Laminate flooring is produced in durable plank form and can look like genuine hardwood.
Despite its benefits, laminate flooring is sometimes viewed in a poor light. When All-Star first baseman Bill Buckner missed a grounder in the 1986 World Series, he got a pretty bad rap (we think undeservedly so), and laminate, too, often gets a bad rap (we think undeservedly so).
On the plus side of things, we believe there are several situations to go with this multi-layered durable flooring product in your home. Before we dive into the benefits of laminate, let’s talk about what this flooring actually is.
What is laminate flooring?
Laminate is a composite, multi-layered building material.
As you’ll note from the above diagram, four layers make up this floor’s composition:
- Durable top wear layer with an aluminum-oxide finish in various sheens.
- Photographic pattern layer that gives the appearance of real wood.
- Usually high-density fiberboard (HDF) layer for water resistance and stability.
- Backing layer that also provides moisture resistance and increased stability.
Now that it’s clear what laminate is, let’s dig into 5 situations when you can use it in your home.
1. You want an affordable option, but you don’t want to sacrifice on aesthetics.
Laminate was developed to be a cheap alternative to hardwood flooring. But over the years, technological advancements in imaging have really improved the look of these modestly priced floors. So just because the price point is reasonable, this does not make you aren’t getting a great-looking floor. Some of the iterations include flooring that looks like oak, hickory, or maple, and some even come with grainy and textured looks.
The average cost of laminate ranges from $2-$5 a square foot. That does not include installation costs if you hire out.
2. You need flooring in a living room, bedroom, or kitchen but don’t want to use hardwood.
Given living rooms get a fair amount of traffic, laminate is an excellent option. It can handle a lot of wear (including buttery popcorn or beverage spills on movie nights). You also have plenty of design choices to ensure laminate will match your decor.
That myriad of style choices goes for the bedroom as well. You can choose laminate over a typical hardwood and save money. Laminate flooring with its multi-layers has sub-layers that diminish the noise of walking feet.
Given its toughness, laminate works well in kitchens. Most kitchens see a lot of traffic from snack time to dinner time. Spills, stains, and crumbs don’t have to be your enemy, and laminate proves to be a great choice.
3. You need a durable floor.
With laminate, you are going to get a tough floor. If you have pets who like to play or kids who like to roughhouse from room to room, then this flooring is a great choice.
Its top wear layer is meant to sustain everyday use and all sorts of foot traffic. It can take some dents and scratches, too, and it can be installed in direct sunlight. If a plank gets damaged for some reason, it can be replaced. We’ve noticed that most laminate does include an abrasion criteria (AC) rating that can guide you to the right choice. For instance, a rating of 2 denotes general residential use while 5 is for commercial spaces.
4. You need a floor that’s easy to clean.
Coupled with its durability is laminate flooring’s ease when it comes to cleaning.
It’s simple to vacuum, sweep, or mop. It’s no problem to get up stains and spills, given that sturdy top wear layer.
Make sure to read your manufacturer’s guidelines before you bust out the mop and cleaning solution. Also, avoid oil-based cleaning products as they can leave streaks on your floor. Modern wood floor cleaning products are perfect for cleaning laminate.
5. You want to do it yourself.
Laminate flooring is definitely a possibility for savvy do-it-yourselfers.
But do make sure to check your manufacturer’s guidelines in case they recommend a professional install that is above your paygrade.
Laminate planks do not get adhered to the floor, so you don’t have to deal with the trials and tribulations that come with glue. When working with the laminate, you place it over the subfloor. You lock the pieces together depending on the flooring, typically in a snap-and-lock or tongue-and-groove situation.
New for Real Wood Floors - NeuWood flooring.
We hope this has helped you understand some great uses for laminate flooring that you may not have been aware of. Real Wood Floors has developed its own selection of laminate flooring. Consisting of 3 collections with 8 colors each at launch, we now offer NeuWood flooring, with beautiful and lifelike visuals of real wood and the assurance of an extremely durable and efficiently installed floor.
Learn more about NeuWood here.