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You completed you flooring project some time ago and it looked perfectly styled, colored, and textured then. It was so real and natural that one could mistake it for an expensive flooring, but in real sense it was a laminate and not the natural wood finishing. But over the months the floor’s gleam started to deteriorate because you did not give the floor proper care and maintenance. You probably neglected to maintain it regularly, used the wrong cleaning agents, failed to do minor repairs, allowed moisture to percolate through the flooring into the sub floor, and only did the dusting at long intervals. Now the flooring is a crying shame needing attention and you are a t loss as to what to do about it. Fret not because you can get a laminate installation service near your locality.
When doing repairs on the laminate flooring, it is important to know how much the various laminates cost.
|Wood Type||Material / sq. ft.||Installation / sq. ft.||Total Cost / sq. ft.|
|Maple||$1||$2 - $6||$2.70 - $6.70|
|Red Oak||$1||$2 - $6||$2.70 - $6.70|
|White Oak||$1||$2 - $6||$2.70 - $6.70|
|Walnut||$1||$2 - $6||$2.90 - $6.90|
|Acacia||$1||$4 - $6||$5 - $7|
|Cherry||$1||$4 - $6||$5 - $7|
|Beech||$1||$4 - $6||$5 - $7|
|Hickory||$2||$6 - $8||$8 - $10|
When repairing or refinishing the laminate flooring or other surface, it is worthwhile to consider the properties of the laminate you are using. Naturally, you want to maintain the same material as the rest of the floor unless you want to add a touch of contrast. Some laminates have the following qualities;
|WOOD TYPE||COST PER SQ. FT.|
|Maple||White, creamy, to red-gold color||Thick, long, spiral grains with contrasting dark and light patterns||$1||$5|
|Red Oak||Medium brown color||Heavy grains with slight pattern variations||$1||$5|
|White Oak||Gold- brown to gray color||Smooth linear grains||$1||$5|
|Walnut||White to chocolate hues||Thick and heavy grains||$1||$7|
|Acadia||Dark and light brown color||Deep and contrasting grains||$1||$8|
|Beech||Light tan to slightly pink color||Small grains that are seamlessly placed||$1||$7|
|Cherry||Dark red to brown color||Linear grains and small knots||$1||$8|
|Hickory||Red to brown tan||Large grains that are intricately looped||$2||$10|
It is not easy to choose the right laminate that will both suit the overall design of your home, offer durability, and keep costs manageable. There are many designs and types to choose from, but you should be guided by a number of important factors.
Laminate material has the greatest advantage in its price. It is cheaper than hardwood and is one of the best value for quality materials used in finishing floors and surfaces. At no extra cost, it gives your surface finishing the look of any natural material that would otherwise cost you a lot more.
The laminate is made from wood dust, mixed with a bonding agent and pressed firmly together. The material is resistant to UV that causes color fading.
Laminate can be embossed, treated to be anti- static, moisture resistant, and textured. It resembles popular woods textures like maple, mahogany, oak, cherry, teak, and birch.
Laminate is durable and resistant to scratching, denting, and staining compared to traditional wood, which requires frequent sanding, waxing, and refinishing to remove scratch marks, dents, and unwanted stains. A good laminate repair kit will make the surface more durable and largely repair- free. It also makes routine maintenance easy for about a year or two. The top resin is not just transparent, but it is also hard- wearing.
A laminate is installed as a floating floor over the subfloor or an existing flooring. Repair and maintenance of such a floating floor is easier, cheaper, and faster as it does not affect the building’s structural integrity, and in many states you do not need a permit for a floating floor repair and maintenance. Minor repair and improvements on laminate surfaces are easy and affordable to implement since you only need a laminate repair and cleaning kit, which costs less than $50 for a sizeable room. Moreover, you do not require elaborate tools and supplies for the repair job.
