Laminate flooring is a great alternative to hardwood flooring is available at a fraction of the cost. Here are some great deals on laminate flooring.

What is laminate flooring?

Often the holy grail of remodelers and restoration specialists, hardwood floors are an expensive option for homeowners seeking quality and beauty. Available in oak, ash and cherry, the wood planks or strips must be cared for carefully. Wood flooring is vulnerable to moisture, stains and scratches, but laminate flooring costs less than wood flooring, resists stains and can resemble natural wood. Laminate is manmade, environmentally-friendly flooring meant to resemble natural textures like wood, rock and ceramic tile. Each plank, strip or tile is constructed in four layers: the balancing layer, the core, the pattern and the wear layer. The balancing layer is at the bottom and is a moisture barrier. The core is comprised of high-density, resin-saturated fiberboard. The pattern is a thin layer of paper with a pattern, wood or stone, printed on it, and the wear layer is a clear resin, melamine, that protects against scratches, moisture and stains.

Shopping for laminate flooring

Measuring your room is just the beginning. Since laminate flooring can resemble natural wood, think about the texture you would like under your feet. The flooring's planks can feature knots and wormholes or swirls resembling burlwood. Since your flooring arrives prefinished, you can choose a glossy or matte finish to match the room's mood, color scheme and purpose. You can get the flooring in planks, strips or tiles but it can look like a rocky path or marble tile. You can choose colors invoking driftwood at a beach house or the warm reds of a cherry hope chest. Unlike natural wood flooring laminate does not come in parquet squares, but you can lay laminate wood tiles in any pattern you like. You will also need underlayment, a base layer that muffles sound and protects against moisture. Remember, since laminate can feature any texture, you can find flooring resembling stone or ceramic tile in almost any color.

Shopping for laminate flooring

Finishing touches and extras

After sliding and snapping your way to a new floor, You will see the bare wall meeting the raw edge of your planks. Instead of having an abrupt halt, consider adding a matching wall base. You can add reducer strips that smooth transitions between the laminate and a tiled or carpeted floor or end caps for connecting doorways. Some laminate flooring come with options like noise-reducing underlayment.

Finishing touches and extras

What does laminate flooring cost?

If you seek moderately priced flooring, Quick Step laminate flooring may have the best product for the DIY homeowner. While you will need a few tools, you may need a few accessories to give your floor a finished look. On the other hand, Mannington laminate flooring may be pricier because the company recommends professional installation. Hiring professionals can cost between $200 and $500 if the project is small, and moving your furniture may raise the price. Laminate flooring cost rises as the planks' realism increases. A lower priced-laminate do-it-yourself kit can cost between 90 cents and $2 if you buy thinner flooring, 6 to 7mm thick. Whether you install the floor yourself or have professionals do it for you, you will need to remove the existing flooring.

Installing laminate flooring

With tools and a friend, you can install Quick Step laminate flooring as a weekend project once the floor is ready. However, flooring laminate must acclimate after it is delivered but before you install it. Let the flooring sit in the room for two or three days before you begin your installation, and remember to leave a ¼ inch between the floor's edge and the room's walls for seasonal expansion and weather changes. The planks slide and click, locking together on top of your underlayment system. By contrast, the Mannington laminate flooring company suggests you hire a professional to install their laminate flooring. Quick Step's flooring is designed to be installed without glue or nails and comes in planks divided into two or three strips. Where Quick Step has the do-it-yourself homeowner in mind, Mannington's flooring has a high-end feel with the company presenting the flooring in their Revolutions Collection as single planks similar to natural flooring packaging.

Caring for your laminate flooring

Spills, gouges and stains can threaten a wood floor's appearance and although you may find a lot of tips, cleaning a wood floor can be risky. Like vinyl flooring, laminate flooring resists moisture better than natural wood and is easier to clean. You never wax, sand or polish the floor and you will not need a soap-based detergent. However, use door mats and floor runners to catch dirt and mud from outdoors and to ease wear and tear in high-traffic areas.

Laminates and warranties

Since laminate is a manufactured product, you may have warranty concerns, so be careful when removing stains. Some manufacturers have strict guidelines and provide charts with stains and the manufacturer's approved stain removal methods. Your residential warranty may specifically cover normal household conditions and may not help if your floor is accidentally ruined with a detergent meant for commercial or industrial cleaning. So factor this in when calculating laminate flooring costs.