Many manufacturers market their laminate floor products as install anywhere floors, and laminate flooring certainly is very versatile, but as with any material, it has a few limitations. Here is what you should be cautious about.
In areas of excessive moisture, you might want to go with a 100% waterproof flooring option. Here’s why: Just as we don’t want to flood a floor even if it is water resistant, we also don’t want to put just any laminate, even a moisture resistant one, into a steam room, or the domestic equivalent – a bathroom. If you have an active shower, one used daily, the bathroom can be an area of consistent moisture, not for just the spills, but the excessive humidity steam can cause. As a rule, you want to keep laminate floors away from heavy amounts of steam or water, so you should usually rule out laminate for a bathroom. The prolonged exposure can cause your planks to warp.
Still, if you only have a bath, or a shower that isn’t used frequently, you might be able to install a special type of laminate. There are new laminates with a waxed locking system, which helps to prevent water from slipping below the finished surface between the planks. In these cases, you will want to research your product well, and make sure that the manufacturer is guaranteeing what you want from the floor. If you’re looking at a floor on FloorsToYourHome.com, just call us and we can answer any questions or find any documentation you might want to review.
Wear and tear
Consider both the amount and type of traffic your floor will need to withstand, because different floors, even different laminates, are rated to handle differing amounts of use. The assessment is called the Abrasion Class rating, or AC rating. Higher AC ratings mean greater durability. In a place with light residential use such as a bedroom, a closet, or a home where shoes must come off at the doorway, a low AC rated floor such as AC1 or AC2 could do just fine, and may lower your costs. In an office with rolling chairs and hard work shoes, you would want a higher rated floor, say AC4 or above.
What kind of floor will be under your laminate?
Laminate floors cannot be installed over carpet, which makes sense if you think about it. As you walk across the floor, your foot could push a plank down into the carpet enough to disconnect the locking mechanisms. It’s just got too much room to give. Any other type of subfloor should work fine underneath your laminate, but there are still things to keep in mind to get the best results from your floor. If you are going over a stone tile floor, levelness could be an issue. Some of these are very flat, level floors, but a more natural looking, grouted stone tile floor might not be a level enough surface on which to lay a laminate floor.
Over an existing hardwood floor, or a plywood subfloor, laminates less than 7mm thick might be a problem. All wood flooring expands and contracts due to changes in temperature and humidity, and for these smaller laminates, seams could separate, and locking mechanisms could break. This would not be an issue over a concrete floor. Likewise, a fully glued down sheet vinyl floor (where a large, one piece roll of vinyl covers the floor) should present no problems for a laminate installation. There are a few brands of sheet vinyl which are not glued down. They just lay in place. Those would have to come up before installing a laminate floor. A peel & stick vinyl floor would also have to come up. A floating floor on top of something sturdy and stable is fine. However, a floating floor on top of a floor that is not perfectly stable can cause problems.
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David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’) and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty’s Google+