12 Things to Know About Laminate Flooring Options
Laminate flooring has come a long way from its cheap looking and utilitarian beginnings. Your laminate flooring options are now varied and can fit into almost any design idea when installed by a pro. Laminate flooring is any flooring that is made by a layering process, with a photo layer beneath a top coat of clear plastic. This can result in a highly dense material that holds up well to traffic.
Not all laminates are made equal though. Durability is rated on a scale of AC1 through AC5, with the higher number meaning the surface is stronger. These ratings are administered by an independent organization and are a good way to determine if a piece of laminate is suitable for where you want to use it.
Floors with a rating of AC1 are suitable for very low traffic areas like closets. For the other areas of the house a rating of AC2 will be good enough for normal traffic. Ratings above AC2 are more useful in extremely high traffic areas.
There are three major types of surfaces that can be found with laminate flooring.
High Gloss: High gloss surfaces are polished and have a highly reflective top surface. This polish gives a floor a permanently waxed look that requires little upkeep to maintain.
Textured: Textured surfaces give a more natural look and feel to a floor, and is often used for replicating tiled flooring. This gives the laminate the ability to mimic many other substances at a much cheaper price.
Natural: In natural flooring the laminate is imprinted with a grain pattern or pattern that accurately follows a print of natural wood or stone. This mimics natural substances at a lower cost and requires less maintenance.
There are three types of flooring options
Exotic: An exotic laminate flooring mimics an exotic substance. The ease at which laminates can replicate much more expensive exotic flooring is one of the main selling points.
Tile: Ceramic tile is often sought after for it’s looks. Laminate flooring can duplicate this look cheaper, and with less maintenance involved in the upkeep. With the top layer being plastic, your laminate flooring will also be more stain resistant than ceramic flooring.
Wood: Laminate can mimic wood, giving you a realistic wood look with more durability and usually a better warranty. With the proper surface and realistic photo layer laminate flooring is often difficult to tell from the actual hardwood flooring it mimics.
Three Types of Installation You Need to Know About
Glueless: These systems are prebuilt to simply snap together. Often they also have the backing on each piece, instead of requiring you to lay out a backing before installation. By means of either a metallic locking mechanism on the bottom of the tile, or a center system where the middle layers are milled to allow them to be locked together.
Glued: For those who want a more permanent installation option there is gluing. In this option the individual pieces of laminate are glued directly to the subflooring. This often means that you can’t put down any sort of backing, which makes the flooring harder and doesn’t give any thermal or sound insulation.
Nailing: Laminate flooring can also be nailed down directly to the subflooring. Small cleat nails of the right length are nailed through the tongue portion of tongue and groove flooring. This can be used with any sort of padding, allowing the laminate flooring to provide some thermal and sound insulation.
Three Main Finishing Touches
Mouldings: Mouldings are placed at the edge of the flooring where it meets the wall. For floating floor installations this covers the gap needed for expansion of the flooring.
Edges: Edges are used where laminate flooring ends and another flooring begins. Laminate flooring is constructed in layers. If your laminate flooring ends with a visible edge fake edging both gives the look of a real edge,and protects the plank from moisture damage to the interior layers.
Transitions: Sometimes laminate flooring needs a little help going from room to room, or your laminate flooring is going to sit next to another substance. Transitions help with these issues by either giving a means to tie two laminate floors together, or by reducing the edge down to the other type of flooring without leaving an edge someone can trip over.