Laminate flooring is an old faithful in the flooring world. Though new patterns and designs are in the running for favoured foundations in a home, laminate is a go-to for a great flooring that does the job and suits your design taste, with tonnes of designs to choose from. It’s the perfect cost-effective alternative to real wood flooring too. Whilst its reputation speaks for itself, we’ll look into a list of pros and cons of laminate flooring to answer your questions as to whether or not it’s the flooring for you.
There are many pros of laminate flooring. These include:
- Ease of maintenance
- Highly durable depending especially with a high AC rating (AC5)
- It’s an affordable alternative to solid or engineered wood
- Installation is quick and easy
- Available in an array of colours and styles
- Lifespan on average of 15-25 years
- Suitable with all rooms of the home. AC5 is recommended for bathroom use
- Suitable for furniture presence
- Suitable for underfloor heating
With alternative cons consisting of:
- Can’t be refinished if experiencing damage
- Not as quiet as carpet, but can be resolved with underlay or T profiles
- Can provide a slippery surface if AC level is lower
Pros of laminate flooring
A key factor to consider when buying any flooring is maintenance. This is because flooring is a noticeable feature, provides the foundations of your home, and can often be on the larger side of your interior investments.
For these reasons, caution is often taken when it comes to things like cleaning and caring for your flooring.
With laminate flooring, maintenance is a breeze. When cleaning laminate, a micro fibre spray mop, with a specialist floor cleaner, is a great way to remove dust, dirt, or grime.
Too much moisture exposure will cause cosmetic damage and lifting over time. A versatile all-in-one cleaning kit will provide everything you need to have your floor gleaming and cleaned properly.
Another benefit of laminate flooring is durability. Laminate flooring comes with an AC rating that defines how strong and durable the laminate is. The higher the number, the more durable the floor. Though a higher AC rating doesn’t always mean the best as they all serve a different purpose and suit different needs.
Laminate Flooring AC Ratings
Suitable for moderate traffic. Best suited to use in bedrooms or guest rooms.
Suitable for general traffic like Dining or living rooms.
Suitable for heavy traffic. Generally suitable for all areas, especially areas such as hallways.
Suitable for moderate traffic in commercial spaces. Think small offices, cafés or smaller retail outlets.
Suitable for heavy traffic in commercial spaces. Large department stores, public buildings and large offices.
As well as having varied levels of durability, being able to withstand a high dosage of foot traffic, laminate also features a scratch-resistant wear layer.
So for those busy family, homes where your laminate planks become lanes in a monster truck rally, scratches and cosmetic damage doesn’t have to be a concern.
Where budgets are concerned, laminate flooring offers a wide variety of designs, and needs. Generally, the bigger the requirement in terms of durability and wear, and lifespan, the more expensive the laminate.
If you’re looking for that real wood look, but at a more affordable price, then laminate is the perfect option for you. Giving all the luxury and rich textures of a real wood flooring, whilst providing durability, at a budget-friendly cost.
4. Installation is easy and DIY friendly
Here’s one for those DIY enthusiasts; Laminate is extremely easy to install! So get out your tool belt, and pen at the ready to cross off another skill, because our click-lock fitting mechanism makes it quick and easy to lay laminate. No qualms, just clicks, and your flooring is laid.
Floating floor installations are the recommended option when it comes to installing laminate flooring. This means that your flooring isn’t fixed to the subfloor with any kind of adhesive.
Though one thing to be cautious of is the condition of your subfloor. If you have an uneven subfloor, or you’re laying on top of concrete, ensure you use appropriate underlay to prevent issues such as damp and movement in the flooring. If you’re laying over concrete, we recommend an underlay with in-built damp proof membrane (DPM).
How to fit your Laminate flooring
For an easy how to guide on how to fit your laminate flooring, check out the video below.
4. Offers an Array of Styles
Got an eye for design? Laminate comes in an array of colours and designs, so whatever you style, there will be an option for you. Dark wood? Light wood? Grey? Whatever your style preference, there is something for everyone.
5. Long Lasting
The lifespan for laminate flooring varies, with the average being between 15-25 years.
