Laminate flooring is a type of flooring in which layers of melamine resin or fiber board are glued together by a process called lamination. It looks like solid hardwood, but is not. The top layer is an appliqué layer, which is covered by a transparent layer. They come as thin, long planks of laminates, with tongue on one side and groove on the other side, which can be clicked in place. You can buy laminate floor materials from trusted retailers like Armstrong.
Installing Laminate Flooring
It is very easy to install laminate flooring. You can do it yourself, saving you heaps of money. The planks or sheets are clicked in place locking the tongue and groove parts together. Typically, laminate floor pieces come in the form of a plank or a tile. These floors usually need an underlay to prevent them from coming in contact with moisture. The planks near doors and cabinets should be cut to size. Remember to leave a small gap of 1-10mm between the walls and the laminate planks. This will provide enough space for expansion of the material in humid weather. You should also remove the baseboards before installation and replace it after all the work is done. This will give the laminate floors a nice, neat look. Apart from that, you can also fix beading trim to the baseboards.
Laminate floors are easier to install than other types of hardwood flooring products. This is made possible by the tongue and groove mechanism. They are also very durable. The transparent protective layer is resilient to scratches and dents. As laminate is a synthetic product, all planks will be of roughly the same color, unlike hardwood flooring. It is good for lower moisture areas like kitchens and powder rooms, but not for highly moist areas – near a shower, for example. These floors are very easy to clean – just vacuum and mop regularly. They also resist stains effectively.
One of the main disadvantages of a laminate floor is that it is not real, solid hardwood. If you want real, not artificial, hardwood flooring, this type of flooring is not for you. They can also very slippery because the top layer is very smooth. This type of floor does not add as much to the value of your house as solid hardwood floors. If any scratches or dents appear on the floor, they cannot easily be sanded or repaired. The only way to remove any scratches is to replace the entire floor, or carefully replace a plank in place, a tricky process. There are also some serious health concerns about indoor air pollution due to formaldehyde present in melamine resin, the material used to make laminate flooring.
Care and Maintenance
The lifespan of the flooring can be increased by proper care and maintenance. Always vacuum and mop the floors regularly. Put doormats near entrances to catch dust, dirt and mold. Wipe off any spilled water or fluid from the floor immediately. Stick felt pads on the furniture legs to prevent scratches. Do not use soap based cleaners or steel wool to clean the floor. Use only plain water or special cleaning products for laminates. Also, do not polish your floor. Most of all, whenever you buy laminate flooring, avoid the cheaper gimmicks and buy only from trusted manufacturers. Some manufacturers will even give you a lifetime warranty.