Are you wondering if laminate flooring is right for you? I have some experience with this type of flooring and can outline some of the pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision. The type I have used is the type that snaps together.
I have laminate flooring throughout my house and have installed it in my rental property. I have also helped a few friends and family members install this flooring in their homes. I have to say that in my experience it is the best bang for your buck if you don’t like carpet and don’t want to go to the expense of installing natural wood floor or tile. If you are at all handy and can do things for yourself you can install this yourself and save yourself the labor costs of hiring a contractor to do the work for you. The instructions are simple to follow and for the cost of a $30 kit and with a miter saw and maybe a jig saw if you have some outside corners to work around you will have all the tools you need to do the work (always use proper safety gear and follow manufacturer’s instructions). Many home improvement stores offer free workshops on how to install laminate flooring.
Being frugal, I opted to purchase my flooring at a local hardware clearinghouse and paid approximately $1 per square foot for the flooring for my rental property. It actually is prettier than what I installed in the house I live in. I paid approximately $2.49 per square foot for the flooring in my house 5 years ago but prices vary according to brand, color and where you live. Laminate floors are wildly popular now and are a really cost effective alternative to carpeting and are much healthier for people who suffer from allergies. There are many colors and textures available that range from a wood flooring look to slate to ceramic tile styles.
Besides price and beauty, laminate floors have the advantage of not trapping allergens the way carpet does. However, they do need to be swept daily and/or dustmopped because you would not believe how much dust and dirt accumulate on the floor.
I have found that even though they are hard to scratch occasionally they will scratch or chip and I usually am able to cover this with (of all things) either a matching crayon or marker rubbed into the spot then rubbed over with a cloth to remove the excess. Having a child in the house helps – there is always a variety of crayons and markers to match anything and everything!
Another disadvantage is that it is hard to keep them from looking dull. I have heard some people say that damp mopping with a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar to 2 gallons of water will do the trick. I will occasionally shine my floors with a floor shine product from Holland House found at WalMart. The shine lasts until the floor is walked on a few times.
Although I love my laminate floors, I am very clumsy and have caused some damage to mine – I turned a bucket of water over while mopping (twice in one night I might add and by falling flat on my back just added insult to injury) and once that water is out of the bucket there is no getting it back in and the damage is done. You can see the floor blister almost before your eyes. You either have to live with it or replace the damaged parts, which involves cutting out the damaged pieces and gluing in replacement pieces – keep in mind this floor was originally snapped together. Also you might not want to put this floor in bathrooms or laundry rooms unless you are prepared to immediately wipe up water splashes. I will be replacing the floor in my laundry room with ceramic tile – hindsight is 20/20. Also if you have a pet that is…well, not so well trained…laminate floor does not stand up well to pet accidents. Not only will pet urine blister the laminate surface but the smell saturates the laminate flooring.
If you are preparing your house to sell and are going to replace the flooring I would definitely recommend using laminate flooring. Not only is it inexpensive and easy to install, the result is eye-pleasing and sure to attract buyers and it looks like a million bucks for the money you will spend. Just be sure to finish out the edges with trim. A note here…I have never purchased the expensive trim they sell with the flooring. We have always purchased just regular unfinished baseboard or other trim and stained it to match the floor or wall to cover the gaps between floor and wall. If you are going from laminate to a tile surface you may need to purchase the trim piece if there is no other alternative available.
I hope reading about my experience with laminate flooring has given you some things to consider in deciding if laminate flooring is right for you.