There are many reasons why a real hardwood or tile floor might not work for you. Perhaps you have children and are worried about the damage they might cause with spills and heavy use. Perhaps you need flooring in a traffic area that needs to be able to stand up to constant wear and tear. Or perhaps these flooring options simply do not fit your budget. Fortunately, these reasons do not mean you have to give up the elegant look of hardwood or tile. Laminate flooring can be had for a fraction of the price of other kinds of floors, and can be made to look like just about anything.
Since 1984, laminate flooring has been used to mimic the look of hardwood and tile, while providing easier maintenance at a less expensive price. There are many different kinds of laminate floors available, ensuring that you will be able to find one that fits the needs of just about any room in your house.
Laminate floors are made of layered synthetic sheets to increase durability without sacrificing the look and feel that you want. The upper layers are modeled to look like wood, stone or a number of other surfaces. Then, to finish it off, a coating is applied to protect the surface from moisture, scratches and normal, everyday wear and tear. This coating can also give the floor a nice glossy finish that helps promote that feeling of luxury.
Laminate can usually be installed one of two ways: either with glue or with a patented glueless system. Gluing the laminate down has been historically the most common way to install it, but recently a move towards glueless laminate is becoming more popular. Glueless systems use a notch and groove method to install planks of joined laminate like pieces of a puzzle. There is no worry about planks that are installed this way ever becoming loose, since there is no glue involved to lose its adhesiveness.
Your new laminate floor can take on just about any form you want. Have you always wanted an elegant, hardwood floor? Laminate is often used to mimic real hardwood, and it is often difficult to tell the difference between it and the real thing. Any type of wood grain you can think of, from the thin, defined grain of maple to the broader, more traditional look of oak, can be recreated in laminate. Shades can also be chosen on demand so that your floor will fit in nicely with the rest of your furniture. Since laminate is synthetic, your choice of shades and designs is actually more diverse than it would be if you were choosing a real hardwood floor. Many colors and shades not occurring naturally can be applied to your new floor.
Laminate can also take on the look of ceramic tile or even stone. Limestone floors give a classic luxurious feel to kitchens or dining rooms, but can be quite expensive and difficult to maintain.Laminate can provide this look without the headache. New techniques are even being used to texture laminate floors, giving it not only the look of an elegant real hardwood or limestone floor, but the feel of one too.
Maintaining your new laminate flooring is much easier than caring for real hardwood or tile. The coating of finish applied to it serves to make it resistant to water and moisture, making spills easier to clean up. As long as you they are not left sitting for long periods of time, you no longer have to worry about spills or moisture staining, warping or otherwise permanently damaging your floor like they could with real wood. This makes laminate an especially attractive option for places that are more prone to moisture or spills, like bathrooms or kitchens.
The coating also protects the floor from nicks and scratches that can plague a hardwood floor. Sanding and buffing are common maintenance tasks associated with hardwood that are no longer an issue with laminate. Limestone and other tile also require regular maintenance and generally do not offer the stain resistance you will find with laminate. The protective coat of laminate keeps it looking like new with minimal effort expended on its care.
Many options are available when selecting a new floor for your home. While you may think that the look you want might be too much trouble to take care of or is out of your price range, laminate flooring can give your home that same look with less hassle and a lower cost.