There are three things that govern the choice of flooring—lifestyle, location and budget. There are few flooring options which score on all fronts. Laminate flooring is one such option which is able to easily adapt to your lifestyle, can be placed in almost any location and gives great value for money. But like everything else this too has certain cons. The positive thing about laminate flooring is that the cons can be very easily overcome with just a few routine habits.
What is laminate flooring
Simply speaking , laminate flooring is made from laminating together multiple layers of a synthetic flooring material to emulate any other flooring material like stone, wood etc. This simulation is possible because of the presence of a photographic appliqué which is layered onto the laminated material. This appliqué is then covered up with a transparent protective layer so as to prevent any damage to it.
Advantages of laminate floors
Laminate floors have a lot of advantages which make it the ideal choice for many house owners. They are:
• It makes for a good DIY project since the availability of the laminate flooring is in the form of either tiles or planks. The ends or edges of these planks and tiles are so designed that they fit perfectly into each other and even snap together. Hence there is no need for contouring and nailing, thus making for an easy and fast installation process. It also eliminates the need for the use of VOC emitting glues thereby making it environmentally safe.
• The make and quality of the product ensures stability of the flooring and also prevents the seams from coming off even when the humidity levels change.
• Laminate flooring is also not very choosy about its underlayment requirement. Generally a thin foam cushion is enough to lay it on. This makes it a perfect alternative to install over an already existing floor. Hence during renovations and remodelling, there is no necessity of tearing out the existing floor thereby reducing its installation costs. Carpets, however, do not make good underlayment material for this type of flooring.
• This type of floors are resistant to scratches due to the presence of en extremely durable top wear layer.
• They are also easy to clean and maintain and generally an occasional sweeping is enough to keep it free from dust and grime.
Some disadvantages of laminate floors
There are, however, a few cons which one should be aware of before choosing laminate flooring. They are:
• Laminate floors are susceptible to moisture. Hence they cannot and should not be installed in bathrooms and other places with floor drains. They can be used in the basements by the application of an additional moisture resistant layer.
• Once this floor gets worn out, it cannot be refinished as is possible in real wood. Thus it needs to be replaced. But laminate floors come with warranty and a higher warranty of the tiles and planks definitely means better quality leading to a longer lifespan.
Laminate floors are versatile; they are flexible and they come in colours and varieties that few other flooring types have. Also by using this type of flooring, it is possible to satisfy one’s fascination with wood, marble, tile, ceramic, stone etc. because the texture and design of all of the other flooring types can be imprinted onto laminated flooring.