Laminate flooring is an economical, low maintenance alternative to traditional hardwood floors. Heres a look at its composition and care.
Caring for Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring sales have been overtaking traditional hardwood flooring sales in the past few years. Many factors contribute to this but the main ones are price (as the cost of quality hardwoods like oak rise), ease of installation, low maintenance, and variety.
Variety is important because a plank of laminate pine costs the manufacturer the same price to produce as a plank of a truly exotic wood such as laminate ebony. Thus, the homeowner can get a much more expensive looking floor for a reasonable price. And who doesn't love that?
First in most peoples minds today, is that these factors make this a very green and frugal DIY project.
Fortunately, caring for laminate flooring is easier than caring for a hardwood floor or trying to remove carpet stains on a regular basis.
Laminate Flooring Composition
In order to understand why proper care is important for laminate floors, its helpful to understand just what laminate floor planks are and what theyre made of.
The exact makeup of a laminate flooring plank varies slightly by manufacturer but theyre all relatively similar. The plank consists of a number of layers of different materials and this is where the term laminate comes from. Following is a generic breakdown.
The bottom material layer is a material such as Melamine. This is a molded plastic material using Melamine resin. One advantage of it is its heat resistant properties.
For this reason, Melamine is also used as a component of Formica, suits that firemen use, and even in some dishware.
The next layer up is the core layer, typically made of of a form of fiber board. This layer serves two purposes: it gives the plank its strength and rigidity, and it includes the interlocking mechanism. This is a variation of a tongue-and-groove joint.
Proceeding up one more layer is the design layer. This is the layer that is visible; its actually a graphic representation of the wood grain and color. Your benefit?
You can have a floor that looks like the most expensive hardwoods and exotic woods (oak, pecan, African zebrawood, cherry, bamboo flooring, etc.) for the same low price.
Finally, the top layer is the protective layer. This layer is transparent and protects against moisture, scuffs and scrapes.
Care and Maintenance of Laminate Flooring
Caring for and maintenance of laminate flooring is fairly straightforward. The most important thing to do is sweep on a regular basis. This will minimize any scratching by abrasive particles such as sand or dirt brought in by pedestrian traffic.
Laminate planks should never be wet mopped, just damp mopped. Although the top layer affords excellent protection and the core layer is very water resistant, it might not be waterproof. Some brands may be but not all. This is why laminate flooring shouldnt be installed in a bathroom and caution is advised when planning a kitchen remodel.
A Simple Laminate Floor Cleaning Recipe for Stubborn Areas
There will be times when damp mopping just wont get those stubborn spots. Dont resort to store-bought chemicals. Just add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Damp mop with this mixture.
Due to the strength and gloss level of the protective layer, waxes and other polish products are not needed. In fact, most laminate manufacturers recommend against their use.
No Floor Refinishing Required
Unlike traditional hardwood floors, laminate floors do not require periodic hardwood floor refinishing. The top protective layer is all thats needed. A properly cared for laminate floor will maintain its beauty and durability for many years.
Laminate floor cleaning is a straightforward task. Do you have any tips? Feel free to share them with our readers in the comment section below.
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About the Author:
Kelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.