What It Is
The advent of laminate flooring has changed the way designers view floors in a house. It has enabled the creation of living spaces with a base restricted only by the designer’s imagination.
Laminate flooring, in its simplest form, is a photographic image imposed upon a number of base layers, and then cut into a number of regular sized boards which lock together, either with or without the use of adhesive.
Why Use It?
Firstly, laminate flooring is an economically sound proposition. Although it can be manufactured to look like expensive wood, tiling, marble etc., it is a fraction of the cost.
It is easy to install, doing away with the need for expensive contractors. The only requisite for a fabulous finish is a level sub-floor for it to be attached to.
Finally, it is relatively maintenance-free. It will not stain or scratch easily, and it is usually UV treated so that fading is not an issue. In the worst case scenario, if a board needs to be replaced, the procedure is easy and cheap. The life of the average floor ranges between fifteen and twenty years.
Where can You Use It?
Laminate flooring is suitable for use throughout the home, but some care is needed in the selection of the correct grade for the area concerned.
Light Traffic Areas
These areas, which would include such rooms as bedrooms, are the ones where the designer can let their imagination run free. All types of laminate are suitable for these areas, from the conventional ‘wood -grain’ effect, to the ultra-modern Disney themed photographic print floors for children’s nurseries. As the floor is subject to minimal foot traffic, durability of the floor is not really an issue, and there are no restrictions on what can be used.
Heavy Traffic Areas
These would include areas such as lounges or hallways, and more consideration needs to be given to the durability of the backing boards, perhaps selecting a thicker board to ensure an economic life span for the floor. As detailed above, the whole range of designs is usually readily available, once again making laminate a sound choice.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
These areas would normally present a challenge to the designer, due to the presence of moisture in the atmosphere, and the possibility of water being spilled on the floor.
Once again, laminate can provide the ideal solution for kitchen flooring, but you would have to use boards which are certified water resistant. This would rule out the cheaper ‘click together’ flooring, as the joints would allow the ingress of water, eventually destroying the floor. For this application you need to use a more expensive floor that is either glued together when laid, or has wax in the joints, forming a water-tight seal when the boards are pressed together. These floors are also available in a wide range of designs, providing a viable solution in an area where wood or carpet would be seriously inappropriate, and tiling seriously expensive.