Laminate flooring was first produced in 1977 by a Swedish company and sold under the brand name Pergo. In 1984, its marketing started in Europe, and in the United States in 1994.
Nowadays, laminate flooring is used all over the world, and has significantly grown in popularity due to its huge advantages.
Hereafter, we will identify what is laminate flooring, and review its pros and cons to find out if it is right for you or not before making your decision.
What is Laminate Wood Flooring?
Laminate flooring is actually an artificial product, it is a composite designed to imitate the appearance of real wood. Laminate is produced by fusing four layers into extremely one hard surface.
The four layers are:
- Protective layer:
The protective layer is the top layer which makes laminate resistant to stains, wear, impact, scratches, burns and household chemicals. This layer consists of several transparent layers that are pressed onto the HDF core board under extreme pressure and temperature.
- Design layer:
The design layer defines the actual look, as it has a very high-resolution photo of real wood. It is reproduced with printing techniques and finished with melamine resin.
- HDF core board:
The HDF core board is the main heart of the laminate floor. HDF means ‘High Density Fiber Board’, and it consists of refined wood fibers together with melamine resin.
- Backing layer:
The backing or stabilizing layer is the bottom layer which guarantees a perfectly balanced board that will not cup or bow after properly installed.
Laminate Flooring Pros
Laminate is almost selected by homeowners due to one or more of the following advantages:
- Affordable cost with almost half hardwood flooring price.
- Beautiful appearance and looks like natural wood.
- Available in wide range of colors, textures, and designs.
- Designed to be scratch resistant.
- Doesn’t fade due to sunlight exposure
- No need to wax or polish laminate floors.
- Most of laminates can be used over radiant heat flooring.
- Easy to care, clean and maintenance.
- You can install it over your existing floor.
- Installation can be done quickly, inexpensively, and DIY friendly.
Laminate Flooring Cons
Each material has its own disadvantages, and these are the top drawbacks of laminate.
- It has a wooden image layer and not real wood.
- The wooden image has a repetitive pattern without unique grains.
- It doesn’t improve your property resale value.
- It has a limited lifespan which rarely exceeds 20 years.
- You can’t repair or sand laminate. Damaged floors need to be replaced.
- Laminate floors are not subject to change colors or future repaint.
- Without proper underlayment, it produces some unwanted sounds.
- Some laminate flooring types are slippery.
- It is highly susceptible to moisture and warping.
- It can’t be installed below grade or in wet areas such as kitchen, toilet, and laundry.
Is It Right for You?
After reviewing the pros and cons, you may now be able to make the right decision.
Generally, laminate wood flooring may be precisely the right choice for you if you are on a budget and want to save even more money by installing the flooring yourself. It is perfectly functional and attractive.
However, laminate doesn’t improve your property resale value, and it has a shorter lifespan in comparison to hardwood.
For more information, review our Wood Flooring Buyer’s Guide: Comparison between solid wood flooring vs. engineered wood flooring vs. laminate wood flooring.