What’s under your feet (or how you get around) is as important as anything when it comes to the house. That’s why this fall, we collaborated with The Home Depot on an A-to-Z guide that will give you the confidence to make the flooring choices you’ll love. Read the manual from A to Z here.
Often dismissed as a style that offers no form and function, laminate is actually a versatile material that deserves special attention for your home.
Economical, durable and easy to install, laminate is the accessible flooring designed to withstand just about anything and look great, with many options available at Home Depot.
First, some clarifications
Laminate is not the same as engineered hardwood, which has a plywood core and a thin real hardwood veneer on its surface (to learn more about hardwood – engineered and not – visit letter H). Instead, laminate is a type of flooring made up of several layers, detailed below from bottom to top:
- A water repellent base layer, often in melamine or plastic, which gives the boards stability
- A resin-soaked fiberboard “core” layer, which helps give the laminate its dent resistance properties
- A “Print” or “design” layer, where a pattern of the material the laminate will look like – such as a hardwood such as oak or natural stone – is placed
- A protective “wear” layer transparent and hard plastic or resin that secures the print layer and covers the top
Thanks to its method of construction, the design options for laminate are virtually endless, from the “pattern” itself to the type of finish that makes it more durable. Since the planks are prefinished prior to installation, there won’t be any unwanted surprises about mismatched colors or differences in wood grain when it arrives.
He can resist (almost!) Anything
Due to its layered production method, laminate is one of the best materials on the market for high traffic areas. High-quality laminate can be counted on to withstand toy spills in living rooms and the stampede of football cleats in entryways for at least a decade (and often two). However, it is always important to take into consideration the amount of repetitive movement that the flooring will see, especially when it comes to selecting the top layer ‘wear’ finish.
The rule of thumb is to keep the “shiny” laminate for less frequented spaces and choose a more forgiving finish – such as something low-gloss, embossed, or that has been “hand scraped” to look like wood – for places where a dog-cat wrestling match might break out.
For additional help in selecting a suitable product, see the Laminate Abrasion Class (AC) Rating System, which was created in 1994 to help customers understand the durability of a given product. Numerical ratings range from AC1 (laminate suitable for moderate wear, such as a guest bedroom) to AC6 (laminate suitable for a public space, such as a grocery store). Almost all home use laminates will fall somewhere between AC1 and AC3, a category of laminates designed for occupied residential interiors. Any number above an AC3 is usually uncomfortably difficult for normal activities around the house, like walking in socks, and certainly not what you want to feel under your feet as you sneak downstairs for a bowl of ice cream. from midnight.
Installation is a cinch (and locks down)
Like most engineered hardwoods, the majority of laminate boards are installed using “click-and-lock” technology, nesting securely over an existing floor or sub-floor without using any. kind of adhesive, nails or other agents. (It’s sometimes called a “floating floor” for this reason.) This accessible method of installation – in addition to the reasonable price of laminate – makes it a popular option for people on a budget or looking to DIY a layout. at floor covering level.
“For this type of floating floor, you need very few tools,” says the general contractorJoe truini. He notes that the tools you need – like a tapping block to ensure the boards are in place – can easily be purchased in a kit. “You might not even need a saw, and you might just be able to rent a laminate trimmer that looks like a giant letter opener guillotine. “
Planks are typically 8 millimeters or 12 millimeters thick, and unless the laminate is made with a pre-attached underlayment, a high quality underlayment is needed to create a walking surface that doesn’t feel not uncomfortably hard and not cushioned. (Visit letter u for more on underlayment.) As a general rule, a thicker laminate is more forgiving in the installation, which helps hide any dents or nicks in the subfloor and looks more like hardwood. It’s also a strong contender for a place that real hardwood can’t go: basements.
But, in particular, it is best to keep this flooring out of bathrooms and laundry rooms, as the majority of laminates do not hold up well to pooling water.
Play by the rules
It might seem like a no-brainer, but, especially for laminate, don’t skip the manufacturer’s instructions – or risk losing your warranty. This attention doesn’t end after your floors have been beautifully installed by the book. On the contrary, it’s just as important, if not more, for how you approach cleaning and maintenance over the life of the flooring.
“Laminate floors are more durable, but that doesn’t mean they’re bulletproof,” says Carolyn Forte, Good HousekeepingDirector of household appliances and cleaning products. She notes that most laminate manufacturers recommend specific cleaning products for their floors. “The point is, you don’t want to damage the finish, and you don’t want to leave a residue either, because the residue will dull the floor.”