistance is another important quality, which can make a big impact in spaces where there’s high humidity, like the bathroom.
Contact Abatiello Design Center
Abatiello Design Center carries only the most trusted brands of laminate flooring, so you can shop with confidence. Our team can help you install new floors throughout your home with a huge selection of options. Begin your project with a free in-home design consultation, which includes measurements to provide you with an accurate flooring estimate. Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (802) 773-6300.