Some lower grade laminates may need replacing after around 10 years, with higher grade potentially lasting around 30 years.
These estimated life spans mean your flooring can follow you through the decades and be ready to change when new design eras come into play, so you’re not spending unnecessary money on premature replacements.
If you do want to keep your laminate for even longer, it’s also easy to repair or replace damaged boards.
5. Room Suitability
Home-wide suitability is another pro on the list when it comes to laminate flooring.
As well as your high-traffic areas of the homes such as living rooms and hallways, laminate can also be used in rooms serving a purpose that needs a little more consideration.
Laminate is also compatible with kitchens and bathrooms providing you use an AC level of AC4 or AC5. To ensure confidence in functionality in a bathroom, AC5 is the recommended option as these tend to be more water-resistant.
Some AC4 laminates also come with a water resistant feature. However, though this is not always the case, so ensure this is clarified before purchasing. Our Villa, Residence Narrow and Supreme 12mm Long Board ranges offer this feature.
6. Suitable for furniture
Laminate flooring is capable of withstanding the presence of furniture.
When moving furniture, ensure its moved correctly, lifted rather than pushed along your flooring to ensure maximum reduction of cosmetic damage.
Dropping the furniture may result in chips or cracks, so as long as it’s handled with care upon manoeuvring, your furniture can sit comfortably on a laminated surface, furnishing your room to your liking.
To further ease your mind and aid in the protection of your flooring, felt furniture pads can be used to put under the legs of furniture to create a barrier between the furniture and flooring. This will aid in scratch prevention.
7. Suitable for use with underfloor heating
Underfloor heating is becoming a more and more popular addition in the family home, adding comfort warmth and homely essence. To add to the list of pros, laminate is suitable for use with underfloor heating.
So you can have this appealing, durable flooring in your home, complementing your underfloor heating system perfectly.
Cons of laminate flooring
1. Can’t be Refinished
Unlike some other types of flooring, laminate can’t be sanded down and refinished. Once it’s worn or cosmetic damage shows, your flooring will need to be replaced or repaired.
However, the lifespan of laminate flooring is 15-25 years on average. By the time enough wear is present to the point of notice, it may be time to replace your flooring anyway.
2. Not as quiet as carpet
Laminate flooring is quite rigid and installed directly on the subfloor, which means walking on laminate can be noisy underfoot. Whilst this can be an issue, it doesn’t have to be left unresolved.
One way to reduce noise produced by laminate flooring is using transitions between rooms. Using T profiles between rooms in arches or doorways, can reduce noise by taking pressure away from the mid section of the flooring area.
Underlay for Laminate Flooring
Another way to reduce noise is by using an appropriate underlay. Additionally, this adds a cushion between the subfloor and the laminate, creating a barrier between the flooring and subfloor, giving added comfort underfoot.
Underlay comes in variations depending on flooring type and needs. Check out our blog on underlay for wood, laminate and other hardwood flooring, to make sure you get the best underlay for your needs.
3. Can be a slippery surface
With busy family homes comes little footprints that are often followed by thud, thud, thud!
Laminate flooring may provide a slippery surface in certain rooms. This could lead to things such as falls, which means extra caution needs to be taken if you have little ones.
However, this caution can however be thrown to the wind, as there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce slipping.
One thing to aid in slip prevention is AC ratings. A higher AC rating offers a textured surface giving better slip resistance so this will ease your mind when it comes to those little feet running in socks.
Underlay for Laminate Flooring
Another thing to consider is underlay, so even though we can’t fully rule out slips and falls, underlay can cushion these mishaps, reducing injury.
Is laminate flooring for you?
As you have probably picked up, the pros and cons of laminate flooring are unbalanced in the favour of pros.
Whilst there are some cons to laminate, they’re outweighed by the many benefits laminate can bring to your home. Its practicality, affordability and adaptability to design aesthetic are just some of the reasons laminate flooring makes for a great contender in any home.
Have more questions regarding laminate flooring? Not a problem, get in touch with one of our flooring experts today for further assistance.
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