Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Is Laminate Flooring? - Reference Guide

Laminate flooring is a type of flooring material which can be an inexpensive and attractive alternative to hardwood or a type of stone. Each plank consists of multiple layers of fibreboard held together with a melamine resin. The outer layer has a decorative wood effect applied to it; this is then covered with a transparent protective layer to reduce scratching. Interestingly the name comes from the Latin word for a thin sheet. Most of these products are sold as bundles of planks with tongue and groove fittings, allowing installers to fit them together easily.

You will find that it comes in a variety of wood finishes and sizes, allowing the customer to choose the perfect colour and appearance to go with the walls and furnishings of a room. Finishes range from dark woods, such as walnut or mahogany, to lighter colours such as oak or ash.

As an alternative to realwood or a type of stone, its chief strength is its affordability. Cost varies quite dramatically but you can find examples for as little as £10 per square metre, although higher-end versions, with improved appearance and durability, can be more expensive. Nonetheless, they represent a huge savings compared to more traditional tyoes, which can be double or even four to five times the cost of comparable boards.

One of the major benefits is the fact that it is so simple to install; each plank fits into the next, with the planks being trimmed to fit against the end of the working area. When installing this product, it is important to leave a small gap, of no more than 10mm, between the boards and the edge of the working area, as planks will often swell slightly after installation. Once this is complete, skirting boards can be reinstalled. The simplicity of installation makes it an ideal for DIY enthusiasts.

Proper care can improve the life and appearance of your room. The first major threat to its pristine look is scuffing from furniture, particularly heavy items such as tables and sofas. Soft pads on the feet of chairs and tables will reduce wear and tear. The second danger is damp and should you should not expose it to damp if avoidable; clean up spills quickly, as they may cause boards to discolour and warp. For areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, water-resistant versions are available.

Inexpensive, durable, simple to install and easy to maintain, this type of material is a very attractive choice for homeowners who want the warmth, softness and natural appearance of wood flooring without the expense or difficulty of maintenance.

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