• What type and style of flooring are you looking for?
• How important is budget in your final decision?
• Will you install the floor yourself or consult a professional?
• Do you need flooring that is easy to clean and care for?
Types, Uses, Construction and Tips
Laminate floors are designed for fast, easy installation. They utilize a simple floating method that is not fastened to the surface below but is instead held in place by molding installed around the perimeter of the room. Interlocking pieces join together to create a large covering over a thin layer of foam called the underlayment. Laminate floors can be conveniently fixed directly over most existing surfaces, including wood, vinyl, tile and more. Laminate flooring easily compensates for changes in humidity, moisture and other factors that can cause a floor to expand and contract. This type of flooring can be walked on immediately after installation.
Type: Laminate flooring is sold as planks, tiles or squares, each with an interlocking tongue-and-groove assembly. Many flooring configurations utilize a glueless method that makes installation free of complications for faster and simpler construction.
• Laminate floors require a thin underlayment to help it float above the subfloor
• Some laminates have an attached underlayment for easy installation and noise reduction
Core Board Thickness: You will find variety when it comes to the thickness of laminate flooring. Thicker flooring is indicative not only of quality construction but also of durability.
Uses: Laminate floors can be used in places traditional hardwoods cannot. They are durable, long lasting, and offer an attractive alternative to wood floors and carpeting. Many laminates look close to real wood, marble and stone but also have realistic textures that mimic the feel as well. Laminates are also made to look like tile but without the worry of cracking, cleaning grout and other complications that come with traditional tiling methods. And just like tile or stone, you can piece them together to create decorative patterns.
• Choose from a variety of wood appearances, including pine, maple, cherry, oak and more
• Many premium laminates are embossed for realistic wood, stone and tile textures
• Laminates are stain- and fade-resistant for lasting use that retains its luster
• Laminate floors can be removed easily to replace a plank or change styles
• Easy cleaning and care make laminate floors an ideal choice for high-traffic areas
Construction: Laminate flooring consists of four key layers that help create a tough surface designed to withstand the rigors of daily use. It is very similar to the durable plastic counters found in most modern kitchens and provides the same lasting beauty and reliable performance. This chart highlights the four layers along with their purpose and benefits:
|Back Layer||Provides additional support and stability||• Often includes moisture
|Core Layer||Made of high-density fiberboard often infused with resins for added strength||• Adds stability
• Resists impact
• Long lasting
|Decorative Layer||Printed image that can recreate the look of natural wood, stone, tile and more||• Wide range of styles and
• Mimics wood, marble, tile
and other decorative
• Affordable choice for
decorating on a budget
|Wear Layer||Tough, clear surface layer designed to absorb daily impact
||• Easy to clean
• Difficult to scratch or
Tips: Laminate flooring offers a variety of benefits that make it a great choice for your next decorating project. Not only is it available in just about any style you can imagine, it offers affordable solutions and the opportunity to create more elaborate effects even if you're decorating on a budget. The highly durable and impact-resistant materials will provide smooth, like-new floors for years to come. Follow these simple instructions to get the most out of your laminate flooring:
• Noise-dampening materials can be installed beneath the floor for added comfort
• Homes with kids or pets will benefit from the extra protection of an extended warranty
• Use door mats at exterior doorways to reduce wear on the surface of the floor
• Always use floor protectors or casters on furniture legs to prevent scratching
Wood Veneer: Some laminates recreate the beautiful effects of a hardwood floor by including a layer of wood veneer over the surface of the planks for added elegance and beauty.
Molding: Laminate planks and tiles are held firmly in place by special molding positioned around the edges of the room. Different molding styles create different effects or even help you install laminate in areas such as stairwells or next to carpeting.
Warranties: Laminate flooring manufactuers offer attractive warranties, some as long as 50 years. If you have children, pets or you plan to stay in your home for many years, warranties ensure you get maximum use out of your flooring.