Laminate flooring is a relatively new invention which has taken the world of floor surface covering by storm. Versatile, easy to maintain, and reasonably priced, some people consider this a “super material.” However there are a number of drawbacks when it comes to laminate flooring. It is important to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly, before making a final decision about whether to use this material in your home, or commercial properties.
The Benefits of Laminate Flooring
Convenient Packaging: Natural hardwood flooring comes in planks that are 8 or 10 feet in length, and sometimes even longer. By contrast laminate planks that simulate hardwood are sold in convenient 4 foot strips. They are also available in tile form in varying sizes.
Versatility: Today laminate flooring can simulate the look of dozens of different natural hardwood materials. The printing process can also reproduce the appearance of a variety of natural stone, and ceramic flooring materials. With EIR embossed in register texturing they are even able to somewhat reproduce the surface texture of these natural materials.
Cleaning: The wear layer of a laminate floor protects the material from stains and some spills making cleaning and maintenance relatively easy. Typically the only regular requirement is sweeping or vacuuming of the floor to remove grit and dirt which can slowly erode the floors wear layer over time.
Installation: The installation of a laminate click together floor is one of the easiest to do. New innovations in the manufacture of this material have made it so you do not even need to use adhesive. Roll down a sheet of underlayment material, snap the planks or tiles of the floor into one another. An entire room can usually be finished in just a day or two.
Goes Anywhere: With the exception of carpet, laminate flooring can be installed over almost any existing floor in the home. As long as a moisture barrier is in place and water prevention measures are taken it can also be installed at any grade. This removes the hassle and expense of having to remove old flooring installations before installing new laminate materials.
The Elements: Laminate flooring is resistant to many of the outdoor agents that can discolor other flooring materials. The wear layer protects it from stains and smudges due to dirt and mud making it a great material for hallways and entryways. It also resists fading from UV light exposure making it popular in sun rooms.
Health: Laminate flooring is naturally resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria. It can also be treated with special allergen resistant and anti-bacterial coatings to make them even safer.
Expansion: The nature of the installation process means that the flooring material is not adhered directly to the subfloor. Rather all of the pieces of the floor are interlocked, or adhered one to another. That means that the material can expand, or contract, due to changes in pressure and temperature, without buckling and snapping against the subfloor.
Acclimation: Hardwood needs to sit in an environment for 3-6 weeks so that it can acclimate to the temperature and pressure of the area. Laminates can be installed in as little as 36 hours.