Why Laminate Flooring is So Popular in New Homes?
Laminate flooring has been around for a few decades, but if you’re thinking about that faux tile patterned floor that was in your grandmother’s kitchen and sometimes peeled up at the edges, we’ve got some news. Thanks to technology and innovation, today’s laminate floors are much more durable, vastly better looking, and dare we say… more desirable than the first iterations of this product from the 1970s. In fact, due to its ease of installation, lower cost, simple maintenance, and wide variety of design choices, more and more homeowners today prefer it to other flooring materials. Let’s take a look at how laminate flooring has improved over the years, and the benefits of installing it in your new custom home today.
Before we dive in, though, let’s summarize how laminate floors are made. This will help explain why they are so well designed to withstand years of use and still look incredible.
Laminate floors typically consist of four layers. The backing layer keeps moisture out and prevents water from infiltrating the floor. The fiberboard core makes up the bulk of the thickness and is the most important element in terms of stability and impact resistance. The graphic, or decorative, layer is printed, styled, and textured to make the floor look like whatever material it is mimicking. Lastly, the top, or wear, layer protects the floor from scratches and fading, and gives it shine. Innovations in the fiberboard core and the graphic layer are what have driven the durability and appeal of laminate flooring today.
What Are the Benefits of Laminate Floors?
Many Design Options
While the laminate floors of yesteryear mainly replicated tile patterns from around the globe, today’s versions can mimic just about any material used for flooring, including hardwood, tile, stone, and others. Many homeowners love the look of hardwoods, and laminate is a great choice to complete the design of a home, even when the real material is too expensive or just not available. Some of the more popular looks include embossed, which mimics the texture of real wood; hand scraped, a technique that creates an aged look; or distressed, which creates a unique and rare appearance for each individual plank. Laminate flooring can be produced in any wood color, from whitewash to gray.
Less Expensive Than Hardwood
At one time, solid hardwood was considered the gold standard of flooring. That has changed. As many benefits as there are with hardwoods, there are a few drawbacks, too. The cost of materials plus the high cost of professional installation make this product unattainable for many homeowners. Laminate is not only less expensive to produce and install, its unique “click and lock” system means serious DIYers can lay down a beautiful floor in no time. Laminate flooring reduces the cost of any new home build or renovation project.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
A quick sweep or vacuum and a swipe of a damp mop is all you need to clean and care for your laminate floor! Spills and stains come up easily due to the thick top layer, and because of the nature of the material, it doesn’t trap dust or allergens — making it a top choice for allergy and sinus sufferers. A quick wipe is all you usually need to thoroughly clean your floor. You’ll never need to wax or refinish a laminate floor as you would hardwoods to keep it looking beautiful. Laminate is also very hard to scratch or scuff up, extending the new look of your flooring for years.
While most laminate is not waterproof, it stands up well to spills as long as standing water is not left on it for too long, which could compromise the top wear layer. Continued advances in technology, though, have begun producing amazing laminate options that hold up well in more water prone areas like basements and bathrooms.
With solid hardwood flooring, wastage — the amount that is discarded due to cutting, inconsistencies in the look, or defective pieces — is estimated at between 5 and 20 percent. That means you have to buy that much more wood to make sure you have enough for the job. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, has a consistent quality and appearance from board to board, so you buy only what you’ll use.
Depending on the quality of the manufacturing and the amount of wear on your floor, laminate can last between 15 and 25 years. In terms of return on investment, that’s definitely a positive!
Overall, laminate flooring has come a long way since its debut and is now a preferred choice for homeowners who want to save money and still enjoy a quality, low-maintenance, great-looking floor for many years. To learn about the laminate flooring options for your new home in the Grand Rapids area, you can browse our gallery or contact Cindy at 616-205-5430.