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Laminate for Flooring: Pros and Cons


Today’s homeowner has the luxury of choosing from a wide range of flooring materials. Unlike 20 years ago—when the options were pretty much limited to hardwood, carpet and linoleum—the options have expanded to include select quarry tiles, resilient flooring, cork, bamboo and laminate.

Let’s look at why laminate is fast becoming one of the most popular choices for flooring in U.S. homes.

Laminate for flooring: Pros

Laminate is one of the more durable and long-lasting choices in flooring. Manufactured by bonding four distinct layers together and featuring melamine resin on the top and bottom layers, laminate is resistant to wear and will not fade when subjected to direct sunlight or any source of artificial light. Most manufacturers back their products with 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-year warranties depending on the brand and model.

Laminate flooring is also resistant to stains and all but the most extreme of impacts. This material is resistant to water (as long as spills are wiped up quickly) and, for the most part, this type of flooring is extremely easy to install, maintain, clean and repair. It costs about $5 to $8 a square foot.

Also called a “floating floor,” laminate can be installed directly over your existing plywood subfloor or any other hard-surface floor, such as hardwood, concrete or linoleum. There is very little waste when using this flooring—unlike hardwood, laminate planks have no defects or imperfections.

Laminate flooring is available in a wide array of designs, so finding one suitable for your room’s decor is usually not difficult. While at one time laminate flooring was limited to hardwoodlike images, modern laminate flooring is available in hardwood, stone tile or ceramic tile designs. In addition, laminate offers the homeowner the chance to enjoy a beautiful floor in the fashion of hardwood or tile at a fraction of the cost and labor.

Laminate for flooring: Cons

While laminate floors offer a host of benefits, the product isn’t without a few pitfalls. For the most part, the cons are tied to personal preferences. For example, a laminate floor is hard under foot, even with its foam underlayment. It also does not insulate a room in the way carpet or cork flooring does.

Laminate flooring, while it may look like hardwood flooring to the naked eye across a room, is not real hardwood—which can be an issue for some people. Because of the inexpensive nature of laminate and the ease with which it is installed, it does not add much to a home’s resale value, unlike a hardwood floor.

Some people claim that laminate has a slippery surface, but this is predominantly on older floors as recent innovations have resulted in manufacturers producing slip-resistant top layers.

Unlike hardwood, a laminate floor cannot be sanded and refinished for a fresh appearance. Instead, a damaged or worn laminate floor needs to have its damaged planks removed and new ones installed in order to restore the appearance of the floor.

Laminate for flooring: Consensus

Laminate flooring is enjoyed in millions of U.S. homes for good reason: The pros outweigh the cons. For the price, durability and ease with which it is installed, laminate makes for a great addition to any home.

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