Laminate flooring has characteristics that make it appropriate for installation in many different environments. When deciding whether to use it in a particular location you have to consider things such as the price, life cycle, maintenance requirements, and durability of the floor. Balancing the requirements of the space against the abilities of the material will allow you to make a right decision on where laminates should be used.
Life Cycle and Laminate Flooring Warranties
How long a laminate floor will last is determined by the quality of the manufacturing process and the thickness and durability of the wear layer. The level of foot traffic in the area of installation is also an important determining factor. The life cycle can range anywhere from 5 to 20 years.
One of the major disadvantages of a laminate floor is that the surface can not be refinished. When the material is damaged it needs to be replaced. If a single plank or tile is damaged, it can usually be replaced relatively easily.
Most laminate floors come with a manufacturer warranty that can give you a good idea of how long you can expect the material to last.Generally, longer warranties aregiven to higher quality products. Thus, it is essential to check the terms of the warranty before you make a purchase.
Laminate Flooring Installation Concerns
One of the main advantages of the laminate flooring is that it is easy to install. Itcan generally be installed directly over an existing floor. That allows you to avoid the expense and mess of having to remove old materials before installing a new floor.However, you will need to install an underlayment, in order to prepare the subfloor for the installation of laminate materials. It also provides the installation with stability.
If you are installing laminates on a concrete subfloor you will have to do a moisture test. Tape a plastic sheet to the concrete surface, and leave it for 3 days during a heavy rainfall. Afterward, check to see if small beads of condensation have formed on the bottom of the plastic. If they have you may need the help of a floor preparation specialist.
Types of Laminate Flooring
The surface wear layer and the core of the material are fused around the decorative picture layer using pressure measuring 300 – 500 psi.
Several layers are bonded together using heat and pressure measuring 1400 psi. This material generally has more layers, including a water barrier bottom layer, making it a tougher, more durable choice.
Maintenance Concerns with Laminate Floors
Basic care of a laminate floor requires you to sweep or vacuum the surface of the material on a regular basis in order to remove dirt particles. If not removed these particles can wear down the surface layer and lead to the floor degenerating more quickly over time.
For spot cleaning and stain removal you should use a pre-approved laminate flooring cleanser as recommended by your flooring retailer. Do not allow liquids to remain on the floors surface.