Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring

July 28, 2016

Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring product fused with a lamination process. Depending on your climate, the room you’re considering, how much traffic it gets, etc., it can be a great flooring option. Here are some pros and cons of laminate flooring to help you decide whether it is the right flooring for your home:

4 Pros of Laminate Flooring

This type of flooring can offer several benefits. Here are a few pros of laminate flooring:

1. Laminate is Easy to Maintain

Unlike hardwood flooring, laminate flooring does not require regular maintenance or refinishing. Once it is installed onto your floor, it will only need regular cleaning to keep it looking fresh and new. This is one of the reasons why laminate often tends to be included in flooring trends year-after-year.

While you have to sweep, mop, and shine hardwood flooring to maintain its finish, you can simply sweep, mop, or wipe down laminate flooring to keep it clean. No shining or polish required. This makes upkeep and maintenance much easier. 

2. It Tends to be Less Expensive

Laminate also tends to be less expensive than hardwood flooring. This is because the laminate is less expensive to make and the flooring is easier to install.

The synthetic materials that are fused together to create laminate are not as expensive as the raw wood that is cut, cut to fit flooring, and then finished. Laminate also tends to be less expensive because you don’t need to worry about refinishing it every few years to keep it from chipping or becoming dull or discolored.

3. Laminate Flooring is Versatile

Laminate is versatile. Manufacturing methods and technology have come a long way over the years. Better graphics reproduction, deeper texturing, micro bevels, and more have provided more options.

Wood laminate is a popular option and you can get laminate or the upgraded luxury vinyl planks that look like almost any type of hardwood flooring. But, you can also get laminate flooring or vinyl planks or tiles that look like linoleum or stone.

4. It Doesn’t Collect Allergens

On top of easy maintenance, laminate does not collect allergens the way that carpeted floors are known to do. So, if you suffer from dust or pet dander allergies, laminate or another hard surface flooring can provide some allergy relief in your home.

However, if you tend to be sensitive or have allergies to certain chemicals, you may want to reconsider laminate flooring. Although it’s a small number of people, some people who are chemical-sensitive can have reactions to the glues and resins commonly used in the flooring.

4 Cons of Laminate Flooring

As with anything, there are some drawbacks to this flooring option as well as benefits. Here are a few cons of laminate flooring:

1. Laminate Flooring is Not as Durable

While hardwood laminate can be beautiful, it is not as long-lasting as hardwood that is maintained properly. Although some laminate flooring can last as long as 25 years in rooms with light use, many that are installed in higher traffic areas of your home will need to be replaced starting at 10 years or more.

Although laminate flooring tends to resistant to stains, it is only a little resistant to scratches, dents, scuffs, etc. It has a wear layer to protect the photographic layer and maintain it’s appearance. This offers some protection against scratches, but not a lot.

Properly installed and maintained hardwood floors tend to last 25 years or more. Some of them can even last a lifetime! Thicker vinyl planks tend to be more durable and waterproof than laminate, so they also tend to last well over 20 years if installed properly and well-maintained.

2. It is Susceptible to Moisture

Unlike waterproof vinyl, hardwood and laminate flooring is susceptible to moisture. It doesn’t handle heavy moisture well, so it’s not a great option for kitchens, bathroom, laundry rooms, or other rooms with a lot of moisture. Also, if you live in a humid or temperate climate, laminate can warp during the summer months.

If this is the case, the only way to guarantee that your floor will be repaired is by replacing it. You can’t sand or refinish laminate the way you can hardwood; you can just replace it. This can be a huge headache and can cost you much more over time when compared to other flooring options.

Laminate can also hold moisture between the laminate and the floor, which can also cause them to warp. If you want to install laminate, make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure it is installed properly and that you are not using it that require waterproof flooring. Also, avoid excessive water while you’re cleaning it so it doesn’t seep between the seams of the boards.

3. Some Laminate Can Look Fake

Although laminate flooring can be manufactured to look like real wood, stone, or other natural materials and does look like it from a distance, you will likely be able to tell it’s not real hardwood once you look. Because it is manufactured, there are no natural imperfections or different grains like you have with hardwood.

Plus, there is also pattern repetition after a certain point. So, if you don’t pay attention to it and install it strategically, you could end up with identically patterned boards next to each other. This might not be obvious, but it will certainly make your floor look “off”. Choosing a manufacturer that produces a larger number of differently patterned boards and planning carefully can help you make sure there is enough variation in your floor.

4. It Can be Uncomfortable

Like hardwood and other hard surface floors, laminate can be noisy and also feel hard when you walk on it. Most of the time, there is a foam underlayer installed, which can soften the feel while walking, give you a springier step, and also reduce the noise.

Laminate flooring has the potential to become slippery. Most manufacturers have developed slip-resistant and textured wear layers to help reduce this issue, so it’s not as big of a problem as it used to be. Additionally, laminate can be prone to creating static electricity. But, if you make sure the floor stays clean, you can reduce how much this happens.

These are just a few pros and cons of laminate flooring to help you decide if this is the right fit for you. There are many different flooring options to choose from and looking at the pros and cons of each can help you choose the right flooring for your custom home.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options and details with a custom home. Instead of getting stuck on details, partner with a custom home builder with an in-house design/build team. They’ll walk you through it, handle the details, keep the journey fun, and make sure you end up with a home you love.

If you’re ready to start bringing your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!