Laminate Flooring (Cheap, Expensive, Vs Carpets, Waterproof)

Most homeowners are switching to hardwood flooring for its natural and warm look. Installing hardwood flooring can be costly, depending on its specs. Laminate flooring mimics wood flooring given its image layer that you can imprint the wood patterns and is available in different sizes.

So, is laminate flooring expensive? On average, laminate flooring is not as expensive as hardwood, tile, Karndean or parquet flooring but is more expensive than basic carpet, vinyl and linoleum flooring. Installing laminate flooring will cost between 1,500 and 3,500 dollars with the national average standing at 2,207 dollars per 12mm thick laminate on a 200 square foot space.

Differences in pricing stem from the add-ons that the installers or manufacturers may recommend for your home, abrasion rating, and finishing. Generally, laminate is easy to install, and you can complete the project in a few hours, depending on the size of your home. The labor costs will average 800 to 1600 per 200 square foot area.

Modern flooring trends are proving that expensive is not style. It is no wonder homeowners are switching to laminate flooring for its affordability. This flooring option is easy to clean, scratch-resistant, and durable. Therefore, knowing the costs of installing laminate is vital for proper budgeting.

The laminate installation will cost you 1500 to 3500 dollars on a 200 square foot space, an average of $2 to $7 per square foot. The average labor costs will be 800 to 1600 dollars in the same area.

These cost variations arise due to the add-ons that vary from home to home. The abrasion rating and finishing will also affect the cost. However, laminate is a cheaper option than hardwood flooring, and with it, you will still achieve a rustic and traditional look in your modern home.

When it comes to laminate flooring, the cost of laminate will vary depending on the surface area of the space, quality of laminate, AC rating, thickness, water resistance, the origin of the material, and the national average depending on your location. Laminate mimics wood, tile, or stone, courtesy of its design that imprints the material before sealing. Hence, laminate costs may go higher depending on the color, type, and size.

Also, the total prices of your laminate flooring will vary depending on the floor surface area and its complexity. If the room is big, you will have to purchase more materials and hire more laborers, increasing the overall costs. A small room, on the other hand, will cost less.

While you may have a small space, you may incur higher installation costs depending on its complexity. For instance, the costs will go higher if you have a lot of trimming and cutting during installation due to a complex floor pattern.

Laminate flooring prices vary with the seasons. Before the holidays, most people take up renovation projects, increasing the demand for these materials. As such, the price of laminate flooring will increase. On the other hand, the prices will reduce after the holidays, and so will the labor costs as contractors will have lower demands. Taking advantage of the lower demand and seasons to take up your home renovation can save you a lot of time.

Your geographic location will affect the overall costs of the laminate installation. Depending on your state, the labor and material costs will rate differently. If you live in an urban area, you will likely pay more than in rural areas. Other costs that you should factor include the AC rating, costs of removing the old flooring, warranty, thickness, and texture.

While you can install laminate on top of your old flooring, most DIYers prefer removing the old flooring to prevent an uneven finish courtesy of the old flooring. Removing the old flooring is expensive due to the need for professional intervention, and you may end up paying up to 400 dollars per 200 square feet. If your subfloor requires replacement or repair, you should equally brace yourself for an increase in the overall costs.

The AC rating indicates your laminate flooring durability. This rating ranks from one to five, with five being the most durable. For residential flooring, you should consider a maximum ranking of AC 4, with AC 5 being suitable for commercials. A higher AC is also ideal for high-traffic areas.  With a higher AC ranking, the laminate flooring’s prices may go up, hence the total installation costs.

Laminate thickness and finish will also affect the costs. This flooring is available in 6mm and 12mm thicknesses. Thicker laminate is resistant to bending when placed on uneven floors, giving you a final appealing look. Laminate also features different finishes such as matte, semi-matte and glossy, all of which have different pricing.

Lastly, laminate texture mimics the look of stone, tile, or hardwood, enabling you to achieve the above feels at an affordable price. Your finished flooring can be textured or smooth, depending on your choice. Floors with deep texture are more challenging to maintain clean than those with high gloss texture. Given these dynamics, the type of texture will affect the costs, with the hand-scraped texture laminate costing more than the smooth textured.

Is It Cheaper To Carpet or Laminate Floor?

Choosing between laminate flooring and carpet can be a daunting decision. You have to consider the room function, activities, level of traffic, presence of pets, and the people present in the room. Read on to understand the cost implications of carpet and laminate to enable you to make a smart installation decision.

As a general rule it is cheaper to carpet than to put down laminate flooring, as the basic carpets cost less per square foot than the equivalent laminate flooring. Carpeting costs increase when more expensive carpets are used, and these tend to be more expensive than the equivalent expensive laminate options.

The initial cost of carpeting is relatively lower than laminate flooring, but laminate features several advantages over carpet that make it more preferable in the long run. Whether it will be cheaper to carpet or laminate your floor will depend on the style and quality you pick for the above flooring options.

You can buy and install a carpet for 2 to 5 dollars per square foot, while laminate will cost 3 to 11 dollars per square foot. With carpeting, plusher piles will be more expensive, with wool being the most expensive flooring fiber.

When it comes to laminate, you should be careful with the cheaper brands, as most of them compromise on quality. Also, when comparing laminate and carpet costs, you should factor in the warranty as it influences the prices. Cheaper and low-quality laminate will sell at a lower price, and the warranty will cover up to ten years, while the higher-end laminate will cover up to 30 years warranty.

