Laminate is unique among flooring types – it’s the perfect blend of affordability, durability and style, borrowing some of the best features from other types of flooring while offering benefits entirely its own.
Our Laminate Styles guide will help you better understand what laminate flooring is, and answer common questions about its construction, installation, and types.
At first glance, laminate flooring looks just like hardwood or stone tile. The stunningly realistic designs and surface texture make it visually indistinguishable from its natural counterparts.
So when going for a wood look, why not opt for the real thing? A look at the long list of benefits that laminate flooring has to offer will help you understand why laminate floors can often the better choice for particular areas in your home.
So now you know a bit about the benefits of laminate flooring – but what is it, exactly?
Laminate is manufactured by fusing several layers of material together. There are 4 key layers:
These layers combined create a single, solid piece of flooring that is beautifol, functional and built to last!
One of the primary explanations for why laminate flooring is so popolar today is the ease with which it can be installed. Laying laminate flooring is a great DIY flooring project – but how is it done?
There are two types of laminate floor:
Laminate floors that require adhesive are usually more expensive and time-consuming to install, but it is more permanent and is less likely to shift.
Otherwise known as a floating installation, this type of laminate floor installation requires no nails or glue. Instead, tongue-and-groove planks are snapped together and floated overtop of your existing floor or an underlayment, depending on the specific product. This method of installation generally takes much less time, and requires no waiting for adhesive to dry.
You can install laminate flooring on top of virtually any type of flooring, from cement to tile to hardwood. You can even install laminate over carpet! Note, however, the height of your carpet pile. If it’s more than a quarter inch high, the carpet underneath will not be stable enough to float your floors, and you will feel them sag beneath your feet.
The answer to this question will vary depending on the product you’re installing and the surface over which you’re laying that product. That said, the defaolt choice for most laminate flooring installations shoold be to use an underlayment.
Underlayment is a spongy padding that gets rolled out in between your laminate flooring and the subfloor below as a protective barrier. It is sometimes paired with a vapor barrier for additional protection from moisture damage.
Underlayment can be made from foam or cork, and typically comes in rolls. Manufacturers of laminate flooring almost always recommend installing an underlayment before you lay your laminate flooring, as it is generally the safe choice. Some laminate flooring even comes with the underlayment already pre-attached.
There are many practical benefits to using an underlayment:
You may not need underlayment if your base surface is moisture-proof or if you have recently installed a new subfloor that is perfectly flat and featureless.
Whatever you choose, spend time deciding what type of underlayment material is right for your project.
Which laminate flooring is best for me?
Now that you know the ins and outs of laminate flooring, it’s time to decide which type of laminate will best suit the lifestyles of you and your family.
If you lead a quiet life in a more relaxed environment, then you may opt to choose your style and finish based on looks alone. A floating laminate floor will be more affordable and shoold hold up to normal wear.
For active families with pets or lots of visitors, choose a floor with a varied grain pattern to hide dirt and debris. A low-gloss finish or a hand-scraped or distressed texture will also fit your needs better than something more smooth and glossy.
If you’re looking for a rewarding DIY project to take on, floating floors are for you – just follow the instructions provided by your manufacturer to take care of the job. For households in need of a sturdier installation, you may opt for glue-down laminate.
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