Laminate Flooring

The Pros and Cons of Installing Laminate Flooring in the Kitchen

By Mark J. Donovan

Recently my wife and I updated our kitchen flooring and chose laminate flooring. We decided upon laminate flooring due to a couple of key reasons. First, laminate flooring is fairly easy to install yourself. Laminate flooring is designed to float on top of the subfloor and as a result laminate flooring pieces simply snap, or interlock, together.

As with any flooring material, some prep work is required before installing laminate floors. Sometimes the subfloor needs to be repaired or leveled, and in the case of laminate flooring sometimes a separate foam pad may need to be installed on the subfloor, depending upon the type of laminate flooring you choose.

But besides these basic preparation requirements, installing laminate flooring is relatively straight forward.

The second reason we chose laminate flooring is that it is an extremely rugged flooring material. It is nearly impervious to scratching and dings, and in a kitchen where plates, glasses, silverware, and pans are frequently dropped we decided laminate flooring was a better choice than wood, tile, or vinyl flooring. The previous kitchen floor was vinyl and it had many scars from dropped items.

With all flooring there are pros and cons. With laminate flooring there are two cons to be aware of.

First, laminate flooring is constructed via a hard plastic like top surface that is extremely resistant to scratching. Below this top layer is a print, such as a wood or stone print. Below the print is high density fiber board.

Finally, the bottom layer is constructed out of a backing material, sometimes a foam backing material, that helps protect the flooring from moisture.

If water penetrates the edges of the laminate flooring the fiber board can swell and result in permanent damage to the material. Consequently laminate flooring must be installed on a low moisture subfloor and liquid spills should be cleaned up promptly.

The second slight negative about laminate flooring is the sound you hear when you walk on it. It has a hollow sound as you move across the floor. This I believe is due to the fact that it is a floating floor. Sometimes people argue that laminate flooring is fake wood flooring. This may be one of the reasons why laminate flooring gets this criticism. Though the sound is a little odd, after awhile you do get use to it.

When installing laminate flooring it is important to make sure the subfloor is in good shape. Make sure that it is smooth and free from ridges or valleys. If necessary apply a self leveling compound to smooth out the subfloor.

Laminate Flooring in Kitchen

We also found it best to remove the kitchen cabinet toe boards and the baseboard trim. After installing the flooring you can install new baseboard trim and trim the toe boards before reinstalling. These two tips really help in making a beautiful new kitchen floor.

We are extremely pleased with the look of our new kitchen floor. The laminate floor has really helped to spruce up our kitchen, and we are confident that it will withstand the test of time compared to vinyl, tile or wood floors.

For help on finding a wood flooring installation contractor, see’s Wood Flooring Installation Bid Sheet. It will help ensure that you find and hire the right flooring installation contractor for your wood flooring project. In addition, it will help to ensure that your wood floor installation is completed on time and on budget.

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