Laminate Flooring FAQs
Laminate is a great option for homeowners who want the look and feel of wood, tile or stone floors without the big expense. Laminate is also durable and easy to install. For these reasons and more, it continues to grow in popularity.
Before you decide on any flooring material, however, it’s a good idea to do some research to understand what you’re purchasing. Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about laminate flooring.
1. What is laminate?
Laminate flooring is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, natural stone or ceramic tile. Wood laminate is the most popular product, but stone and ceramic laminates are catching on, too.
2. How is it made?
Laminate is made of several layers that are fused together in a factory. A design or image that mimics natural flooring is layered on top of a fiberboard inner core. A backing is applied to the bottom of the fiberboard core, then a wear layer - similar to a sealant or top coat - is applied on top of the design to protect the flooring from damage.
3. What are the benefits of laminate?
We’ve already mentioned the low price. But laminate is also extremely durable - almost indestructible. And it requires very little maintenance. Simply sweep and dust, then wash occasionally with a manufacturer-approved cleaner.
4. What are the color and design options?
Laminate is sold in a wide variety of colors, styles, sizes and finishes. Wood laminate, much like natural wood, is available in light or dark finishes, subtle or pronounced grain patterns, and varying plank widths. Laminate that mimics tile or stone is available in a variety of tile sizes, and also in a variety of colors. The design options are almost endless.
5. Will the floors look fake?
Laminate is attractive, but it’s never going to be an exact match to the flooring it simulates. It will never look identical to natural wood, stone or tile. But as technology improves, the look is increasingly convincing.
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6. How much does laminate cost?
Laminate typically costs anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot, with high-quality laminate falling on the higher end of that range. Professional installation adds about $2 to $3 per square foot.
7. How is it installed?
Laminate is sold in tongue-and-groove planks that simply click together, making it easy to install. Do-it-yourselfers are much more likely to have success with laminate than solid wood. Most laminate is installed using the floating method, meaning it doesn’t have to be nailed or glued to the subfloor.
8. Is laminate moisture resistant?
Yes. Laminate is much more moisture resistant than solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring. It is suitable for moisture-prone areas such as basements, kitchens and, in some cases, bathrooms.