What is Laminate Flooring?

What is Laminate Flooring

Drying up: As you might have noticed by now any kind of flooring installation for bathrooms is different from all those precautions against moisture. If you want a beautiful floor without paying the earth then you may very well be looking into buying cheap laminate flooring as one of your options.

It has become more and more popular in recent years as the price of solid wood and the cost of installing a real wood floor has increased. And of course, laminate can often be used in areas where it may be inadvisable to use solid wood.

Now there are expensive laminates and cheap laminates and what you really want is a good quality laminate at a discount because some cheap laminate floors may be sub-standard.

These are the reasons to think twice and avoid buying cheap wood laminate flooring if you are not prepared to or can’t do thorough research on the actual product before purchasing

1. It may not have a realistic wood look

Cheap flooring tends to have a pattern that looks less like a solid wood floor and more like a picture on plastic. The colors may be slightly off or the grain but it won’t look good.

2. It may be more difficult to install

Quality laminate often has a proprietary fitting system such as Clik-lock which “floats” above the level flooring below and you’ll be able to get all the tools and accessories designed to make the flooring easy to install so that you can do it yourself. With cheap laminate, you may very well be on your own as far as tools are concerned and may even have to stick your laminate to the floor, something that you will need a professional to do.

3. It may bend, buckle and peel over time

Poor quality cheap laminate is not made up in the same way as expensive laminate. It does not have a dense inner core and layers of hard melamine resin. It is not heated and dent resistant and will not stand the test of time. Quality laminate is durable and often comes with a 10-year guarantee giving you peace of mind.

Remember that unless you are installing laminate flooring yourself, the cost of installation may be as much as the cost of cheap laminate. You don’t want to have to redo your floor in a couple of years because you made a poor choice.

So how do you get discount laminate flooring, the quality kind with a reasonable price attached?

You can generally find good deals on quality laminate flooring in the following places

1. End of Season Sales

Solid wood flooring merchants often stock laminate flooring as well as real wood. If you go to the larger merchants you will often see laminates at the end-of-season sales alongside the lower quality cheap laminate wood flooring.

2. Ends of Lines

If you want quite a small amount of laminate flooring you may strike it lucky at the same merchants even when there is no sale going on by buying the ends of lines. Just make sure that you buy enough to cover your floor as there may be none left if you need another pack of flooring.

One thing to watch out for is that if you need to overbuy because you’re not sure how much you actually need, the store may not take back the excess so in some cases you may be better off buying a more expensive laminate with a return guarantee.

3. Buy Online

You can get some great deals if you shop around online and you can often get the same quality brands in laminate at a cheaper price from online retailers. This is possible because they have lower overheads than a physical store and there is also healthy competition among online retailers (healthy for the consumer that is). Check the price including shipping to make sure you are keeping to your budget.

If you are buying cheap laminated flooring because it’s the only thing you can afford and even the quality laminate at a discount is out of your price range, check the laminate reviews online to see if you are buying something which is value for money. Places like Amazon always have a number of reviews from real buyers (click here to see a selection of laminate flooring at a discount) and this can help you make up your mind.

Oak Laminate Flooring

Oak Laminate Flooring Oak laminate flooring can be the answer to your flooring problems.

If you have considered solid oak hardwood flooring you will know how beautiful such a floor can be and it is a surface that works well in most interiors whether country, classic or contemporary.

Unfortunately, it comes with a high price tag which is too much for many budgets. In addition, solid oak flooring can not be installed in some areas of your home such as kitchens and bathrooms as solid wood can be damaged when it gets wet. An oak laminate floor on the other hand has a more reasonable price and it can be used everywhere!

If you are thinking about oak laminate floors there are a few things to be mindful of.

1. Don’t Save Too Much Money

By that I mean don’t buy cheap oak laminate flooring if you are unsure of the quality. The best laminate will last for years and years and continue to look good. It has the look of real solid wood without the high price whereas the poor quality flooring has an instant “this is laminate” look and may very well peel and warp.

 


2. Get the Right Color

Natural oak flooring comes in many different colors and you will find laminate in all of them. There is white oak laminate flooring which goes well with light furnishings and contemporary interiors and honey oak laminate flooring which has warmer tones reminiscent of a country cottage. Then there is dark oak laminate which is good with a classic interior brightened with an area rug or in a modern interior that has a color scheme that needs a darker floor.

3. Get the Right Plank Size

Oak laminated flooring comes in different configurations. The laminate planks themselves are fairly standard sizes but the pattern on the plank depicts wooden planks of various widths. The narrow plank pattern goes well with most interiors but if you want the latest contemporary look to choose a wide plank dark or natural oak laminate flooring.

If you’re unsure of whether to choose laminate or spend the extra money and choose a solid wood floor, (even if you have laminate in those rooms where solid wood should not be used) one thing to consider is how the flooring might add to the value of your home. If you have a luxury home, solid oak flooring is particularly attractive to buyers who like natural materials and some may turn their nose up at laminate if they are spending a lot of money.

If you have a smaller home that is likely to attract young people buying their first home, however, quality oak laminate flooring is very much in demand especially compared to other surfaces such as carpet.

Laminate Floor Installation

Laminate floor installation is a job that you should be able to tackle yourself if you are reasonably competent at small jobs around the house like putting up shelves and fixing curtain rails to the wall.

Provided you buy quality laminate, it is generally much simpler than solid wood floor installation because of innovations in the design of the planks by the better manufacturers. They try to make things as simple as possible so that you choose their brand.

You will need some tools. (Guidance is given below but checks with the packaging for the exact tools you will need for your particular brand of flooring). In any case, the tools you need for laminate wood floor installation are not very expensive (and some of them you may already have) so installing laminate flooring yourself generally means that you will save a lot of money.

