Imagine, for a second, that the best burger at McDonalds was on the dollar menu. We're talking a bigger paddy, ground sirloin instead of chuck, fresh baked buns, and a list of condiments to choose from that required a sign of its own at the drive-up lane. Would you ever order anything else? Of course not! Now shift your thinking to flooring products. What if we told you that the most durable, attractive, versatile, and easy to install product in the business was also the most modestly priced? No, we're not yanking your chain. If that combination of traits sounds good to you, then you owe it to yourself, your home, and your pocketbook, to take a closer look at laminate flooring.
Laminate Flooring: An Introduction
Despite having been around for a while, laminate flooring still doesn't get the press of more trendy flooring products, like bamboo, hardwood flooring, or even stone and ceramic tile. Funny how that is, especially when you consider that homeowners can purchase laminate flooring that's a dead ringer for every one of the flooring products just mentioned! In fact, because laminate flooring consists of a high resolution image glued to a composite core, all sealed beneath a clear, melamine plastic resin based wear layer, in theory it can imitate any surface you can imagine! But that's not what has earned laminate it's growing numbers of fans of late. Laminate does look great, but the real reason it's risen to such heights is thanks to three other factors: durability, ease of installation, and a very reasonable price.
Laminate Flooring is Tough as Nails
Let's start by looking at laminate from a durability standpoint. Compared to its main competition (wood flooring) there really is no comparison. In almost every aspect, including scratch resistance, dent resistance, water resistance, and the ability to weather well under the pressure of daily wear and tear, laminate flooring is far superior than its real wood counterparts. In fact, when it comes to families with small children and households with pets, there isn't another flooring product in the industry with a better track record than laminate. About the only real threat to laminate flooring is high moisture levels, which can damage the composite core. If you're planning on installing laminate in a high moisture area, such as a kitchen or bath, be sure you get a line of laminate that has been approved for such uses. These lines of laminate usually have thicker cores, are treated with extra water repellant chemicals, and contain paraffin wax impregnated joints that keep the risk of moisture damage to a minimum.
Click Together Flooring: Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Durability may be laminate's most convincing selling point, but the ease with which it can be installed isn't too far behind. For starters, laminate flooring is what's known in the business as a floating floor system. Whereas each plank of hardwood flooring has to be individually nailed to the sub-floor and to its neighbor, laminate flooring simply sits on top of your existing floor once it's assembled, with no nailing, screwing, or gluing required! Add to that the fact that click together laminate flooring now dominates the industry, and you don't even have to worry about gluing the separate planks together anymore! Installing a laminate floor is literally as easy as laying down an underlayment, cutting your planks to the right lengths, and snapping your new flooring pieces together. It's a DIYer's dream, and a pleasure for contractors to work with as well.
The Price is Right
We saved the best for last. Clearly laminate could sell on the grounds of its good looks, easy installation, and incredible durability alone, but even with all that going for it, the biggest draw for American homeowners who choose laminate over other options is cost, plain and simple. When it comes to getting more for your hard earned dollar, you simply won't find a better deal anywhere than you'll get with laminate flooring. If you're really on a tight budget, economy lines can be had at home improvement stores for less than a dollar per square foot. And if you can afford to spend a little bit more, paying for high end lines will get you a sturdier, more attractive product, with a pretty impressive warranty thrown in to boot. The truth is that in a tough economy like this one, every penny counts. And when it comes to flooring, you won't get more bang for your buck anywhere than if you opt to install laminate flooring in your home.
The Price is Right