Category Archives: Laminate Flooring

The Advantages of Laminate Flooring over Hardwood

Traditional hardwood flooring is an expensive and timeless choice for residential spaces. It increases resale value which is why older homes with genuine hardwood floors are popular among home buyers. However, buyers who have a lower budget can achieve the natural look of hardwood by opting for laminate flooring.

With the latest developments in their manufacturing process, laminates are outperforming hardwood in many ways. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the advantages of laminate flooring over hardwood flooring.

Why Choose Laminate Flooring over Hardwood

Do you want the natural look of hardwood flooring on a budget? If so, go for laminate flooring. Here’s why it is an affordable and durable alternative to hardwood flooring.

Durability

Durability

Unlike hardwood flooring that is made of 100% real wood, laminate flooring is a synthetic product composed of several layers of different materials pressed together at high heat. It’s topped with a décor layer which has a printed image of hardwood or other materials to recreate their natural look. Over this image, a transparent wear layer is sealed which protects the surface from scratches, daily wear as well as staining and fading. The core layer is made of fibreboard which protects it from dents. Laminates are also an excellent flooring choice if you have pets. Its wear layer protects the floor surface from dog and cat claws.

Hardwood, on the other hand, is susceptible to scratches, dents and gouges. It can also easily get discoloured when exposed to UV rays.

Moisture-Resistance

Moisture-Resistance

The back layer of laminate boards functions as a moisture barrier that protects the core layer from water damage. This makes laminate flooring to serve moderately well in semi-moist areas such as kitchens and lightly used bathrooms. Hardwood is vulnerable to moisture and isn’t fit to install in a moist environment.

Installation

New innovations have made laminates one of the easiest floors to install. It can be installed over existing floor materials except for carpet. The installation procedure doesn’t involve glue, nails or any special tools. Laminate flooring is mostly available in click-lock or snap-together system that makes the installation an easy DIY project, unlike hardwood installation which requires special tools and professionals.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning and Maintenance

Laminates are easier to clean and maintain than hardwood. Regular sweeping and vacuuming are all you need to keep it shining like new as the wear layer protects it from stains, spills and scratches. Hardwood, however, requires proper dust mopping and vacuuming to remove dust, dirt, debris and pet hair which can scratch the surface. When using a vacuum you should only use a floor-brush attachment or use a vacuum cleaner meant for hardwood floors. A commercial liquid wood cleaner should also be used for periodic deep cleaning to remove dust and dirt build-up over time.

Price

Average laminate flooring costs nearly half the price of solid hardwood as the materials they’re made of are cheaper. Hardwood flooring is expensive as it’s made of harvested trees and the price depends on how exotic the tree is.

Appearance

Hardwood flooring has a beautiful, natural texture, but laminate flooring can recreate the appearance of any wood, stain or finish. The result is an abundance of stylistic options, including exotic wood species, at an affordable rate.

Versatility

Hardwood is a timeless flooring choice but doesn’t complement a wide range of home decor styles. Simple, sleek and contemporary laminate flooring, for example, can accentuate minimalist, nautical or industrial decor without overpowering your existing interiors. Instead, it seamlessly blends with other elements of your home, thus making it a versatile addition to any decor.

Scratch Resistance

Scratch Resistance

Apart from being resistant to moisture, laminate is a great choice if you’re looking for scratch-resistant flooring. It is ideal for high-traffic areas like the living room and foyer. Laminate flooring comes in handy if you have children or pets, as it has a topical finish coat (or wear layer) that makes it resistant to scratches, dents, wear and stains. It also handles most furniture well, so you don’t need to worry about your floors when moving furniture around.

Ease of Repair

Lightweight, snap-together laminate flooring is not only easy to install but a breeze to repair because it snaps apart. When a plank is damaged, you simply remove it instead of pulling apart the whole floor. There’s no need to hire a professional as you can repair it yourself.

Now that you know in which categories laminate flooring outperforms hardwood, you can make an informed decision for your home based on your budget and needs.

At Amazon Hardwood, we offer high-quality flooring materials from top Canadian brands. Buy laminate flooring materials from top brands to avoid getting a lower frequency of pattern repetition and longevity issues.

Why Is Laminate Flooring So Popular? (10 Interesting Facts)

Laminate has become a popular flooring material.

Why?

For starters, it’s comfortable, durable and easy to install. It also suits every type of space and gives your decor some stylish visual appeal.

The best thing about laminate, though, is that it can mimic the look of natural wood and stones, including hardwood, marble and concrete. Simply put, you get the look of exotic flooring for less.

However, there are lesser known aspects of laminate flooring. Here are 10 interesting facts about this affordable flooring material.

10 Quick Facts about Laminate Flooring

Planning to install laminate flooring at home or in your office? Here are some quick facts that you may find interesting.

1) It’s Eco-Friendly

Some people think that hardwood flooring is eco-friendly and laminate isn’t. The fact is that laminate planks are composed of high-density fibreboard which is itself composed of pressure-formed wood chips. These wood chips can be sourced from any part of the tree, unlike hardwood, so you don’t need to cut down the entire tree for your flooring material.

Eco-friendly nature of Laminate Flooring

2) It Can Be Installed on Top of Any Floor

Laminate is a versatile flooring material because it can be installed over top of any other flooring.

Since it is a floating floor, it can be installed without nails or glue which can damage the bottom floor.

You also don’t need to remove your existing floor to install laminate, thus saving you time and money. It is easy to cut as well as no fancy tools are needed.

