All About Laminate Flooring – Important Aspects to Consider
The popularity of laminate flooring has skyrocketed over the past few years. This can be attributed to the fact that it has provided a viable alternative to hardwood floors. Other than sharing a similar appeal as that of wood or stone floors, laminate flooring is cheaper. They are not only cheaper to purchase but also by the fact that they are less costly to install.
In addition, this kind of flooring is beneficial as its maintenance is relatively easier compared to hardwoods or stone. Also, they are long lasting seeing as they have a protective layer that offers resistance to scratches and dents.
If you have come to the decision of installing laminate flooring in your home, it follows that you should do a lot of research. This will give you an opportunity to understand what laminate flooring consists of, how they are maintained or the factors to consider when purchasing them.
What does laminate flooring consist of?
As you might know, this type of flooring is different from the other types in many aspects. For instance, it consists of four layers which are made from different material. These layers are combined to come up with what is eventually considered as the floor.
Each layer is necessary as it contributes towards not only the beauty of the flooring but also its durability.
The layers include:
This top layer is crucial as it protects the second layer by ensuring that tables, shoes or other sharp objects do not result in scratches. In addition, it prevents fading or the formation of stains.
This layer is made up of photographic images that give off a wood-like appearance. The images are in high resolution so that the look of the final flooring cannot be easily distinguished from actual wood floors.
This layer is vital because it provides a place where the design layer will be glued. This high-density fiberboard is also used to provide stability to the laminate board. While creating an inner core, they have to ensure that it is flat. It is also designed to be moisture resistant.
This bottom layer prevents moisture from getting to the other layers. This moisture barrier is very vital as it prevents a situation where the floor becomes bent due to the presence of moisture.
Factors to consider:
The thickness of laminate flooring is obtained by measuring the difference between the first layer and the last layer. This measurement is usually recorded in millimeters. However, the thickness of your laminate will not be affected by a pad should it come with one.
Most laminate flooring have a thickness of between 6mm to 12mm. Thicker laminates are a better option because they are resistant to impact. In addition, they are preferred because they are easier to install even in instances where there are imperfections on the subfloor. Lastly, it is better to opt for thicker laminates as they have the natural feel of a hardwood floor.
Then looking into the durability of laminate flooring, you should be guided by its AC rating. The ratings, which start from AC1 all the way to AC5, will inform you on the effectiveness of the laminate in resisting scratches, moisture or stains. The AC rating is universal. It can help you to identify the type that is suitable for your needs. This is because different AC ratings are convenient for different places as explained below;
The AC1 is recommended for places such as bedrooms because they serve well in places that are accessed most of the time.
The AC2, on the other hand, is convenient for spaces which are accessed on a medium basis. This includes places like the dining room.
AC3 laminates provide great flooring for some commercial places or homes which have a lot of movements.
AC4. Whereas they can be used in residential homes, this kind of laminate is the best for commercial places with a lot of traffic.
AC5 are the preferred choice among people within heavy commercial industries
Underlayment is a thin resilient sheet that is placed over the subfloor prior the installation of the laminate floor. It plays the role of reducing the noise that will be caused by movements. Additionally, the underlayment creates a flat surface upon which the laminate will be placed. As you consider putting an underlayment, it is crucial that you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
There are three kinds of underlayments including:
A standard foam is the most popular. This type comprises of a thin strip of foam material which provides a cushion between the laminate flooring that will be installed and the subfloor.
Combination foam. It is similar to the standard foam. However, the difference is that a combination foam consists of both a standard form and a layer of vapor barrier. This combination is essential towards preventing moisture from getting to the laminate flooring.
Cork. The benefits of this underlayment are two-fold. It not only aids in the reduction of noise but also provides natural and effective anti-microbial properties.
Acclimatization is an important step that allows the laminate to get accustomed to the environment in which it will be installed. The product is allowed to get used to the humidity and moisture around your home. Due to its importance, it is recommended that the laminate should stay within the environment that it is going to be installed for about 48 hours.
Different kinds of laminates will have different textures depending on various factors. Therefore, it is advised that you should make your choice depending on the cosmetic appeal that you would like your laminate flooring to have.
The subfloor will significantly contribute to the durability of your laminate flooring. This is because certain things that are found on the subfloor such as nails and moisture can affect the durability of laminate floors. Therefore, before installing the laminate, your builders might have to make some changes to the subfloor.
What to consider when shopping for laminate flooring:
Other than carrying out research, it is crucial to be involved in the actual shopping for the laminate flooring. This will include visiting a laminate showroom from where you can see or feel the available products.
Secondly, you should consider buying just a little bit more product. The extra pieces can be used in place of the ones that might get spoilt if a builder makes a mistake.
Maintenance of Laminate Flooring
As already mentioned, laminate flooring does not need a lot of care and maintenance. However, you need to keep in mind that proper maintenance will see to it that the flooring lasts for a long time. Therefore, you should make sure that you are using the correct products such as a sponge mop or vacuums that have brushes which are soft.