Laminate flooring has come a long way since it’s advent in the 1970s. It’s stronger, better assembled, can withstand more surface-wear due to the use of multiple protective layers, and is much more of a true rendition of the product it’s meant to look like.
That said, there are different aspects of laminate which can be misinterpreted or misrepresented. You’re probably thinking, “How do you mean? Flooring can’t tell lies.” You’re absolutely right. With laminate, what you see is what you get. However, looking over the product carefully, and understanding what it is you’re seeing is a whole different ballgame.
Let’s take into consideration, the thickness of the product. If you walk into our Mississauga flooring showroom and tell our staff you’re looking for laminate, they won’t come back at you with a 20mm laminate flooring display, sitting next to the hardwood section. The reason for this is that laminate flooring is in no way comparable to hardwood; in some higher quality instances, appearance may be similar but it’s never up to par with wood. When you’re being shown an exorbitantly thick laminate that’s strategically been placed next to a hardwood display with similar thickness, this can be misleading and even confusing to a first-time or relatively new flooring buyer. Let’s find out why.
Due to the nature of laminate, ranging types and qualities of laminate flooring can be found at price ranges as low as $0.99 up to $7.50 a square foot. “Why would I pay 6.00 a square foot for something thin, when I could get something 20mm thick for a few pennies a square foot?” you say. That’s an excellent question. The answer is quality. The follow-up is functionality. Let’s examine it further.
The thickness of hardwood flooring is an important factor in the selection process, because with engineered or solid hardwood, thickness often determines quality, durability, how well it holds up against joint wear, and the amount of times it can be sanded and refinished to change the color, bring it back to looking new or to remove surface damage caused by things like dragging your desk over it, or your Great Dane burning out and running when it hears you pouring out the kibble.
With Laminate flooring, thickness is not something that should influence thoughts as to quality, price, or preference. At its core, laminate flooring is made up of plastics, sawdust, and adhesive that are form-pressed together. A picture is then laminated over top of this press-board base, and a protective layer is added over top so that it’s harder to damage the picture. Why buy a thick laminate? There is absolutely no benefit in sanding it like one does with hardwood. Sanding laminate flooring would just ruin it. No one wants that.
Click systems are the most important component of the laminate. A poor click system can cause immediate problems for you in your home. Traffic, climate, even installation can split an inferior quality laminate’s click system. When a floor is meant to fit or click together like all laminates are, wouldn’t you want a click-system that can do what it’s meant to? Provide a solid bond between the laminate floorboards without any glue, and enhance the feel and longevity of your floor? Be wary of click systems that look swollen, or papery. If you have the chance, try and apply firm yet gentle pressure to the sample you’re being shown. See if the tongue and groove can withstand it, or if they give way or crumbles fairly easily. Stay away from click systems that can be easily broken apart with your fingertips. Remember, you and your family, their friends, the family dog and big old Uncle Bob will be walking on this floor at some point, and that could produce more stress on the click system than the force of a few fingertips. A good quality laminate click system is important.
When you’re paying $3.75 for a quality Carpet One Laminate, you’re getting a product that’s crafted in Europe. Austria, to be exact. Laminate with an E0 or E1 rating: a rating system that boasts safe materials are used to craft it, and that it will not off-gas into toxins. This makes it safe for preschools, nurseries, living spaces for the very young, or the elderly. You may not be paying $0.99 cents, but you’re getting a product that has a quality click-lock system that won’t easily crack with traffic, a pattern that makes sense, and boards that will not gap or degrade within a short period of time like some of the $0.99 cent product out there. You’re paying for more good material; plastics, oxide wear-layers, and on some of our lines, things like anti-microbial substrates.
Come to our Mississauga flooring showroom and ask for laminate; we’ll show you excellent products held to high standards, to suit exactly what your needs are. Why? We’re proud of the work we do. We don’t carry product we can’t stand behind and install with pride.
You demand quality; We are happy to oblige.