What you don’t know about laminate floors may cost you more than you are willing to pay and seriously annoy you.
Laminate floors are undeniably beautiful, but there are certain things you must know before purchasing them.
I remember when I was moving into my new home, it was exciting but really tiring. I had to quickly consider different designs, from furniture to lights.
But then, the flooring option is not something you want to take hastily, you want a floor you can clean easily, something budget-friendly, but still good-looking and long-lasting.
And now I’m sure you’re wondering if laminate floors would do the trick for you! Don’t worry much, here we’ll answer your pressing questions and make it easier for you to make a decision.
Table of Contents
First, What Is a Laminate Floor?
If you simply love the look and feel of wood but you are looking for something a bit more impressive, then laminate flooring could be the best option for you.
It is made from several layers of wood-derived or synthetic materials that realistically imitate different types of finishes. The finishes imitate wood (which are the most typical), polished concrete, ceramic, and a host of other interesting mimics.
Laminate floors are durable and stunning. They are ideal for rooms that get a lot of busy feet moving around.
I love the fact that there’s a wide variety of colorful coating you could choose from. This makes it perfect for both new constructions and retro-fittings.
Plus, it’s a budget-friendly option that is sleek and stylish. They are pretty easier to install and care for.
Laminate floors are an excellent option to transform a house, room, or office quickly, as they present a very good quality-price ratio and possess more features than their competitors.
Is Laminate Flooring Worth The Money?
It’s normal to want the best option your money can get, you deserve it! And laminate floors are definitely worth the money, they offer a less costly alternative to real wood floors and still provide that amazing look you’ve always wanted.
But I’m not going to be choosing for you, lets look at the pros and cons of this wood flooring, then it’ll be easier for you to make a decision.
Pros of Laminate Flooring
- They are a long-lasting option. Laminate floors are durable, with most of them lasting for at least 10 years with good maintenance. In fact, some manufacturers have acknowledged this longevity by offering several decades of guarantee. They are, on average, more resistant than regular parquet and are suitable in places with constant traffic activity such as shops and businesses, as they resist impacts, scratches, stains, and chemical agents.
- It can be installed on many kinds of the subfloor. Laminate floors can be installed on concrete, granite, vinyl, wood, and many other surfaces.
- Relatively inexpensive. When compared to other floors, laminates are surely one of the cheapest options. Although as with everything, the prices vary according to the quality on offer. In comparison with a ceramic piece or a parquet are quite cheap, especially when a need for replacement comes into the picture.
- Multiple designs. With laminate floors, you’ve got a lot of designs to choose from. You’ll find an option that’s perfect for you.
- Easy to install. Laminate flooring is easier to install than other types of flooring. If you have experience with DIY projects, you can install them yourself and cut costs.
- Simple cleaning and maintenance. It’s quite easy to keep laminate floors looking good. While other options like carpets get stained quickly and then real wood floors may require costly maintenance. Laminate floors don’t need that much of your attention, they are durable and easy to take care of. If you’ll love to have a low-maintenance floor, this could be the best option for you!
- Guarantees. Most top manufacturers offer extended warranty periods for their laminate floors.
- They are an ecological product. Both the manufacture, to a large extent from wood, and its recycling, at the end of its useful life, are processes that respect the environment.
- Hypoallergenic and antibacterial. These two characteristics have become prevalent in all kinds of laminate floors. If you have pets, this flooring option would be great for you.
- They do not change color in sunlight.
- Compatible with underfloor heating.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
- They are not suitable for installation in all places. Although in recent years the advances of this type of products have allowed them to be incorporated without problems in the kitchens, they are still not great in areas like a sauna where water could be an issue.
- Some additional features can raise the price significantly. For example, those who have underfloor heating will not be able to use just any laminate floor but will have to resort to a premium model, with a consequent increase in cost.
- Laminate floors can’t be refinished just like real wood. It doesn’t allow sanding – stabbing and varnishing, only very soft polishing. Especially for the cheap ones.
- The laminated coating produces an electrostatic charge. The problem usually comes when low-quality materials are used that do not include antistatic characteristics in the model.
There is no completely perfect material, and therefore laminate floors will surely have drawbacks. If you really love the great look of laminate floors, then go for it. It’ll last for years and you will definitely enjoy your investment.
Is Water Bad For Laminate Floors?
Yes, water is the arch-villain of laminate flooring. It gets into the gaps in the planks and easily causes laminate flooring to warp, swell and push against one another. Even top-quality laminate floors are no exception, moisture can still damage them.
So you want to avoid installing these floors in areas where water is unavoidable like laundry rooms or bathrooms. Laminate floors may not be a bad choice for your kitchen if you are very careful with water.
However, you can place a vapor barrier underneath your floor if you are really worried about humidity.
The most recommended barrier would be an underlay made of a polyene film against rising humidity.
Does Laminate Flooring Absorb Water?
Yes, laminate floors absorb water very quickly.
This type of floor covering is mainly composed of a board of pressed wood encased in a synthetic coating.
Therefore, as with wood, and with all products derived from it, water can be a nightmare.
The water causes the particleboard or pressboard to expand and break apart, making drying laminate flooring nearly impossible.
Laminate flooring also has a foam pad underneath it, which also soaks up water. Once this foam pad is saturated, you cannot evaporate or extract the water.
It is true that water and humidity can deteriorate a laminate floor, however, with the correct installation of a quality brand, the situation must be very adverse for there to be significant damage.
Either way, it’s important that you keep a mop handy, this will help you immediately dry up the floor before the water gets absorbed.
But these days, there are laminate floors equipped with water repellent protection, which allows them to resist moisture, and prevent water from sipping through.
So there’s not much you have to worry about, it’s nothing you can’t deal with!
Is Laminate Flooring Suitable For Underfloor Heating?
Yes, it is. In fact, laminate flooring is regarded as the best wooden floor to use with underfloor heating.
They work well with changing floor temperature and adapt to changing moisture content.
The fiber panel that comes with laminate flooring for underfloor heating is stable, durable, and resistant to humidity.
However, not all laminate floors are suitable for radiant heating. It is necessary to check in the technical data sheet or manual of the product that it is indeed suitable.
The most suitable are laminate floors with low thermal resistance that allow heat transmission.
If the floor has a high thermal resistance, it will take longer to heat up and underfloor heating will be less efficient.
It is extremely vital to follow the advice provided by the laminate manufacturer when using heating.
Keep in mind that the temperature in contact with the ground should not exceed 27ºC to avoid undulations and cracks in the ground.
Does Laminate Flooring Absorb Odors?
Unlike every other floor surface, odors will cling to laminate flooring after a long time. If you have pets in the home, unpleasant pet odors might sometimes linger.
Kitchen areas also pose their troubles, as they tend to accumulate odors from food and other substances. In areas around the bathroom, a musty odor might permeate, if moisture is trapped in laminate floors.
But then, there are several cost-effective techniques to rid your home of this pungent adversary without damaging your exquisite surface.
Simple household cleaners like baking soda and vinegar can be used on your mopping water to get rid of the odors.
You can even make a vinegar spray and use it once in a while to keep the odors away.