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  • Writer's pictureJim Butz

Selecting the Right Laminate Floor

Are you considering putting a laminate floor in your home, apartment or condo? While having a professional carpenter install the flooring is often faster, laying it yourself is possible.

When selecting the proper laminate flooring for your space, it is important to know which type is best. You will need to determine if the area where you will be installing the flooring is dry or damp. These factors will determine the type of flooring you will want to install.

Selecting the right laminate floor can be daunting with the many choices available. There are many brands and types of manufactured self-locking flooring systems. Typically, retailers carry different brands of flooring so as to not have to compete with each other on the same product. Plastic laminate, very similar to a Formica countertop is one of the most popular floorings and also the most durable finish. Laminate is typically bonded to a medium density fiberboard (MDF), a fine particle board substrate. This type of flooring holds up quite well in dry environments.

Engineered flooring is a laminate or wood veneer bonded to plywood substrate. The plywood is a stronger and more stable substrate, more suitable for an occasionally damp setting such as a kitchen or basement. The decorative wood veneer can be very thin and it is important to note that this type of wood can never be refinished. There are some solid wood veneers up to a 1/8” thick and they may be able to be refinished once. Many laminate flooring systems have a shelf life of ten to 15 years. A traditional hardwood strip floor can be refinished many times and may last over one hundred years.

Floating floor means that they are assembled together and not affixed to the building’s subfloor. The benefit of floating laminate floors is that the flooring expands and contracts independently of the building and therefore the seams won’t open up seasonally or crack when the building settles or moves. The panels are locked together with a space if left around the perimeter to allow for expansion.

Learn how to lay laminate flooring in our next blog.

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