If you’re considering a laminate floor, that’s a smart move. Information pertaining to selection, installation and maintenance can be a helpful guide. Laminate flooring is budget conscious, durable and easy to maintain making it the right fit for many home remodel projects. When shopping, consider all of the laminate floor options because there is a wide range of price points and quality. You will surely come across flooring terms that you may not recognize and facts that are not commonly known about laminate as a flooring material. Consider the room and type of environment, ease of maintenance and price as you select the floor for your home.
Smooth wood-look laminate is typically what comes to mind when thinking about laminate floors. Just like it sounds, smooth laminate is flat and smooth to touch. Like traditional wood floors smooth laminate comes in a range of wood finish colors and gloss levels and has graining patterns that mimic real wood. When a flooring budget is tight, smooth laminate is an excellent option and can lend a richer look to a room with the visual warmth of wood. Cleaning a smooth laminate floor is easy to do with a spray and wipe cleaner. The exact cleaning agent will depend on the flooring manufacturer who will specify the best cleaner to use on their floor. Some brands of laminate flooring don’t indicate a specific cleaner though they will typically indicate a type of cleaner to use for the best results. Most laminate flooring does not require polish though sometimes it can be applied to increase gloss and shine. Where smooth laminate differs from real wood flooring is in the texture. Smooth laminate mimics the look of wood but doesn’t have the texture or real wood grain feel.
For a little bit of texture, laminate floor manufacturers offer embossed laminate that comes closer to emulating wooden floors and is especially popular among those who have more room in their remodel budget and really prefer hardwoods. The embossing technique recreates the look of wood with texture though the texture doesn’t exactly match the wood grain pattern. To get the best replication of a hardwood floor, laminate floors that are Embossed in Registration, or Synchronized, display a technique that matches the wood grain exactly, which makes it very realistic looking and can be hard to tell apart from wood. With all of the textures and wood colors available including popular distressed and hand-scraped wood patterns, laminate flooring provides a homeowner with lots of options, the welcoming appearance of wood, excellent durability and a generally more price friendly floor with a greater potential for a successful do-it-yourself installation.
Laminate is a durable flooring material under most average to heavy use environments. Where laminate performs best is in areas that don’t have water such as living rooms, bedrooms, family rooms, playrooms and dry basements. Laminate flooring is made in varying thicknesses of material for use in residential and commercial buildings so keep this in mind as you shop and do comparisons between flooring manufacturer brands and among different patterns within a flooring brand.
Installing a laminate floor yourself can save lots of money. Laminate flooring makes it easy with glueless floors that use a click-and-lock mechanism to lock laminate floor planks together. Typically referred to as a floating floor, the built-in attachment system doesn’t require adhesive and the new laminate floor can be installed over most existing hard surface floors making it a neat, easier installation method. Underlayment is usually needed under the new floor. Some flooring manufacturers make laminate floors that have a connected underlayment or moisture barrier so laying the floor becomes a one step process.
Glue-down laminate floors require more floor installation skill and can be put in successfully by a homeowner or a qualified flooring installer. When care is taken to use the specified glue for the floor being installed, appropriate subfloor preparation is done correctly and the recommended underlayment or vapor barrier is utilized, the glue down installation method creates a stronger and more reliable bond for long-term performance and is recommended for some environments over the floating floor method. Some manufacturers offer pre-glued laminate planks that reduce mess and ensure the right glue is used to adhere the floor planks to the substrate.
Once your dream laminate floor is installed in your home, it’s good to start a laminate floor maintenance routine right from the start to keep the floor looking it’s best over time. The majority of flooring manufacturers share a common care routine for laminate flooring regardless of whether its textured, embossed, smooth, residential or commercial. Always follow your floor manufacturer’s general maintenance recommendations. Sweep regularly or vacuum, using a vacuum setting that eliminates the beater bar. Routinely clean laminate floors with the care products recommended by your floor’s manufacturer. This will almost always be a spray and wipe cleaning system utilizing a laminate floor spray cleaner and a flat microfiber mop. Some floor manufacturers — such as Mannington and Armstrong — have their own branded cleaning products for laminate. Other flooring brands specify a type of cleaner or a brand such as Bona or Performance Accessories for use on their floors.
Regardless of the type of laminate you choose for your home, implement preventative care by placing walk-off mats, with non-staining backing, at exterior entrances to capture dirt and debris. Apply felt furniture floor protectors to the feet of tables and chairs and to other items that move on the laminate floor. This reduces floor scratches in heavily used areas. Replace or clean the felt pads periodically. For large furniture or equipment moves, use felt-bottom furniture slides, like EZ Moves Furniture Slides, to prevent gouges in the laminate flooring surface. All of these preventive measures reduce wear and tear on the floor and minimize the appearance of scuffs and scratches.
1877FloorGuy specializes in floor care and maintenance products. If you want more guidance to find cleaning, finishing or protective products for use on your laminate flooring, contact Customer Support for expert advice.