4 Pros & 4 Cons of Laminate Flooring (Simple Guide)
Developed as an attractive and affordable alternative to solid hardwood flooring, today’s laminate floors come in a range of designs, patterns, and textures.
With high-definition imaging, deeper embossing, improved seaming mechanisms, and a host of other innovations, it’s difficult to differentiate solid hardwood from laminate these days. Additionally, high-quality laminated flooring has a clear ‘wear layer’ that acts as a protective coating.
Of course, no flooring material is perfect. Let’s take a closer look at its pros and cons. Then, decide if it’s the right flooring option for your home.
Laminate Flooring Review: Benefits and Drawbacks
Laminate is a beautiful, cost-effective flooring option that has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Keep reading for insights into its pros and cons.
Laminate Flooring: Pros
1. It’s Affordable
A lot of people choose laminate flooring due to its cost-effectiveness. Since it’s typically made of composite wood pressed together at high temperatures, it’s more affordable than natural wood, which can be quite costly depending on the species.
What’s more, laminate floors are lightweight and easy to install over any substrate (surface) without the hassle of having to remove or dismantle an existing floor. Depending on the condition of your existing floor and subfloor, you can install laminate over vinyl, tile, or hardwood floors. They can be installed quickly using a tongue-and-groove system, wherein the planks or tiles are joined in an interlocking fashion, edge to edge and end to end. This saves money on installation and requires only a few tools, most of which are regular household items; no need for nails or special equipment.
The difference in pricing depends on the thickness of the wear layer and the quality of the print layer.
Another advantage is that if you ever plan to move, the entire laminate flooring can be easily dismantled and reassembled at your new residence.
2. It’s Eco-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 elsewhere. Its DIY-friendly tongue-and-groove 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 one of the best eco-friendly flooring materials for your home or office.
3. It’s Versatile
Laminate floors have come a long way in recent years. While they 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 will help you choose a flooring type to match the exact style and theme of a given room, whether it’s rich and elaborate or chic and contemporary.
Laminate floors can be installed almost everywhere, including your living room, bedroom, or any other high-traffic area.
4. It’s Both 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. In fact, high-quality laminate floors have a sturdy wear layer (mostly of aluminum oxide) that can withstand occasional scratches better than many other flooring materials.
Laminate Flooring: Cons
1. Its Lifespan Is Limited
The average lifespan of laminated floors usually ranges between 10 and 30 years, depending on the quality of the core material and top layer. A thicker core of HDF will be more stable against water infiltration and everyday wear and tear (for example, scratches from moving heavy furniture).
For enhanced longevity, avoid dragging chairs or furniture over the floor, using harsh cleaning agents, or ignoring any spills.
2. Its Surface Is Hard
Just like hardwood, laminate floors may feel hard on feet and produce a hollow sound when walked upon. To avoid this inconvenience, install a foam layer on the substrate before installing the laminate planks. This lowers sound transmission and comforts feet when standing or walking.
3. It Cannot Be Repaired
One of the biggest drawbacks of laminate flooring is that, unlike hardwood, it cannot be refinished or repaired in case of damage. With everyday use and cleaning, the top layer will slowly wear away, exposing your floor to further damage.
In case of scratches or dents, the individual planks or tiles have to be replaced; in case of widespread damage, the entire floor has to be changed.
Always check the warranty of your laminate flooring before buying. High-quality products are usually somewhat expensive and come with longer warranty periods. Avoid cheap laminate flooring for this reason.
4. It’s Not Waterproof
Although laminate flooring is moisture resistant, it is not 100% waterproof. A major spill or excessive water pooling can lead to warping and, eventually, complete floor replacement.
If you’re considering laminate flooring in moisture-prone areas, think about gluing planks at the joints for enhanced moisture protection. With advanced technology, some laminate planks come with 24-hour moisture protection to reduce accident-related damages. Although this is a welcome move in the laminate flooring industry, it isn’t a guarantee that your floor will be 100% protected against moisture.
If you have your heart set on hardwood but want to save money on installation, laminate is a great choice. However, while it’s perfectly attractive and economical, it doesn’t carry the real estate value found with solid wood or stone tile flooring. Consider your budget, needs, and long-term plans before deciding if laminate is the right option for your home.