Making flooring decisions can be one of the most difficult decisions that a homeowner has to make. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your current property, the choices you make regarding your flooring will be with you for 10, 15, even 20 years or more — that's a big commitment. While there are so many choices out there, one tends to stand out the most. Wood laminate floors allow you to have the look of wood for less money, making the decision a little easier to live with.
A Brief History
You might assume that laminate flooring is a relative newcomer to the construction industry, but you'd be wrong. Pergo's parent company, Perstorp, has actually been playing around with variations of the product since 1881, and brought the first official laminate floor to the market in 1979. While it was unusual then, laminate flooring today is a fairly common choice in the flooring industry.
Is it Really Less Expensive
While both natural wood and laminate floors have a wide range of price points, laminate is consistently the more economically priced product. Additionally, laminate is much easier to install because the planks simply click together. There is no need for a nail gun or air compressor. This makes the labor to install laminate less expensive or even suitable for a weekend-long do-it-yourself project.
How is it Made
At first glance, it may appear that laminate flooring is a thin strip of natural wood adhered to a substrate, however, it is actually a high-quality digital photograph of natural wood that is applied to that substrate. Bob Vila, a home building expert and long-standing television personality, published a fascinating tour of Pergo's factory here, where you can see their laminate flooring go through each stage of the manufacturing process.
What Design Options Are There
While most laminate floors are designed to look like a variety of different wood species, like Brazilian cherry, traditional oak, and lesser-known hickory, they are also available in non-wood planks. Travertine, slate, limestone, and cork are all digitally replicated as laminate flooring in order to give consumers both a less expensive and easier-to-maintain version of the look they love.
The newest trend is to used reclaimed lumber salvaged from barns, attics, and even the bottom of northern lakes. These offer a patina and beauty that is often hard to replicate. Laminate flooring manufacturers, however, have perfected the process by using digital photographs to capture all the dings, kicks, knots, and wormholes in reclaimed hardwoods to make a laminate that looks exactly like hand-scraped and salvaged wood — often fooling everyone who sees the finished floor. Today's laminates do not even look like laminate anymore.
What You Need to Know
Laminate flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses, depending on both the manufacturer and the particular product line. Common choices are 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm. While all are well-made, the thickest millimeters represent a higher quality product.
While older variations of laminate flooring were susceptible to water damage, newer versions are praised for their durability. In fact, most manufacturers offer up to a 20-year warranty on the floors staining, fading, or wearing through.
While laminates can handle spills, you still do not want to dump a bucket of water on it and start mopping, because excess water can soak into the seams. Use a little TLC instead. Avoid harsh chemicals and pine-scented products, which leave a cloudy residue. Stick to dry dust mops and vacuums set on the bare or wood floor setting for a thorough clean.
When debating on flooring choices for your home, know that if you decide on laminate, it is a durable and reliable option. Call a professional like Brothers Floor Covering for your laminate floor installation today.