When properly sealed with a tight fit along the seams, laminate is resistant to moisture penetration, especially in the dry floors like the living room and bedroom. Under good care it will last many years in a pristine condition. One of the reasons for repair services is to seal the surface from moisture leaks. A tight fit with sealed seams or gaps is moisture- proof, therefore safe. You must however, not allow standing water on the surface as it there might still be a minute leak point that will allow moisture through. The underlayment used in repair cost less than $20 per sheet covering about 100 square feet.
Furniture legs cause much damage to the floor because of dragging when moving them. Even when the furniture is supported on one leg when moving it will cause scraping of the top covering of the laminate. Reduce such damage by facing the bottom of the furniture legs with fabric or having furniture gliders.
When the servicing of the laminate surface is done right, cleaning becomes easy, simple, and quick since you only need periodic mopping with an appropriate cleaning agent. A moist cloth or mop will absorb the surface moisture and prevent leaks. Stains are cleaned off using a vinegar solution and cloth.
The repaired laminate floor needs only an inexpensive cleaning agent for regular cleaning. A can of the cleaning agent costs just about $10. The cost of maintenance is therefore relatively low.
Dirt is brought into the room by air draughts and dirty shoes. It is not only unhealthy, but it also carried static electricity that can affect certain electronic devices. Static electricity attracts more floating dirt to it. You come in contact with the dirt, which transfers the static electricity to your body, and then you transfer the same when you touch the circuitry of an electronic gadget. Frequent dusting and vacuuming will prevent a build- up of dirt that floats into the room and settles on the laminate floor. Wipe spills and dirt with a damp but not soggy cloth or mop. Moisture causes the most damage to the laminate floor.
Detergents and soaps cause color fading and encourage hardening of grime if they not properly cleaned off. Use proper cleaning agents for the laminate floor.
After repair and servicing, the laminate surface will appear new and appealing. Services ensure the scratch marks, leaks through the seams, and other imperfections are corrected, leaving a clean and perfect surface.
Laminates are generally durable when properly installed, therefore it is common to have a long warranty, such as five or ten years. You should however study the disclaimers carefully to know the limitations of the warranty.
The laminate flooring is quite functional in that it creates an appealing space, is easy to maintain, and it feels easy when standing on it. A textured laminate is easy to walk on without sliding. A repaired laminate floor regains its spring and texture. The resin surface is easy to wipe clean, leaving a clean floor or other surface. The resin, glue, and underlayment form a moisture barrier that keeps the floor beneath dry and structurally sound.
A good quality laminate is elegant and has a wood- like appearance. Laminate planks are of uniform quality, color, and patterns, making them appear neat on a surface. When laminate repair is done right it gives the floor a good- as- new appearance, which improves the house’s ROI. The increased value is especially true when you used hard- wearing, textured, and embossed laminates.
The main drawback of laminate flooring is the knowledge that it is not the real wood material. It is not possible to repair by sanding and filling and often the entire floor or surface has to be redone when repairing it. Standing water can damage the laminate flooring, especially in the wet areas like the bathroom.
The laminate can be unsafe as it is slippery, especially when wet. The resin also attracts static electricity which in rare cases can lead to damage to electrical appliances. The hardness or texture of the laminate may not feel right under the feet, although a good underlay may improve the sensation. Laminate flooring has a lower ROI than hardwood, especially after it has faded or lost some of its luster. Colors and patterns do fade with time, needing restoration every other year. Scratch marks and cracks are difficult to completely conceal, and they reduce the curb appeal of the property. Repair work may result in a staggered pattern that is not appealing. If you have to maintain the pattern you might have to buy more materials and waste more.
Laminate has the looks of natural wood, which is the preferred material for most homeowners – if only they could afford it. A natural wood flooring looks timeless, appealing, warm, and welcoming, but it comes at a premium cost and has high maintenance costs, according to BuildDirect. Installation and maintenance have to be done by a professional service provider or contractor. Laminate on the other hand is an engineered product that resembles the natural wood, but at a fraction of the cost. Installation and maintenance are quick and cheap, and can sometimes be done by a DIY.
