Laminate Flooring 101

Bruce Reserve Collection Laminate flooring is one of the most versatile and easy-to-maintain floor coverings on the market today. Laminate floors authentic looks of hardwood, stone and ceramic tile in virtually limitless styles and colors – all the smart and sophisticated decorating options you could want. Along with great looks, laminate also offers functional features such as a durable finish that’s practically indestructible. Laminate flooring is easy on your budget, too, so your decorating dollar goes a long way.

Before you shop for a laminate floor, take a look at the top questions homeowners typically ask about this very popular flooring option.

1. How is laminate flooring constructed?
Laminate flooring has 4 layers: a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer and a backing layer. The wear layer protects the floor from stains and fading and resists scuffs and scratches , even those from pets’ nails. Beneath that, the design layer is a photographic image of wood, stone or other visual glued to the next layer – the inner core . This layer has a plastic resin for structural strength that keeps the laminate stable and flat. The final layer – the backing – creates a moisture barrier that protects the floor from warping. It’s this 4-layered construction that makes laminate floors so remarkably durable.

2. Where can laminate flooring be installed in the home?
Laminate flooring can be installed almost anywhere in the home as long as you have a structurally sound, clean, dry and flat subfloor. Laminate flooring can be placed over existing floors made of wood, concrete, ceramic, tile, vinyl sheet or even carpet (must be fully adhered and no more than 1/4" thick over suspended wood subfloors).

3. Can I install laminate flooring myself?
Absolutely! Installing laminate floors is a weekend DIY project you can do by yourself or with the help of a few friends. Armstrong’s Lock&Fold® installation technology makes it all snap together with interlocking pieces. No nails or glues are involved. Learn how easy it is to install Armstrong laminate flooring

4. Are laminate floors pet-friendly floors?
Laminate flooring is a great option for households with pets. Pets’ nails won’t scratch or wear down a laminate floor. Our furry loved ones, however, have different habits, and sand and pebbles may stick to their claws. As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to keep pets’ nailed trimmed and wipe up spills as soon as they happen. The beauty of laminate is that if something happens to one of the pieces, it’s easy to replace it.

5. If I damage my laminate floor, can it be repaired?
While laminate flooring is extremely durable, no floor is indestructible. You can easily repair nicks or scratches with the correct color-matched kit, such as Armstrong’s Laminate Floor Touch-Up Kit. Look for it at flooring retailers. If the area to be repaired is larger, replace the individual planks affected. For major repairs, however, it’s best to consult with a flooring professional.

6. With so many choices in laminate flooring, where do I start?
Start by thinking about the basics. First, consider your design options such as color, pattern, style and finish. Second, what are the dimensions and layout of your room? Next, think about the activity in the room – is there a lot of traffic? Lastly, make a list of your design choices, space and functional needs, and set a budget. You might want to consider using an online design organizer that lets you capture your decorating ideas and create a project list and estimates. Then when you’re ready to go shopping, you can print out the info and take it with you.

7. What is a floating laminate floor?
In a floating installation, the laminate floor simply rests on the top of the subfloor without being fastened down by glue or nails. A specially designed interlocking system (one of the key advantages of laminate flooring) holds the pieces together while the entire floor “floats” over the subfloor.

8. What’s the best way to maintain my laminate floor?
To maintain your laminate floor’s performance, durability and beauty, just sweep and use a microfiber mop along with a cleaning product recommended for laminate, such as Armstrong Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner. Guard against abrasions by placing a mat outside entrance doors to collect excess moisture, sand, grit. Use protective pads or castors under furniture and appliances. Another good tip is to periodically rearrange furniture to maintain resistance to indentation.

9. Where do I get trims and moldings to match my laminate floor?
Armstrong offers a line of coordinated trim and molding pieces so you can complete your laminate floor. These include t-molding, threshold and reducer strip transitions; and stair nose, quarter round and base moldings.

10. How long can I expect my laminate floor to last?
First, know that your Armstrong laminate floor will be guaranteed against defects. Warranties on Armstrong laminate floors typically range from 20 to 30 years. How long your laminate floor is going to last depends on how you maintain it and the degree of wear placed on it.

Laminate is a great solution for homeowners who need flooring that performs like a workhorse, yet presents itself beautifully – busy day after busy day.