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  • Writer's pictureAron Pinto

Home Decor 101: An Introduction to Laminate Flooring

Hardwood floors never fall out of fashion and can be as much of a draw for Waterloo Region homebuyers today as ever. However, as beautiful as it can be hardwood flooring is not the easiest flooring choice to live with, especially for families or for homes with pets. Another oft sought after flooring is stone. It too has its problems though, including that it is rather costly.

But what if your heart is set on one of these flooring options but your budget does not quite stretch to it? Or the home for sale you’ve otherwise fallen in love with has rather plain flooring you would want to upgrade? Then laminate may be the answer.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is something of a hybrid, but for many homeowners, it is the perfect, affordable alternative to hardwood or even stone flooring. It can look almost exactly like real hardwood or stone but it’s not. It is however not vinyl tiling or engineered flooring. So what on earth is it?

Laminate flooring is created in layers. The top layer usually consists of two simple sheets of paper impregnated with melamine, layered above about a ½ inch of wood composite. On those sheets of paper is a photograph, and that is where laminate flooring is considered by many to shine over other flooring options.

Laminate Flooring Pros

Like the look of traditional hardwood? Laminate flooring can go there. How about stone or even the sumptuous luxury of marble? Laminate flooring can go there too and unless you got down on your hands and knees and put your face right up to it, it’s hard to tell the difference between the laminate and the real thing.

Laminate flooring is also tough. The photographic top layer is coated with a hard transparent layer that can stand up to boisterous dogs, rowdy kids and the spikiest stiletto heels and possibly best of all in some people’s eyes is that laminate flooring is a breeze to install. As it is a floating floor laminate does not have to be installed onto the subfloor as hardwood flooring does. Instead, the planks glue tougher – a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces stick to each other but not the table – making it a great choice for more humid climes as the floor can expand and move in response to the room’s temperature changes.

Laminate Flooring Cons

On the downside, in the end, laminate floors are not hardwood, or stone, or marble, they are laminate. To some homeowners that indicates “fake” and they want nothing less than the real thing. Laminate flooring is less expensive than hardwood but often not by much. In the end choosing laminate flooring, like any of the flooring choices available to you, will come down to personal preference but when you are weighing your options remember to give it a long, hard look.

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