A laminate floor is a composite floor with either a chipboard or HDF core, bonded to a film of wood-effect veneer and covered with a laminated surface. Although it may look like wood veneer flooring, it’s not. Most laminate floors feature a photographic representation of wood grain and, unlike wood veneers, laminates cannot be sanded or refurbished once it starts to show wear.
In terms of aesthetic appeal, it’s hard to beat laminates or wood-look overlay floors. They offer great value, plus they’re warm underfoot, flexible and have their good looks last a long time. However, the wide range of laminate flooring available can be somewhat confusing – to properly choose the right laminate flooring to buy, you need to understand what flooring will best suit your needs.
Whether you’re constructing a new house or just remodeling, laminate can offer unique, attractive flooring – especially in high-traffic areas. And if you love how real hardwood looks but don’t like the high cost, laminate floors can provide the same look for a much lower price. The best thing about laminate floors is that they can be installed easily by the homeowner.
Laminate floors were invented in Europe and are now a popular flooring choice for North American consumers who can choose from a huge assortment of manufacturers offering diverse styles and colors. Laminate flooring is available in various plank widths and square-tile sizes to suit different floor measurements. The designs include realistic hardwood, stone and tile..
Most manufacturers of laminate flooring use sophisticated computer technology to develop realistic designs, and the top layer — the “wear layer” — is incredibly durable. Laminate flooring is resistant to most stains, spills, burns and scratches.
Laminate floors are “floated” over most common substrates, such as concrete, plywood, and even other floor coverings. The planks and tiles have edges that lock together, but aren’t secured to the subfloor.
There are also some laminate floors that don’t require glue at all and simply snap together. Glueless installation makes laminate floors easy to install, with no professional assistance needed. Some brands come pre-glued from the factory and only require a little moisture to activate the adhesive.
Where to buy inexpensive laminated flooring
Some of the most popular and affordable laminate flooring is made by Mohawk, Pergo, Mannington, Wilsonart, Armstrong, Shaw, Quick-Step, Witex and Alloc. Laminate flooring is widely available from retailers in your area, or you can search for flooring online. You can find great deals on the Internet, since many Internet dealers don’t have the same overhead expenses as local flooring retailers.