An Introduction to Laminate Flooring

May 1, 2010
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Laminate flooring is something of a hybrid, but for many homeowners it is the perfect, affordable alternative to hardwood or even stone flooring. It can look almost exactly like real hardwood or stone but it’s not. It is however not vinyl tiling or engineered flooring. So what on earth is it?

Laminate flooring is created in layers. The top layer usually consists of two simple sheets of paper impregnated with melamine, layered above about a ½ inch of wood composite. On those sheets of paper is a photograph, and that is where laminate flooring is considered by many to shine over other flooring options.

Like the look of traditional hardwood? Laminate flooring can go there. How about stone or even the sumptuous luxury of marble? Laminate flooring can go there too and unless you got down on your hands and knees and put your face right up to it it’s hard to tell the difference between the laminate and the real thing.

Laminate flooring is also tough. The photographic top layer is coated with a hard transparent layer that can stand up to boisterous dogs, rowdy kids and the spikiest stiletto heels and possibly best of all in some people’s eyes is that laminate flooring is a breeze to install. As it is a floating floor laminate does not have to be installed onto the subfloor as hardwood flooring does. Instead the planks glue tougher – a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces stick to each other but not the table – making it a great choice for more humid climes as the floor can expand and move in response to the room’s temperature changes.

On the downside in the end laminate floors are not hardwood, or stone, or marble, they are laminate. To some homeowners that indicates “fake” and they want nothing less than the real thing. Laminate flooring is less expensive than hardwood but often not by much. In the end choosing laminate flooring, like any of the flooring choices available to you, will come down to personal preference but when you are weighing your options remember to give it a long, hard look.

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