Ultimate Guide to Laminate Flooring

The team of Volare flooring experts are here to give you a fast crash course on Laminate Flooring, one of Australia's most popular flooring choice.

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Laminate Flooring

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The Ultimate Guide to Laminate Flooring

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Key features and characteristics of laminate flooring:

Our flooring staff have noticed an increased popularity in laminate flooring this past year which isn't surprising given its versatility and wood look aesthetics without the hefty price tag. Laminate flooring is a type of synthetic flooring that has been widely used in residential and commercial settings as it's designed to replicate the appearance of natural materials like hardwood while offering several practical benefits.

kids room with indoor plants
  • Composition: Laminate flooring is constructed in layers. The core layer is typically made from high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), providing stability and strength. On top of the core layer is a photographic layer, which is a high-resolution image of the desired flooring style (e.g. woodgrain). A transparent wear layer made of melamine resin is applied on top to protect the photographic layer from wear and tear, scratches, and fading.
  • Appearance: Laminate flooring comes in a wide range of styles and designs, providing a variety of options to suit different interior aesthetics. Whether you prefer the look of oak, maple, cherry, or a different wood species, or if you want the appearance of stone or tile, there's likely a laminate design that fits your preferences.
  • Cost-Effective: Laminate flooring is generally more budget-friendly than natural materials like hardwood or stone. It offers a cost-effective way to achieve the look of expensive materials without the higher price tag.
  • Durability: The wear layer on top of laminate flooring makes it highly resistant to scratches, stains, and fading caused by UV rays. Having said that, laminate may not be as durable as some other flooring options, like hybrid flooring, so it's essential to choose a product with a thicker wear layer for better durability.
  • Installation: Laminate flooring is known for its easy installation process, especially the types with click-lock or tongue-and-groove systems. We'll give a thorough explanation on the laying process below, but we'll let you quickly know that the planks can be fitted together without the need for adhesives like floor tiles do.
  • Maintenance:Laminate flooring is relatively low-maintenance. More on cleaning below, but regular sweeping or vacuuming, coupled with occasional damp mopping, is usually sufficient to keep it clean and looking its best. However, excessive moisture should be avoided, as it can cause the core layer to swell and damage the floor.
kids room with indoor plants
  • Comfort: While laminate flooring is not as soft underfoot as some other options, it can be more forgiving on joints compared to harder surfaces like tile or concrete. What the laminate tiles are placed on top of also impacts comfort, speak to our flooring team for more info.
  • Not Waterproof: Unlike engineered timber flooring, laminate flooring is not waterproof. It can be sensitive to water damage and swelling, so it's best to avoid installing it in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms or laundries, but will be great in living areas.

Overall, laminate flooring offers a durable, attractive, and cost-effective option for those seeking the appearance of natural materials without the high costs or maintenance requirements. As with any flooring, you will want the right woodgrain colour to suit your homes aesthetic so make sure you check out Volare's range of laminate flooring here.

Cleaning and Maintenance of Laminate Flooring

Cleaning laminate flooring requires some care to maintain its appearance and prevent damage. Here are some of the best ways to clean laminate flooring:

loft living room with expansive windows
  • Regular Sweeping or Vacuuming: To prevent dirt and debris from scratching the laminate's surface, it's essential to sweep or vacuum regularly. Use a soft-bristled broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hard floor attachment to avoid causing scratches.
  • Damp Mopping: For general cleaning, damp mopping is effective. As mentioned above, laminate flooring is not waterproof so avoid using excessive water and limit prolonged exposure to moisture. Our specialists find using a well-wrung mop or a microfiber mop with plain water or a mixture of water and a mild, non-abrasive floor cleaner is safe and effective.
  • Avoid Harsh Cleaners: Avoid using abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, or steel wool on laminate flooring, as these can scratch and damage the surface. Additionally, stay away from wax-based or oil-based cleaners, as they can leave a residue that makes the floor slippery and attracts dirt.
  • Use Vinegar Sparingly: While vinegar can be a cheap and effective alternative from cleaning chemicals, it's best to use it sparingly on laminate flooring. The acidity in vinegar may, over time, dull the finish or damage the protective wear layer. If you choose to use vinegar, mix it with water and spot test it in a small inconspicuous area first.
  • Address Spills Promptly: Accidents happen, so it's essential to clean up spills promptly to prevent moisture from seeping into the laminate seams and causing damage. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to blot and absorb the liquid without harsh rubbing.
  • Avoid Steam Mops: While steam mops are popular for cleaning, they should generally be avoided on laminate flooring. The heat and moisture from steam can penetrate the seams and edges causing the laminate to swell or warp.
  • Protective Pads and Mats: Place felt or rubber pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches when moving or rearranging furniture. Chair mats are ideal to use under desk chairs or office chairs with wheels. Additionally, use entryway mats to trap dirt and grit from shoes before they get onto the laminate flooring.
  • Trim Pet's Nails: If you have pets, regularly trim their nails to prevent scratches on the laminate surface.
  • Use Manufacturer's Guidelines: Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning and maintenance guidelines for your specific laminate flooring product. Be sure to speak with our flooring staff for more laminate flooring warranty information.

