Buying Tips for Laminate Flooring
Why has this new product category been such a hit?
Laminate products have come a very long ways since the days of their original introductions. Todays quality laminates are able to replicate exactly the look and feel of most of your traditional hardwood flooring options. Laminate flooring overall is more affordable than hardwood, easier maitenance, much more durable, and a softer warmer feel with better moisture protection provided by the water proof underlayment than an engineered hardwood glued with a standard adhesive. Laminate products feature a newer type of wear surface that resists scratching, denting, and burns better than many existing products. They also offer extended product warranties to back up these claims for superior performance. Much of the styling is done in wood grain patterns taking advantage of popularity of hardwood. Still other styling resembles natural stone like you would find in ceramic tile. Laminates offer a popular trade-off for people wanting wood or ceramic. Laminate floors are more scratch resistant than most regular hardwood finishes and easier to clean than the grout lines associated with ceramic tile installations. Laminates also require less demanding preparation of the subfloor because they are not glued directly to the subfloor. Most of these products are glued or snapped together over rubber padding. This feature has made laminate flooring popular in areas where vinyl flooring traditionally was installed. Custom floor design is also very easily done with products that offer planks and squares that mix and match together.
High pressure laminate vs. direct pressure laminate
You’ll hear conversation on this difference but both products perform equally as well in most situations. The high-pressure products have greater chipping and impact resistance. High-pressure laminates also have a separate wear surface protecting the pattern, where as the pattern and the wear surface is the same with direct pressure products.
Laminate flooring in wet areas
Many of the products are okay for wet areas, but the core is made of wood fiber.
Finishing touches are important
The overall quality and appearance of any installation depends greatly on the skill and standards of the installers. The finishing details are one of the most important aspects of any installation and where a significant difference can be made. These details include proper painting, caulking, and installation of trim (i.e. quarter round or baseboards), correct installation of transition peices, proper subfloor floating and preperation, and leaving a properly cleaned floor with furnishings replaced and all elements 100% finished.
Buying Tips for Vinyl Flooring
The new generation of vinyl floors have new finishes, different construction and new types of backing. They are designed for better wear, clearer pattern definition, and easier to maintain and install. Manufacturers have gone primarily to cushioned products with wider widths to reduce the number of seams. New innovations in backing have made the today’s cushion vinyl floors more resistant to rips, tears and back staining. Most residential sheet flooring offer no-wax performance and a wide variety of colors and patterns–more than any other flooring product and generally speaking, cushion vinyl flooring is the most economical of all flooring choices.
Some products are designed to help you reduce subfloor preparation costs
Next to ceramic tile, vinyl flooring installation demands properly prepared subflooring. Most cushion vinyl products are thin and when they are installed with a full spread of adhesive over a poorly prepared subfloor, irregularities can telegraph through. New products designed for perimeter or loose lay installation will greatly reduce the effects of subfloor irregularities while lowering subfloor preparation costs. In fact, many of these products can be installed over you existing flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Products
Manufacturer’s have raised vinyl flooring to a whole new level when it comes to luxury vinyl product offerings. New technologies have led to greater realism in design and structures every bit as rugged as older inlaid products, and all of this without giving up the easy no-wax maintenance that is desired.
Special considerations when choosing sheet vinyl flooring
Beware of asphalt driveways as asphalt can react to certain conditions and transfer into the vinyl resulting in permanent staining. Be careful when moving or dragging heavy objects across the cushioned flooring as it often results in permanent damage to the surface.