[[dropcap]L[/dropcap]]aminate flooring has come on leaps and bounds since it was first offered as an alternative to expensive hardwood flooring. It has become so popular in fact that there are few styles or finishes that you can achieve with either hardwood flooring, stone or slate that can not also be achieved with laminate.
[pullquote type=”right”]Understanding what premium features are offered will help you choose a laminate that offers value for money, and ensure that your flooring project is a great success.[/pullquote]In this guide, we are going to look at some of the style choices you can make when choosing the right laminate flooring for your project. We will look at the various laminate flooring styles, flooring finishes and finally the flooring detail. When you have read this guide you should have gained a good understanding as to what finishes you may want to consider for your project.
Before ordering be sure you have read our article on How to choose which laminate flooring is right for your project which gives helpful advice on durability and the AC rating system. I can not over express how important it is to select the correct AC rated laminate for your project.
Laminate flooring styles
Below we will look at some examples of the most common flooring styles, each style below has lots of different variations, but for this guide, we will look primarily at the most popular flooring styles as categories without offering different examples for each category.
Oak laminate is arguably the most popular floor finishes, as it compliments almost every style of decor. Hardwood Oak flooring is not only expensive, but it also requires a lot of work to maintain. Laminate Oak is easily maintained and is offered in a huge selection of both colors and styles.
Oak laminate flooring is suitable for almost every room in the house and ensures your room remains modern, light, and practical when running a busy household.
Check out Oak Laminate available in your area – here
Walnut laminate is usually for those looking for a darker floor color than that offered by the majority of Oak floorings. To lay real walnut hardwood would certainly dent your bank, therefore laminate is usually a frugal choice. The Walnut laminate choices are numerous, with a color and detail that includes everything from (natural) knots to elegant grain.
Walnut laminate flooring offers perfect aesthetics for a fraction of the price.
Check out walnut laminate available in your area – here
The great thing about hickory is that it comes in a variety of colors, so as you would expect so does hickory laminate. Whether you are looking for a grey coloring, warm red, or even beige this laminate may be the perfect choice for your project.
Whether you are looking for a lighter shade, darker shade, or somewhere in between hickory has a color style to please almost everyone.
Choosing laminate over the hardwood can cut your cost (not to mention maintenance) by over three quarters per square foot.
Check out hickory laminate available in your area – here
The chestnut laminate offers a number of different color shades, but is also available as distressed, providing a vintage feel to the laminate. Arguably not as popular as the aforementioned styles the chestnut certainly has its own look and feel above that of what was once thought of as cheap flooring.
Easy to install, easy to clean, and very hygienic.
Check out chestnut laminate available in your area – here
If you have ever wanted a stone tile floor, but the cost has restricted you from ever achieving your dream you will be pleased to know that the laminate stone effect flooring now looks hyper-realistic.
With lots of stone tile designs to choose from, these stone tile designs are ideally suited to both kitchens and bathroom renovations.
You can now have a stone tile floor for a small percentage of the cost of a real stone tile floor.
Check out stone tile laminate available in your area – here
Slate tiles have always been a favorite in both kitchens and bathrooms, though the cost has always been a restricting factor for the vast majority of households. Real slate flooring is exceptionally costly, difficult to install, and very hard work to maintain in such a way as to keep the original shine.
Luckily, laminate is cheap, can be installed easily with just a limited amount of understanding, and is somewhat easier to maintain on an ongoing basis.
Slate flooring is no longer reserved just for those with large budgets, this laminate flooring can be picked up relatively cheaply, and will last for many years to come.
Check out slate laminate available in your area – here
The plank detailing and surface finish can really alter the final look of your new flooring. Whether you have chosen, wood, tile, or slate the final detailing will enhance the authenticity of your design so much that many people won’t even question that your floor has not been laid using real hardwood, stone, or slate.
Plank edging is simply how your laminate flooring ‘planks’ appear to join together, there are usually three separate choices each providing a distinct look and feel based on your own preferences, and visual concept of how the flooring should look when completed.
