What is laminate flooring?

Previously on flooring forest, we have stated the types of wood flooring. We have seen different flooring types and their few explanations. Now it’s time to explore more. Thus, in this article, we demonstrate detailed information on laminate flooring. Starting from the basics, we will explain the types of laminate flooring and try to differentiate them from the other floor coverings.

What is Laminate flooring

laminate flooring
Courtesy to thespruce

Laminate flooring is a beautiful flooring covering which you can install at an affordable price. It is a synthetic product designed for natural wood, stone, or tile look. In this case, Laminate flooring is the best economical solution among the other floor coverings. However, A laminate floor has four different layers of different materials fused. Due to this fusion, it creates a more versatile and durable foundation.

The process begins from the bottom layer. Specialists design this layer for moisture protection and stabilization. The next layer is the high-density fiberboard for the core. It also provides stability and impact resistance. The third layer consists of detailed images, such as wood, stone or, tile, with modern technology. The fourth layer is a protective layer that helps to prevent scratches, stains, and gouges.

Laminate floors are one of the best choices for flooring in your apartment. It doesn’t mean that it has no downside. There are upsides and also a few downsides for laminate flooring too. Let’s point them out.

Upsides

  1. Laminate Floors are easy to clean.
  2. The protecting layer is an excellent resistance for scratch, gouge, and stains.
  3. Laminate flooring is perfect for homes with pets and children.
  4. It is not as expensive as Solid Hardwood floors.

Downsides

  1. Moisture is an excellent danger for wooden laminate floors. It can swell the laminate floor base. Thus, it is not suitable for bathroom and laundry rooms.
  2. It chips easily.

Types of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring ensures the realistic look of wood, tile, or stone. And thus, it has different types based on various conditions. Most of the time, you may get confused between engineered Hardwood and laminate floor. Engineered Hardwood consists of different layers of real wood. On the other hand, laminate flooring consists of fiberboard with photographic images. We have categorized all those types into four different categories. Let’s explore one by one.

Laminate flooring based on materials

Materials are one of the significant issues here. Fiberboard is very sensitive to water and fire. So, before choose laminate floor, better to consider the flooring position. However, we classified laminate flooring into two types.

  • Wood laminate flooring: This flooring type consists of a thin layer of real wood with an upper layer of acrylic finish. It makes it more stable and durable. This flooring type is thicker than the other laminate flooring types.

The manufacturers make not only offer Hardwood but also printed types using their modern technology. In this case, you will barely notice the difference with the Solid Hardwood.  After a long time, you can easily refinish, bringing them back to their original glory by refinishing the surface and sanding.

On the other hand, you can get the real hardwood laminate floor to look like all wood species types. In the market, there are more than nineteen types of species are available. Example: Acacia style, Applewood style, beech style, birch style, Brazilian cherry, Cherry, Chestnut style, Elm style, Eucalyptus style, Fruitwood style, Hickory style, Mahogony style, maple, oak style, Pecan style, Pine style, Teak style, Tigerwood style, Walnut syle, etc.

  • Plastic vinyl flooring: We already know that the wood is susceptible to moisture. Therefore the place where water may be an issue is not suitable to use the wooden laminate floor. Vinyl flooring comes in large, continuous, flexible sheets. In this case, the laminate planks’ outer layer has a vinyl sheet that protects any watery substances. 

Laminate Floors based on the Installed method

Installation is another essential facts while choosing the laminate floors. In this case, depending on the installation method, there are a few types of laminate floors. Let’s check them out.

  1. Laminate floor without glue: This type of laminate has a click-lock attachment system. Thus, you do not need any extra glue to attach the planks. On the other hand, you may face tricky solutions before finishing the corners. In this case, you must get help from professionals. Otherwise, you may not get the potential buyers or renters in your apartment. These laminate floors are the most popular ones in the market.
  2. Pre-glued laminate floors: In this type of laminate floor, the final layer got the glue already. Therefore, you don’t need extra glue. You need to place the planks in the right place and remove the glue paper from the planks. After that, press a little on the planks so that they attach to the floor entirely.
  3. Glues laminate floors: In this type of laminate floor, you must get glues to install over the apartment floor correctly. In this case, You must ensure that each of the planks got the bonds perfectly. Otherwise, you may face trouble after a few periods of using it. 
  4. Underlayment laminate: This type of laminate floor got a tongue and groove underlayment system. While installing the planks, snap them into place.

Laminate floors based on texture

After you considered the above classifications, this time is to examine the texture. It is a very crucial consideration if you choose to cover bathrooms, kitchens, and entryways.

  1. Smooth laminate flooring: This type of wooden floor is similar to ceramic and marble tiles. Smooth laminate floors are easy to clean because there are no grooves between individual planks. But these floor is not suitable for the bathroom and kitchen.
  2. Embossed laminate flooring: This laminate floor has available embossing all over the printed grain surface. These grains look like natural wood grain, although not the most realistic.
  3. Hand scraped wood floors: This method usually is applicable for solid Hardwood and engineered hardwood floors. But laminate floor adds an extra flavor. The professionals typically do this manually. In this case, it protects kids from slipping. So, these floors are safe for children.

Others

Besides the above-classified types, there are other types, although these floors are not as common as the above ones. Example: High-pressure laminate, Direct pressure laminate, glossy laminate, Traditional floorboards planks, Thin strip flooring, Wide plank floorboards, Herringbone patterns, and chevron pattern, AC moderate/general/heavy residential, AC4 general commercial, AC5 heavy commercial, etc.

