If you follow interior design and home remodelling trends, you might have noticed that laminate flooring has become a very popular choice with modern homeowners. Many decorators recommend laminate flooring for a number of reasons—from being the perfect platform to achieve that ‘chic’ uptown look to being a practical, cost-effective choice. That being said, what is laminate flooring, exactly, and is it a trend worth following?
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is loosely defined as a “hybrid floor covering” that is made up of different materials. Although most people might relate laminate to something enclosed in plastic, laminate actually refers to any sort of protective material overlaid over another material or object. Ergo, laminate flooring is so-called because it is four layers fused together to form one single, unified article. Those four layers are:
- Base Layer—also referred to as “backer paper,” the base layer is the bottommost part of the laminate floor board. It keeps the flooring straight and seals the bottom of it to keep out moisture and maintain dimensional stability.
- HDF Core or Board—HDF stands for High-Density Fiberboard, and it provides superior stability and strength to your flooring. It’s for that very reason that this layer is considered the core layer. It also happens to be the thickest, which means it makes up the bulk of the laminate floor board. The core board is also the layer that is shaped and profiled to specific measurements in order for it to consistently snap and fit with other similar pieces of flooring.
- Decorative Layer—this is pretty self-explanatory, but the decorative layer is made of a decorative paper that gives the laminate flooring its distinctive appearance. As most decorative papers are simply high-quality patterns or designs printed on paper, laminate flooring has a myriad of possible appearances—from stone to marble, rich wood to vinyl, and even non-traditional alternatives like artwork or glass.
- Overlay Layer—also referred to as the “wear” layer, the top layer is the laminate—the protective overlay that keeps the decorative layer from tear and damage. Depending on the style, it can also give the floor board a nice matte, lustrous, or high-gloss finish.
What are the Benefits of Laminate Flooring?
As mentioned earlier, part of laminate flooring’s popularity stems from the fact that it’s a practical and cost-effective choice for flooring—which is true. Laminate flooring is definitely a smart choice for homeowners who want relatively simple, low-maintenance flooring without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. Here are a couple reasons why:
- Highly Durable—the four layers provide extra strength and durability
- Easy to Install—the consistent profiling across boards make them easy to lay down and snap into place
- Cost-Effective—much cheaper than getting actual stone or hardwood floors installed
- Long-Lasting—the protective layer and the base layer do a good job of keeping the decorative paper and the core layer free from scratches, wear and tear, and potential moisture damage
- Easy to Maintain—unlike hardwood floors or carpets, laminate flooring is quite easy to clean and maintain
Should I Switch to Laminate Flooring?
Now that you’ve got ‘what is laminate flooring’ answered, the next question might be if it’s the flooring for you. To be fair, the final decision will depend on your preference, available space, and current resources. Everyone’s situation is unique, and there is no one-floor-fits-all sort of solution. But if you find yourself struggling with the floors you currently have or you’re thinking of installing something new, we definitely recommend making the switch to laminate flooring. As mentioned earlier, it’s got a ton of benefits and very little drawbacks, making it perfect for both new and old homeowners alike.