Laminate Flooring Essentials: Frequently Asked Questions

Laminate flooring has been a popular choice for homeowners for decades. It's affordable, durable, and easy to maintain, which makes it an attractive option for those who want the look of hardwood or tile without the price tag. But if you're considering laminate flooring for your home, there are likely many questions that come to mind. What is laminate flooring? How is it made? Can it be installed over existing flooring? In this Laminate Flooring FAQ guide, we'll answer all of your most frequently asked questions so that you can make an informed decision about this type of flooring. From the basics like what it's made of, to more specific concerns like how to clean it and when to replace it, we've got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about laminate flooring! 

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is a type of synthetic flooring that simulates the look of natural materials, such as wood or stone. The flooring is made up of several layers that are fused together, including a backing layer, a core layer, a decorative layer, and a protective layer.

Is laminate flooring made of wood?

No, laminate flooring is not made of wood. The core layer of laminate flooring is typically made of high-density fiberboard or particle board, and the decorative layer is a high-resolution photograph of a natural material, such as wood or stone.

What colours and finishes are available for laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is available in a wide range of colours and finishes, including natural wood tones like oak and walnut, as well as grey and other neutral shades. The finish can be smooth or textured, depending on the desired look.

Is laminate flooring water-resistant?

Yes, laminate flooring is water-resistant, but not waterproof. This means that while it can withstand exposure to moisture and spills, it should not be submerged in water.  It's important to note that there are now waterproof laminate flooring options available in the market, specifically designed with enhanced water resistance properties. These waterproof laminate products typically feature special construction techniques, such as water-resistant core materials and airtight locking systems, to provide better protection against moisture. If you require flooring with a higher level of water resistance, it's advisable to consider these specific waterproof laminate options.

Can laminate flooring be installed in a kitchen?

Yes, laminate flooring is a great option for kitchens because of its water-resistant properties. However, it's important to use an underlay and to follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation.

How durable is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is known for its durability and can hold up well in high-traffic areas like hallways and living rooms. However, it can scratch and dent over time, so it's important to maintain it properly.

Is laminate flooring easy to clean?

Yes, laminate flooring is easy to clean and maintain. Simply sweep or vacuum regularly and mop with a damp cloth or a cleaner made specifically for laminate flooring.

Can I install laminate flooring myself?

Yes, laminate flooring is easy to install and can be done as a DIY project. However, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use proper tools and techniques.

What are the benefits of laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is easy to install and maintain, making it a popular option for homes and commercial spaces. It is water-resistant and moisture-proof, making it ideal for use in kitchens, hallways and living rooms. It is also easy to clean and durable, and comes in a range of colours, finishes and wood effects to suit any decor.

How does laminate flooring compare to real wood?

Cost: Generally, laminate flooring is more budget-friendly compared to hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring can mimic the appearance of hardwood at a lower cost per square foot.

Durability: Hardwood flooring is known for its durability and longevity, as it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is highly resistant to scratches and fading but cannot be sanded or refinished. It's essential to choose laminate flooring with a durable wear layer for long-term durability.

Installation: Both laminate and hardwood flooring can be installed in various ways, including floating, glue-down, or nail-down methods. However, laminate flooring is generally easier to install as it often features a click-lock system that allows for a straightforward, DIY-friendly installation.

Appearance: Hardwood flooring offers a timeless, natural look with unique grain patterns and textures. Laminate flooring can replicate the appearance of hardwood through high-quality photographic imagery and embossed textures. While laminate flooring can closely resemble hardwood, some individuals may still prefer the authentic look and feel of real wood.

Maintenance: Both laminate and hardwood flooring require regular maintenance, but laminate flooring is generally easier to clean and maintain. Laminate flooring can be swept, vacuumed, or damp-mopped, while hardwood flooring may require more delicate cleaning methods and specific hardwood floor cleaners.

Does laminate flooring come with underlay?

Some types of laminate flooring feature built-in underlay, but it is also possible to purchase underlay separately. Underlay is important for ensuring that laminate flooring is installed correctly and helps to prevent moisture from seeping through the subfloor.

How do I find the perfect laminate flooring for my home?

With a range of laminate flooring options available, it can be challenging to find the right one for your home. Browse a range of samples and consult with a flooring expert to ensure you find the perfect laminate flooring for your space and decor.

Is laminate flooring easy to install?

Yes, laminate flooring is relatively easy to install, thanks to its interlocking planks that fit together easily. However, it is important to ensure that the subfloor is level and prepared correctly before laying the new flooring. It may be best to seek professional help to ensure the best results.

How long will my laminate flooring last?

Laminate flooring is durable and can last for many years if installed and maintained correctly. Most manufacturers offer warranties of between 15 and 30 years for their laminate flooring products. However, the actual lifespan of your flooring will depend on factors such as the level of foot traffic, exposure to moisture, and the quality of the installation. With proper care and maintenance, your laminate flooring can last for over 20 years or even longer. Regular cleaning and avoiding harsh chemicals or abrasive tools when cleaning can help prolong the lifespan of your flooring.  

Can laminate flooring be installed over existing tile or hardwood?

Yes, in many cases, laminate flooring can be installed over existing tile or hardwood floors. However, there are important considerations to keep in mind:

Condition of the existing floor: The existing tile or hardwood floor should be in good condition, with no loose or damaged sections. It should be even and level, without significant height variations or dips.

Clean and smooth surface: The surface of the existing floor should be thoroughly cleaned and free of debris, adhesive residues, or wax. It should also be smooth and without any protrusions that could affect the installation or cause unevenness.

Height adjustment: Installing laminate flooring over an existing floor will raise the overall floor height. This may require adjustments to door clearances, baseboards, and transitions to other rooms. Ensure that the additional height won't cause any issues with door functionality or access.

Compatibility with underlayment: Depending on the specific laminate flooring and the condition of the existing floor, you may need to use an underlayment to provide a suitable base for the laminate. Check the manufacturer's recommendations and warranty guidelines for compatibility with underlayment over existing flooring types.

Consultation with professionals: It's recommended to consult with flooring professionals or follow the manufacturer's guidelines for installation over existing floors. They can provide specific recommendations and guidance based on the type of laminate flooring and the condition of the existing floor.