Once upon a time, home dwellers didn’t have many options for flooring. They used what they found in nature. They made do.
They found clay held together when they added heat and water. Tile became a staple in many cultures.
They used straw for warmth. They used timber for strength.
But all of that changed as we moved into the industrial revolution. Processing changed everything about the way we lived.
We no longer have to make do with what we find in nature. We can create things with innovative technology.
The definition of synthetic is:
Prepared or made artificially. Produced by synthesis, not of natural origin.
When production sped up, it gave people the opportunity to experiment. In 1860, Frederick Walton tinkered with wood dust, cork particles, and linseed oil, and created what we now call linoleum. Manmade materials rapidly increased throughout the 20th Century as rubber, cork, felt-based, vinyl, and other materials were created.
As we experimented, we learned. Flooring grew tall and wide as we developed exclusive concepts for what worked and what didn’t. We honed our craft on natural materials, and improved them in the lab with synthetic flooring counterparts.
Dr Waldo Semon created vinyl by accident in 1926. He was trying to create an adhesive from polyvinyl chloride to bond metal and rubber. What he got was a flexible, fire-resistant, waterproof plastic we still use today, known as PVC. It also became a wildly popular floor covering that we’re still utilizing today.
What comes around, goes around. In our quest to find better manmade products, we stumbled on a realization that nature sometimes knows best. We’ve fallen in love with wood, granite, marble, and stone. But thanks to technology, we can now marry the two loves together for ingenious products.
The birth of laminate flooring
For many, the concept of laminate flooring is synonymous with Pergo. A Swedish company Perstorp had been experimenting with flooring surfaces since 1923. Pergo spun off its flooring division to create Pergo, now a subsidiary of Mohawk Industries, in the 1970s.
By 1979, the first laminate floorboard was sold, and over the next decade, sales skyrocketed. Technology continued to change, giving way to products that were sturdier, cheaper, and easier to produce.
They became more attractive, taking on the looks people craved, such as stone and wood. They added things like click-and-lock technology to create an ever-growing DIY solution.
Laminate flooring today
The laminate flooring on the market today is a sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing flooring solution. This synthetic flooring material we use today simulates a realistic appearance of hardwood, tile, or stone.
It is composed of multiple layers that are fused together through a lamination process. The typical construction of laminate flooring includes:
- Wear Layer – This is the top layer that protects the laminate flooring from stains, fading, and wear. It is usually made of a clear, durable material like aluminum oxide.
- Decorative Layer – This layer features a high-resolution photograph of wood, tile, or stone that gives the laminate its visual appeal. Advanced printing technology allows laminate flooring to closely mimic the look of natural materials.
- Core Layer – The core layer provides structural stability and is usually made of high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). This layer is also treated to resist moisture and damage.
- Backing Layer – The bottom layer provides additional support and stability. It is often made of melamine or another moisture-resistant material.
This isn’t the Pergo of yesteryear. Instead, it’s a sophisticated product that is a viable alternative to hardwood, stone, and other products that might not necessarily work in your living environment.
That’s what makes it so appealing to today’s consumers.
What appeals to today’s consumers
If you’re in the market for new flooring, laminate might quickly move to the top of your list. The homeowners we help select laminate love it for many different reasons.
Wide Variety of Styles
Most people shop based on aesthetics. Why have something inside your home if you don’t love how it looks? Laminate flooring comes in a diverse array of styles, colors, and patterns. Whether you prefer the look of hardwood, tile, or stone, you can find a laminate option that suits your aesthetic preferences. This versatility makes it easy to coordinate with various interior design styles.
One of the most significant advantages of laminate flooring is its affordability compared to natural materials like hardwood or stone. It provides a cost-effective way to achieve the look of expensive flooring options without breaking the budget.
Ease of Installation
Laminate floors often feature a click-and-lock or tongue-and-groove installation system, making them relatively easy to install, especially for DIY enthusiasts. The installation process usually doesn’t require glue or nails, and many laminate floors are designed to float over the existing subfloor.
Laminate flooring is known for its durability and resistance to scratches, stains, and fading. The wear layer, typically made of materials like aluminum oxide, provides a protective barrier against daily wear and tear, making it suitable for high-traffic areas in homes and commercial spaces.
Laminate floors are easy to clean and maintain. Regular sweeping or vacuuming, along with occasional damp mopping, is usually sufficient to keep them looking new. Unlike natural materials that may require special cleaning agents, laminate can be cleaned with mild household cleaners.
Laminate flooring is a good option for individuals with allergies because it doesn’t harbor allergens like dust and pet dander as easily as carpets. Additionally, its smooth surface makes it easy to clean and reduces the potential for allergens to accumulate.
Resistant to Fading
The top wear layer of laminate flooring is designed to resist fading from exposure to sunlight. This is particularly beneficial in areas with large windows or significant natural light.
Environmentally Friendly Options
Some laminate flooring products are manufactured using eco-friendly materials, and certain brands offer options that are certified by industry standards for sustainable practices. Additionally, laminate floors can be recycled in some cases.
Compatibility with Radiant Heating Systems
Laminate flooring is often compatible with radiant heating systems, providing a comfortable and energy-efficient heating solution for homes.
Is laminate flooring right for you?
There isn’t a right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting new flooring for your home. If you’ve gravitated towards laminate flooring, we’re here to tell you it’s a wise choice.
Laminate flooring can be a wonderful product throughout your home. It offers benefits that hardwood can’t – it’s more water-resistant and less expensive than hardwood. And thanks to technology, it’s more realistic than ever before.
If laminate is right for you, we suggest you stop by and see our complete line of laminate flooring. We’ll help you find the right choice to suit your needs.