What Are Laminate Floors?

By | Updated August 22, 2020 |
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Years ago, laminate flooring was considered cheap, and most thought that it looked cheap. This was during the days when it had an appearance that was closer to plastic. Manufacturers knew that the new type of floor needed an upgrade, and they made it happen over the years.

Now, this flooring has an aesthetic appeal that remains unrivaled by other faux types of flooring, hence why it has made a huge comeback. It can be found in luxurious homes and has left many homeowners that do not have laminate flooring full of questions.

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What is Laminate Flooring Made Of?

What is Laminate Flooring Made Of
Laminate flooring is comprised of several different materials. Four layers are all pressed together using a high-pressured method to form on board. Every layer serves a different purpose and is comprised of a different material.

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Bottom Layer

The bottom layer of the board is typically made of pressed wood and is specially designed to help balance the floor. These boards are not connected to the hardwood floor beneath it. Instead, they are installed in a floating floor style, which means that it is easy to accidentally wind up with a laminate floor that is not level. This bottom layer helps prevent that.

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Two Middle Layers

The two middle layers increase depth, durability and create aesthetic appeal. A layer that is closest to the bottom of the floor adds depth to increase durability. This increases the longevity of laminate flooring, ensuring that homeowners will not have to replace their floor for years to come.

A top middle layer gives the visual appeal that it has become known for. This layer is often a simple sticker or photograph that is pressed onto the wood beneath it. High definition imaging makes this layer look more realistic than it ever has before. Homeowners can enjoy looks that resemble:

  • Stone
  • Ceramic tile
  • Hardwood flooring
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Top Layer

Comprised of aluminium oxide, this clear layer helps protect the floor from stains and scratches. When something is spilled on the floor, it will sit on top of this layer to be easily mopped up instead of soaking into the wood for a stain that cannot be removed. When the floor gets scratched, it will also scratch the top layer.

Often, this is unnoticeable, where as a scratch on the wood would leave a garish scar that every guest would be sure to notice. This top layer is a necessity to protect the flooring, and its beautiful appearance.

Aesthetic Appeal

Previous versions had a cheap, plastic look. Some cheaper versions still have this unattractive appearance, but an astounding number of breathtakingly beautiful options are available on the market. Luxurious homeowners appreciate the realistic look of stone, such as marble. Those with a rustic preference enjoy having the look of hardwood floors at a fraction of the cost. Today, this type of flooring provides a visual appeal that can only be rivaled by its authentic counterparts.

Laminate Flooring Installation

It has an installation process so easy that it remains a popular option for DIY enthusiasts. A common joint and lock system is used to lock the boards together so that they blend perfectly while staying in position.

Durability of Laminate Flooring

This type of flooring is surprisingly durable. The only flooring that has proven more durable than this one is ceramic tile. Homeowners that have it will enjoy scratch-proof, dent proof and stain proof flooring. There is nothing that can give a person peace of mind like having a floor that looks like wood that will resist scratches.

Price

One of the reasons that laminate is winning the popularity contest is due to its low price. Installation is so easy that homeowners can do it themselves to save money on installation prices. Professionals often charge significantly less to install it than other types because the installation process is so simple.

Advantages

Laminate flooring offers several advantages compared to other types of flooring. It is affordable for homeowners, both in the initial cost and installation costs. The variety of textures offered guarantees that a homeowner can easily find the look that they would like, whether it is stone or hardwood. It also provides a softer floor, meaning that dishes are less likely to break if they are dropped and it will be comfortable to walk on.

Most homeowners appreciate how little maintenance is required when they have this flooring. Spills should be cleaned, and one should not leave standing water on the floor, but there are no special chemicals needed daily.

Disadvantages

This type of flooring does have a few disadvantages that come with it. When a homeowner installs it, they will find that it does not increase the resale value of their home like a ceramic tiled floor will. It also will not last as long as other types of flooring and is more prone to water damage than stone is.

How Other Flooring Types Compare

Flooring Type

Similarities to Laminate Flooring

Differences When Compared to Laminate Flooring

Vinyl​

Affordable pricingEasy DIY installationCheap professional installation

Flexible Comes in rolls instead of large piecesAcclimation is not necessary

Hardwood

Can have a similar appearance

Made from solid woodThickMore expensiveMore difficult installationCan be sandedMay absorb stainsProne to scratches

Natural Stone

Similar appearance

ThickerHarderHigher durabilityHarder and more time consuming installationMore expensive

Ceramic Tile

May have a similar appearance

No moisture damage from standing waterHigher costHigher installation costLonger lifespanMore durableMore maintenance required

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Laminate flooring remains the most affordable option for homeowners that would like the beautiful appearance of other materials, such as a hardwood or tile floor, but do not want the additional cost that comes with them.

Instead, they enjoy a more comfortable floor that requires less maintenance and less hassle, from installation to replacement.

The primary downside is that it will need to be replaced more often than other types of flooring, but it is so affordable and easy to install that most homeowners do not mind completing this do it yourself project.

REVIEWED BY

Harold is a Flooring Specialist at The House Wire, educating people on Flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years. During his time with customer service, Harold worked with a billion-dollar company and another high profile company. He is sufficiently comprehensive in the art of communication as a team player, achieving tasks, and meeting goals set.

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