Advantages & Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring
Choosing the type of flooring to use in your home is one of the most important decisions in home building and remodeling. Laminate flooring is a popular choice because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and fairly durable relative to the cost. As with any flooring choice, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of laminate flooring before making a final decision.
Laminate flooring has a photographic image of wood, stone, brick or other materials on an aluminum oxide layer. This process makes laminate flooring significantly cheaper, because you get the look of a tougher material without the cost associated with wood and tile. Laminate flooring can be made to match almost any material; the fact that it is not the material itself is relatively unnoticeable to the untrained eye. Laminate is also easy enough to install without purchasing expensive tools or hiring expensive contractors. If damage or wear occurs, laminate tile is also cheaper to replace. Keep in mind that the lower cost of laminate flooring means that it will not add the same value to your home as real wood, marble or stone flooring.
Laminate flooring is easy to maintain because it has a layer of laminate backing to seal the flooring against moisture and pest damage. This moisture-tolerant property makes laminate an ideal flooring for bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms with high moisture content. Stains and spills wipe easily from the sleek laminate surface, and it can be easily cleaned with a broom and damp cloth mop. If mops are not wrung out properly, however, water can seep in around baseboards and seams and cause water damage. Laminate flooring is not resistant to scratches, so you will have to be careful about dragging furniture or heavy items across the floor. Unlike real wood flooring, laminate cannot be sanded to remove scratches; if severely damaged, it has to be replaced.
Laminate flooring will last for a maximum of 20 years in your home if maintained according to manufacturers' instructions, but it may last for only 15 years in areas of high traffic. Real wood or tile flooring can last for 100 years if properly maintained. Most laminate flooring is resistant to moisture, which prevents warping, but glueless laminate flooring is highly susceptible to water damage and may need to be replaced often. If not placed and secured properly, or if placed on an uneven subfloor, laminate flooring can peel away from the floor and require replacement.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.
- Parquet floor image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com