It is similar to how Kleenex is a brand of tissues or Band-Aid is brand of adhesive bandages. Lots of people misuse the terms in all 3 of these examples.
There are many brands of laminate flooring, including Pergo, Armstrong and Shaw. Pergo is well known since they invented the category in the mid 70′s and began importing to the US in 1994. They also sell their brand at Home Depot which is where many consumers first come in contact with it.
Well laminate is made to look real, but it’s actually fake. It’s a multilayered synthetic hard surface product made with recycled hardwood. On top, it has a clear melamine wear layer with aluminum oxide which gives it’s scratch protection – making it resistant to dogs, kids, high heels, chairs, you name it. Underneath the melamine wear layer is the photograph of the wood (or tile) and beneath that is the high density core board. Most laminates look like hardwood (but some look like tile), but they are usually easier to maintain since they are more resistant to scratching. So, if you are worried about young kids, pets or renter, and the wear and tear of your floor, laminate provides a great option.
Laminate flooring is a floating floor and it snaps together. It is not attached directly to the floor (it is neither glued nor nailed); rather, it snaps into place and is held down at the edges of the room (i.e. by the quarter round and transitions). It’s important that the floor is flat/level; otherwise it moves as you walk on it. Laminate flooring is usually 7mm to 8mm in height and have an underlayment as a sound/moisture barrier. In total, with the underlayment, it usually raises the floor around 3/8 of an inch.
Some people love laminate because it’s quick and relatively easy to install (however, too many do-it-yourselfers attempt to install this themselves and fail miserably); others dislike it because it is fake/not real hardwood and they don’t like the hollow tinny sound when you walk on it.
Laminate has come a long way and some of it looks really real. You will find that there are different grades of laminate – some even have individual planks (just like hardwood) for a more realistic effect. It is a photograph of wood, so it will not improve the value of your home like hardwood will. However, most prefer this hard surface over carpet. Because it’s made with recycle hardwood, laminate flooring is not waterproof.
If you live in Westchester County and would like some guidance and an estimate on laminate flooring, please give me a call at 914-937-2950.
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