No Groove Edge (Square Edging)
The no groove edge is basically what it says on the tin, the flooring will be seamless from plank to plank. Simply put, there are no gaps between the planks, as they meet squarely and fit together in a uniform manner as per the example above.
This type of laminate is arguably the easiest to clean as there are no grooves for dirt and dust to get stuck in, but on the other side of the coin (in my opinion) doesn’t have the realistic look and feel of real hardwood flooring.
A V-Groove finish offers a beveled edge to the planks improving definition a greater mimicking the look and feel of a real hardwood or tiled floor. This enhanced definition and depth offers a visual groove between the planks creating a more natural finish than that of the no-groove edge,
See the example above for a clearer understanding of how this type of laminate looks when properly laid.
This edge is by far the most authentic looking laminate flooring. The 4V groove edge incorporates the beveled edge on both the width and length of the planks creating the look and feel of a real hardwood floor. The stone effect laminate will include a more rounded groove creating the effect of grout between the stones, as would be present in a real tile, or slate floor.
For obvious reasons the 4V-Groove edge laminate is a premium flooring, but will still be cheaper than if considering the real thing. By laying this flooring yourself you can somewhat offset the extra cost for a much better aesthetically pleasing finish.
Finally, we can discuss surface finishes, these are aesthetic choices that attempt to create a more organical copy of real hardwood flooring by creating not just the look of a grain, but also the feel of it too. There are three main types of surface finish that you can choose from.
Regular embossed laminate creates a texture to mimic the feel of real wood, however, this level of embossing will not exactly match the true grain pattern on the flooring. You will feel the grain underfoot, and although the majority of people won’t notice, the grain won’t line up well with the pattern.
Registered emboss is similar to embossed, except in this instance the texture will follow the grain on the pattern providing a more authentic hardwood, tile, or slate copy than that of the above option.
If you like a more vintage look and feel to your floor, which in turn looks exactly like the real thing you can select laminate that has been hand ‘scraped’. This surface option has become much more popular over the last few years as the process has become more refined and therefore the look more realistic. The feeling underfoot is no different than a real distressed hardwood floor that has been there for years.
Plank Preference (surface detail)
Each piece of laminate can replicate a single plank of wood (wide or narrow) or alternatively replicate two planks or even three, I’ll explain with some images to demonstrate exactly how this detail can affect the look of your new floor.
Single plank laminate is simply a laminate flooring where each plank of laminate represents a single plank of wood. These planks can either be wide (6 inches plus) or narrow (normally around 3 inches), depending on your personal preference.
2 Strip Plank Laminate
This type of laminate flooring simply gives the impression of two planks per single piece of laminate. So if you are looking for the appearance of thinner wood planks as opposed to the more usual, and traditional wood planks you may prefer this option.
3 Strip Plank Laminate
3 Strip plank laminate is as you have probably now guessed is simply the impression of three wood planks on a single piece of laminate. This will give the appearance of thin staggered hardwood planks making up your flooring.
While laminate thickness is not something that will affect the overall appearance of your flooring, there are a number of reasons why you may opt for the thicker laminate (12mm) over the more commonly used laminate (8mm)
If noise is an issue and you are actively looking at ways to reduce this you may want to consider purchasing a thicker laminate, which is said to reduce the level of noise when walked over.
Thicker laminate is made using more of the high-density fiber (HDF) core and because of this has less sound transference through the flooring.
In my experience, it is best to try and deal with this issue on the underlay level, though as an extra measure purchasing thicker laminate can be a useful extra step.
Concerns over floor evenness
Thicker laminate has less give, and its because of this that it can be more forgiving when laying it over small imperfections. Slight leveling issues can be hidden this way, but you are best dealing with leveling issues when preparing the subfloor.
Choosing Your Finish Detail
When selecting the correct laminate flooring for your project there are many choices to be made, hopefully, after reading this article you will be more aware of some of the choices that you will have to make. If nothing else I hope this article helps decipher some of the terminology used when describing this type of flooring.
Understanding what premium features are offered at a reasonable cost will help you choose a laminate that offers value for money, and ensure that your flooring project is a great success.
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