Besides all these, there are varieties of different kinds of laminate flooring types, such as water-resistant, scratch-resistant, noise resistant, easy to install, no waxing or polishing needed, radiant floor heating protective. Other than these, there are also categories depending on the edges and colors. In total, if you consider all these points, you may more than one hundred types of the laminate floor. However, You need to consider the materials, installation method, and texture. These three points are crucial to consider

Laminate Vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid Hardwood has always been a real deal, with laminate flooring. The laminate floor is an inexpensive way to manufacture the look of natural hardwood flooring. Solid Hardwood is ¾ inches of thick boards of solid wood cut from a tree. It is undoubtedly a quality material. On the other hand, Solid Hardwood is more expensive than laminate flooring. Laminate floor is 6 to 12 mm (1/4 to ½ inch) thick.

Solid Hardwood planks are a tongue and groove installation system. Laminate floor got the click-lock installation system. In this case, Solid Hardwood is usually installed by blind-nailing the boards. Solid Hardwood flooring highly attractive and premium building material. On the other hand, laminate flooring looks so real from a distance, but people will always tell that laminate flooring is not real flooring at close inspection.

Solid Hardwood is not suitable for wet areas. It is highly sensitive to moisture. On the other hand, laminate flooring has varieties of flooring types suitable for each of the areas. For wet areas, there are plastic laminate flooring. Solid Hardwood flooring is not easy to clean. Because it is susceptible to water, thus, we should not sweep using water. The vacuum cleaner can be the best solution for these kinds of flooring system. In this case, Laminate flooring is suitable for any cleaning methods. It has a protecting shield at the top of the surface. So, we should not be worried about it.

Considering the lifetime, Solid Hardwood can last a lifetime. It lasts approximately 30 to 100 years without any refinishing or sanding. On the other hand, laminate flooring lasts for 10-30 years, and after that, you will need to refinish again.

Which one’s better?

If you consider real hardwood feeling, we recommend better go for Solid Hardwood. And, if you consider the budget, we suggest going for laminate flooring. You can customize your design over your floor for laminate flooring, but you will have to depend on the individual wood species if you come to Solid Hardwood. In general, Solid Hardwood may not be the best choice for wet areas, but for a living room or apartment, Solid Hardwood can be the best choice.

Laminate Flooring Vs. Engineered Hardwood

As we have already mentioned that, laminate flooring has four different layers of different materials. The fiberboard contains the image printed on the second layer. And uppermost layer contains the protecting surface from moisture. And laminate flooring can be varieties of different types based on the installation method, texture and materials.

Engineered Hardwood looks very similar to laminate flooring. It also has four different layers but not different materials. In this case, engineered Hardwood uses four different layers of wood. Engineered Hardwood varies from individual species. Laminate flooring often called water-resistant because of its protecting layer. We know that the laminate second layer has fiberboard, which is highly sensitive to water areas. By chance, if water inters inside the system, you will face trouble to change that particular plank. In this case, Engineered Hardwood lasts longer than the laminate flooring. In general, neither laminate nor engineered Hardwood is an excellent choice for damp location, although both are better than solid Hardwood in these situations.

Laminate flooring and Engineered hardwood flooring both are easy to replace and maintain. In this case, of the two flooring materials, laminate flooring is somewhat easier to maintain. Since the surface layer is plastic, you can easily wipe it. For engineered hardwood flooring, you will need to refinish and sand at least once a lifetime. Laminate flooring is the easiest to install. Engineered Hardwood is more comfortable to install than solid hardwood flooring. In this case, both laminate flooring and engineered Hardwood use a click-lock system for installation.

Which one’s better?

Laminate flooring holds a significant advantage, considering the costing. It is one of the most affordable of all flooring types. In this case, you can purchase laminate flooring for only $1 to $3 per square foot. On the other hand, Engineered Hardwood requires $4.5 per square foot.

Engineered Hardwood flooring holds a significant advantage, considering the lifespan, although it is longer than Solid Hardwood materials. In this case, comparing laminate floor and engineered Hardwood, Engineered Hardwood is ahead of laminate flooring. The Laminate floor lasts for 10 to 20 years. Engineered Hardwood lasts for 30 years or more.

We are at the end of our today’s demonstration. Now, let’s table all these differences in a row so that we can find them quickly.

ContentLaminate FlooringEngineered HardwoodSolid Hardwood
Installation methodClick-lockClick-lockTongue-groove
MoistureProtective but highly sensitive if water enters somehowProtective but less sensitive if water enters somehowSensitive to moisture. If you use it in wet places, your floor’s lifetime may not last long.
Durability10-20 years20 -30 years30 – 100 years
Ease of RepairEasiestEasierTough
Ease of maintainingEasiestEasierTough
Costs$1 to $3 per square foot$4.5 per square foot$8 to $15 per square foot
Plank thickness6 to 12 mm (1/4 to ½ inch) thick3/8 to 9/16 inch¾ inch

Whatever your floor type is, we suggest hiring installation professionals. In this case, you may lose some potential renters if you couldn’t install your floor correctly over your floorings. However, to choose the best flooring type, you must have to consider your requirements. We have tried to demonstrate enough categories in this article, its time for you to find the best for your apartment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.