It Can Be Installed on Top of Any Floor

3) The Design Is Made by a Printer

The top layer of laminate planks is printed by an HD printer to mimic the look of materials like genuine hardwood, tile, stone or marble. This high-resolution photographic image is then covered with coats of aluminum oxide to make it scratch- and dent-resistant.

The Design Is Made by a Printer

4) It Doesn’t Trap Allergens

Are you allergic to pollen, dander, dust mites or mould? If so, laminate flooring is best as it neither traps allergens nor provides a breeding ground for them to grow.

5) It Can Be Installed Quickly

Available in a tongue-and-groove system, laminate can be installed faster than other flooring materials because the planks are joined in an interlocking manner to give them stability. This means you can lay down hundreds of square feet in a single weekend.

6) It’s Affordable, No Matter the Style

Laminate flooring is available in a wide range of designs, styles, textures and colours. It’s also affordable as its price doesn’t fluctuate much compared to other flooring materials. This is because each type of laminate plank is made in almost the same manner.

7) It’s More Durable Than Hardwood

Since laminate flooring is made from pressed wood, it can resist scratches, moisture, and wear and tear. By contrast, hardwood is susceptible to scratching and damage from excessive moisture.

8) It’s Not the Same as Parquet

Don’t confuse parquet and laminate flooring. Laminate is made by fusing multiple layers of synthetic materials through a lamination process; parquet is made of real wood fixed together in geometric patterns for a decorative effect. While parquet is more sustainable and attractive than laminate, it’s more expensive as well. And with parquet, DIY is not an option.

9) It’s Easy to Maintain and Clean

You don’t have to wax or refinish laminate flooring to keep it in good shape. Just sweep or vacuum it regularly to keep dirt and dust at bay. Also, use a damp cloth to blot up spills as they happen.

Contrary to popular belief, laminate floors can be spot treated. Nor do you need to replace the planks to clean tough stains such as paint, marker, ink or oil. Instead, you can easily clean these with acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth.

10) It Is Not the Same as Vinyl

Luxury vinyl and laminate flooring look similar but have distinct features.

Vinyl is made from 100% plastic; laminate has an inner core made from melamine resin and fibreboard and a top layer composed of a photographic image to simulate real wood or natural stone.

Laminate is comfortable underfoot; vinyl isn’t, but it does last longer. That said, vinyl flooring is a better option for basements, laundry rooms and bathrooms, while laminate is great for high traffic areas and houses with pets and/or children.

Laminate is an interesting flooring material with many benefits. It perfectly combines durability, cost, versatility, comfort and visual appeal. It’s also easy to install and hypoallergenic. So, if you’re looking to renew your floors, laminate flooring is worth a try. Browse our collection of laminate flooring to choose from a wide range of colours and designs. The perfect one for your home or business awaits. Contact us at 905-940-2900 to request a quote.

Laminate Flooring – Top 7 Features

Laminate Flooring - Top 7 Features

Laminate flooring a popular choice among homeowners because of its features and wood-like appearance.  Let’s take a look at its key features that make it a wise flooring choice.

  1. Ease of Installation

One of the biggest reasons why homeowners choose laminate flooring is to save money on installation. Thanks to its easy-to-use tongue-and-groove locking system, almost anyone can install laminate planks with a little patience. Depending on the condition of your existing floor and subfloor, you can install laminate over vinyl, tile or hardwood floors. This way, you also save money by eliminating the need to remove the old flooring and prep the subfloor. Some also have built-in underlayment that’s ideal for DIY installers.

  1. Environment-Friendly

Since laminate is made from wood, it can be reused or recycled. If you want to replace your existing laminate floor with another material or design, simply uninstall it and use it in a different room or home. Its DIY-friendly click-lock installation system makes laminate flooring reusable. Many laminate manufacturers also adopt eco-friendly practices such as using recycled wood materials in laminate planks. With less waste, reduced emissions and more recycling, laminate is an eco-friendly material that can create the strongest sound buffer in your home or office.

  1. Versatile Look

Laminate floors have come a long way in recent years. While laminate floors can replicate the authentic look of solid wood or stone, there’s a wide range of possibilities for newer styles, colours, textures and designs. This helps you choose a flooring type that matches the exact style and theme of a given room, whether it’s rich and elaborate or chic and contemporary. Laminate floors can be installed all over, including your living room, bedroom, kitchen, or any other high-traffic area.

  1. Budget-Friendly

Probably one of the most popular features of laminate flooring is its affordability. If you’re on a budget that doesn’t accommodate authentic wood floors, laminate lets you achieve the desired wood-like look without breaking the bank. With the low cost of materials and easy DIY installation, laminate is a great choice for homeowners looking to save money on flooring projects without compromising on quality.

  1. Doesn’t Fade

While most flooring materials are susceptible to fading from constant sunlight exposure, laminate doesn’t lose its colour over time. For example, carpet, vinyl and hardwood can easily fade when exposed to sun from a window or skylight. But laminate flooring never shows signs of discoloration or sun damage.

  1. Pet and Kid Friendly

A lot of people worry about the damage children and pets can inflict on their flooring. Since laminate is resistant to scratches and stains, it’s a safer option for families with kids and/or pets. Laminate has a high-quality finish coat or wear layer (mostly of aluminum oxide) that can withstand occasional scratches better than many other flooring materials.

  1. Easy to Maintain

Another excellent feature of laminate flooring is its easy maintenance. Laminate is an extremely low-maintenance flooring option compared to wood and carpets because it doesn’t absorb dust and moisture to the same extent. Regular sweeping and occasional dry mopping is enough to keep it clean and shining. The only thing that you should be aware of is that laminate shouldn’t be exposed to standing water for a long period of time.

