For Santa Cruz residents looking into installing hardwood floors you’ve likely noticed that the worst thing about hardwood floors is the expense related to buying and installing them. Solid hardwood can be very expensive, and engineered hardwood, while cheaper, is more expensive and difficult to install that solid. The last best option then is laminate, but unlike both solid and engineered hardwood, laminate flooring is not actually hardwood at all. It’s simply made to look that way, and despite the fact that it’s cheaper, it’s been engineered to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with solid and engineered hardwood.
#1. What is Laminate Flooring Made Of?
Laminate flooring is constructed in three layers. The bottom layer is the backing, and the top layer is the veneer. Between those is a dense fiberboard that is reinforced with a special resin designed to make it more resistant to moisture. The veneer is composed of two layers. One is a printed image of wood grain, and on top there is a layer that protects that. These two layers make laminate flooring more scratch resistant than a number of the softer hardwoods. On the other hand, unlike hardwood, laminate flooring cannot be refinished.
#2. How Does Laminate Flooring Look?
This really depends on the quality of the laminate flooring. The answer lies somewhere in between better than it used to look and not as good as hardwood (engineered or otherwise). Laminate flooring is made using state of the hard printing technology that prints out the image of wood graining and texture and fixes that atop the middle layer and accounts for the bulk of the floor. For those that like the look and feel of hardwood, but aren’t really willing to pay the price go now for the real deal, laminate flooring over here is the compromise to make.
#3. How Durable is Laminate Flooring?
This is one of the primary benefits of laminate flooring. The veneer layer is protected and highly resistant to normal wear and tear. That means it’s the abnormal wear and tear that you have to concern yourself with. The major problem here is that unlike hardwood, laminate flooring cannot be refinished, so if something unsightly happens to it, you’re either stuck with the blemish or in need of a replacement.
#4. Is Laminate Flooring a Good Option?
It’s certainly not a bad option. But the quality of the floor is relative to the price. Some laminate flooring, the kind that can trick hardwood experts is nearly the cost of hardwood itself. On the other hand, it may be more durable than some hardwoods. But finally, if something goes wrong with it, it can’t be restored by refinishing it. So if laminate flooring really does save you money, it’s because you’re sacrificing the quality of the flooring.