When servicing the laminate flooring, it is important to understand the structure of the floor beneath it, this way you will appreciate why the surface has to be maintained in a particular manner. For more information about laminate flooring structure, read our article on laminate flooring.
As explained by TheSpruce, planks of laminate are interlocked with glue or by tight- fitting or snap- in design of tongue- and- grove system. Laminate flooring is only the floor finishing sitting on top of the sub- floor and base that give the floor its structural support. The laminate has good appeal, shine, and beautiful décor. It is made of layers of wood composite (particle board) or synthetic material like melamine that are bound together with a strong adhesive. Then a thin skin of photographic or printed paper in the appearance of any natural wood, stone, or any desired patterns is used to cover the material. In some cases a thin layer of the real wood may be used instead. Finally, the paper is covered and protected with a shiny, clear, and hard- wearing resin.
The laminate has added properties such as moisture resistance, elasticity, buoyance, thermo- barrier, durability, lightweight, and scratch- proofing. With its realistic patterns a laminate flooring is usually preferable to carpet flooring. Many home owners opt for the laminate because of its creative appearances. For example some laminates have narrow planks that look realistic natural wood, smooth surfaces that give a sheen and refinement, rough texture with an artistic touch, beveled and square edges with a good visual effects or better interlocking, and a textured surface that look like authentic wood. When repairing a laminate surface on a floating floor you do not require a building permit since safety and structural integrity of the house are not affected.
The underlayment is especially suitable for a floating laminate floor. Some new floors do not need the laminate underlayment at all since they are moisture- proofed and properly leveled. It is used to even out minor irregularities in the sub- floor, create a firm base for the laminate, and to create buoyance in the flooring. It also improves the thermo- qualities of the floor, especially in the living room and the buoyancy reduces noise levels. The underlayment has a thickness of between ¼” and ¾”. For some laminate planks the underlayment is pre- attached to the bottom side.
In order to avoid surprise expenses buy laminates that come already fixed with padding or underlayment. If you buy the underlayment separately then expect to pay $15 to $35 per roll, which covers 100 square feet of floor area. The price depends on the thickness and quality of the underlay. Installing the underlayment will cost more in labor since it will involve measuring, cutting, and laying the underlayment. A separate underlayment installation or repair will therefore have added an extra cost to laminate flooring repair by between $2 and $3 per square foot.
Laminate is not the real wood, but it is engineered to feel and look like the real wood. Embossing creates an authentic look of the real wood, while glossing makes the laminate more durable. The man purpose of texturing is to replicate the natural wood look, while the main purpose of glossing is to make the laminate more durable, shinier, easy to clean, and to remove any dents. Different rooms have different needs as far as texture is concerned. The bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room for example are wet areas that need a rough textured or anti- slip flooring. Texturing is a further process in the factory, therefore a textured laminate costs more by as much as 30 percent.
Laminates are ranked from 1 to 5 on the AC ranking, while measures the durability of the material. AC 5 is the highest standard mainly for industrial or commercial flooring, but AC 4 is good for homes. In the home itself, the low traffic spaces, such as the bedroom, can do with a lower AC ranking, and the high traffic areas such as the living room, entryway, and the kitchen need a higher AC ranking. A higher AC ranking cost more than the lower ranking AC.
In general all laminate flooring, walling and surfacing should not be rigidly attached to the sub- floor or other sub-surface so as to allow for expansion and slight stress movement. An underlayment is used in all forms of laminate flooring. The underlayment is suitable where the floor is slightly uneven. Some varieties of laminate have a pre-attached underlayment. You have four options to choose from when installing the laminate; glue- less, pre- glued, glued, and attached underlayment, according to KitchenandFlooring.com
Most floor laminates are the glue- less type. The glue- less system instead uses click and interlock (or snap- in) technology. The tongue and groove makes it fast and easy to install the laminate blocks or planks. The glue- less laminate is convenient to install with no messy glues to worry about. An underlayment is first installed between the sub- floor and the laminate strips in order to lock out moisture oozing from below and for acoustics reasons – to reduce the noise levels as one steps on the floor.
