Laminate flooring is one of the most popular types of flooring used in both homes and commercial properties today. Many people decide that laminate is the perfect choice of flooring for them, but often jump straight in without realising the different options that they have.
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when purchasing laminate flooring, to help make the best decision for your home, family or property – including how much you want to spend and what kind of flooring would work well for you.
So here are five top pieces of advice that you need remember when you’re buying laminate flooring:
Level of wear & tear
Did you know that there are five different levels of durability for laminate flooring? Most people don’t, but it is something to consider. The scale for the durability of your floor is called the AC rating. For rooms with very little foot traffic, such as bedrooms and guest rooms, then AC1 or AC2 flooring throughout should be suitable. But for areas with higher foot traffic or more wear and tear, such as kitchens and bathrooms, AC3 is what you should be looking at. AC4 is more suited to heavy traffic such as office environments where people are likely to be wearing shoes indoors on a daily basis and AC5 is perfect for heavy commercial use in busy places such as department stores.
It’s important to take note of where you plan to install your laminate flooring, what existing furniture this space has and what the colour scheme or theme of the room will be. This will help you decide what’s the best style and colour of flooring. For example, a large open plan kitchen might work best with a light-coloured laminate that has wide planks. Whereas a cosy living area might suit narrow boards in a darker wood effect. It’s always worth getting a sample of the different laminates before purchasing and laying them on the floor of the room. Often the tone of the laminate might appear slightly different under a certain light or against another colour.
Next up, you need to decide what your budget is. Prices can vary a lot depending on the style and the durability of the floor, but it’s generally recommended to spend the most you can afford to get the best quality for your budget. Flooring is something you’re going to see and use every single day, so spending that little amount extra can make all the difference in the long run.
Whether you’re fitting out a whole house, a large commercial property or just a single room, knowing what the measurements are in advance is important. This will allow you to estimate an overall cost and figure out how much laminate you need to buy. It’s recommended to round off to the extra pack, or to purchase an additional 10% of materials for wiggle room. Mistakes do happen and are common in laying flooring. For example, a plank or two may get damaged, or you may have underestimated an awkward space. It may even be that the shade of one plank doesn’t work well next to one that’s already been laid. In any case, having additional pieces will make life easier and if you still have some left over at the end, they may come in handy in the future as spares in case of accidents and damage. Especially as there’s always the risk that your flooring may be discontinued in years to come, so having back up planks will ensure you’re prepared.
Before buying, make the decision on how you plan to install your laminate flooring; are you going to do it yourself or hire someone else to do it for you? If you have little or no experience of installing flooring, it can still be done – but you might not want to buy anything with narrow planks or tricky patterns that need more accurate matching. Whether you install the flooring yourself, or get a professional to do it, the type of flooring you buy can make a difference.