Monday, December 10, 2018
 

The Plight of Laminate Flooring

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

Over the years, laminate flooring has gotten a bad rap.

Laminate flooring was originally created as a more durable and less expensive substitution for real hardwood flooring. Invented in 1977 by a company named Pergo, early laminate flooring selections were very limited in realistic aesthetics, appearing quite cheap and fake. This bad reputation has stuck in some consumers’ minds, ultimately dissuading them from even considering laminate flooring as an option in the home.

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate Flooring Construction

Laminate Flooring Construction

Basically, laminate flooring is created by fusing together a base layer [1], a core [2], an image of real hardwood flooring (or stone/tile) [3], and a top layer of melamine resin [4]. Early laminate flooring images were very primitive, crude replicas of real hardwood flooring planks. Textures on laminate planks were unheard of in these earliest laminate collections, making the boards even less realistic. But, all fake appearances aside, laminate flooring made its mark on the flooring industry because of ease of installation, durability and extreme low cost.

As popularity of laminate flooring among homeowners grew and grew, other manufacturers took notice and started developing their own collections of laminate flooring. Pretty soon, research and development took laminate flooring from glued installation to click lock floating installation, making installation even simpler.

As technology advanced, so did the possibilities with laminate floor design — especially the simulated images of real hardwood flooring. Manufacturers of laminate flooring are now able to produce amazingly realistic and fashion forward selections, incorporating new gloss sheens, textures, plank styles and more underlayment options.

Armstrong Grand Illusions

Armstrong Grand Illusions

Sheens

Typically laminate flooring has a very matte/satin sheen, but recently introduced laminates from Bruce and Armstrong (Grand Illusions Melbourne Acacia shown to the left) showcase strong gloss sheens, for those looking for a very elegant, polished look.

Textures

When thinking of laminate flooring, the image of a flat and plastic looking plank usually comes to mind. With technological advances in the laminate flooring industry, though, manufacturers now can add a variety of surface textures to planks, creating not only an appearance of hardwood flooring, but also a feel of authentic hardwood or tile. It’s amazing how often laminate tiles are mistaken for real porcelain or stone. Laminate flooring has definitely come a long way in satisfying our appetite for realism.

Plank Styles

Early laminate flooring planks were strictly 3-strip styles with square edges & ends and a very repetitive image pattern. Present day laminate collections offer 1-strip and 2-strip in addition to the 3-strip styles, along with an option for micro-beveled edges & ends. Additionally, manufacturers have increased unique images for colors in their collections, so repetition within the floor is much less than with the earlier laminate collections.

Underlayments

It’s not just the laminate planks that have evolved over the years. Laminate installation accessories have also become more and more advanced. Originally just a thin foam pad used for cushion during floating installations, underlayments now feature attached moisture vapor barriers and sound deadening properties. Felt underlayments have come to the forefront of the laminate industry and some laminate collections (like Shaw Radiant Luster) even feature pre-attached underlayments on each plank, making laminate flooring installation that much easier.

Why choose laminate flooring over carpet, vinyl or other flooring types?

Because the process of manufacturing laminate flooring is relatively easy, as compared to that of other flooring types, laminate floor brands are quick to update their collections with the newest trends in terms of colors, textures and wood species. Therefore, laminate flooring makes it easy to get very specific looks, styling your home exactly how you like it — whether that be a very traditional direction or a more unique, exotic direction. With laminate flooring, there really is something for everyone.

Alloc Commercial Laminate

Alloc Commercial Laminate

Durability is a huge factor in homeowners choosing laminate over other flooring types. Most of the top brands offering laminate flooring in today’s market guarantee their products with a lifetime warranty in residential settings. Laminate flooring is so durable that most brands also offer a commercial setting warranty, with high traffic patterns in mind. Laminate flooring is known to work well in offices, restaurants and even dance studios. To the left, you can see Alloc durability at work inside a car dealership.

So, it’s time to stop holding laminate flooring’s humble beginnings against it and start considering all the beauty, durability and affordability laminate flooring has to offer.

 

Tags: Alloc, Armstrong, Bruce, commercial, Design, laminate, Pergo, Shaw, Trends, underlayments

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