Laminate flooring is durable, hypoallergenic, easy to maintain, versatile and affordable. High-quality laminate flooring can resemble hardwood to a great extent. You can easily find the best match for your home from Amazon Hardwood.

Pros and Cons of Installing Laminate Flooring in a Bathroom

If you’re looking for suitable flooring for your bathroom, you’ve likely considered laminate. It’s a popular flooring material made from pressed wood and features the photographic image of real wood under a clear protective layer. This multi-layered synthetic flooring material is the go-to choice for both residential and commercial properties thanks to its versatility and affordability. But, because water is so prevalent in bathrooms, there are some factors to consider, including how well it will perform when exposed to moisture.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of installing laminate flooring in a bathroom.

Installing Laminate Flooring in Bathrooms: Benefits and Drawbacks

Not sure whether to install laminate flooring in your bathroom? Let’s look at the pros and cons of this popular flooring material.

Pros

Pros of Installing Laminate Flooring in Bathroom

1) It’s Easy to Install

As it’s easy to install, laminate flooring is a DIY-friendly material. Available in fold & lock or click & lock layouts, laying the floor is as easy as putting puzzle pieces together. Plus, you don’t need a specific underlayment as this lightweight flooring material can be installed on most existing floors, excluding carpet. If you’re good at DIY home repair, you should be able to easily install the planks over a weekend, depending on the size of your bathroom.

2) It’s Durable 

Laminate flooring is a durable choice for bathrooms as it’s resistant to scratches and dents. The wear layer protects against damage and doesn’t allow stains and spills to penetrate. In other words, you don’t need to worry if a blow dryer, curling iron or bottle of shampoo hits your bathroom floor.

3) It Looks Good

As mentioned, laminate planks have a photographic image under the top layer to imitate different kinds of surface materials. These include hardwoods, like oak and cherry, and natural stone, like slate and marble. You can create a wide variety of styles with laminates and update your bathroom’s look.

4) Easy to Clean

Laminate is a low-maintenance flooring material. You can easily clean the floor with a broom and a mop regularly. For occasional cleaning, a damp mop and solution of vinegar and water is a good option.

5) Affordable 

Laminate is much more affordable than other flooring materials like hardwood and tile. If you’re on a tight budget and want to give your bathroom the exotic look of hardwood, laminate flooring is your best bet.

6) Hypoallergenic

Laminate flooring is hypoallergenic which means you don’t have to worry about dust or other allergens accumulating on it. This makes it an excellent flooring option for those with allergies.

Cons

Cons of Installing Laminate Flooring in Bathroom

1) It Doesn’t Add to Your Home’s Resale Value

Unlike hardwood, which adds to the resale value of your property, laminate flooring won’t. Although it mimics the look of hardwood, you don’t get its benefits. Plus, it looks artificial by comparison.

2) It Isn’t Soundproof

Laminate flooring is not soundproof, and walking on a laminate floor creates a hollow sound as you stress the interlocking tongues and grooves. However, you can fix this by adding a foam layer or acoustic underlay as a sound-absorbent membrane.

3) It Won’t Protect Your Subfloor 

Naturally moisture-proof, laminate flooring planks are protected from spills and stains, but can warp or pop because of the moisture coming from the underlayment.

4) It Can’t Be Refinished

Unlike hardwood planks and stone slabs which can be refinished to give your floor an updated look or to fix discoloured planks, laminate flooring cannot be refinished.

5) Its Lifespan Is Limited

Laminate flooring’s average lifespan can range between 10 and 30 years depending on the quality of the core material and the wear layer. It is advisable to choose your laminate from brands that offer good warranty periods.

Useful Tips to Buy Laminate Flooring

  • Buy high-quality laminate flooring so it’s protected from moisture damage as low-quality laminates are more susceptible to damage from spills.
  • Always buy an extra box or two of laminate flooring planks so you can replace a plank instead of replacing the whole floor. This will come in handy if a portion of the floor is damaged.
  • Look for VOC-free laminates to prevent chemical exposure as not all types of laminates are manufactured the same way.
  • Buy the highest AC rating laminate floor you can afford. For the uninitiated, the AC (abrasion coefficient) rating is a 1-to-6 rating that indicates a laminate floor’s durability.
  • Consider buying a sample of different laminates before purchasing and laying them. This will help you pick a suitable design and colour as often the tone of the laminate might appear slightly different under certain light or against another colour.

Analyzing the pros and cons of laminate flooring will help you make an informed decision. After all, the appearance and functionality of your bathroom largely depend on it. Hopefully we’ve helped you understand the positives and negatives of laminate flooring in your bathroom and you’ve learned some useful tips for making the purchase. If you’ve decided that it’s right for your bathroom, browse our collection of laminate flooring in Toronto to buy high-quality products at unbeatable prices.

How to Keep Your Laminate Flooring Clean (4 Easy Tips)

Laminate floors are gaining in popularity thanks to their ability to closely resemble solid hardwood, including hand-scraped and distressed wood. Since laminate is made from pressed wood, it’s highly durable and scratch resistant. These qualities make it perfect for high foot traffic areas like your kitchen.

Laminate is easy to maintain, however, some tips will help you prolong its life. This guide provides six helpful tips to keep your laminate flooring clean.

How to Keep Your Laminate Floors Clean

Installing laminate floors help retain your home’s beauty for years. But keeping them clean is one of the major factors in maintaining that longevity. Here’s how.

The Tools

Cleaning requires tools. For laminate, we recommend a canister vacuum cleaner built for hard surfaces and a good microfiber laminate mop.

