Laminate wood flooring has been growing in popularity over the last decade and it's easy to see why. It is durable, less expensive than many of its hardwood counterparts, and relatively easy to install yourself.
This product got its start in the late 1970's with a brand many people still recognize, Pergo. It's popularity took an upswing in the United States in the mid 1990's and has gained ground, literally, since then.
The main aesthetic upside of laminate flooring is its resemblance to natural hardwoods. In many cases the untrained eye can't tell them apart. For housing flippers, and budget conscious home improvers, wood laminate can be a wonderful option. Available for as little as eighty or ninety cents a square foot, laminate is a wonderful option that can cost less than carpet. Price isn't the only upside of this flooring, though, and there are higher grade options that boast the same benefits with a more luxurious look.
Even amateur handy-men can handle the installation of these floors, though be sure to stock up on knee pads and nap breaks. These floors typically go in one of two ways. They can glue directly to your subfloor or there may be an underlayment used to create a "floating floor." In all cases, pieces fit together on a tongue and groove system that is hit into place with a rubber mallet. You'll need a way to measure and make cuts on your "boards." Our experts recommend a table saw. This can help you safely make exact cuts.
Cleaning laminate floors is a breeze. In fact, the best cleaning solution is one of the most traditional. A simple 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water mixture easily removes grease and dirt, leaving your floors sparkling clean. Some homeowners swear by a simple soap and hot water mixture to clean their floors as well.
A microfiber mop will help soak up any extra moisture, which if left standing can damage your floors, as well as leave streaking. Cleaning with the grain of the floor can also help reduce the appearance of streaks.
If you want to cut the smell of the vinegar, which isn't that strong in this mixture, you can always add a few drops of essential oil. Lemon and lavender are two favorites, but you can choose whatever scent suits you best! Simple sweeping or vacuuming will suffice for most days, however.
Do not use traditional wood floor products that contain wax. This wax residue builds up over time, ruining your laminate's surface.
There are specific consumer products available for cleaning wood laminate floors. Armstrong® makes a whole line of cleaners, most available at your local home improvement stores, for laminate floors. These cleaners contain no wax and don't require any rinsing, making clean-up quick and easy.
Laminate wood floors can be a great option for many households. It's affordable, stands up to wear and tear, can be used in kitchen and baths (with proper sealant), and looks like a million bucks.