All about Laminate Flooring

A laminate floor otherwise known as a ‘floating floor’ is made up of a couple of plies of materials glued together from beginning to the end through a process of lamination. The interior hub is gotten from a board of fibre which is very high in density called high Density Fibreboard (HDF). The finish comprises a printed sheet that resonates the picture of stone, wood or any other material which it’s meant to depict. The surface is toughened with a ply of aluminium oxide, which is one of the toughest materials one can ever find.

Laminate floors are being enjoyed in a lot of homes all over the world, largely due to their prices, toughness and the fact that it is quite easy to install. Laminate floorings are made in planks, stone-like,  metal-like and tiles. Laminate floors were developed many years ago to use in place of hardwood floorings as a cheap alternative most especially as it imitates hardwood floorings and all these are possible largely due to the fact that a photographic process is involved in creating the design layer of the laminate floor.

How is this done? The image of whatever it is the manufacturer wants to imitate is photographed and printed and after that glued to a fibre board and this is covered by a durable, clear top film that is resistant to scratches and dents.

There are also old and archaic-looking versions of laminate floors too if anyone wants the feeling of an archaic flooring.     

Because a laminate floor is a set of encrusted floor type built with a glued, watertight High Density Fibre board, there are about four different layers it comprises and they are;

  1.  A water resistant glued High density fibre core board

The HDF board is the foundation of a Laminate floor. It comprises polished fibres of wood high in melamine resin. It is a re-particled board which involves all parts of the tree. The board is quite alike in content and technical nature everywhere. It is extremely strong, firm and highly waterproof.

  1. A balancing layer

This waterproof back layer ensures a purely balanced board that will not bend but will stay firm when properly maintained and installed.

  1. A design layer

This is the layer that projects the real face of your floor. This layer is always in a very high photo resolution of real wood finish which is remodeled with a very sophisticated printing technique and is also completed with melamine resin which is an important material. The blend of the ideal design and exterior formation makes the wood or tile replication look exceptionally real and natural.

  1. A transparent, wear-resistant overlay

This topmost layer makes the laminate floor stain-resistant, wear-resistant, shock-resistant, scratch-resistant and burn-resistant. There are several layers of melamine pressed on the high density fibreboard core under intense heat. The outermost layer is completed with either a wood or tile texture.

There could be a good number of reasons to choose laminate flooring over other types of floors like;

Maintenance

Laminate floors are very easy to clean. You could use a vacuum cleaner or broom, you could also mop with a wet mop or floor wipe and there is usually no need for floor waxing. Whatever one’s choice of cleaning is, it comes out great.           

Moisture

Laminate floors can be fixed in partially wet areas like the kitchens, and a couple of other places where there is the likelihood of moisture as long as the boards are held tight against each other, leaving no room for moisture.​           

Durability and Maintenance

Laminate floors are quite resistant to dents and scratches. Laminate floors have a layer that prevents the photographic layer under the surface layer. Some makers give up to 10 years warranties on the wear ply. Laminate floor’s tough exterior repels all forms of stains. But if you get a stain, it is quite easy to clean.

Functionality

 Laminate floors usually feel hard under the foot without an underlay, majority of installations always include underlay which gives the floors quite a bouncy feeling, thereby making it easier to trample on for a long time.

Appearance Laminate floors project the look of stone, wood and other natural materials they are made of. There are usually no flaws in laminate floors unlike real wood, which sometimes comes with a lot of imperfect pieces that need to be disposed of or re-designed. Every board is of consistent quality and appearance.

TILES VS HARDWOOD FOR YOUR KITCHEN

Deciding on the look of your home takes a good amount of time and thought process. When it comes to longevity and durability, you really must research well and take a call. My earlier posts here were about hardwood flooring and laminate flooring too. Now let us see how good is tile flooring and that too for your kitchen. You may have witnessed this type of flooring at your friend’s home or anywhere else, but there are ample things you must know before you can also get it done.

Consider the below points before deciding between tiles or hardwood flooring:

  1. Budget
  2. Interiors of your home
  3. Durability
  4. Maintenance

 

I will list out the pros and cons of each flooring against each of these points above.

Budget:

The options you have for tiles are enormous. The fact that there is a wide range of design options in tiles is a candid proof that they are so popular among a lot of households when it comes to kitchen flooring. The kind of budget involved is such that it suits whatever you have in mind. So, it is affordable in terms of budget. Hardwood is slightly expensive than the tile flooring and has always an advantage of refinishing and repairs if needed.