A pre- glued laminate flooring is convenient because it is quick and easier to install. The pre- glued laminate flooring is a neater option because the strips are evenly glued along the tongues and grooves, and covered with a thin plastic film to protect the laminate from getting stuck to the subfloor. The gluing and filming are done at the factory. An underlay is used to seal out moisture and cushion the flooring.
A glued laminate is more durable and sturdier than the glue- less type. It is however, more difficult to install and repair. Often you have to uninstall a larger section than the repair site, making it more costly in materials and labor. Glued laminates are joined together by a specially formulated resin glue. Both the tongue and groove locking edges are coated with the glue, joined, and allowed to dry. After drying, the glue forms a strong bond that is resistant to normal abrasion and decomposition by chemical spills, grime, detergents, and heat. The glue floor is however difficult to repair and often requires that you replace the entire laminate flooring. The gluing process can be messy and permanently stain the laminate surface. In case of a spill you need to immediately wipe it off, otherwise you might have to buff the affected surface.
An attached underlay to the laminate flooring is the easiest to lay on the subfloor. It is suited to the tongue and groove locking system of laminate flooring. There are no other subfloor preparatory processes or gluing to be done apart from laying the planks and pressing them firmly together.
The flooring service provider will apply the restorer solution in stages using a micro- fiber mop and cloth, which is inexpensive. He will prepare the floor by polishing and vacuuming it after applying the cleaning agent such as Fresh Start which can deep clean a 200 square foot floor using a 500ml bottle. The cleaned surface is then given two coats of application with an acrylic film, which can cover a 200 square foot floor with two light coats. The acrylic adheres to the flooring and brings back the shine and life to the dull floor. The normal rate for the job is $75 per hour and taking four hours for a 200 square foot floor. Some service providers will charge per square foot, usually between $0.90 and $2.00 per square foot.
Lobby groups have come up to advocate for the use of laminate as a better alternative to natural wood. Such a group is the North American Laminate Flooring Association or NALFA. It is a lobby group of laminate installers that advocates for laminate use for flooring and other home surfaces. NALFA also recruits laminate repair and service providers. They recommend that the total cost of servicing or repairing the laminate flooring be about $0.80 to $1.70 per square foot, including the cleaning supplies, repair materials, and labor.
By design, laminates are water resistant but stagnant water causes the laminate to warp. Some laminates are specially designed as water- resistant and proofed for use in the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, powder room, and such other wet areas. Water or other liquid spills have to be wiped off immediately before they infiltrate through cracks or gaps between blocks. But over time and despite the best care, the laminate will start showing signs of tiredness. The resin will lose its sparkle, the colors will fade especially where they laminate is exposed to sunlight, and scratch marks will appear on the floor where the pets have scratched or furniture been dragged. If water has seeped through a crack it will cause the laminate to bloat or warp and crease. A restoration and repair service will correct most of these defects and put the laminate floor back to an attractive state.
You floor will need the professional preservation process in any of the following circumstances;
The kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and several other rooms have laminate- based installations such as cabinetry and furniture. If the previous installed laminate surface does not give the expected shine, moisture protection, grime and mold prevention, then the flooring will need a professional cleaner to not only seal the gaps, but also to proof against dust, treat for allergens, restore the colors, and give the surface a good shine.
With regular, professional floor cleaning services at 12 to 18 months, the laminate will not need sanding, coating, staining, or other restoration again.
Restoration is not only more expensive, but it also takes a longer time of about 5 days to complete. A good professional service will take care of the allergens, dust setting, and formation of bacteria, mold, fungi, and other pathogens.
Once cleaning is completed the floor needs time to dry and the resin to set. This would be approximately 6 to 12 hours, after which you can move the furniture and rugs in. The professionals will take care to inspect the state of the cleaned floor before bringing the furniture and rugs back into the rooms.
