If you’re planning on remodeling a room within the next few months, you’ll want to choose a new laminate floor as part of your project. Laminate floors are a great alternative to natural wood because, while they look and feel like real wood, they resist scuffs, stains and fading and withstand changes in humidity better than most solid hardwoods.
Laminate floors have changed drastically in the past 10 years, and today they look and feel so authentic you can’t tell they’re not the real thing. Peruse the market and you’ll see a variety of styles and colors from classic smooth surfaces to highly textured wirebrushed styles to floors with a custom artisan look. This makes for a plethora of choices. Which is great from a design standpoint … but doesn’t make the selection any easier.
So, once you’ve decided to decide on a new floor … what’s next?
Start your research online.
Hello Google search. This is just about the best way to begin to find your next laminate floor. You can access major flooring manufacturers and learn about all the available products before you set foot inside a store. If you’re a fan of “Pinterest” or “Houzz,” they’re both great places to get ideas. And, naturally, home design magazines are perfect for doing a little dreaming.
Think about where the floor is going.
How do you intend to use the room? Will the room see lots of heavy traffic? Laminate floors can be installed on all grades or levels of a home, including the basement. Although laminate floors in general are designed for high traffic, a matte finish floor may be more forgiving for some types of scuffs and scratches. Rich, dark floors look absolutely stunning but they can show dust more easily than lighter tones.
For higher moisture areas like kitchens, baths, laundry rooms and mudrooms, Quick•Step offers a new generation of laminate floor called Envique. Special technologies allow the joints to lock tightly together keeping localized spills and pet accidents from seeping through the planks for up to 24 hours.
When beginning your renovation project, you’ll begin by choosing new colors for the space. Many people start by selecting fabrics first. This is because paint offers greater flexibility. As you continue to expand on your color scheme, you’ll want to choose a floor that enhances your color selections but is neutral enough to blend with any existing furniture pieces. Lighter floors generally make a space appear larger, while darker floors lend a richness and intimacy to a room. Medium tone floors work well with both lighter and darker furniture.
Don’t forget the color of flooring that will be adjacent to your new floor. It’s important for these tones to complement one another to allow for a smoother visual transition. With a color direction in mind, browse the swatches to navigate your choices.
Find the right style.
When we talk about the style of a floor we’re talking about the combination of design elements that make up the look of the floor. There are a number of innovative technologies that allow manufacturers to create flooring that ranges from the classic look of a traditional oak or maple floor to more unique and custom looks.
Texture is both visual and tactile, but it has to do with the way the planks “feel” in a room. You can choose from textures that range from smooth, classic styles to reclaimed, distressed looks. The spectrum also includes everything from wirebrushed surfaces with heavy grain to handscraped planks with a true artisan feel.
This is the difference in tone of the planks within a single floor. It simulates the natural variation of the wood species. Most manufacturers will list whether the variation from plank to plank is high or low. It generally depends upon the type of wood look that you select. If you’re concerned about a high color variation make sure you ask your retailer before you buy.
This is a term used to describe the natural looking knots and graining in a floor. A laminate floor with high character will usually feature bold graining patterns with indented nicks and notches.
Another design element is the edge of the plank. You can select planks that that have unique edge treatments to create a number of looks.
Finish is important to the overall look of the room. There are a variety of finishes available from gloss to semi-gloss to rich matte. All of these finishes protect the laminate floor surface from scuffs, microscratches, spills, stains and everyday wear.
Visit your local retailer
Once you find your local specialty retailer, narrow your selection to your top five picks and check out samples to take home. It’s important that you view the floor at home with both natural and ambient lighting. Sometimes a sample that looks great in the store won’t work in the lighting of your home.
Get advice on how to order and install your floor
Once you’ve decided on a laminate floor, your salesperson will help you with the more technical stuff — like measuring and calculating the amount of flooring needed. They can also provide advice on what type of underlayment to use, whether or not to add a vapor barrier and what type of moldings and transitions will work to integrate the new floor with existing floors and walls. Your salesperson can also arrange to have the flooring installed on a schedule that works best for you.
There’s a lot to know to make an educated flooring decision. After all, the flooring that you’ll install will be part of your household for years to come. Certain specialty retailers can be a huge asset in helping you find the flooring style that will best work for your lifestyle. Click here to find a Quick•Step retailer near you.