Is Laminate Flooring Any Good?

laminate flooring in kitchen

Is Laminate Flooring Any Good?

Laminate flooring is an increasingly popular option for you to get an innovative and stylish floor for a fraction of the price of timber flooring. Composed of a print layer sandwiched between a top protective layer and a particleboard substrate, laminate flooring can have a variety of attractive designs whilst still being hard wearing and easy to install. In recent years, improvements in texturing and graphics reproduction have allowed modern laminate flooring to realistically mimic surfaces such as hand-scraped hardwood, traditional oak, and even the weathered appearance of polished stone.

But are laminate floors any good? Yes! In 2020 and beyond, we believe laminate floors are an incredible flooring option that meets the needs and budget of many Aussie households. This article will explore the pros and cons of laminate flooring so that you can decide whether it’s right for your home.

Benefits of laminate flooring

It’s affordable

Laminate flooring is a cheap option for you to spruce up your existing place, or to install into a new home. In fact, on average, it costs 50% less than getting a hardwood floor fully installed!

Part of the reason why laminate flooring can be so cheap is in the installation – you can install it as a floating floor over your existing floor (unless you have carpet), which reduces preparation and installation costs. Additionally, as laminate flooring is not made from real timber (from trees) but instead from HDF particleboards (a mix of melamine resin and fibreboards), the cost of the floors are also lower than their timber alternatives.

It’s stylish and versatile

Although laminate flooring is affordable, it can be just as (or even more) stylish than their timber counterparts! Interior designers imagine and create beautiful timber, oak, tile and innovative designs that will pair well with a home’s furniture. They then use advanced high definition printing and embossing technology, to create the print layer of laminate flooring can entirely reproduce the texture and look of surfaces such as wood, stone and even metal! In fact, FloorVenue has over 80 colours and styles of laminate flooring, making it easy to find the perfect option for the style of your home.

It’s highly durable

Laminate flooring is highly durable due to its hard scratch-resistant top layer, making it perfect for high-traffic areas such as the living room. Due to this, laminate flooring is far more scratch-resistant than their timber, oak, and bamboo alternatives. In 2020, some laminate floors can also resist liquid spills and accidents created by your pets, although it’s still best practice to wipe liquid off as soon as possible. Finally, the topcoat of laminate floors are usually UV-resistant, which means that laminate flooring doesn’t fade and can maintain its attractive appearance over many years.

It’s easy to install

As previously mentioned, laminate flooring can be installed above your existing floor, making it easier to install. Newer types of laminate flooring also use an interlocking system which allows planks of laminate to click together with each other, which also removes the cost of having to use glue.

It’s easy to maintain and hygienic

Laminate flooring is also easy to maintain because it uses interlocking planks that prevent any gaps where bacteria, mould, or any other allergens can live, unlike surfaces such as carpets. This means that sweeping, vacuuming or using a laminate floor cleaner is generally enough to ensure that your flooring stays clean and hygienic. In the long run, laminate flooring also does not require any sanding, polishing, waxing or buffing, which means lower costs and time wasted on maintenance.

It’s comfortable

Laminate flooring feels solid underfoot and comes in a variety of surface finishes (smooth and glossy, or textured and matte), so it’s a very comfortable floor that can adapt to your particular requirements. You could even pair laminate floors with premium and acoustic underlay, which provides greater sound reduction and stability underfoot.

As they’re comfortable for people, laminate flooring is comfortable for your pets too, particularly if they sleep on the floor. 

Problems with laminate flooring

As with any other type of flooring, laminate flooring also has a number of drawbacks. Here’s a few:

It’s vulnerable to moisture

Although some newer laminate floors feature improved water-resistance, they have traditionally been susceptible to water and moisture. Whilst the surfaces themselves are water-resistant, water can still seep through the click-lock joints if left to sit for long periods of time. Over time, this could cause the floorboard to expand and warp in shape.  In addition, any moisture that builds up underneath the flooring can also cause unsightly lifting.

