Laminate Flooring: Timeless Flooring Re-invented

by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

 

Would you like the look of a beautiful hardwood floor at half the price of hardwood, and be able to install it yourself? Nature has been competitively challenged in the last few years by the creation of new, tough and inexpensive contenders that have made substantial inroads into the residential flooring market.

Laminate Floor next to old oak floor

laminate floor meets oak slat floor

Laminates now offer a practical, easy-to-use substitution that comes with the option to avoid the high cost of fine hardwood flooring.  Modern laminates are a look-a-like flooring product that brazenly mimic solid hardwood of many species, and in some instances, at far less than half the cost of the real thing.   For the homeowner seeking to do an inexpensive and timely floor renewal, flooring laminates may be just the right choice.

Laminates are  manufactured with alternative construction materials using heat, pressure, and ingenuity. A wide variety of different products are made by the process of laminating a synthetic display of “wood grain” or photograph layer over a pressed fibreboard base. The superficial patterns used are photographic renditions of high-end native North American oak, maple, birch, ash, or any number of foreign exotic hardwoods such as teak, walnut, cherry, and hickory.  The product is then covered with plastic on both sides. Laminates may range from thicknesses from 8mm to 12mm and may be offered in planks or strips of various sizes that fit together accurately and easily.

“The easily installed product seems to be designed with the renovating homeowner in mind”

Laminates can be installed by anyone with reasonable do-it-yourself skills in a matter of hours.The easily installed product seems to be designed with the renovating homeowner in mind and can be readily installed over any older flooring that is in reasonably good condition. Let’s face it, we don’t want warped tiles, big holes, or decayed wood underneath any floor, so checking that substrate and correcting any problems is still a good idea.  Laminates are usually installed on top of a thin foam separator sheet and installation is rapid and clean, with minimal difficulty. The easily-installed strips or planks fit together quickly and very accurately, and some products snap and lock into the adjacent strip tightly and securely, eliminating all guesswork.  Laminates can be glued down or installed as a free- floating floor which may be replaced, changed, and removed easily.

Durability

This stuff is tough. Laminates are extremely durable, scuff-resistant and sport very hard-wearing surfaces. Because they are a laminated product and may be susceptible to water damage, they are not a flooring type recommended for bathroom applications (LINK TO RECOMMENDED for bathrooms LIST ) where water damage from standing water is likely.  If a laminate flooring surface is accidentally cut, abraded, or otherwise damaged,  it cannot be refinished, but must be removed  There is a bit of a trade-off; although laminates may not be refinished, but if installed as a floating floor, damaged sections are quite easily removed and quickly replaced.

Warranties offered for laminates vary widely with the different quality of product, and range from 15 to 30 years. Individual conditions of warranties for various product lines by the same manufacturer may be different, so it’s always a good idea to verify terms for the specific product you have selected.

Best applications for laminates are high traffic areas, hallways, bedrooms, recreation rooms that might take a beating from hockey-sticks and Tonkas, other similar residential, and even commercial applications. Laminates are not recommended for bathrooms or foyers where repetitive spills may occur or where water can collect, which is potentially damaging to any laminated product.

For a modern, durable and long-life flooring installation at a cost far less than traditional hardwood flooring, consider laminates for that floor renovation you’ve been thinking about. You’ll appreciate the ease of installation and professional upscale look that is possible to achieve with do-it-yourself skills and budget cost.