Laminate flooring has been a big hit in recent years thanks to its low-cost, high-quality appearance and ease of installation. Here are some details to help you decide if laminate is a flooring option you’ll want to consider.
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic material that looks like wood or stone. Thanks to the wonders of digital technology, it uses a photographic image of real wood (or in some cases tile or stone) which is applied to a fiberboard backing and then covered with a hardened protective "wear layer" to prevent scratching and scuffing. Laminate floors have been available on the consumer market for more than 20 years, but they've recently soared in popularity thanks to new brands and fantastic new design choices and a look that is more fresh, modern and attractive.
What are the Benefits of Laminate Flooring?
Our experts cite a few reasons for laminate’s boom in popularity. At the top of a list is a marked improvement in quality and design choices in recent years, thanks to top-quality producers like Mohawk Flooring. Designers have come up with a range of natural looks including wood in a range of varieties and colors, stone and tile. There’s even fabulous textured laminate available!
Other benefits of laminate flooring include:
- Fast installation (especially when installed by an experienced pro)
- Snap together click-and-lock installation, so there's no nailing or glue involved
- Easy cleaning and maintenance
- Durability: when properly maintained, laminate flooring is designed to be sturdy and long-lasting even in frequently-used rooms like kitchens and bathrooms
- Cost: laminate offers a chic, contemporary look at a much lower cost than hardwood
Installation for Laminate Flooring
Laminate’s click-and-lock design means that if you're experienced with home projects, it's totally doable as a DIY. However, putting in a new floor of any kind is a significant undertaking. So for those of us who aren't as handy, professional installation is the way to go. Here are a few reasons to consider professional installation with your laminate flooring purchase:
- Unusually shaped rooms can be super challenging to tackle as a DIY and may end up costing you more in time than you save in money
- Professional installers know the right way to cut and size boards to avoid buckling or gaps down the road
- Most laminate flooring needs an underlayment beneath to provide an extra layer between the subfloor and the laminate surface. This layer helps with moisture-proofing and also smoothes out any bumps or other issues in the subfloor so that the laminate layer is smooth and even. This is another task that's usually best done by an experienced pro.
- The pros have the right tools and plenty of experience to do the job quickly and correctly
How Do I Maintain My Laminate Flooring?
Laminate’s protective top layer is designed to block dirt, and cleaning laminate flooring is relatively simple. However, many of the cleaning techniques we've gotten used to over the years don't work well on laminate. While laminate is super durable, it's also more delicate than some other materials, so cleaning gently is critical. Here are a few tips to keep your laminate floor looking great:
- Too much water is a no-no on laminate, so instead of splashing water as you clean, use a damp sponge or well-wrung sponge mop instead.
- Spot clean spills as they happen instead of washing the whole floor.
- Clean the floor dry when you can: instead of wet-mopping, dust with a cloth or dust mop or use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment.
- Use mild, soap-free cleansers or diluted vinegar rather than the usual detergents to keep your laminate shiny.
- Finally, don't use wax on laminate--its outer layer is designed to preserve shine-- adding wax makes it duller!
Can I Use Laminate Flooring on Walls?
Yes, you can! Laminate on walls is a big trend--and looks fantastic. Our partners at Mohawk Flooring have some great tips for using laminate on walls in creative ways, and the hip new laminate designs make it all look great! Here are a few spots where laminate looks excellent--not just under your feet!
- Bedroom accent walls: stylish laminate looks great behind a frameless contemporary bed.
- Shelving and insets stand out with wood or tile-inspired flair.
- Kitchen backsplash and accents--anywhere you might have used tile for a great look at an excellent price.
- Mounting walls for everything from flat-screen televisions to bathroom installations.
Is Laminate Right for Me?
Laminate flooring is versatile, contemporary and reasonably priced, even when professionally installed. It's an excellent choice for folks looking for a fresh, modern look without breaking the bank. Whether it's on your walls or under your feet, there's a lot to love. Our team at Loudoun Valley Floors can help you decide if it's the best choice for you!