Have you always wanted genuine hardwood flooring in your home but balked at the high sticker price? Did you know there is an alternative that resembles hardwood so closely that only an expert could tell the difference? Many industries are constantly evolving and innovating to find ways to revolutionize themselves and the flooring industry is no exception. One of flooring’s newest innovations is laminate flooring: a cheaper, dependable, and easily-maintainable alternative to hardwood. So how does laminate stack up when compared to the genuine article? Here are five advantages to choosing laminate flooring for your home.
Laminate Flooring is Tough
Laminate flooring is a composite hybrid material generally consisting of a fiberboard wood base topped with an ‘image’ layer (that simulates the look of hardwood) and finally a transparent resin wear layer. As such, laminate is extremely durable and resistant to stains, scratches, fading, and moisture. It is also usually guaranteed to last years, if not decades. Many types of laminate have expected lifespans of 20 years or more. Laminate can handle high-traffic avenues in your home for years on end and still look spectacular.
Although laminate’s appearance is comparable to the genuine article, it is far cheaper than hardwood installation. Laminate flooring’s cost effectiveness is a real eye opener for many clients. Depending on the rarity and quality of the wood used, a similar laminate can cost as little as two-thirds or even half the price as real hardwood. When you also factor in the likelihood that a laminate alternative will have a much longer lifespan than a hardwood installation, it becomes an even more economical choice.
It’s Easy to Clean and Maintain
As laminate is resistant to moisture and stains, cleaning it is as simple as a few strokes of a broom, mop, or microfiber cloth. Many cleaning solutions – including vinegar – that might spell doom for certain types of hardwood flooring are perfectly safe to use on laminate. It does not require any special cleaning solutions or expert care and is hypoallergenic, as there are no miniscule crevices or cracks on laminate that can trap dust or other allergy-causing particles. Laminate flooring underlayment provides a moisture barrier that prevents mold from forming underneath the installation.
Installation is a Breeze
Laminate installation is DIY friendly and typically easy enough for anyone to install. It only requires a few common household tools and can save you even more money for the professional installation that you would need if choosing hardwood. Most laminates feature a simple, interlocking ‘snap together’ system: no gluing, stapling, or nailing required. If you’re worried about having all the tools you need to get the job done, laminate flooring installation kits – featuring mallets, pull bars, spacers, and more – are widely available for an inexpensive fee.
The Style Choices are Nearly Endless
As laminate consists of an image layer bookended by a fiberboard layer and wear layer, the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing what you want your laminate flooring to look like. Laminate not only imitates hardwood but is also sold in a wide variety of stone and tile finishes as well. And laminate’s realism doesn’t just stop at the ‘look’ anymore. The technology utilized to create its vast array of impressive, high-resolution style images has now begun bridging the texture gap as well. Which means that many laminates not only look just like hardwood, but they’ve begun to feel like the real thing, too.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Laminate Flooring
Although laminate ticks many boxes when it comes choosing a dependable and economical flooring choice, it isn’t without a few drawbacks.
Although we mentioned above that laminate is moisture-resistant, it isn’t moisture-PROOF. The fiberboard is susceptible to water damage if installed in an area with frequent moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms, and sometimes kitchens. The fiberboard can break down and expand if it is constantly wet. This type of damage isn’t repairable and laminate that is compromised in this way will need to be replaced.
Although the wear layer is extremely hardy, it is not completely invulnerable and can be broken down if exposed to extremely heavy traffic for years and years. If the wear layer is worn down to the image layer, the image can become scuffed and faded and cannot be refinished or sanded down, as regular wood can be. Therefore, it will need to be replaced. Laminate is very difficult to repair per se. More often than not, a breakdown of integrity in the laminate – moisture in the fiberboard, deterioriation of the wear layer, etc. – will most likely require reinstallation, rather than repair.
As relatively simple as laminate installation can be, it can be done incorrectly if too little care is taken or steps are skipped. This can lead to floor buckling, floor peaking, or even gapping – when laminate sections become pulled apart. Though DIY laminate installation is common, there is no harm in asking an expert’s advice or assistance if you’re concerned about getting the job done right.
Texas Pride Can Help!
It’s true that laminate flooring isn’t the “real thing,” but incredible advances in flooring technology have made it almost indistinguishable from genuine hardwood, tile, or stone. It is often far more durable, easier to maintain, and can be had for a fraction of the price. If you’re ready to begin a new flooring project for your home, laminate is a potentially advantageous option worth considering. At Texas Pride Custom Floors, our expert consultants can walk you through the possible benefits of laminate flooring and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Contact us today or stop by our new location in Leander at 1501 Leander Drive, Suite 110!