Affordable laminate stands up to stains and scratches and is easy to clean.
If your kitchen encounters frequent food spills and the pitter-patter of kids or pets, this durable surface may be the solution. Laminate mimics the look of hardwood or tile and comes with a lower price tag. The surface resists stains and scratches, and cleanup is a snap.
Unlike wood, it doesn’t gain character and can’t be sanded. But when it comes to today’s high-end options, even experts can have a hard time distinguishing high-end laminates from the real thing.
What You Need to Know
The Lowdown: Laminate is constructed of four layers of material fused together: a melamine wear layer, a high-resolution photo, a dense core board, and a melamine backing layer.
Tough Enough? Laminate is extremely durable, withstanding cooking spills, heavy traffic, and pets’ paws.
How to Clean: Wipe up spills immediately. Sweep, dust, or vacuum regularly, and occasionally wipe the surface with a damp mop or cloth. Keep floors free of dirt and sand, as they can scratch the surface over time. Watch for separation between boards.
Underlayment: Laminate requires underlayment to serve as a moisture barrier and muffle sound. Specially designed underlayment even makes laminate sound more like hardwood when it is walked on.
Considerations When Choosing Laminate Floors
Color. Wood-look laminate is available in a variety of colors from blond to black. Tile-look laminate comes in a range of earthy neutrals for an authentic look.
Texture. Manufacturing advances produce more realistic textures. Wood-look laminate, for instance, now comes with the distressed appearance that is so popular for hardwood.
Shape. Laminate comes in strips, planks, or tiles and can be installed in various orientations for a one-of-a-kind look.
Finish. Choose from various matte or glossy surfaces. The finish generally doesn’t affect durability.
Laminate is easy to install. Glueless installation is a quick, easy, mess-free option . It’s eco-friendly; laminate uses less natural material than other floors. Many manufacturers are even incorporating recycled materials. And it’s low maintenance. Laminate requires no waxing or oiling over the years.