Laminate flooring was developed several decades ago as an alternative to hardwood flooring. Over the years, laminate flooring has only improved, making it one of the most popular materials for flooring. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of installing laminate flooring in your house?

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Easy installation
  • Durability
  • Low maintenance

Cons

  • Fake appearance
  • Water damage susceptibility
  • Can’t be refinished
  • Not environmentally-friendly

Pros of Laminate Flooring

Person installing brown flooring in room

Laminate flooring consists of multiple layers laminated together. This synthetic flooring usually has a bottom layer made from plastic and wood fibers. Then, a photographic applique of wood is applied, followed by a clear, protective layer. This technique allows for floors to have near photo-realism with a vast range of potential color, texture, and grain options. There are many advantages to this type of flooring.

Price

A major advantage of laminate flooring is its price. Selling at around $1.40 per square foot, laminate flooring is a cheaper alternative to hardwood flooring, which typically sells for around $4.00 per square foot.

Easy Installation

Another pro of laminate flooring is how easy it is to install. Its planks are designed to snap together so you don’t have to nail anything. This means that laminate flooring is not only easier to install than other flooring materials but also much faster to install. Plus, it’s usually installed on top of a foam layer, meaning that it can be more easily installed on top of existing flooring, depending on what was there before. You may be able to avoid tearing out the old flooring so long as it’s not carpeting.

Durability

Laminate flooring is also durable. It’s more resistant to scratching and staining than a material like hardwood. Depending on the quality of your laminate floor, it can last up to 25 years before needing to be replaced.

Low Maintenance

Laminate flooring doesn’t require a lot of maintenance to keep it in good repair. You can easily clean it using either a vacuum cleaner or a broom. You can also mop, so long as you avoid using too much water. You don’t have to wax a laminate floor, although getting specific laminate floor cleaner can help it continue to look its best.

Cons of Laminate Flooring

Multi tone flooring being installed in home

Despite all of the advantages of laminate flooring, there are also some downsides. Even the highest quality laminate will have these disadvantages.

Fake Appearance

From a distance, laminate flooring may look like wood. But up close, it looks fake in comparison to real hardwood flooring. For this reason, laminate may not add a lot of value to your home, even if it’s a quick and easy way to renovate a floor. It also sounds different than hardwood flooring when you walk on it.

Water Damage Susceptibility

Laminate flooring is not impervious to water. Therefore, it’s essential to not use laminate in areas of the house that see a large amount of water, such as bathrooms or the laundry room. Water can seep in between the panels and damage the flooring underneath. If you’re quick to clean up any spills, you may be able to have laminate flooring in your kitchen, however.

It Can’t Be Refinished

You can’t refinish laminate flooring like you can a hardwood floor. This means that when laminate flooring wears out, there’s no option but to replace it.

It Isn’t Environmentally Friendly

Laminate contains chemicals such as formaldehyde which prevents it from breaking down in a landfill. This also means that the flooring can release toxic VOCs into the atmosphere, although stricter regulations have cut down on the VOCs present in laminate.

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