Laminate flooring has taken the interior design idea world by storm as an affordable, highly attractive alternative to wood floors. A fiberboard core with a paper pattern layer is sealed on both sides with a durable plastic or Melamine. Sometimes the under layer of laminate flooring is a polymer backing paper that adds to the product's stability during temperature or humidity level changes. The fused planks or panels simulate wood, stone, tile and any imaginable decor look, and usually feature an interlocking tongue and groove system that simply snap together.
Laminate flooring ranges can be used in virtually any room in the house, and have become a stylish home improvement option. These floors are stain-resistant, spill-resistant, don't scratch easily if you buy a quality product, and are also fire-resistant. This is a low-maintenance choice and is one of the fastest growing areas in the home renovation industry, giving retractable canvas awnings a run for their money. Many property owners opt to utilize their home improvement loans for this purpose.
By using laminate flooring, you are side-stepping the tedious upkeep of real hardwood floors. The engineering behind the product also allows you to use it directly on a variety of old floor surfaces, without the need for a frustrating tearing up job. It is often tackled as a fairly simple do it yourself project, especially if a product such as Costco's Harmonics range is used. If you choose a glued option, a damp sponge is normally used to re-activate the adhesive.
It is important to choose a quality floor product from a company that offers solid after-care backing. Warranties range from 10 years to a lifetime. High traffic areas need a higher grade product. Don't expect a cheap laminate flooring line to do well in these rooms. Stick to well-known brands such as Pergo, Armstrong, Trafficmaster or Quick Step flooring. Other names to be on the lookout for are Wilsonart, Mannington, Mohawk, and Shaw.
The stability and durability depend on the core thickness, which ranges from 6mm to 12mm. You also want to ensure that the core has been subjected to treatment with water repellent chemicals. This will ensure a longer life in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, where moisture is a constant threat, leading to buckling and lifting.
An additional precaution that is taken, is to use Paraffin wax in the joints. This forms an impenetrable layer that protects the core from absorbing water or other fluids. While there will always be a market for real hardwood floors, these have become very impractical and expensive to maintain. The porous nature of hardwood floors makes them vulnerable to staining and scratches. Laminate flooring simulates the warmth and character of hardwood, without the long list of drawbacks.
Any do it yourself enthusiast can try his or her hand at installing laminate flooring. No experience or expensive tools are necessary. All that is needed is a bit of patience, and perhaps a circular saw. Cleaning involves a sweep with a broom, and a damp mop or a taste of one of the dedicated cleaners on the market.
A wide color palette is available, from rustic oak to even Maple. Your interior design style and the size of the room will dictate your choice. A darker option gives a warm feel, while a small room will look larger if you use a light color. The latest ranges even include stone tile options, complete with grout lines - no more Trafficmaster Stainproof Grout messes...
As a do it yourself project, installing laminate flooring is likely to leave you with a gratifying feeling of accomplishment - and perhaps two sore knees as an unexpected bonus!