Normally you do your own cleaning and maintenance of the laminate flooring. It is generally an easy and quick process, but often times you will want to give the floor a professional touch up. This is when you need the professional laminate service to preserve the laminate surface, beautify the cabinetry, when you have no time to do the job yourself, and when you need a fool- proof job done.
Major repairs and maintenance laminate works cost a substantial amount of money. Some professionals are too quick to condemn the existing laminate flooring as too worn out or outdated, but before going along with their opinion it is worthwhile to get a second opinion. Some professional cleaners are able to refurbish the floor through the cleaning process and agents that will add more years to the floor.
The task of laminate flooring services can be done as a DIY but, like many other home improvement projects, it is often more prudent to employ a professional laminate service contractor. A general contractor, flooring contractor, or even interior decorator can do the job for you. Laminate flooring has the added advantage of not requiring stringent safety and building code, so you can do it as a DIY. But since you want the floor to look professionally serviced you should hire a professional laminate service provider. The pro will take care of sourcing for laminate cleaning and repair materials, providing the tools and supplies for the job, and saving you time. A DIY service has no warranty, unlike a professionally done job.
Before inviting quotes, find out the footprint or area of your floor. Find out if the shape is regular or not, since rounded and tapered spaces will waste more material than rectangular spaces. When buying the materials, allow for a 10 percent wastage through damage in transit, inaccurate cutting, and miscalculation of measurements. Get a ball park cost of flooring from the internet.
Although laminate flooring services do not require stringent training and professional qualifications, it is still worthwhile to get an experienced and well known laminate cleaning service provider, preferably locally. Laminate flooring installers often double as laminate maintenance and cleaning service or they can recommend a reputable company for the job. When hiring the contractor, be sure to verify their expertise, experience, reliability, legality, approval rating with the BBB, and internet reviews by previous customers. Research and hunt for good deals near you. These include lower prices of supplies and lower contractor charges.
In order to properly clean the laminate flooring and avoid streaking, the laminate service contractor will use a mop soaked in hot water and wringed out well.
He may add a cup of white vinegar or ammonia or a commercial product such as Windex, to the gallon of water, which aids in lifting off grime and dirt without making the floor dull and streaky. He will start the moping from the far side and towards the exit. After repeating the procedure of soaking and wringing the mop, and wiping the floor dry, while making sure not to leave any moisture on the floor, he will leave the laminate to dry. If there are tough spots such as markers ink, lipstick, paint, oil, tar, or ink, then he will remove them with an acetone- based agent (or even nail polish remover) and a white flannel. He will be diligent to avoid using steamers and wet mops to clean, which may cause irreparable damage, like spots and warps, to the flooring. He will then conduct a thorough inspection of every inch of the surface for signs of moisture leak. This will help determine whether to simply maintain or repair the surface.
It is prudent to shop around for discount sales in your area, including closing down sales, promotion sales, and warehouse sales. Buying through the contractor may save you the hassle of searching for the best deals, as the contractor already has knowledge of discounted sales. They are also able to buy at lower cost from shops as regular or quantity buyers, but be aware that most contractors keep the discount to themselves and use it to cover the cost of shopping and transport. When estimating the cost of material according to the surface area, you should give a 10 percent allowance for wastage, miscalculation, and damage of the materials. Try not to have to replenish the material as it may run out of stock before you get replenishments, and making it hard to get an exact match elsewhere.
If you contract a flooring specialist, they will likely do the purchasing and installation as a package, which will save you many hassles of gathering and evaluating quotes, figuring out what is best, or subcontracting the design, and so forth. You should still read internet reviews of the specialist from both their website and from independent websites. In all cases a search in BBB will give you a fair clue about the specialist’s professionalism. You still need to do your research online. Find out what other reviewers are saying about the contractor. Get a ball pack cost of your project by reviewing similar project costs. The easiest way to compare is to have the total cost of installation per square foot. Knowing the total area you are laminating will help reduce wastage of materials.
