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Laminate Flooring

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Laminate Flooring
The laminate flooring guide is an informative article on various features of laminate flooring - buying, installation and maintenance.

Laminates are popular as flooring option on account of their durability, cost and ease in installation. Residential laminates come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, most of which are designed to match the underlying surface. Laminates that resemble glass, tiles and wood give you a wide range of style options.

Laminate flooring can be easily laid over the existing floor layer. Check out our tips on comparing laminates so as to make a more informed choice. Learn more about installing laminate floors. Though laminate floors are usually professionally installed, you can undertake to install them yourself provided you are well equipped with the tools, skill and the know-how.

Laminate flooring Guide

  • The outermost wear layer: This is the laminate surface that offers protection against sunlight and stains

  • The pattern layer: This provides the laminate with styles varying from wood finish to clear maple or bright colors.

  • The fiberboard layer: The HDF (High Density Fiberboard) layer provides the strength and resistance.

  • Backing layer that acts as a moisture barrier. This is a thermo-fused backing that provides strength and protection.

Laminate layers are manufactured by bonding these layers under extreme heat and pressure. The laminate planks come in different styles with warranties for 10 to 25 years. Laminate flooring is versatile and can be used in different areas of the house. Laminates can be installed in the upper or lower floors of a home or even in the basement. It is not advisable to install laminate flooring in the bathrooms on account of the moisture. Some laminate companies offer a special laminate for bathrooms. Care has to be taken to ensure that the installation and application instructions are adhered to.

Types of laminate installation

Glued laminate flooring:This type of laminate flooring has been in use since a long time. The specially formulated glue is applied to the tongue and grooved areas of each plank. This offers excellent bonding.

Pre-glued laminate flooring:In this sort of laminate, the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves and makes for easier and quicker installation.

Glueless laminate flooring:This is a radical method of laminate installation. Laminate flooring of this sort is portable. With this technique of laminate installation, the floor rests above the sub floor sans gluing. Glueless flooring can be used immediately unlike glued versions where you have to wait for about 36 hours before you can walk on it. This type of flooring is available in pre-finished and laminated form. Manufacturers of floating floors provide a vapor retardant to cushion the floor. Floating flooring can be installed over existing tiles and makes for easier and quicker installation.

Maintaining laminate flooring

Laminate floors are extremely think and dense and involves easier maintenance. Polish does not stick to the floor. Vacuuming, mopping or damp towel are enough to clean the floor. Maintenance for laminate flooring:

  • Vacuuming or dust moping to remove the dirt

  • Damp mop using warm water

  • Change water repeatedly to keep clean

  • Avoid polish or wax

  • Do not use abrasives, scouring powder or steel wool

  • wipe off spills immediately

  • Use glides or cushioned bottom protectors under chairs and tables to prevent possible scratching.

  • Use floor mats to prevent dirt coming in from outside.

Compare laminate flooring

Decorative laminate is wear-resistant and relatively easy to install. You must be careful to choose laminates with strong locking mechanisms. If they are of poor quality, gaps will be formed between the seams due to poor tongue locks. Compare the laminate flooring textures. Cheaper versions tend to have an insipid plastic look. Choose laminates where the color extends to the laminate core.

Install laminate floor

The key to installation is proper layout and preparation. While installing you must keep in mind that the sub floor must be kept clean. The following guidelines are important while installing laminate flooring:

  • The sub floor must not have any prominent high or low spots. If any, they must be evened off before laminating.

  • Laminate flooring is generally bought a few days prior to actually laying it. Allow laminate floors to acclimatize to the surroundings for about 2 -3 days.

  • Plan your laminate installation so that any irregularities in the ending wall are hidden by furniture.

  • When installing laminate over concrete floors, you must always use a polyethylene film as a vapor barrier. The film should not be installed on top of wood floors or other organic flooring.

  • Underlying foam is very important - to add to the comfort as well as to deaden the noise.

The tools required for installing laminate floors:

  • Hammer

  • Stanley knife

  • Crosscut Handsaw or Jigsaw

  • Drill and Hole-cutter (for fitting round pipes)

  • Folding Ruler or Tape Measure

  • T-square

  • Pencil Hammering Block

  • Spacers

  • Pull-bar

  • Glue for Hardwood Flooring

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