When it comes to flooring there’s one choice that has remained popular over the years and that’s Laminate. Invented in the late 70s and finally making its way across Europe in the early 80s, Laminate flooring has been a part of our homes for many years. Despite this there is still a lot of confusion about Laminate, so we’ve created an article focusing on what it actually is and the pros and cons of it.
What is it?
Laminate flooring is a man-made product that is manufactured to replicate the look of other surfaces; wood, stone etc. It is made up of layers that are compressed to create a fibreboard plank. Once the plank is formed it is covered with a photographic image of whatever material the plank is set to imitate, so for example, wood. The photographic image is then sealed with a protective overlay which then prevents the image from fading when it comes into contact with foot traffic and direct sunlight.
Of course, like any product for the home it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of laminate. We’re culminated a list of both in order to help you explore what laminate could potentially bring to your home, both aesthetically and practically.
Durable – Laminate is renowned for being incredibly durable, it’s one of the main reasons that it is so heavily used across the world. Due to the way that Laminate is constructed it is ideal for a busy home/environment that anticipates a high amount of foot traffic, the layers offer a strong durable backbone for the floor and the clear protective layer that was discussed earlier protects against scratches and day to day wear and tear. This makes laminate a great choice if you have any children or pets around.
Installation – The installation system as used on laminate flooring is one of the most user-friendly on the market. It is called the click system and works by simply clicking the planks together. This means that the planks can then be ‘floated’ over a sub-floor and there’s no need for any glue or nails, mess-free and painless! Of course if you’re not confident of doing this yourself then we’re positive that a professional fitter would be more than willing to perform the installation for you.
Cleaning & Maintenance – Laminate is one of the easiest floors to clean and keep on top of, most of the time a damp mop or clothe will remove any dirt or stains that the floor is faced with. However should you require a deeper clean then there are plenty of laminate friendly cleaning solutions available, but it is important to check with the manufacturer if they can be used alongside your floor. Daily maintenance can be upheld by a simple sweep and a vacuum/mop is great one a weekly basis.
Versatility – The great thing about laminate is that it can be made to look like any flooring material, there are so many designs available so you’re guaranteed to find something that would suit your home.
Affordability – One of the most appealing factors of laminate flooring is how budget-friendly it is. It allows you to purchase the look of real wood at a much lower price – you can’t complain at that!
Scratches – Although laminate is incredibly durable this does not mean that it is indestructible, it is susceptible to scratches. In order to prevent this from happening there are a few steps you can take; if you do have a pet ensure that their claws are kept to a reasonable length and try to place rugs on the floor to protect it.
Water Damage – Yes, laminate can be installed in kitchen areas because it does handle water better than solid wood however it can still react badly if water is spilled and left without being cleaned up. If water does seep through to the inner layers of the board it can cause the board itself to swell and become damaged.
Repair – Unlike solid or engineered wood it is not possible to sand and refinish laminate flooring. What this means is that if the floor does become damaged then it’s likely that it will need to be replaced, another struggle is that sometimes you can’t just replace one plank of laminate and the whole floor will need to be replaced.
So there it is, our essential guide on laminate flooring and an insight to the pros and cons of it too!