Laminate floors are a hybrid floor covering constructed of four layers of materials; the backing, core, design, and wear layers of the product. Each layer serves a purpose and is relevant to the product’s durability and appearance.
The back layer, or the bottom layer, is responsible for protecting the plank against moisture. The core layer that lays on top of the bottom layer is made from durable, high-density boards that protect from indentation and moisture. The design layer is what gives the laminate flooring its unique appearance, typically mimicking a wood or tile floor design. The wear layer is the clear layer that protects against fading, stains, and surface burns.
In general, laminate flooring is versatile and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Imagine adding the character of distressed pine, antique oak, or the elegance of slate, stone, or travertine to your home. Laminate’s ability to impersonate natural materials allows you to get the look and feel of rare, exotic wood or expensive stone at a fraction of the cost, with no natural material drawbacks. With pattern laying options, you can personalize the look of your room by combining different stone looks, or stone with wood looks, creating room borders, and custom designs.
Laminate flooring is also an excellent choice for homes where allergies are prevalent. With the closed-surface structure of laminate and the closed joints between the boards, there’s nowhere for dust to get caught. The sealed surface also prevents bacteria from accumulating on the floor. Dust mites and other allergy-causing organisms cannot survive on the clean laminate surface, making this type of flooring ideal for children, and people suffering from asthma or dust allergies.
Over the years, manufacturers have further developed the product, making it more scratch, fade and chemical resistant than ever. Juice, wine, grease, and chocolate are easily wiped away. Cigarette burns, shoe polish, paint, ink, crayon, and nail polish come clean with alcohol or nail polish remover.
Due to its hard HDF (High-Density Fiberboard) core board, laminate flooring can handle pressure and wear, such as those created by stiletto heels, falling objects, or exercise equipment. The floor can also withstand long-term local strain caused by furniture, chairs, cupboards, table legs, and bed legs.
When it comes to routine maintenance, no floor comes closer to being maintenance-free than laminate flooring. It is important to know that you cannot saturate laminate floors or use water to clean them. The best way to clean laminate floors is to vacuum or sweep them regularly, and use a laminate floor mop made of microfiber or highly absorbent materials with a cleaning solution specifically made for this type of floor.
For deeper cleaning, you can use a steam mop very sparingly. Be sure to dry the floor immediately after steam cleaning. Use a clean, dry microfiber towel or mop. Avoid oil-based cleansers and products designed for cleaning wood floors, cabinets, and furniture. They can leave streaks that are impossible to remove. Don’t ever wax or polish your laminate floors.
Easy installation is one of laminate flooring’s prime attributes. It’s an “interlocking floating” floor, which means the floor tiles or planks attach to each other rather than to the sub-floor. They attach via a tongue-and-groove, glue-free system that makes it possible to install a laminate floor over virtually any existing floor.
It is important to keep in mind that you do not want to install a laminate floor over a damp subfloor or on a basement slab where moisture may be an issue. You can test your subfloor for excess moisture by sealing the edges of a 3-ft. square of plastic sheeting to the floor with duct tape. Wait 24 hours before you peel back the plastic to check for moisture
Not all laminate flooring is equal in quality. When searching for the right product, look for a product that has at least a 15 year, or better, a 20-year to lifetime warranty. Laminate flooring offers many options and is graded by its quality, not only the warranty period. It is important you know what you are buying before you make your final purchase.
As with every home improvement project, it is always wise to speak with a professional to gain the insights and knowledge you need to make the investment in your home worth your time and effort. A laminate floor can be a DIY project if you are handy and have the patience. If DIY is not your thing, call a licensed professional who can provide the workmanship and floor that fits your lifestyle and your home.
Jon Adamo – President Phase One Construction
(718) 554-6565 [email protected]