Keep your laminate floor dirt free by vacuuming daily. In addition, mop the floor thoroughly once a month.

Areas of your home that suffer higher foot traffic, like your kitchen, will need to be cleaned more frequently. To do this, simply use a washable and reusable mop with a microfiber head or disposable pads. Spray a floor cleaner and gently mop. Remember not to over-saturate the floor with cleaner and read the manufacturer’s manual for both the flooring and cleaner well ahead of time.

4 Cleaning Tips for Laminate Flooring

Yes, laminate resembles other materials, but you can’t clean it like those materials. Here are four easy ways to keep it clean:

  1. Practice Regular Cleaning Habits

One of the simplest ways to keep laminate flooring clean and well-maintained is to develop a regular cleaning habit. For instance, use a soft-bristled broom to sweep the floor daily to get rid of dust and pet hair. Use an angled broom to clean corners and hard-to-reach areas.

In addition to these small daily cleaning practices, use a soft brush attachment during a weekly vacuum. Set the vacuum on the hard floor setting to ensure the beater brush doesn’t scratch the floor by rotating.

  1. Give a Thorough Cleaning Every Now and Then

Always remember when cleaning laminate flooring to use as little water as possible. This is to avoid standing water which can separate the seams, fade the floor colour, or cause the wood to bubble or swell.

To avoid this, only use products meant for cleaning laminate. However, you can also use a teaspoon of clear, unscented dishwashing liquid or baby shampoo diluted in a gallon of hot water. Make sure the floor doesn’t get soaked.

Mopping every two to three months is good enough, but avoid saturating the mop by squeezing and twisting it. As mentioned, microfiber laminate floor mops are a great choice, as they’re designed not to need much liquid.

If you want deeper cleaning, use a steam mop but make sure to wipe the floor with a dry, microfiber cloth immediately afterwards.

  1. Spot Treat Stains

To clean stains, you may have to spot treat them. For instance, you can blot spills with a microfiber cloth immediately after it happens.

To remove spots such as grease, gum or wax, use an ice pack to freeze the spot. Then gently scrape it up using a plastic knife or scraper. Once the entire spot has been scraped clean, wipe the floor with a subtly damp microfiber cloth to dispose of residue. Always make sure the area is dry once you’re done cleaning it.

  1. Protect Your Flooring

As you can see, you have to take precautions when cleaning laminate flooring. Here’s how:

  1. Never use a floor buffer or polisher .
  2. Avoid abrasive or acidic cleaners or abrasive tools to preserve the protective coating.
  3. Use protective mats under heavy furniture and never slide them across the floor.
  4. Keep your pets’ nails trimmed.

Keeping your laminate flooring clean isn’t difficult if you follow the right procedures. Like any other flooring material, it requires maintenance, but this is easy with laminate. Following these tips is sufficient to preserve the beauty and functionality of your laminate flooring. However, if you notice recurring damage or persistent scratch marks, get in touch with a laminate flooring expert.

A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has always been a popular option with homeowners due to its wide range of styles, durability and high resistance to moisture. One of the most interesting things about laminate flooring is that it looks and feels similar to real hardwood. High-quality laminate flooring offers a comfortable surface without having to compromise on appearance. And all that at an affordable price! However, unlike parquetry, laminate flooring is not made entirely from real wood. Instead, an engineered wood core layer is wrapped with a decorative layer.

Nonetheless, the availability of different colours and textures makes laminate a preferred choice among homeowners.

Different Types of Laminate Flooring

There are many types of laminate flooring. Each differs in terms of their characteristics, systems, installation processes, and AC rating, which refers to its wear rating.

Unlike hardwood flooring, which is differentiated based on the species from which it came, laminate is categorized based on many factors, including its construction process, thickness and texture. All this information can overwhelm the regular buyer, which is why we are going to break down all the different styles and types of laminate flooring for you.

Construction Process

When you choose laminate flooring, the first thing you need to decide is how you plan to lay it. To do this, you need to properly understand its construction and production process. Laminates are produced based on three main layers. We already mentioned the core layer and the decorative layer; the third is the backing layer.

The core is developed by compressing wood pulp or wood fibres under high pressure. This compression is the reason why laminates are so shock resistant. In fact, the higher the pressure, the greater the durability.

Depending on the pressure applied, laminate can be of two types;

1. High-Pressure Laminate (HPL)

HPL is made under 1000 pounds of pressure, which makes it the perfect choice for areas with a high amount of foot traffic.

2. Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL)

DPL is manufactured under 300-500 pounds of pressure. Even though still highly durable, it is more suited to less-trafficked areas, such as small offices and houses.

Thickness

Its thickness is one of the primary characteristics that differentiate laminate flooring types. Laminate flooring is measured in millimetres (mm), and a few popular choices include 7 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm and 12 mm.

Wondering how that impacts your choice? Stable subfloors require thinner laminate flooring, while thicker flooring is more suited to a wood subfloor or areas that are slightly uneven. Laminate floors with a thickness between 12 mm and 15 mm seem more like hardwood flooring compared to thinner laminates.

In general, there are six main types depending on the thickness: 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm and 14 mm.

Another reason the thickness is so important is that it helps to determine the amount of space required between the subfloor and the object, such as walls. This is to prevent any obstruction while closing the door and to give the flooring a chance to expand. Also, you need to make sure that your laminate flooring comes with padding. Generally, the thickness mentioned consists of the plank and the padding, unless you get the underlayment separately.

Texture

Thanks to advances in technology, laminate flooring is more aesthetically pleasing than ever. It can even be made to resemble real hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring’s various types depend on its texture.

