Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reviewing and Evaluating Laminate Floors

Since the introduction of laminate flooring into the US in 1982, the sector has experienced growth of up to 20% per annum at the expense of other floor types, making laminate the fastest growing floor type in the country. The appeal lies not only in its aesthetic value of its representation of real hardwood, but also due to its incredible durability and ease of maintenance.
Pergo were the first company to introduce laminate flooring into the U.S, and held the majority share of the consumer market for many years. As the popularity of laminate flooring grew, new players began entering the market and quickly gaining market share. Today there are hundreds of brands available to the consumer, some good quality and some inferior. With all the latest advancements in laminate technology, it seems that a new style is being introduced almost every week, making it a daunting task for the consumer to determine which floor best suits their needs.
The following factors will help you evaluate different brands and styles of laminate in order to determine which laminate floor best suites your application.

Laminate floors are constructed using two different methods of manufacture: Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL) and High Pressure Laminate (HPL). Direct pressure laminate is made up of three layers, while a High Pressure Laminate is made up of a minimum of five layers. Is one better than the other? Yes. HPL is a far superior product. The addition of Phenolic Treated Kraft Sheets make the HPL a far stronger, more dent resistant and stable product. The catch is that they come with a higher price tag. Do you need HPL in your home? No. Most laminate floors sold in the US are (DPL) and are built for today's active households. However if you are looking for a floor that will withstand the vigour of small children and large pets and still look good in 15 years time, then High Pressure Laminate is a good alternative.
Laminate cores range in thickness from 6mm to 12mm, with a thicker core usually denoting a more stable product. The only exception to this rule is High Pressure Laminate (HPL), which although has a much thinner core compared to (DPL), is stronger and more durable. Composition of core material is also an important factor. A good floor is constructed using High density Fiberboard (HDF) as the core material, which has been treated with water repellent chemicals, offering stability and a high level of water resistance.

Joint integrity can be an important factor, especially when placing heavy items on your floors. Laminate floors are engineered to withstand normal day to day wear and tear and are designed to withstand the weight of normal household furniture. If you wish to place an extra heavy item of furniture on you floors, such as a very large fish tank, you might want to consider purchasing a floor that has an aluminum locking system. The joints should also be treated with water repellent chemicals, such as paraffin wax, which is impregnated into the tongue and groove of the floor boards.
A good warranty should cover the following aspects: Fading, Denting, Wear and Tear, Staining and should have some kind of water warranty, although keep in mind that no laminate warranty covers flooding. Always be sure to scrutinize the duration of the different aspects of a laminate warranty, as a 25 year warranty might refer to manufacturers defects only, while the wear and tear aspect of the warranty only covers a 15 year period.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Laminate Flooring Frequently Asked Questions

Laminate flooring faqs are asked by people who are interested in home improvement projects, who are building a home and who are just interested in learning about this flooring option. If you are interested in laminate flooring then the following question and answer sets should help you to understand what laminate flooring is and how it can be used.
What is laminate flooring?
Answer: Laminate flooring is a composite flooring product that is made up of a various layers. Each layer serves a specific function. There are layers for sound muffling, shock absorption, moisture protection and decoration.
How much does laminate flooring cost?
Answer: The cost of laminate flooring will vary based on its color, its brand name, the vendor that sells it, the width of the plank and the quality of its construction. Generally you can find laminate flooring for under $2 per square foot. However, some products can cost over $3 per square foot and others can cost under $2 per square foot.
Can I install a laminate floor myself?
Answer: The answer to this question depends on your construction skills. Most people can install a laminate floor themselves if they have the help of one or two people. To get the best results read through the installation instructions before you start putting your floor together, make sure that you have all of the equipment that you need to install your floor correctly, and finally make sure that you do all of the recommended prep work before you start putting your floor together.
How long will it take to put my laminate flooring together?
Answer: Again the answer to this question will depend on your construction skills. It will also depend on the size of the area that you are trying to cover and on how many people are helping you. You should be able to cover an average sized living room floor in about 8 hours.
Where can laminate flooring be installed?
Answer: You can install laminate flooring any where you want, even in bathrooms. The only thing that you will need to keep in mind if you install your laminate flooring in a bathroom or kitchen is that you will need to wipe up spills and splatters quickly to avoid warping.
What manufacturers make laminate flooring?
Answer: There are a lot of manufacturers that produce laminate flooring. Some of the manufacturers that produce laminate flooring include: Mannington, Wilsonart, Alloc, BHK, Armstrong and Balta.
Where can I buy laminate flooring?
Answer: You can find laminate flooring in home improvement stores, construction outlets, flooring outlets and online.
What looks can I create with laminate flooring?
Answer: Laminate flooring comes in the same colors and woods as hard wood floors come in. You can find laminates of oak, mahogany, exotic woods and domestic woods.
Is there a bamboo laminate flooring product?
Answer: Yes. You can buy bamboo laminate flooring.
How do I clean a laminate floor?
Answer: Cleaning a laminate floor is very simple. All you need to do is sweep it to remove debris and dust, and wipe it with a damp cloth to remove scuffs and small spills.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Laminate Flooring Installation Guidelines

