Your home improvement project isn’t complete until you find the perfect flooring to complement your home.
One of the trendiest flooring works in Malaysia is laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is popular among homeowners and interior designers. But don’t confuse laminate flooring with vinyl or tile flooring.
Laminate flooring, in general, is aesthetically pleasing, easy to install, and cost-efficient. It is also easy to clean and very scratch-resistant.
Now, it may be tempting to conclude your research here and opt to go for laminate flooring – but hold on, we’re not there yet!
Here are some questions to ask, as you’re renovating your home.
- Which type of laminate flooring is best for your home?
- What thickness should go for?
- Where at home should you install them?
- What is the maintenance like for laminate flooring?
Let’s begin first by discussing the types of laminate flooring.
The 2 types of laminate flooring.
Generally, there are two types of laminate flooring.
- Engineered wood laminate
- Plastic laminate.
Engineered wood laminate uses layers of real wood glued together, while the plastic laminate is completely artificial, with polymer-matrix composite bonds bound together.
To understand which one’s better, we’ll look at them from 3 different aspects: ease of installation, durability, and cost.
1 – Ease of Installation
Both engineered wood laminate and plastic laminate are extremely versatile and can be easily installed – even without the help of an installer.
If compared though, engineered wood laminate would be harder to install and requires a good locking system. Keep in mind that there will usually be an additional cost of labor because of this.
2 – Durability
In terms of durability, plastic laminate wins. Engineered wood laminate is more prone to scratches.
A protective layer could be applied on engineered wood laminate to expand its lifetime. But again, this means more costs for you.
3 – Cost
On average, engineered wood laminate is around double the price of plastic laminate flooring.
With the higher cost, why would anyone go for engineered wood laminate flooring then? Well for one, wood laminate looks more natural and will give the illusion of an actual wood floor, compared to plastic laminate flooring.
However, if longevity and price are your concern, then you can consider plastic laminate flooring. The good news is that a lot of manufacturers are already producing realistic wood-looking plastic laminate flooring.
The thickness of the laminate flooring you choose.
Does the thickness of your laminate flooring matter? What differences does it make?
A stable structure requires a good foundation. The same goes for flooring. A perfect laminate flooring needs a solid subfloor.
If the quality of your subfloor isn’t good, then a thicker laminate flooring can help in hiding subfloor imperfections. Not just that, there are other advantages to a thicker laminate flooring as well, such as:
- Higher durability.
- Less echo in the room.
- Higher impact resistance
- Solid-feel under the foot
When buying laminate flooring, you will commonly find thicknesses of 8mm and 12mm. Let’s dive into each of them.
8mm Laminate Flooring
Most high-quality laminate flooring can be found with this thickness. But with 8mm thickness, obvious subfloor imperfections can be hard to hide.
12mm Laminate Flooring
Performance-wise this is the best you can get if you have the budget for it.
Laminate flooring with 12mm in thickness can hide almost any subfloor imperfections, has more impact resistance, and is more forgiving during flooring installation.
Also, not forgetting all the advantages we mentioned earlier.
Where to apply your laminate flooring?
If you’re interested to install laminate flooring for your home, where should you install them?
There is no one-size-fit-all laminate flooring for every location in your home, that’s why it’s important to know.
Here are a couple of questions to think about when deciding where to install your laminate flooring:
- What is the purpose of this area?
- Will there be lots of ‘foot traffic’ here?
- Is the area prone to scratches or fallen objects?
- Does it need to be water-resistant?
- Does it need to be stain-resistant?
- Does it need to be waterproofed?
- Do you keep pets at home?
These questions will help you make better choices as you choose and buy the laminate flooring for your home. As always, make sure to clarify the specifications with the seller or installer before committing.
A note of AC Ratings for laminate flooring.
AC rating, short for Abrasion Criteria indicates a laminate flooring’s durability. It is another important factor to look into when buying laminate flooring.
The rating range between 1-6. Here are the rating breakdown and their respective application:
- AC1: light foot traffic; bedrooms/guest rooms
- AC2: medium foot traffic; rooms not used heavily
- AC3: high foot traffic; hallway, kitchen, living room
- AC4: light commercial traffic; offices
- AC5: heavy commercial traffic; not suitable for home use
In general, AC3 and AC4 are the industry standard for most residential homes. Make sure the laminate flooring you are getting has either one of these ratings.
FAQs about laminate floorings.
Here are some questions normally asked by our customers picking laminate flooring for their homes.
1 – How long does laminate flooring typically last?
The lifetime of the laminate flooring you install is subject to many different factors.
Some of these factors relate to how it was manufactured, how it was installed at your home, and how frequently you do maintenance.
Laminate floorings can last up to 10 to 20 years. But again, this will vary mainly due to normal wear-and-tear from foot traffic.
2 – Maintenance for laminate flooring
How frequently do you have to clean your laminate flooring? The answer is the same with any type of flooring. You’ll have to clean or sweep them on a regular basis.
Just make sure not to flood the floor with water. Never allow a pool of water to stay on the floor for a prolonged time. Even with waterproof laminate flooring, this can cause dampness which will damage the flooring.
Also, refrain from using strong cleaning agents. Usual off-the-shelf cleaning agents that you buy from the supermarket will be okay.
Laminate Flooring VS Vinyl Flooring
So far, we have talked about laminate flooring. But what is the difference between laminate flooring and vinyl or tile flooring?
As you browse through the different types of floorings, you would have surely encountered vinyl flooring at some point. Both laminate and vinyl flooring are durable, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing.
But they are entirely different types of floorings.
A major difference is the type of material they are made of.
Vinyl flooring is made of pure synthetic material whereas laminate flooring is made from the byproduct of woods glued together in layers.
Here are some key facts about laminate and vinyl flooring:
- Both have the same appearance. It boils down to preference.
- Costing is near similar.
- Vinyl flooring has a slightly longer lifespan compared to laminate flooring (will vary based on maintenance.)
- Vinyl flooring has better durability and requires lower maintenance.
- Vinyl flooring has higher water & heat resistance.
So should you choose laminate or vinyl flooring? Again, it depends.
As an example, for areas near a bathroom, we will choose vinyl over laminate flooring.
Laminate Flooring VS Tile Flooring
Tile flooring is the most common flooring you’ll find in Malaysian residential homes. They are usually made of ceramic, combined with other composite materials such as glass, rock, or stone.
Compared to laminated flooring, tile flooring is costlier and has a higher installation cost. And once installed, it is considered permanently attached, whereby with vinyl or laminate flooring, you could remove it.
Tile flooring usually stands out appearance-wise, because of the gaps between each tile. These gaps are called grout and dirt could easily get stuck in them.
So there you go. These are the major standout points for tile flooring. The rest are essentially the same.
In the end, choosing to install tiles, vinyl or laminate flooring comes down to your preference. Some people do not like the look of tiles but don’t necessarily want to spend money on solid timber flooring, so they opt for laminate flooring which is usually cheaper.
By now, you should know what to consider when choosing laminate flooring for your home.
At the end of the day, make sure you’re getting your laminate flooring from a qualified supplier and trusted installer. If you need help, just comment below or head to our online store to browse the available laminate floorings we carry.