What properties do people associated with laminate flooring? The answer may come as a surprise: Although this flooring can be found in most households, it has long had the image of a cheap parquet imitation. That's a shame, because modern laminate is a real all-rounder made of purely natural materials and fulfils almost all the requirements you would expect from a high-quality flooring.
Everyone has heard of laminate flooring before, but only a few people know what it is all about. There are, however, a lot of prejudices. Laminate is said to be a low-quality imitation of a wood flooring, to be both sensitive and noisy and is apparently made of artificial materials. But contrary to these views, most of which are baseless, laminate is a complex and tough product made of purely natural materials. Laminate flooring is made up of several layers and is thus referred to as “multilayer”.
And who says laminate flooring is loud? Some manufacturers integrate an additional bottom panel into the floor covering, which serves as a sound-absorbing cushion. This makes the installation of separate insulation superfluous – DIY fans can save a lot of work by choosing the right floor!
Once the first laminate floors were launched on the market in the 1980s, the practical product quickly became very popular. Today’s laminate is similarly structured to those of 30 years ago, but the products have been and are being constantly optimised by manufacturers since then: the design has been made more authentic, the laying easier and the floor covering more resistant.
Laminate flooring is now the best-selling hard floor covering – with good reason! It can do a lot more than just resemble parquet.
Would you like sand-coloured oak, deep brown hazelnut or even matt slate in your home? Since the look of the laminate is determined by the decor paper, which is designed in digital printing, it can be equipped with any conceivable design. Whether you’re looking for wood decor, a stone look or even geometric patterns – in view of the diverse design possibilities, everyone should be able to find their favourite flooring.
But the bestseller is, as always, the classic wood look. The majority of the range is visually oriented primarily towards parquet and floorboards. In addition to a modern short plank pattern, fans of the rustic country house style will also find classic long planks among the laminate products.
By the way, can now be manufactured to create a three-dimensional effect: some manufacturers give the covering layer of their laminate flooring a tactile structure that recalls the natural grain of wood. The “cold” feel of a smooth hard flooring is thus replaced with a pleasant and comfortable underfoot feel. And even for professionals it is not easy at first glance to distinguish this floor from real wood parquet..
The print on the decorative layer is also colour-fast, i.e. it does not change its colour under UV radiation. Unlike parquet or tiles, the laminate does not change colour over time, but looks like new even after years of use.
You don’t need to arrange for a specialist to lay a beautiful floor in your home. The simple click system means that anyone can do it if they have just a touch of DIY skill. The systems of most brands may differ in detail, but the procedure is always the same. Buyers should ensure that a patented click system is used. This is because inexpensive no-name laminate without a patented click system can contain small deviations that may lead to unattractive results such as crooked or wobbly planks.
Many landlords are worried by the thought that their tenants would like to install a new floor in the apartment. But they can breathe a sigh of relief – if the planks are laid floating and not glued to the floor, the laminate flooring can be removed relatively easily.
But the biggest advantage of laminate over parquet and similar flooring is its toughness. It can handle high heels, dogs’ claws and even cigarette burns better than its real wood equivalent.
The product packaging always has a two-digit number that provides information about the wear class. For laminate flooring for a living area, the first digit is a two, for commercial premises a three. The higher the second digit, the more the laminate can withstand and the more suited it is to special areas. Beginning with a one for low wear (e.g. in a guest room) up to category three for frequent use (in the entrance area and corridor). For the bedroom, for example, a class 21 product is sufficient; in an open-plan office, on the other hand, the value would have to be 33 to reliably withstand the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Most people also appreciate the easy maintenance offered by the flooring. Unlike, say, carpeting, laminate flooring is allergy-friendly. Since laminate is inherently dirt-repellent, it is usually sufficient to sweep or vacuum. If wiping is necessary, it should only be done with a damp cloth so that moisture cannot penetrate into the wood through the joints. However, some manufacturers offer laminate with swell protection especially for humid rooms or possible contact with moisture. These panels are fully impregnated, which protects their interior from swelling.
One argument should not be allowed to fall by the wayside: considering its long life and the other advantages in terms of acquisition costs, laminate has an excellent cost-benefit ratio. Per square metre, laminate flooring is considerably cheaper than parquet or tiles. In comparison to many no-name products, DIY fans may have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to buy a high-quality brand product, but the investment is worth it if the quality is right and the floor is to last for many years. Your budget will certainly be less stressed compared to the purchase of a real wood floor.
Laminate flooring is not just a good recommendation for savers: those who attach great importance to uncomplicated handling and simple maintenance of the floor are also well advised to choose it. Pet owners and parents of small children can also benefit from the easy cleaning and durability of this flooring. Fans of real wood parquet who are put off by its sensitivity can therefore be confident in considering laminate flooring as an alternative. The great variety offered by the specialist trade proves that neither quality nor appearance has to be sacrificed.
Whether you are a dog person or a cat person – anyone who anyone who loves their pet will readily accept animal hair on clothing and scratches on the floor. But there’s no need! Because the right flooring can mean that pet owners do not have to be annoyed about deep scratches in the floor at least.
From infancy to the teen years, the nursery is a room of 1,000 possibilities. Their own domain is a personal retreat for children of all ages, a world they can redesign again and again. It is best if the room has a foundation that can follow (almost) every development, such as a durable floor or furniture that grows with the children.
Anyone who has taken advantage of the beautiful summer weather to weed the garden, mow the lawn or jog through the woods usually takes off their shoes before entering the house. After all, moisture or dirt can permanently damage the floor. With the right flooring in the hallway and in rooms that have direct access from outside, stacks of shoes by the front or back door can become a thing of the past. We reveal what these floors are all about and which products do the job.