Many homeowners who are looking for an affordable yet durable flooring option choose laminate flooring. Made of recycled wood pressed with resins and other synthetic materials to strengthen the floorboards, laminate flooring available these days closely resembles hardwood. However, there are several misconceptions that prevail about this flooring option and many homeowners are often dissuaded because of them.
This post compiles the most popular misconceptions that are widely circulated and analyze them to see if there’s any truth behind them.
- Laminate flooring is easily damaged
This is a common belief among homeowners who think laminates are flimsy and prove prone to cracking or denting under too much traffic.
Laminates are made from several layers of core material that adds to its durability. There are four layers in each panel- the base, substrate, pattern and the wear layer. Each of them has is significantly hard on its own and they are bonded using high pressure and resins which further strengthens the planks. The resultant product is extremely durable and can last for decades if you maintain and take care of it properly.
- Vinyl and laminate are the same
It is true that laminate and vinyl are both artificial flooring materials, but one can easily spot the difference between a laminate plank and sheet or tile vinyl. The difference becomes less obvious when you compare luxury vinyl flooring and laminate though.
The primary difference between laminate and luxury vinyl flooring is their construction. Materials and layering. Laminate flooring has a rigid fibreboard core topped with a design and wear layer. Vinyl planks have a more resilient, flexible core which is made of water-resistant materials. The core materials in the laminate are not water resistant which is why it is not recommended in high moisture areas like the bathroom or the basement where it can get damaged from underneath if moisture seeps in.
- Laminate appears cheap
If you are thinking of laminate flooring for your home, look into the latest designs and textures available. Older laminates may be ugly but modern ones are different. There are a variety of styles, textures, and designs available today that mimics almost every type of hardwood and stone finishes that you can choose from. They have the pattern or image of the natural material in high quality as the top layer that is protected by a protective coating. Some variants even have the pattern and texture of the material embossed on the top layer, which makes it very difficult to set the laminate apart from natural hardwood or stone.
- Laminate flooring is costly
Today’s laminate flooring mimics natural materials accurately which gives some people a false impression that they are expensive. But laminate is much more cost-effective compared to hardwood, and certain varieties of carpet and tile flooring. The various advantages of laminate flooring cannot be denied and the beauty and durability together impart a luxurious look and feel to the material that is probably the basis of such misconceptions. When you compare its ease of maintenance and longevity with the price you are paying, you can rightly say that it is a cost-effective choice for your home.
- Cleaning laminates is difficult
Many homeowners believe that laminate flooring is difficult to clean owing to the fibreboard core which can get damaged by moisture. However, this is far from the truth. Laminates are tightly installed and there are negligible gaps between the planks. Hence, dirt and debris cannot settle in easily. A dust mop and vacuuming the floor from time to time is enough to keep the space clean on a regular basis. Periodically using a damp mop and specific floor cleaners suitable for this material can ensure the floor is rendered clean and spotless.
However, it is important to keep certain things in mind regarding maintenance of laminate flooring:
- If the planks are cracked, avoid using a wet mop as the water infiltrate into the core layers and can damage it from below.
- Clean minor spills as soon as possible so that they do not leave any lasting stains
- Use a vacuum cleaner regularly but avoid using one with a beater bar which can damage the surface when regularly used.
- Use area rugs and mats at entrances to minimize the amount of debris that enters your home.
- Avoid using bleach, ammonia and any harsh chemicals for cleaning the floor surface.
- Laminate flooring gets scratched easily
This is far from the truth as laminate flooring is one of the few materials that hold up well against scratches and dents. The top wear layer of laminate flooring is extremely hard and provides enough protection to the material. It can withstand minor scratches well but it is not entirely indestructible. If you compare laminate flooring with vinyl and hardwood- it does fare better regarding dents and scratches. However, it can develop minor cracks and dents over time and must be replaced so that the tiles do not get damaged by water through the fissures.
- Laminate cannot be repaired
Laminate flooring is available in the form of planks and unlike a continuous sheet flooring like vinyl sheets, you can repair and replace only the problem area leaving the rest of the old flooring intact. Minor scratches can be repaired using wax pencils or a repair kit like hardwood. If the flooring is installed using the click-lock method and is not fixed with glue to the subfloor, you can easily replace a plank or two as required without much effort. In short, replacing the flooring is only essential when the damage is beyond repair.
The factors discussed above are the most popular myths revolving around laminate flooring. When you understand the reality about them, you can be more confident about investing in the material and rest assured that you are making the right choice.