1. Satin/Smooth Finish

This type of texture provides a shiny yet subtle finish to your laminate. The reflective power is there but is not overwhelming.

2. Matte Finish

This is one of the most popular textures. If you want a laminate that resembles hardwood floors, this is the way to go.

3. Hand-Scraped Finish

This is not actually hand-scraped but is made to look like a hand-scraped hardwood floor.

4. Natural Wood Finish

This is another texture that makes the laminate feel a lot like natural wood. This authentic texturing has made it very popular.

5. Soft-Scraped Finish

In order to produce this particular texture, a subtle, timeworn finish is added to it. This type of laminate flooring has a subdued look.

6. Oiled Wood Finish

A rather traditional style of laminate flooring, this type of textured laminate resembles untreated natural wooden floors, making them look like they have been treated with natural oils.

7. High Gloss/Piano Finish

This type of finish is suitable for upscale modern interiors due to their shiny and elegant appearance.

8. Oxide Surface Finish

This metallic finish gives a small amount of shine and is used mostly for modern and chic interiors.

9. Slate/Stone Finish

Yes, this texture resembles a slate or stone-made floor.

Edge Type

Thanks to the edge type, you can understand how each plank of the laminate flooring is cut. Edge type significantly impacts the overall appearance of all planks. Whether they will float seamlessly together or have a defined edge depends a lot on this factor.

The primary types of laminate edges consist of:

1. Square Edge

In a traditional square-edge type, floors are finished with 90° edges, giving it a sleek look with a seamless transition between planks.

2. Micro-Bevel

In this case, laminate flooring planks have a very subtle rounded corner, or a micro-bevel. These are popular in modern homes.

3. Deep Bevel or V-Groove

Here, each plank is uniquely grooved, with defined edges in the shape of the letter “V.” This type of laminate flooring makes it look like there is only one solid wood plank throughout the entire room.

4. Rolled Bevel

The design and colour of the floor “roll over,” or go beyond the edges, giving each plank a realistic appearance without adding sharp edges.

5. Painted Bevel

The plank edges are painted for a more pronounced appearance.

Locking System

One of the biggest advantages of laminate flooring is that no hammer or nails are required to install them. They are locked using a glueless method and just need to be placed firmly to make a floating floor. The pattern of this locking system varies between manufacturers but are generally divided into two categories:

1. Tongue and Groove

Laminate flooring with the tongue and groove locking system is the most popular type. In this method, the pieces are interlocked. This is extremely secure, as the placement will not change once installed.

2. Mechanical

Sometimes laminates with a mechanical locking system are also used. In this method, aluminum-made mechanical locking systems are incorporated from underneath the planks to keep the pieces sticking together.

If you are fond of the solid wood look and are looking for a cost-effective alternative to hardwood flooring, laminate is your best choice. This flooring type is made using raw and recycled wood materials and can last a long time if you choose the right type.

10 Ultimate Laminate Flooring Installation Mistakes That You Must Avoid

Laminate flooring is a beautiful but affordable option for your home. If maintained well, it can last for years and retain its lustre. However, homeowners can make certain mistakes while choosing the laminate flooring brand and during installation which can turn your dream project into a costly disaster. Mistakes with your flooring can be extremely difficult to rectify which is why they must be avoided.

Ensure the flooring lasts for years in the future by following these tips.

  1. Using too much water

Using a wet mop is the easiest and quickest way to clean your floor. But excessive water can seep in through the cracks between the tiles and damage the underlayment and lead to swelling of the planks. The key is to use a little amount of water so that it doesn’t seep in but will be enough to clean the floor. Use a dry or dust mop instead of water for regularly cleaning. If you have to wipe a spot, dispense water in the area using a spray bottle.

Standing water can lead to warping and must be avoided at all costs. Also, one must make sure a suitable underlayment is used so that the planks do not get wet from the floor beneath it. when the core and joints are not treated sufficiently according to the prescribed water-repelling products, such troubles may arise.

  1. Being rough with a tapping block

Being too over-enthusiastic with the tapping block to set the laminate planks down can lead to chipping along the corners and indentation marks. If your floor planks are of high quality with click designs, you will not require the tapping blocks at all. However, tapping blocks are helpful installation tools that can ensure your floor planks are evenly laid if you use it correctly. The best solution will be to seek help from a professional floor installer and avoid attempting DIY for the best results.

  1. Not preventing mildew growth

If your floor planks start buckling, it will soon be followed with mildew and mould growth due to the excessive moisture. Seek help from professionals to identify the source of the mildew at the earliest and eradicate them. If the mildew growth gets deep-rooted, a simple clean-up will not solve the issue and you will have to go for significant structural repairs. Such fungal growths can also affect the health of the homeowners and should be eradicated as soon as signs show.

  1. Overusing the vacuum cleaner

Vacuuming and sweeping the laminate floor is the best way to maintain it. However, vigorous sweeping and using inappropriate vacuum cleaner attachments for it can do more damage than good. Make sure you turn the brush roll off to avoid scratching the floor. Opt for a microfiber dust mop to gently sweep the floor instead of using brooms with bristles which can scratch the floor surface.

  1. Not leaving enough expansion space

When you install the planks and don’t leave any space for expansion, they will push against each other and lead to raised joints. The core of the laminate floorboards contains wood particles which can expand and contract at varying temperatures. The best solution will be to ensure a minimum space is left between the floor planks while installing them so that they can expand and contract easily without leading to raised joints.

