If you’re looking for an inexpensive floor but you want the “look” of real hardwood then look no further as laminate flooring might be your answer. A laminate floor is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood(or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials.
So what this means to you is you get a natural looking hardwood design with a tough, durable finish that can be used in almost any area of the home. Laminate flooring also replicate many of the popular hand scraped hardwood floors and come in a wide range of looks and colors.
• Advantages of laminate flooring:
Advantages of laminate flooring:
- Design: Laminate flooring provides the realistic look of numerous wood species and even tile or stone.
- Lower Cost: Laminate flooring has lower material and installation cost than real hardwood or ceramic tile, but can give the same beautiful look.
- Floating Installation: Laminate floors are floating floors and as such are not attached to the sub-floor. What this means to you is that laminate floors can be installed over nearly any flat hard surface without a lot of preparation.
- Family Flooring: Laminate floors are great for active households with children and pets as they are very durable and strong. They are designed to withstand heavy traffic without being damaged or scratched easily.
- Easy Care: Laminate flooring is simple to keep clean with a swifter or damp cloth.
• Disadvantages of laminate flooring:
Disadvantages of laminate flooring:
- Durability: Unlike real wood flooring, laminate cannot be sanded to remove scratches; if severely damaged, it has to be replaced.
- Value: Keep in mind that the lower cost of laminate flooring means that it will not add the same value to your home as real wood, or stone flooring. The least expensive laminate floors will probably only last between 10 and 15 years, which is sometimes less than the life of a typical homeowner’s mortgage. On the contrary, real hardwood floors can last anywhere from 40 years to over 100 years if properly maintained.
- Environmental: Laminate flooring is not the most environmentally friendly product available today. With rising concerns about the environment, global warming and energy conservation, there are “greener” choices on the market than laminate floors.
Bottom Line: Laminate flooring is a good choice if you want the look of real hardwood but cannot afford to make the initial investment of a real hardwood floor.