A good laminate service provider will use an environmentally- friendly and guaranteed solution to the laminate flooring and other surfaces. For example, Don Rite Carpet Care, CA. are a laminate and carpet service that can restore your flooring to a clean, rejuvenated look using environmentally- friendly processes that are dust- free, anti- allergic, anti- bacteria, and quick to accomplish. They repair, refinish, and restore aged laminates. They do not do any sanding, so you have a dust- free space.
Cleaning the laminate floor is a fast task that will take about 2 to 3 hours to complete. A laminate cleaning service provider will charge on average $60 to $80, therefore you expect to pay between $120 and $160 on average and $250 for premium services according to ThumbTuck. The cost will vary according to floor area, shape of the floor, type of flooring, and presence of pets which create scratch marks on the floor, effects of abrasive cleaning detergents and chemicals over time, and so forth.
The laminate service provider will recommend a good laminate cleaning solution and repair kit, which costs in the range of $40 t $100 depending on the product quality and properties. Such a repair kit will deep cleanse the surface of dust, grime, loose particles, and spills. It will seal joints or gaps left after the installation process, thus creating a uniform, water- proof surface. The agent will restore the laminate to a fresh appearance from the old, drab, and aged looks, and it will repair minor cracks such as scuffs and tearing caused by stretching and contraction. The cleaner will rejuvenate the surface to a new look by recoating it with a resin and bring back the shine to the laminate surface. The ideal laminate cleaner and repair system dries quickly to form a hard finish that is durable for another 12 to 18 months on a normal traffic area. Finally, the laminate cleaner and repair system is easy to clean by simply mopping the surface with a damp cloth.
An advanced cleaning chemical, also called restorer solution, such as the brand name Restorer, is able to deep clean the laminate flooring. It removes grime, stains, lose particles, dirt, and previously applied chemicals and old polish. Furthermore, it creates a new coat of clear acrylic finish that is moisture- proof.
The shine lasts at least one year under normal conditions. A cleaning agent is affordable and easy to apply, so you can re- apply it as soon as the existing coat begins to look tired and faded. Some restorers, Restorer included, are non- toxic, safe and environment friendly. Cleaning is by simple mopping or wiping with a slightly damp cloth or mop. Normally, you need a half liter bottle of a restorer to apply two coats on a 200 square foot floor. You also need a clean microfiber mop for each coat applied.
In general it is better to leave the laminate flooring to the professionals unless you have a solid subfloor. A pro will charge about $60 to $70 per hour or $210 for repairing a 200 square foot floor, which involves removal of the affected area and reinstallation of the laminate flooring. You need to get new materials and supplies for the flooring, which may cost a further $200 to $400.
Laminate costs are easier to quantify by square foot. In terms of material, the laminates that mimic the White Oak, Red Oak, and Maple woods are the least expensive, costing between $0.65 and $1.20 per square foot, while those that mimic Hickory are the most expensive, costing between $1.80 ad $2.20 per square foot. Many other types fall in between, for example Acadia, Cherry and Beech cost about $1.10, and Cedar costs about $0.80 per square foot. The overall cost will be varied by the amount of cutting and trimming, and the shape of the footprint.
When materials and labor are considered together, the cost of refinishing a laminate flooring ranges between $2.00 and $8.00 per square foot. Labor takes up about 60 percent of that cost, supplies about 10 percent, and the laminate material takes about 30 percent. The supplies are mainly the underlay and the adhesive. Clear floor areas such as the hallway or stairs may be done as a DIY project, but the more complicated floor areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, or living room with irregular floor shape are definitely a professional job. The professional will use mechanical tools to cut evenly or straight through the laminate with minimal waste.
An old laminate flooring can be replaced with either a similar or a new and different laminate flooring. You may have to scrape free a glued down laminate, which is cumbersome. It is easier to remove the snap- in laminate system using only simple tools (a pry bar and utility knife). It costs about $0.40 to $0.60 per square foot to remove and dispose of an old laminate. Selecting the right laminate style and color is a problem because your home design or style may be rustic, old, modern, classic, or some other style that you may not be able to match with the laminate.