  1. Not giving enough time to acclimatize

Gapping can happen if you do not acclimatize the floor planks properly. Significant change in temperature between the places where the planks are stored and where it is installed can lead to expansion or contraction of the planks. Acclimatizing it properly is the simplest way to prevent gapping. Also try and store the planks in the room where it has to be installed to avoid such drastic temperature changes.

  1. Damage due to furniture

The furniture complements your interior décor but it can be rough on your floor if you do not take the necessary precautions. Pulling the heavy furniture across the room frequently can leave permanent scratch marks and dents on the floor. Use furniture pads at the bottom of heavy furniture to protect the floor against scuffing and gouging. These pads may wear out over time but can be replaced with minimum expense from any home improvement store. But ignoring this little addition can leave deep marks on the floor which can cost you heavily when you try to replace the planks.

  1. Streak marks from cleaner

Many homeowners complain about streak marks that are left on the laminate floor even after mopping. Floor cleaners can leave such streaks which can diminish the beauty of your flooring. Try using a different floor cleaner or less of it every time you mop the floor. Glass cleaning solutions and a little amount of water can also help you get rid of these marks. You must clean up such marks as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming permanent over time. Once you have finished mopping, buff the floor with a dry mop or absorbent towel to avoid such marks.

  1. Take note of pet damage

While laminate flooring is one of the most pet friendly flooring choices you have, it can get damaged too due to excessive abuse. Pet food crumbs and water from their dishes should be cleaned immediately to prevent lasting damage. Use absorbent pads under their food and water dishes to prevent such spills around them. This will also prevent scratching from their claws while they eat or drink.

  1. Consistent exposure to sunlight

Certain parts of the floor like the area right beneath a window is exposed to sunlight way more than other parts. Consistent exposure can lead to significant fading of that portion and the result will be irregular discolouration at places. Using proper window treatments to prevent constant and harsh sunlight or placing a carpet on those area will protect your floor better.

The features of laminate flooring make it a popular choice among homeowners who want to the look of hardwood flooring but within an affordable budget. If you take the necessary precautions against the above-mentioned problems, you can ensure that you get maximum utility out of the flooring material. Want to explore the various designs and grades of laminate flooring available near you? Amazon Hardwood Center can be your go-to place for high-quality laminate flooring in Toronto.

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring (Basic Characteristics & Differences)

Laminate-vs.-Vinyl-Flooring--Basic-Characteristics-and-Differences-Large

Whether you’re installing a new floor or replacing an old one, choosing the right material is crucial to your home’s overall look and feel.

With so many flooring options available (tile, wood, cork and bamboo among them), making the right choice isn’t easy. Caught in the debate between laminate and vinyl plank flooring? We’re here to help. Despite looking similar, they’re made with different materials and have unique characteristics.

Vinyl Flooring or Laminate – Which Is Right for You?

Laminate and vinyl planks share many similarities, but there are a few basic differences you should know about before making your choice. Let’s take a close look at some of the key differences.

  • Material

Vinyl is 100% synthetic, whereas laminate is made of 99% wood components.

In standard vinyl tiles and sheets, the base layer generally consists of fiberglass which is then covered with PVC vinyl and a plasticizer. The sheet is then printed and embossed using a surface print layer. The final product is coated in multiple wear layers and a film of no-wax polyurethane.

Laminates, on the other hand, have a primary layer of wood by-products bonded with resins. The top coat consists of a hard, transparent plastic that protects the inner printed design layer. Although laminate floors are durable, cost-effective and don’t fade much over time, they’re not waterproof. That means they shouldn’t be used in spaces with high moisture levels like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Vinyl floors, by contrast, are water resistant and can be installed anywhere.

  • Durability

While both flooring options are durable, each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Laminate, for instance, can withstand regular wear and tear for a long time, whereas vinyl runs the risk of being damaged. (Once the top layer is scratched, it can’t be fixed.) Vinyl is resistant to chips and scratches, which makes it a great choice for homes with pets. However, it’s soft and can be easily dented or cracked. When using vinyl floors, keep two things in mind. First, make sure you have protective covers on your chair and table legs; secondly, carefully change the position of your furniture occasionally.

  • Water Resistance

Almost all laminate floors have a fiberboard core (wood product), which softens and swells when exposed to water for a long time. It won’t return to its original shape and dimensions even after being dried. Moreover, the top wear coat and design layers may peel due to prolonged waterlogging. Severely damaged laminate floors can’t be repaired and usually require replacing.

While older varieties of vinyl flooring have a fabric or felt padding that’s not waterproof, newer ones are made of 100% polymer. Luxury vinyl floors can be exposed to water for a long time, dried out and reused.

  • Stability

The stability of the materials depends largely on their composition.

Since laminate flooring is made from high-density fibreboard made from recycled hardwood, it tends to expand and contract at extreme temperatures. Vinyl flooring is comparatively more adaptive.  It’s also more comfortable to walk on due to its softness but isn’t as warm as laminate. Vinyl’s natural noise insulation is greater than laminate floors and considered an extra benefit by many buyers.

  • Resale Value

Both luxury vinyl flooring and quality laminate flooring lend a decent amount of value to your home so long as it’s in good condition. Neither of these types of flooring can beat the value of real hardwood, engineered hardwood or natural stone floors. Quality laminate or vinyl floors can (and do), however, attract a good number of prospective homebuyers.

  • Pet Training

Since luxury vinyl is 100% waterproof, house training pets, especially dogs and cats, on it is doable. Its scratch-resistant surface keeps flooring safe against nail damage. Airborne allergens like pet hair and dander can be easily vacuumed. Urine should be cleaned up quickly, however, since vinyl isn’t resistant to smell.

