Today’s homeowners have an almost dizzying array of flooring options to choose from. From solid and engineered hardwood floors to laminates to vinyl flooring, there are flooring options available in almost every color, pattern, texture and price range imaginable. Today’s flooring options are also easier care and provide less maintenance than ever before as well. One of the most popular options today is laminate flooring.
How is laminate different from vinyl?
Consumers are often confused about the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring, since they are both manufactured using synthetic materials.
Laminate flooring is generally made of planks that interlock together via a tongue and groove system and is laid in much the same fashion as solid or engineered hardwood floors are. Laminate flooring McKinney, TX can be laid over a wide range of bases, included right on top of old tile, hardwood or concrete floors. Since it essentially “floats” over the surface of the old flooring, it is very forgiving of any lumps, bumps or uneven places underlying floor surface.
Vinyl flooring is made in sheets and often comes in a long roll that is laid in much the same fashion as carpeting. Vinyl requires a base layer to be laid to create a smooth, even surface. Since vinyl is very thin and glued in place with adhesive, any lumps, bumps or uneven places in the underlying surface will create a lump, bump or uneven place in the vinyl.
How is laminate flooring created?
Laminate flooring McKinney TX is created by bonding 4-5 individual layers together. Direct pressure laminate, which is less expensive and used most for residential flooring, uses 4 layers. The base layer is often treated to make it water resistant and is fastened to the core with adhesive. The core is generally made of a high density fiber board that is sometimes reinforced with resin to create even more durability and water resistance. An image layer is laid over the core, which looks like wood, stone or other natural materials.
Higher end laminates are sometimes embossed with a metal stamp during the heating process, which gives them a grainy look that helps enhance the appearance of natural materials. The final layer is a finishing layer that helps protect it from harsh cleaners and high traffic. Some laminates are given a UV coating to help protect it from fading in direct sunlight.
Why choose laminate?
Between advances in digital photography and the embossing process, today’s higher end laminates are almost completely indistinguishable from natural materials and will often even fool flooring experts. In addition to looking like natural materials, however, laminate flooring is far more durable and easy to care for than natural materials. In some ways, laminate flooring is also greener than solid wood flooring.
Trees that produce hard woods grow very slowly, sometimes taking 100 years or more to mature. Solid wood floors are created by sawing slabs of wood into planks, which creates a great deal of waste in the form of sawdust. It can also take several trees to just create enough flooring for a single home.
Solid wood and even engineered hardwood floors are highly susceptible to nicks and scratches and often have to be sanded down and refinished every few years. Laminate floors can last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced, and will often look like new for a decade or more.