What is laminate flooring?

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is a wood-based smooth floor designed to imitate the look and feel of a real wooden floor. Created as a cheaper alternative to natural wood, laminate is now one of the most popular flooring types because of its durability, ease of fitting, and low maintenance, not to mention being a very eco-friendly choice.

Classic and versatile, there are so many different types of laminate flooring available in gorgeous wood or ceramic tile designs, with some styles featuring detailed embossing so you can feel the wood grain and every knot. So, if you’re thinking of investing in a genuine wood floor, let us tell you why a laminate floor is the better option.

How is laminate made?

When you ask the question ‘What is laminate flooring?’, the literal answer is that laminate flooring is usually made up of different layers of materials pressed together. Each plank starts with a high-definition photograph or print of the wood on high-quality paper. 

 
The design layer is then covered by a clear coating that protects the floor underneath from scuffs, stains, and fading, as well as general everyday wear and tear. These are placed on top of the inner core made up of a solid, thick layer of either MDF (medium-density fibreboard) or HDF (high-density fibreboard) giving the plank its strength. The sheet of laminate is then cut into planks and is ready to go!

What are the advantages of laminate flooring?

There are so many benefits to choosing a laminate floor, and when going head-to-head with a real wooden floor, laminate will always come out on top. Here are just a few reasons why laminate is a great choice for your home:

  • Sustainable – All our laminate flooring comes from sustainably managed forests, and a new tree is planted for every tree that’s cut down, making it an eco-friendly flooring choice.
  • Hygienic – The anti-bacterial topcoat is perfect if you’ve got small children crawling around on the floor.
  • Affordable – Laminate is much cheaper than real wood, and cheaper to fit (and it can be even cheaper if you install it yourself!).
  • Durable – The wood-based core combined with the overall thickness makes laminate a super strong floor that’s sure to last years and years, whilst the protection layer provides scratch resistance to keep it looking flawless.
  • Versatile – It can be fitted in most rooms, although not all laminates are recommended in bathrooms, and it works wonderfully well with underfloor heating.
  • Easy to fit – The click and lock system of laminate flooring planks makes it incredibly easy to install. Even you (yes, you!) could do it…
  • Low maintenance – Just a quick sweep, vacuum, and a swish with a slightly damp mop now and again is all a laminate floor needs to stay in good condition.
  • UV resistant – Thanks to its UV protection layer, laminate won’t fade as quickly in the sunlight.
  • Realistic designs – The photographic layer is in such high definition that it does an excellent job of imitating a hardwood floor.
 
There are so few disadvantages of laminate flooring – it’s one of our most versatile flooring types and can fit into just about every room. However, some of the main cons are that it can’t be refinished once it’s made, so it can never be sanded down and repainted. It can also be a little slippery, so isn’t ideal for those who are not as steady on their feet – carpet is a much better alternative in this instance. 

Which room is best for laminate flooring?

The beauty of laminate is that it looks good everywhere! Because it’s warm and comfortable underfoot, laminate is perfect for bedroom flooring, and thanks to its stain resistance and easy clean surface, it’s a popular choice if you’re looking for dining room and kitchen laminate flooring. As laminate is a wood-based floor, it’s not the best choice for bathrooms, utility rooms, or entrances, because the planks can warp and blister when they come into contact with moisture. That said, if your heart’s set on bathroom laminate flooring, we’ve got a range of water-resistant laminates with a bit of extra splash protection.
 
  • Tapi Top Tip – Check the room suitability icons on each product page to find out where in your home that particular style of laminate can be used.
There is also plenty of choice when it comes to laminate designs. Wood effect laminate is a timeless look that will never go out of fashion, and many styles have four bevelled edges to mimic real wooden planks. Our herringbone laminate flooring are very popular designs as they look striking and they’re so much easier to lay than the real wood alternative! Laminate is generally easier to lay than engineered wood, although herringbone is harder to lay than straight-lay laminate.
 
The spectrum of laminate colours ranges from white or grey wood laminate flooring for a fresh, Scandi vibe, to dark wood laminate for a sleek, modern finish. Distressed laminate, with all its unique quirks, is ideal if you want to bring a vintage or rustic feel to a room. Our collection of oak laminate flooring comes in a variety of tones, including light, natural, stained, weathered, and dark; some are smooth to the touch, whilst others have registered embossing for a more realistic texture.

How much does it cost to fit laminate flooring?

The cost to lay laminate flooring depends on many different things: the size of the room(s), the type of laminate, the type of underlay, the location it will be fitted, and which accessories you choose. We sell a wide range of laminate flooring at different price points to suit every budget. Remember, you’ll also need to include the cost of laminate underlay, which can range from £5 to £9 per m2, as well as other accessories such as edging strips or scotia and door bars.
 
So, let’s do some maths to give you a guide! Based on a 4x4m room and a £17.99 laminate, the cost of a laminate floor would be around £460 (including underlay, beading/scotia, door bar, etc) plus £195 to fit, so the total cost as a rough guide comes to just under £660. There might be some extra costs involved if your subfloor needs a little TLC. Our flooring experts will be able to talk you through all the costs involved in buying and installing laminate flooring when you visit us in-store or book a home visit, but there's also a handy laminate flooring cost calculator on all our laminate product pages to give you an estimate of how much your floor will cost (excluding fitting).

What’s the difference between laminate and LVT?

Wondering what’s the difference between LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) and laminate? You’re not the only one! They’re quite similar in that they’re both smooth floors, they both use the click and lock method of installation, and they both look like a real wood or stone floor. However, there are a few differences to bear in mind:
 
Laminate
 
  • Wood-based
  • Eco-friendly
  • Thicker
  • Moisture-resistant (although some styles are water-resistant)
  • Wood designs
 
LVT
 
  • PVC or SPC (stone polymer composite)-based
  • Thinner
  • Water-resistant
  • Wood or stone designs
 
Now that you know everything there is to know about laminate flooring, you should check out our amazing laminate flooring range and find your favourite! If you think laminate flooring could be great in your space but you’re unsure of which is the best laminate flooring for you, pop into one of our stores where our flooring experts are on hand to offer you no-obligation advice. Alternatively, if you’re still deciding which type of flooring to choose, you can find out what is LVT, as well as engineered wood and more, in our care guides.
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