Oh boy. Laminate Flooring- literally a world of choice out there nowadays. If you are not convinced on laminate, head on over to our Lovely laminates link to see what all the fuss is about.
Right here though, we are going to talk about the various purposes and uses of laminate flooring, and how to choose the ideal type for your home or business and our top tips on how to pick it and make sure it lasts as long as possible.
The very first question a professional will ask you is:” what room is it for?”- Some laminates are better suited to some purposes. For a bedroom or guestroom (or any other room that is not used all the time),a lower AC rating of 2 or 3 is just fine, as these rooms wont have much foot traffic. A a kitchen or a hallway needs a higher grade (AC3 or above) as these rooms need to withstand more intense use. Be aware, bathrooms or porches which see lots of moisture may need a more specialized laminate, to avoid being ruined. Remember, if you cant see the AC rating clearly in the shop, ask staff- if it doesnt have one, you might be better off to avoid it….
Laminates are essentially a picture of fancy wood printed on cheaper wood, and so are available in an almost unlimited amount of colours and textures. A huge range of natural looking wood tones including oak, maple, walnut, and acacia are all widely available, as well as less natural or dyed effects. Just like any other interior accessory and design, they are subject to trends too- currently we are selling a lot of grey and silver toned oak laminates- but who knows what will come in next!
The tone of the floor is also hugely important- some oak-y type laminates can have red or honey tones, which can warm up a room, while a cooler silvery grey can make a room feel a littler bit colder. Try borrow a few boards to see what they look like in your own home- the light in a showroom can dramatically affect how a colour can look! (FYI- we loan out big boards so you can try them at home and get a good feel for how the room will look-Call to the showroom or give us a ring!)
Warm peach, red and pink tones are shown on the right, while cooler blues, purples and pinks are shown on the left.
These Boards show the huge tonal variations available in laminates- on the left, the classic honey-toned oak effect, while the right hand board emulates a cooler, more smoked oak look.
Nowadays, many laminates are textured to look even more realistic. A technician presses or scrapes a wood effect pattern into the laminate surface as its being made. This adds to the wood effect of the boards. Some boards have patterns that repeat every few metres and some have “infinity” patterns, which change all the time so that the same knot doesnt appear twice. Hand-scraped or embossed laminates look very authentic, but they are more expensive. Totally worth it though!!
Laminate flooring comes in a variety of lengths and widths, just like the rest of us! Narrow boards (70-90mm) give a neat, lined appearance, and look great in period properties. Lay narrow boards running lengthways in a room to elongate the space.
Wide boards, on the other hand can have a more modern aesthetic, and can (depending on how they are installed) actually widen a narrow room, giving the illusion of more space. They are also slightly quicker to install, as each board take up more physical space, so can be less work.
Board thickness is a separate issue- if its durability you are going for (especially in a well-used area such as a hall or kitchen), then the general guideline is the thicker the better. Thicker, sturdier boards can withstand more abuse, and for the most part will have a higher AC rating. Most boards worth buying are between 8mm and 14mm thick, but if you are calculating the depth of the floor (e.g. for fireplace or frame allowances) remember to allow at least 1.5-3.5mm for underlay underneath.
So thats it for our essential laminate buying guide! We hope its useful. Heres the final checklist and our references and some handy links! Got a tip for choosing you laminates? Leave a comment below!
Thats it- good luck!!
Great blog on adding colour http://10rooms.blogspot.ie/2011/07/for-so-many-years-beige-or-some-form-of.html
Url of grey neutral
If you are thinking of getting a new floor or are unsure about any finishes, or have queries about installation? Call us or call down to the shop, we can sort it. Specialist appointments can also be booked to discuss any specific enquiries e.g. custom lacquering, commercial installations etc.. Call 021 437 4285 or fill out the contact form to make an appointment.