Laminate, on the other hand, isn’t waterproof, which can make it difficult to house-train your pets. Dust and allergens can be easily cleaned off its smooth surface, but pet urine can seep into open cracks and leave a lasting smell or damage the fiberboard.

  • Cleaning

Laminate and vinyl floors are easy to clean. A weekly vacuum and occasional mop are all you need to keep it looking great.

However, since vinyl is waterproof, the cleaning process is a little easier. Vinyl floors can withstand wet or steam mopping, while laminate cannot. To thoroughly clean the latter, you’ll need a dry mop and a laminate-specific cleaning solution.

  • Environment

Traditional vinyl floors contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride or plastic) which is made with highly toxic ingredients that can have harmful     effects on plant, human and animal life.

Fortunately, today’s luxury vinyl floors don’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are safe for the environment. They’re also durable and have a long lifespan when properly cared for, which means there’s less waste when it comes to replacing them.

Unlike vinyl, laminate is mostly made of wood and doesn’t contain any plasticizers. However, they do emit some VOCs when the manufacturing is of low quality.

Both laminate and vinyl are versatile flooring materials with unique advantages and disadvantages. While vinyl is more durable, affordable and easy to clean, laminate has a slightly more authentic (and warm) feel and contributes to your home’s resale value. Use this simple guide to weigh the pros and cons of both types of flooring and make an informed choice that’s right for you and your home.

5 Best Kitchen Flooring Options for Your Home

Your kitchen is often the most used (and abused) place in your home. From spills and food stains to heavy foot traffic and dropped utensils, the flooring here has to endure a lot. This is why it’s important to have a floor that doesn’t just look good but can handle everyday wear. Since moisture and temperature fluctuations are common in kitchens, not every material is suitable as flooring. Balancing looks, comfort and functionality is the key to making the best choice.

5 Top Flooring Ideas for Your Kitchen

Today’s kitchen is more than just a place to cook; it’s a gathering place for friends and family and a focal point of household activities.

With all the daily wear and tear it endures, it’s important to choose a flooring material that can withstand the inevitable spills, splatters and traffic.

Below, we compare five different flooring materials to help you choose the best one for your kitchen.

  1. Engineered Hardwood

Hardwood is a durable and popular flooring material for most areas of the house but has always been considered a poor flooring choice for moisture-prone spaces like bathrooms and kitchens. But recent improvements like the use of modern sealers and polyurethane finishes have made it more durable and moisture resistant than ever.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Unlike solid hardwood flooring which expands and warps in humid and moist environments, engineered hardwood is much more resistant to warping and movement. Regular sweeping and mopping are all you need to keep your engineered hardwood floors in good shape.

Pros

  • Durable enough to endure a high amount of traffic
  • Increases your home’s resale value
  • Resists moisture adequately to handle kitchen spills
  • Versatile enough to fit into any kitchen style.

Cons

  • One of the most expensive flooring options
  • Difficult to replace a damaged plank
  • Made with resins and adhesives that may off-gas
  1. Porcelain Tile

Extremely hard and durable, porcelain floors are perfect for your hard-working kitchen.

During manufacture, porcelain is fired at an extremely high temperature that makes the tile hard and non-porous. In case of any spill, splatter or mess, all you need is a good mop.

Available in a range of colours, patterns and sizes, porcelain tiles can make your kitchen flooring both attractive and functional.

Pros: 

  • Extremely hard and long-lasting
  • Resistant to moisture, scratches and stains
  • Mimics the look of natural stone at a reasonable price

Cons:

  • Difficult to stand on for a long time
  • Chances of slip & fall accidents
  • Challenging to install on your own
  1. Natural Stone

When it comes to kitchen flooring, natural stone tiles are a common choice. While cork, wood and vinyl flooring are equally popular, they can’t match the sturdiness and durability of natural stone. With their natural pattern, grain and colour variations, stone tiles give a unique, earthy look to your kitchen.

From granite, marble and limestone to slate and travertine, there are many options to choose from.

Since stone floors are naturally cool, consider using subfloor radiant heat to keep the floor warm in winter.

Natural Stone Flooring

Pros: 

  • Can withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Doesn’t attract dust or allergens like carpets do
  • Increases your home’s resale value
  • Makes for an eco-friendly flooring choice
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons:

  • If moderately porous, needs to be treated with a sealing agent
  • Too expensive for budget builders
  • Sometimes brittle and can chip easily
  • Sometimes scratches easily if polished
  1. Rubber

A popular flooring option for gymnasiums and other heavy-foot traffic areas, rubber is equally favoured for kitchen floors because of its durability, flexibility and comfort. It’s also a great insulator that helps reduce your energy bills and is somewhat resistant to heat and moisture.

Pros:

  • Highly durable and resistant to wear and tear
  • Resistant to dust mites and allergens
  • Installation is easy and uncomplicated
  • Provides good grip (slip resistance) and walking comfort
  • Cleaning requires no more than a damp mop (never wet)

Cons:

  • Can be stained by greasy substances like butter and oil
  • Has an odour that lasts for some time after installation
  • Can catch fire when exposed to sufficient heat if synthetic
  1. Laminate

Laminate has been a popular kitchen flooring option for a long time. Advances in technology have resulted in sharper images, deeper embossing and better seaming mechanisms, which makes laminate flooring popular with today’s homeowners.

Its main advantage is its cost effectiveness, although higher-quality and costlier options are available.

In terms of durability, high-quality laminate floors can last 25 years or longer, whereas low-quality ones may need replacing after just a decade.

