Today flooring manufacturers like Shaw and Tarkett are making products that are not your father’s laminate flooring. What has changed is the quality of product because of advances in technology and factory processes. Laminate flooring is still made in 5 layers. From the bottom of the stack there is the underlayment of cork or foam which absorbs impacts, evens out the connection to the sub-floor, and wicks away moisture. The second layer is melamine or sometimes a paper foundation that is water resistant. The third layer is the important core layer made of high-density fiberboard, HDF, or medium density fiberboard, MDF. Both materials are wood fibers that are compressed and glued into a solid board. The fourth layer is where the photo of natural wood resides. The fifth layer is the most important, it is called the top topcoat. It is made of melamine, and urethane with aluminum oxide suspended inside for durability. Today’s laminate is better than your father’s laminate because each of those layers are now substantially improved.
Improved Laminate Flooring Topcoat
15 years ago, my father built a cabin. It was 3 stories. Don’t picture a rustic log cabin. Picture instead a luxurious home tucked away in a forest with a lake front view. When he put the floors in the basement, he was concerned about moisture from the slab so he selected a laminate that was the same color and style as the engineered wood maple flooring that was used on the stairs and the other 2 stories of the cabin. He liked the idea of saving money and figured he could let the kids and dogs run free down there without worrying about it. The flooring in the basement has held up well. But there has always been a visible difference in the look and feel of the laminate along side the engineered wood. Today’s laminate products have a better topcoat that in many cases has a registered texture so that the grain you see in the fourth layer photo of the natural wood can now be matched on the topcoat. Just that one improvement would transform my father’s laminate. But manufacturers have also improved the third layer by adding locking mechanisms so that it is no longer necessary to glue down the planks in most cases.
Is it cheaper to install a carpet or laminate floor?
It depends on the product and installation requirements but in general carpet is the cheapest flooring. But if you don’t like carpet, laminate is the most affordable hard surface flooring.
Is it cheaper to do tile or laminate?
In most cases laminate is cheaper than tile.
Will Swiffer ruin laminate floors?
No, not if you follow the directions.
Is laminate flooring safe? Does laminate contain harmful VOCs?
Most of the time this question is about the smell of formaldehyde that vents off some building products. The products from manufacturers that Saddleback Carpet & Flooring installs strive to assure safety by testing with either the European E1 standard or the US Carb 2 compliance standard. The products are then marked as compliant with those standards. Shaw Floors and Tarkett the two manufacturers shown in this post are compliant with E1 and Carb 2. That means that they do not exude more than trace amounts of toxic fumes. One way to get an understanding of how this affects you personally is either have a sample delivered to your house or come into our showroom and experience the product firsthand. Saddleback Carpet & Flooring offers a free measure and consultation. We bring samples to you, measure your floor, and give you a price quote as well as an estimate of completion time. Please schedule an appointment with us by clicking on the button below.