To help prevent this from occurring, make sure to wipe up any spills as soon as they occur and you shouldn’t have any problems. Fortunately, if you have water-damaged floors, you can replace only the floorboards that have been damaged and don’t need to replace the entire floor. 

It may contain toxins

There are hundreds of types and brands of laminate floors available in the Sydney market.   Some manufacturers of laminate flooring use chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in places such as the adhesive used to bond the laminate floor’s core, which may be harmful to your health. These chemicals may emit fumes that can cause irritation and allergic reactions.

This problem, however, is dependent on the type of laminate flooring you use – if you’re unsure, make sure to check with the supplier if they have used any chemicals in the production of the flooring, as well as any recommended actions needed to ventilate the gasses produced. At FloorVenue, we strictly only stock laminate flooring that meets the most stringent emission ratings – E1 for laminate flooring.

It can look unnatural

Depending on the quality of laminate you purchase, the print layer can look ‘fake’ when examined closely. In addition, the patterns between laminate floorboards can also repeat itself too frequently, which is unlike the real patterns of natural wood. To help mitigate this, make sure that you choose higher-quality laminate flooring from established suppliers and stagger the boards when laying them so that the patterns look more natural. 

It can sound a bit hollow

Because laminate flooring tends to be a little thinner than timbers and ‘floats’ on top of a subfloor when installed, it may sound slightly hollower when stepped on. This may be a problem if you need your room to be quiet, but the noise is usually decreased through the use of an acoustic underlayment.

It can’t be refinished

Unlike hardwood, laminate flooring can’t be refinished if it becomes worn over time. However, laminate floors have a more durable surface and are also much cheaper to replace than other types of flooring.

It’s not biodegradable

Because laminate flooring is synthetic and contains chemicals that are dangerous to incinerate, it is not biodegradable. However, arguably, laminate flooring is more eco-friendly because it doesn’t result in the deforestation required to produce timber flooring.

So is laminate flooring any good?

So is laminate flooring any good? We certainly think so! Laminate flooring is a great and affordable option for your home, whether you’re renovating your tired rooms or building from scratch. It’s easy to install and maintain, which means that your laminate flooring will look great for years to come.

Need help choosing between the large variety of laminate flooring for your home? FloorVenue is here to help – we offer free onsite quotations to discuss your particular requirements, and can install floors with our experienced team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Laminate flooring is ultimately synthetic and not made of real timber. Here are some common disadvantages of laminate floors:

  1. Laminate flooring is not waterproof. This restricts where it can be installed and has higher maintenance.
  2. Laminate flooring can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which cause respiratory irritation.
  3. Laminate flooring may appear fake or suffer from pattern repetition amongst cheaper ranges.

Most of these disadvantages can be avoided by properly researching the flooring range to ensure they have proper water resistance, design and ‘E0’ emission standards.

Laminate flooring is actually one of the most durable flooring options in the market. The upper wear layer protects the surface from scratches and sunlight. They can last up to 25 years, provided that they are 8mm thick or above. Thinner laminate flooring may not be as hardy.

Laminate flooring is a great low cost alternative to hardwood for investment housing as it is very durable. It is important to choose higher quality laminate floors, as cheaper laminates may look fake and lack water resistance which can definitely harm the longevity and desirability of the property.

When choosing laminate flooring, you should always consider the durability, water resistance and design.

If you are looking for a realistic timber design and feel, consider the premium Hugo laminate flooring. Hugo laminate offers AC4 protection, 48 hours of water resistance and a 25 year structural warranty, making it one of the highest grade laminate flooring in the market.

The optimum range would be 8mm to 12mm thickness for laminate flooring. Any thinner and you will have less impact resistance and louder echo sounds. If you subfloor is not the most even, thicker laminate flooring will help reduce the floorboard movement. However, also notice that price can significantly increase across different thicknesses. 12mm is optimum for a long lasting laminate floor with a luxury feel.

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