Pros: 

  • More affordable than hardwood, stone and luxury vinyl tiles
  • Softer and warmer under foot than concrete and stone
  • Available in a range of faux wood and tile options
  • Lower resale value compared to hardwood, tile or stone
  • Easy DIY installation

Cons:

  • Cannot be sanded or refinished when it starts getting worn
  • Susceptible to staining and warping from standing water
  • Not as quiet as carpet or vinyl

We hope this inventory of materials helps you make a smart decision about your kitchen flooring. If you have any questions regarding flooring and how it’s installed, get in touch with the experts at Amazon Hardwood.

7 Suitable Flooring Options for Homes with Dogs

Are you a dog owner looking to renovate your home? Or perhaps you want to adopt but need to make sure your flooring will hold up.

In either case, there is such a thing as pet-friendly flooring. Let’s look at your options.

Top 7 Dog-Friendly Flooring Options for Your Home

What is the most suitable flooring for your dog? Here, we look at seven of the best options.

  1. Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is one of the most popular flooring options. But it’s not recommended for homes with more than one pet as most types don’t stand up well to spills and they tend to stain easily.

But this isn’t true for all varieties of hardwood. If you have your heart set on it, opt for harder varieties as they are better at resisting the scuffs and scratches that may occur from pet nails. A great idea is to cross-check the Janka hardness scale of the wood you’re considering before buying. It’s best to choose a hardwood with a rating above 1250; definitely avoid ratings lower than 850.

Some suitable hardwoods include mahogany, maple, cherry, elm, hickory and oak. Steer clear of softer varieties like redwood, fir, birch, pine and cedar.

Durable hardwood still needs protection. To that end we suggest coating your flooring in urethane to make it resistant to stains and scratches and minimize damage from nails and dog urine.

  1. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is a suitable flooring material for dogs as it’s resilient.

It’s also one of the easiest materials to clean and maintain. This makes it suitable for allergy sufferers as it won’t trap any pet hair or dander. All you need to do is vacuum or sweep and mop.

Vinyl tiles and planks are stylish and cost-effective as well, making them a great option for every room. Additionally, your dog will love the cool surface provided by vinyl in summer and the warmth it offers in winter. It can also be paired with heated subfloors, offering even more comfort during the colder months.

Vinyl flooring also has enough grip for them not to skate across the floor or damage it.

Vinyl Flooring

  1. Laminate Flooring

If you don’t require waterproof flooring, you could choose a water-resistant option, such as laminate, which, when cared for properly, can last many years.

Although not waterproof, as is necessary for rooms that experience high humidity, like kitchens and bathrooms, laminate does offer ample time to clean up spills. This makes it a good choice for homes with puppies as there’s no need to worry about them peeing or spilling water.

We recommend choosing a thicker 12mm laminate with underlayment to eliminate the noise your dog’s claws can create.

Laminate Flooring

  1. Bamboo

A durable and stylish option for homes with pets, bamboo flooring is similar to hardwood in many ways.

It stands up well to wear and tear, resists scratches, and offers enough traction to keep your pet from slipping and sliding. It also retains heat, making it comfortable both for you and your furry friend(s).

There are many varieties of bamboo, but your best bet is strand-woven bamboo as it will stand up best to your pet’s nails. It’s also an eco-friendly flooring option as fewer pesticides are required to keep growing bamboo healthy and it requires no fertilizer when planted. Bamboo has a more positive impact on the environment than hardwood, allowing homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint.

  1. Carpet Tiles

Though wall-to-wall carpeting is one of the most comfortable flooring options for both homeowners and dogs, pets can be especially hard on it. This is because carpets trap odours, allergens and stains, and can be ruined by pet nails snagging on fibres.

If you still prefer carpets, it’s advisable to choose carpet tiles. These offer the advantages of carpet (ease of mobility, warmth, comfort) and if any section were to get soiled or damaged, they can be easily cleaned or replaced.

  1. Cork Flooring

Cork is a great choice for homes with dogs because of its antimicrobial properties. This means that even if your pet has an accident inside, it won’t promote bacterial growth like mould or mildew, or develop other types of harmful allergens.

An added advantage of cork flooring is its ability to absorb sound, ensuring your pets can roam around noiselessly.

Cork flooring is scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof, so it’s a good idea to keep your dog’s nails trimmed. If you’re worried about scratches being visible on the flooring, choose a lighter shade to minimize their appearance. For added protection have your cork flooring finished with a tough, scratch-resistant finishing product.

Since cork is an affordable flooring option (being available between $2 to $7 per square foot), it can be installed throughout your home.

  1. Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Porcelain and ceramic tile floors are easy to keep clean by wiping them daily. Unlike other materials, cork holds up well to water and humidity, making it suitable for rooms like kitchens and bathrooms.

Since it requires a cement board underlayment, there’s no need to worry about hollow spots that may result in noises due to the click-clacking of your pet’s claws. Tiles may not be suitable for older dogs, however, as they may have a tough time gaining traction. In that case it’s better to install tiles with a thicker grouting line, or you can find varieties that offer better traction. Check with your flooring provider.

Additional Tips:

  • Clean up pet accidents as soon as possible. Remember, even stain-resistant flooring can retain bad smells if the mess is allowed to sit. Follow manufacturer instructions to clean specific flooring types as some may require specialized products to keep in the best condition.
  • By keeping your pets’ nails well-groomed, you can reduce the damage that they can do to your flooring.
  • To reduce accidents, make sure your dogs are properly house-trained.

Choosing the right flooring will keep both you and your pet happy. Thanks to the wide range of pet-friendly materials and designs available, you can select flooring that suits your home’s decor while being comfortable for your pets.

Amazon Hardwood Center