Methods

The main thing to be aware of (before you buy your flooring!) is that there are two different laminate flooring installation methods. Laminate may be fitted via the tongue and groove method which requires gluing or by a simple glueless click system.

If you choose glueless laminate your life will be much easier when you come to install a laminate floor! Cheap laminate flooring often requires the glue method but it is worth paying a bit more to be able to install your flooring with ease.

Tools

The main tools you need to install laminate flooring are the following

a rubber mallet
a tape measure
a coping saw
a laminate flooring pull bar
a profile gauge

Laminate floor installation kit (Click image for details)
Laminate floor installation kit (Click image for details)

Preparation

Remove any old carpet and padding and level the floor if necessary by fitting plywood or hardboard over the existing floorboards or by using a leveling compound on a solid floor. Remove the baseboards (skirting board) if required and shave a small amount off any door frames, doors, etc to allow the laminate and underlayment to slip under them.

Remember the level of the floor will be higher once the laminate is in place and the doors need to be able to open and close with ease and without scuffing the surface of the floor.

Installing Laminate Floor

Each brand is likely to be installed in a slightly different way so if you want to know how to install laminate floor perfectly there is no one right way only the right way for your particular brand of flooring. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. They are generally simple enough to follow, particularly if you choose the click system of installation.

In general, you will roll out the underlayment pad across the floor and tape it together where necessary to create a single layer. Laminate flooring is a kind of “floating floor” which is never actually fixed to the sub-floor.

It requires small expansion gaps around the edges which are covered by the baseboards when you put them back. If you prefer not to remove your baseboards you would leave a gap around them and then cover the gap with wooden quadrant molding which matches the floor or the baseboards after you have laid the floor.

Put spacers around the baseboards as markers for where to start the flooring. Click or glue the flooring planks together being sure to stagger the ends so that the end of one plank starts halfway along the length of the other (like bricks). As you fit each plank gently push it into place with the rubber mallet or pulling bar.

The tricky part is always when you have to cut the wood to fit around doorways and pipes. If planks need cutting, mark with a shape with a pencil after using the profile gauge to trace out the shape and cut carefully using a coping saw before fitting the plank into place.

Things You Should Know Before Installing Laminate Flooring in Your Bathroom

Installing Laminate Flooring in Your Bathroom

If you are on the lookout for the easiest and quickest do-it-yourself flooring installation for your bathroom, laminate flooring installation is among the best.

Follow the instructions carefully during installation and you will find yourself admiring your capability of finishing a beautiful and long-lasting laminate flooring installation for your bathroom. You can also utilize a professional installation. However, the following things should be considered before you venture into the task.

Your first consideration for bathroom flooring installation will be moisture. Moisture or water-resistant, well-built flooring materials are widely available in the market, which is also approved for use with kitchen and bathroom renovation projects. Yet, one cannot miss the stipulations regarding the installation even being a professional. Let us take a look into those guidelines you should not dare to miss while doing installing laminate flooring in your bathroom.

1. Avoid sump plum or floor drain: This is to prevent water or moisture from getting underneath the flooring. Laminate flooring is not good in rooms with abnormally high humidity.

2. Trouble with water: Be careful with water when you use it on a laminate floor to avoid the floor from buckling. An overflow or spillage may cause the water to settle in and damage the floor. In such instances, you should mop the floor until it’s completely dry. Never even think about wet wash!

3. Install the cabinets: Prior to installation of the laminate flooring you should set up your kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

4. Underlayment: The edges of the underlayment and the top portion of the flooring should be level once the installation is complete. This is made easy when the laminate comes with an attached foam underlayment. Otherwise, when installing a separate underlayment it has to be cut in such a way that it does not leave any cavity between the laminate flooring. This is very important especially in the case of bathroom laminate flooring.

5. Lock the joints: To have a very tight joint lock remove all remnants of the previous flooring from the subfloor before the laminate installation. Make sure you do not leave any gap between the subfloor and the laminate installation unfilled. Loose joints and gaps between the plank and subfloor will cause moisture to stay. After the installation leave the joints undisturbed as otherwise it may get loosen.

6. Glue the joints: This is a specially recommended task for laminate flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. By doing this the joints are ensured to be sealed perfectly to avoid any kind of leakage. When applying the glue it’s better to apply it only on the top portion of the plank such that the joint will squeeze out the extra adhesive which can be wiped clean before it clots.

7. Sealing: All expansion spaces on the edges of the bathroom’s perimeter must be sealed with mildew resistant 100% silicon sealant. The manufacturer will recommend the appropriate sealant for your product. No space subject to moisture should be left unsealed. Prior to installation, the toilet should be removed. Spaces around the toilet flange should be protected the same way

8. Tubs and basins: The space around the tubs and basins can be decorated in various ways with the different colors available in the market. First, the space left for possible expansion around the perimeter should be caulked. The trim is then used on the wet caulk before it sets. Caulking the conjunction between tub and basin will prevent mildew buildup or moist surface.

9. T-Molding:
For the laminate flooring installation in bathrooms, install a T-molding in the doorway and anywhere within the restroom and the space adjacent to it. The expansion space under it should be caulked too.

10. Drying up: As you might have noticed by now any kind of flooring installation for bathrooms is different from all those precautions against moisture. They are not yet over. It is also highly recommended that the room must be deserted for 24 hours leaving it to dry up before you begin to use it. Also, follow it in case your manufacturer has instructions for any floor heating system.

When using laminate flooring, be careful with wet slippery floors. Avoid leaving the floors wet by moping them dry with a cloth. If given the simple care it needs laminate flooring is more durable and relatively maintenance-free. It also offers variety in terms of pattern and color.

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