Interior design style of your home:

A majority of the interior design companies are providing numerous options to match the kitchen style accordingly with the tile or hardwood floor of the rest of the house. Floor designers understand the current trend in your house and suggest accordingly that can match your taste and preference. Tile flooring can also enhance the look of your house. Here, I would say there is a draw between the tile and hardwood.

Durability:

The durability is high for both tile as well as hardwood flooring, though there are certain issues like the tiles comes out on top. A lot of people choose cheap tiles in the household where there is a high traffic simply for the fear of broken tiles. So, spend a good amount to get a better quality of tiles for your kitchen. You can look for porcelain for toughness.  Hardwood floor lasts for a lifetime as the longevity of a hardwood floor is such. However, this flooring will dent, scratch and scuff in a household where the traffic is higher. This problem can be addressed by choosing a rustic look and the use of textured wood. It is also recommended to opt lighter tones or natural wood look so that the dust or damage does not show up so easily and will not be noticeable. The hardwood flooring would not cause any problems as long as there are no major mishaps like sink leakage, issues with the drain of your washing machine or a problematic refrigerator. As long as there is not water and wood don’t mix, mop immediately if liquids spill on the floor.

 

Ease of cleaning:

I would say, it is easy to clean both the tile and a hardwood floor. The tile flooring is much easier to clean however, it is forgotten that it is harder to keep the tile grout clean. Over a period of time, these grout lines accumulate dirt and are almost impossible to clean. Such problems can be resolved by adding a grout sealant after installation and good to renew it on a regular basis. Hardwood flooring has the ease of maintenance. As long as there are no gaps between the floorboards, the dirt cannot accumulate but once, such gaps form, there is a possibility of dirt accumulation

Health Benefits:

The tile flooring is cold and hard to stand on and work. Homeowners experience back pain if their work is for long hours standing on the floor. Hardwood floors in the kitchen provide better temperature control by keeping the kitchen warm. It provides better shock absorption compared to the tile flooring. Doctors also recommend hardwood flooring for patients who go through chronic back pain injuries.

I covered most of the points that will help in making a decision. These points will definitely ease your thought process. Apart from all the above points, your personal preference plays a huge role in choosing a particular design element in your home. Whatever you pick should accentuate the look as well as that needs least maintenance.

Hardwood or Laminate Flooring

If you are thinking about updating your home, you may be considering adding hardwood or laminate flooring.

There is an easy rule of thumb for deciding which flooring is best for your home. If your home is valued at over 200k, the answer is to install hardwood floors.

I understand that there are some really attractive and high quality laminate floors available. However, the look, and especially the feel of properly installed wood floors can be easily identified by today’s savvy buyers.

Hardwood floors add elegance and style that go a long way towards enhancing the perceived value of your home. Not only will you home stand out among the competition, sell faster, and for more money than homes with traditional or laminate flooring.

If your home is valued under 200k, hardwood flooring will definitely put your home head and shoulders above the competition. However, you might not achieve a return on investment that exceeds what you would achieve by installing laminate. Another thing to consider is that once you add wood floors, your other flooring might look out of place. This can start a never ending cycle of upgrading other parts of your home that leads you down the regrettable path of improving your home.

Over improving your home is a lot easier to do than most people think. Again, before starting any major remodeling projects, consult with a local real estate expert. Real estate agents view lots of property, and can provide invaluable insight into just how much you can be spend before you price you home out of your neighborhood.

If you decide to install wood floors, engineered flooring is very popular choice because of both price and higher tolerance for moisture.

If you install hardwood floors, glue them down. Never float wood floors. One of the most identifiable features of wood flooring is the hard, concrete-like feel of the flooring.

Some sellers ask about using a cloth sound barrier under floated floors, and the short answer is that unless the floors are glued or nailed down, you can tell, regardless of whether or not you use a sound absorbing product like Quiet Walk.

In order for glued-down hardwood flooring to both sound right and last, the flooring surface needs to be properly prepped. Preparation typically includes using self-leveling concrete to perfectly level the floor and remove any low spots. This step is essential to prevent hollow spots and the floor not adhering properly. This is why I highly recommend hiring a professional.

If you do hire a professional for your hardwood installation, make sure they use a moisture meter to measure the moisture in the concrete where the floors will be installed. I recommend that you request the company to provide you with a written statement documenting the moisture level and that you and the installer both sign the document. I recently represented a seller who tried to save money and used a friend to install some exotic hardwood flooring. The installer never checked the moisture in the floor, and when the floors all buckled less than a month later the seller had to replace 7 k in flooring. When you include the cost of labor, a 10 k flooring installation quickly turned into 20k.

If you decide to install laminate flooring, gluing the flooring down can eliminate the hollow sound that identifies laminate flooring, and will make the flooring more closely resemble real hardwood.