Laminate and carpet have an almost similar price range depending on the quality, installation, durability, maintenance, and replacement. Generally, laminate will last longer than carpet, is easy to clean, and is scratch-resistant.

It may take over 30 years before you can replace your laminate flooring. High-quality laminate flooring will even take longer. On the other hand, carpets can remain in good shape for 5 to 10 years depending on their quality and the foot traffic. Also, while carpets are cheaper, they may require frequent renovations, making them expensive in the long run.

You can place carpet over wood and concrete during installation to cover the irregularities, but they are not as effective as the laminate flooring. You will need special tools and expertise for this installation, especially in large rooms.  As such, carpet installation is more efficient if you hire professionals to do the job, which will increase the overall installation costs.

On the other hand, laminate is installable on almost any type of flooring depending on the thickness and will cover the floor imperfections. Installation of the tongue and groove planks is possible for DIYers, saving you the costs of hiring a professional.

However, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions during installation to ensure the longevity of the flooring. This includes leaving small gaps between the wall and flooring’s edge to allow room for expansion and contraction. Without this space, your flooring will buckle, creating unlevelled floors and affecting durability.

Carpet and laminate flooring also differ in maintenance and replacement costs. To ensure cleanliness, you should vacuum your carpets twice a week in low-traffic areas and increase this interval with increased traffic.

You should also clean spills immediately from your carpet to prevent molds and stains. Laminate requires similar maintenance, including cleaning spills to prevent damage. However, unlike hardwood, you cannot sand or refinish laminate hence, when it damages, you will require a replacement.

With proper care, it will take years before replacing your flooring. Also, to note is that when your carpet gets damaged, you will have to uninstall and replace it all, unlike laminate, where replacement is possible in parts, with particular attention to the worn-out areas.

Laminate and carpet costs are also analyzable with respect to their environmental cost implications. The former is made of melamine resin and is recyclable, with some manufacturers using up to 80 percent of the material.

On the other hand, carpets comprise nonrenewable materials with small components of unhealthy VOCs, given the chemicals used in manufacturing. This chemical release decreases over the years, but its release can last up to 5 years.

This explains why you must ventilate your space for at least three days after installing your carpet. Vacuuming your carpet with a HEPA filter cleaner can also remove the VOCs. Alternatively, consider carpets made with renewable materials, but they come at a cost.

Is Laminate Flooring Waterproof?

Water is a nightmare to most flooring, especially the wood-based types. Such floors absorb the water, swell, rot and harbor mold, forcing repair. Therefore, if you are planning on installing laminate floors, you may wonder if they are waterproof.

Laminate flooring is not waterproof, given the recycled wood materials. Instead, the vast majority of this flooring is water-resistant. By being water-resistant, these laminates can resist water damage partially over some hours of exposure, beyond which they will start absorbing it. This explains why you should wipe spills immediately from your laminate flooring and why you should not clean your floor with soaking wet mops.

Water resistance is different from waterproofing. A waterproof flooring will resist 100% of the spills such that no amount of water can harm it. Such resistance is available in tiles, vinyl flooring, and other hybrid floors.

Water-resistant laminates are resistant from the top and not below, courtesy of the melamine layer. The melamine layer features a tough, scratch-resistant finish that offers reasonable protection from water spills and other harsh components.

Fortunately, there are ways you can waterproof your laminate flooring, especially in your kitchen, bathrooms, and dining area, where there is a high likelihood of spills. Waterproofing laminate enhances durability and maintains its elegance. Some of the things you can do to waterproof your laminate include using silicone to prevent damage, caulking, and covering its top with polyurethane.

Silicone is useful in sealing gaps that can allow water and other liquids to seep and damage your flooring. You can source silicone sealants in the market, but you should check with your manufacturer to ensure you buy one specific to your floor.

Alternatively, use caulking on the expansion gaps to prevent moisture, smoke, and dust entry. Unlike silicone, you can paint over your caulk, ensuring a good blend with your flooring pattern. Coating your laminate with a polyurethane top is another way to protect it from water damage.  Besides this protection, polyurethane will give your floor a glossy and smooth finish.

Whichever options you pick to waterproof your laminate flooring, you should be cautious with your cleaning routine to maintain your flooring quality. This includes proactive cleaning by wiping spills immediately from your floor, using clean water during cleaning, being careful not to oversaturate your floor, and avoiding unnecessary dirt from entering your home. Practicing the latter will reduce the cleaning interval and ensure durability. 

Wrap Up

Laminate offers affordable, durable, and easy-to-maintain flooring. DIY homeowners prefer it for its ease of installation, which significantly lowers the home improvement costs. The cost of laminate will vary depending on factors, including the size of your home, the thickness of the laminate, preparations before installation, texture, warranty, seasons, and the state you live in.

Thick laminate flooring with a higher AC rating and water resistance capacity will cost more. Installation costs will also increase during the peak season, and the rates will be higher in urban areas.

Compared to carpets, laminate is affordable despite its high initial costs. With carpets, you will incur maintenance costs due to regular cleaning intervals. The replacement costs are also high should your carpet get damaged, unlike laminate which is repairable in parts.

Finally, laminate is not waterproof but, instead, water-resistant. Thus, it can handle water for some time, beyond which it will compromise its quality. To waterproof your laminate flooring consider polyurethane covers, caulking, or silicone.

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