The Look of Natural Surfaces
Laminate flooring is great option for achieving the look of natural surfaces like wood, but avoiding the higher price tag that goes with natural surfaces.
Laminate flooring is a synthetic material with a core layer of high density fiberboard. Above the core is the design print, topped by a wear layer. The design print on laminate flooring is actually a photograph, so laminate can closely resemble natural surfaces such as wood and stone. Below the core layer is a backing made from melamine or paper.
Laminate can be purchased in either planks or tiles, depending on whether you want to create a wood look or a stone look.
“Right now, we have all kinds of finishes for laminates, and it’s a growing business,” says Ersan Sayman, assistant vice president for Floor and Décor Outlets of America. “Laminate is an increasing trend, and the quality of the trends and designs are getting better.”
Since laminate consists of fiberboard, it is not soft like vinyl flooring. It is much closer to wood or stone, the flooring types most laminates look like.
Laminate planks or tiles normally attach to each other by the tongue-and-groove method, as laminate planks can interlock. However, in the bathroom the seams that are formed between the planks or tiles should be glued together. This will seal the seams between planks or tiles, and prevent water from seeping in.
- Laminates often contain resins that make it highly resistant to stains, water damage, and fading.
- It’s extremely durable and can handle lots of traffic.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Can be installed over existing flooring.
- If water seeps into its cracks, the laminated layers could break up.
- Unlike wood, when it wears out, the whole floor has to be replaced rather than just refinished.
- More prone to chipping than real wood.
- Can be noisy if the proper underlayment is not installed.
Expect to pay between $4 and $11 per square foot.