There are no secrets to maintaining your laminate flooring, just being attentive is the key to keeping your laminate flooring in excellent condition. By following the above tried and tested cleaning tips and taking care of your laminate flooring, you can enjoy its beauty and durability for many years to come.

How to Lay Laminate Flooring

Laying laminate flooring is a DIY-friendly project that can significantly transform the look of a room. Proper installation is essential to ensure a durable and attractive result. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to lay laminate flooring:

Materials and Tools You'll Need:

  • Laminate flooring planks
  • Underlayment (if not pre-attached to the laminate planks)
  • Plastic moisture barrier (optional but recommended for concrete)
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife or laminate cutter
  • Pry bar (for removing baseboards)
  • Spacers
  • Hammer
  • Pull bar
  • Tapping block
  • Chalk line
  • Pencil
cut and measure flooring plank in doorway

Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor
Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any existing flooring materials, such as carpet or tiles, and check for any imperfections. Repair or level the subfloor as needed. If you are laying laminate on a concrete subfloor, consider using a plastic barrier to protect against moisture.

Step 2: Acclimate the Laminate Flooring
Allow the laminate flooring planks to acclimate to the room's temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation. The best way to do this is by keeping the boxes of laminate planks unopened in the room where they will be installed.

Step 3: Install the Underlayment (if required)
Some laminate flooring comes with an underlayment pre-attached to the planks. If not, roll out the underlayment material over the entire subfloor. Trim it to fit the room's dimensions, and overlap seams by a few inches. Secure the underlayment in place using tape or adhesive as recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 4: Plan the Layout
Decide on the direction you want to lay the laminate planks. For a more natural look, consider laying them in the direction of the longest wall in a 50/50 offset pattern. Use spacers to create a small gap between the laminate flooring and the walls to allow for expansion.

Step 5: Start Laying the Laminate Planks
Begin laying the first row of laminate planks along the longest wall. Place the planks with the tongue side facing the wall. Use spacers to maintain the expansion gap. Trim the last plank in the row if necessary, leaving enough space for the expansion gap.

Step 6: Continue Installing Rows
Now one row is done you can move onto the next row. Connect the short end of each plank to the previous row using the tongue-and-groove system. Use a pull bar and tapping block to ensure a snug fit and avoid damaging the planks. Stagger the joints between adjacent rows to create a more stable and visually appealing installation.

Step 7: Trim Around Doorways and Obstacles
Measure and cut the laminate planks to fit around doorways, corners, and other obstacles using a utility knife or laminate cutter. Be sure to maintain the expansion gap around these areas. And as always, measure twice and cut once.

Step 8: Install Transition Pieces
Install transition pieces (such as T-moulding or thresholds) where the laminate flooring meets other types of flooring or at doorways. These transition pieces will help create a smooth transition between different flooring materials.

Step 9: Reinstall Baseboards and Molding
Once the laminate flooring is installed, reinstall the baseboards and any trim that was removed during the installation process. Use a pry bar to carefully remove the baseboards, and then secure them back in place with finishing nails.

Step 10: Clean and Enjoy
Finally, clean the laminate flooring to remove any dust or debris, and enjoy your newly installed laminate flooring! A quick dry mop and vacuum will be enough. Pop on some felt pads on the bottom of your furniture and your room will look stunning.

Keep in mind that this is a general guide and the specific installation instructions may vary depending on your home, space or project type. If you aren't sure then speak to our flooring team who can advise or refer to a professional floor layer in your area.

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Volare Tiles + Flooring are committed to supplying Australians with top quality, attractive, modern and cost effective laminate flooring which is why you can access the range any time, anywhere:

Book a FREE online design consultation and see all the Laminate Flooring ranges and options.