The Beauty of Laminate Flooring

One way to add value to your home is to consider laminate flooring installation. Laminate floors combine the beauty and elegance of hard wood, or tile floors with the easy maintenance of linoleum or vinyl flooring. Constructed from a high density fiber (HDF) wood board topped with a wood or stone pattern, laminate flooring is incredibly durable. Resistant to scratching, scuffing and burning, the beauty of laminate floors will last a lifetime. With today's constantly changing interior design trends, the easy installation and variety of laminate flooring is a popular choice for home designers.
The Quality of Laminate Flooring
If you're planning to redecorate your home including laminate flooring installation, there are some decisions you need to make about the type of laminate flooring that will work best for you. It is commonly thought that the harder the HDF core, the higher the quality of the laminate flooring. The second mark of laminate floor quality is the means by which the core is bound to the pattern and protective layers. There are two basic types of laminate flooring to consider
  • Direct Pressure - Direct Pressure lamination consists of a one-step process to bind the flooring layers into a single cohesive unit. DPL flooring that has been bound is then treated with melamine resins to increase the strength of the core. This final step also allows notches and grooves to be evenly cut into the pieces to facilitate the process of laminate flooring installation.
  • High Pressure - High pressure lamination produces a more durable end product by binding the flooring layers over several steps. First the top layers are joined to each other and then glued to the HDF core. After this, the melamine resins and glued flooring are submitted to a high pressure press that completes the process and makes the product ready for laminate flooring installation.

Laminate Flooring Installation Types
Once you've decided on the design and product you want to use, you're ready to begin the process of laminate flooring installation. The various laminate products currently on the market offer several different options for laminate flooring installation. The type of installation you choose will depend on your budget, your commitment and ability to execute the project and your preference in design. When shopping for laminate flooring, you can expect to find products the require the following laminate flooring installationtechniques:
  • Standard Flooring - Standard laminate flooring is installed by using glue to affix the flooring to the sub floor. Standard laminate flooring installationis both cost-effective and secure.
  • Pre-Glued Flooring - You may also come across laminate flooring products that have been treated with glue prior to sale. To complete the laminate flooring installation, water is applied to the underside of the board to activate the glue.
  • Snap and Lock - There is no glue required for a Snap and Lock laminate flooring installation. The floor boards are instead linked by a locking mechanism on the underside of the wood. Snap and Lock flooring is very easy to install, but may be more expensive that laminate flooring installed with glue.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What You Want To Know Before You're Installing Hardwood Flooring - Part II

Payment. If you want the installation of your hardwood floors done right, its best to be prepared to consider this an investment in your home. Consider visiting as many hardwood flooring stores as you can so you can get the best price for what you want. You may find that if you cannot afford to pay cash for the entire project, companies like Home Depot will offer to finance the job for you, often with no payments for several months. 
Be sure to read the fine print, as you may find that often, there is an expensive interest rate factored in if the full balance isn't paid in full. Of course, there is also credit cards and lines of credit that you can use, but watch out for high interest charges. Its usually best to plan ahead, create a budget, and pay it off either in cash, or before the interest rates kick in.
Sensibility. While I'm all in favor of having hardwood floors in every room, you have to take a minute and think about what rooms are suited for them. Does the room have high humidity? Is it water prone? If you even think that the answer is yes, then the room is not suited for hardwood floors.
Installation. Today you can find hardwood floors that are rather simple to install on floors that are absolutely flat. If you are fortunate enough to have these kinds of floors (most of us do not) it might be well worth the money to hire a professional flooring installer who has the skills to level your floors in the process.
It is quite likely that any decision you make when it comes to hardwood floors for your home will provide you with beautiful floors that should serve your family for many years to come.

What You Want To Know Before You're Installing Hardwood Flooring - Part I

Hardwood floors are a smart choice when it comes to remodeling your home or building an addition due to of the warmth and finish they can bring to almost any room in your home. Selecting the right hardwood floors can mean adding an investment to your home that will last and bring charm to your home for decades. If you are thinking about bringing hardwood floors to your home, here are some things you may want to observe:

Price. This is a major consideration for many when selecting the flooring for their home. You can actually find some beautiful and long-lasting hardwoods at a very fair price. Choosing hardwoods that are made from local trees rather than shipping hardwood from overseas can greatly discount the expense of your floors. Set a budget, and then choose among hardwoods that work within your budget requirements. There are occasions when less money does in fact net you more as far as beauty, quality, and durability.

Repair. There will be occasions when your hardwood floor will need fixing. Nothing lasts forever. If special materials will be needed in order to make repairs you need to make sure that you have the supplies and know-how on hand years later.