Explore photos of various new flooring styles to inspire your next renovation
The flooring of the rooms in your home set the tone for the dÃ©cor and warmth of your home. Laminate flooring offers a flooring solution for your home that is highly customizable, durable, and cost-effective. It is built from layers of material like fiberboard that are heated and compressed, along with a photographic applique layer and a clear protective outer layer. Laminate flooring is relatively easy to install yourself, but many homeowners still rely on professional expertise to make sure their flooring is installed in less time, with a lot less hassle.
There are many styles of laminate flooring to choose from, and it's pretty easy to find a style that matches your taste and budget. Installation is also a snap; so don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! Laminate flooring is also low maintenance, so it's perfect for high traffic areas.
How Much Does Laminate Flooring Cost?
The cost of laminate flooring will vary depending on your geographic location. As a general rule of thumb, you can budget approximately $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot. The variation in price also takes into consideration the varying level of quality that laminate flooring can have. This price range does not include the cost of padding material and other barrier materials that must be placed between the floorboards and the laminate flooring.
What Kind of Laminate Flooring is Available?
Laminate flooring comes in all shapes and sizes. The top layer is a photographic applique, which can be customized to replicate the appearance of wood floors. There are also patterns available that replicate stonework. Of course, while laminate flooring appears similar to wood or stone flooring, it does not have the same texture. Therefore the illusion is lost once you walk across the floor on your bare feet.
Laminate Floor Thickness
An easy way to determine the quality of different laminate flooring options is to look at the thickness of the flooring. Generally speaking, the thicker the floor panels are, the more comfortable they are to walk on, and the longer they'll last under continued use.
The other important factor in laminate flooring is the type of underlayment used. Underlayment is the material that is placed between the laminate flooring and the floor beneath. The thickness of the underlayment provides support and insulation for your flooring. A common feature of laminate flooring is that it can bounce or feel less solid than a traditional wood floor. Some laminate floor includes the layer of underlayment factory bonded to the bottom of the tiles for easy installation. By using underlayment that is thicker, the laminate floor will be more comfortable to walk on and feel firmer.
Breaking Down the Layers of Laminate Flooring
Each layer in laminate flooring material serves a specific purpose in providing your family a comfortable, clean floor to walk on that looks attractive and matches the dÃ©cor of your home.
The back layer provides support and stability for your flooring. It is normally moisture resistant, which is important in keeping your laminate floor in good condition. Over time, if moisture is allowed to collect underneath your floor, the laminate panels can rot and mold can develop. This can be a major health risk to your family, and significantly shorten the lifespan of your floor.
The core layer is the interior layer of your laminate floor. This layer is constructed from high-density fiberboard, and is often infused with resins for added strength. It's important, when shopping for laminate floor, that you get information on the thickness of this layer, and it's chemical makeup as this layer helps extend the longevity of your laminate flooring. Without this layer of support, your flooring will crack and buckle over time.
The decorative layer is what give your laminate floor the appearance of wood, marble, stone, or any other pattern you can dream of. Many homeowners choose laminate floors, as the printing on this layer can be very convincing. Depending on the quality and thickness of the laminate floor that you choose, many guests won't realize they're walking on a substitute material.
The wear layer is a clear layer, which provides long-term protection to your floor. Again, it's important to find out the thickness of this layer prior to ordering the materials for your floor. This is the only thing protecting the vulnerable decorative layer from scuffs and scratches as your family walks throughout the room. Pets can also damage this layer with their claws; causing this layer to wear down prematurely, and shorten the lifespan of your flooring.
Laminate Floor Installation
While installation can be completed professionally, laminate flooring is possible to install on your own if you're in a budget crunch. The process of installing is made easier by the fact that laminate flooring does not require nailing or drilling of the laminate tiles into the subfloor. In fact, the entire laminate floor is held into place by special molding that is installed around the outside of the room. The tiles are then interlocked into place for a firm, reliable hold with minimal tools required.
Laminate Floor Durability and Warranties
With a strong protective layer and solid core layer, when properly installed, laminate floors can last significantly longer than traditional flooring. In fact, many manufacturers offer warranties of 50 years or more on their products. Of course, exclusions apply to these warranties, so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing materials based on an incredible sounding warranty.
To protect your flooring and give it the maximum lifespan, we recommend placing doormats at the entry points of your home. This prevents high traffic areas, such as entry points, from prematurely wearing the finish on your floors. Placing casters along the feet of your furniture will also prevent the legs of your couches and tables from digging into the laminate floor. Every time you sit down, you couch moves a fraction of an inch, this causes the legs to scuff the floor, which can cause uneven wear and tear.
Hiring a Professional to Install Your Laminate Flooring
If you're ready to start the process of laying new laminate flooring in your home, and want to make sure everything is laid perfectly, hiring a professional is the best way to go. Take a look through our listings of contractors in your area who are more than happy to provide a free estimate for your work. You can review customer reviews, and certifications online, which allows you to get a better idea of the style of their work before you even pick up the phone.