Moreover, you need a different laminate for the various rooms and spaces in the house so as to avoid a monotonous appearance of the house and to cater for dry and wet spaces. It is best to leave the selection to an expert who will find the perfect blend for you. They have experience and have done it in many homes, so they have a better understanding of the effects of different laminate styles, colors, and types.
The nature of laminate flooring is such that when doing replacement of part of the floor you will follow the same procedures as installing a new laminate floor. The unit cost of repairing will be higher for a small area than for a larger area because you buy the full laminate repair kit each time you repair, the professional will still charge the same amount for travel time, quote, and shopping. The average cost of engaging the repair contractor and buying the materials and supplies will therefore vary between $200 for minor repairs and $1,200 for major repairs. You should consider doing a complete makeover if the total cost exceeds $2,000 for a 200 square foot area.
Repairing laminate surfaces other than flooring is a rather delicate operation because of small and tucked away spaces, such as the counter tops, and cabinet tops and interiors. The cost will range between $2 and $10 per square foot. The great variation in price is occasioned by the type of wood finishing, the quality of the laminate material, style, durability, and whether it is a DIY or professional project.
A renewed laminate greatly improves the curb appeal and ROI of your home at a lower cost than replacing the entire laminate flooring. Laminate flooring easily replaces old flooring such as carpet, vinyl, or natural wood. You will incur a cost of removing the old laminate to be replaced, especially if the flooring is not a floating one. If the subfloor has rotted or gotten moisture damage, then you need to either replace or moisture- proof it before refinishing the laminate.
Original hardwood has higher maintenance costs associated with it, including buffing, sanding, waxing, and polishing, while laminate is simple to mop or wipe clean and dry and the cleaned surface leaves a pleasant shine on the flooring. Consequently, the difference in the cost of flooring between a laminate and a hardwood floor may be between $1,200 and $2,000, with materials accounting for most of the difference. The laminate flooring on a 200 square foot floor may cost you about $3,300 compared to $4,500 for the hardwood flooring.
Although hardwood flooring is the most appealing type of flooring, it comes with additional costs and expenses. The real wood is expensive to buy with prices ranging between $5.00 and $8.00 per square foot, while many homeowners spend about $7.00 per square foot as the norm. Laminate wood is a cheaper alternative to natural wood, tiling, or carpeting. By comparison, laminate costs about $1.00 per square foot, making it the more affordable choice, yet with similar appeal and effects.
Where a major repair is involved, the old laminate is given a complete clean and shine treatment. You need to uninstall the damaged laminate flooring and replace it with a new laminate flooring. Torn or scratched patches of the laminate surface are sanded and then sealed with a resin.
The process of repairing or refinishing the laminate surface is quite similar to the process of installation. It is fast and easy to repair the laminate surface and requires few supplies, tools, and equipment. For the snap- in system, the planks simply lock into each other, further reducing the need for equipment. The laminate material is easy to cut through with a handsaw. However, there is a higher risk of moisture leaking through the joints or seams under repair, especially in the click and lock system. If the laminate is improperly repaired it might warp or look even less appealing after refinishing. Chemicals and heavy, sharp objects can damage the laminate finishing.
The contractor will place an underlayment to moisture proof the flooring, although some versions of laminate come with their own underlayment glued on the underside. In the repair, unless it is for the entire floor area, you should adopt the same types and sizes of material, for example if the original laminate planks are glued on the tongue and groove, then you should use the same gluing of the tongue and groove when replacing the laminate planks.
The contractor uses a pull bar for firming the bond between planks, pry bar for removing old laminate or other flooring material, soft mallet for tapping firm the new planks, a miter saw or handsaw for cutting planks, a measuring tape and speed square for measuring distance and right angles, a utility knife for cutting through the binding, a putty knife for applying the caulk, the caulk itself, and shoe mold for finishing the corners and edges. They will also have the laminate material itself, baseboard, underlay, and paint. Laminate is not suited to wet areas because of the possibility of warping and bloating due to high moisture content.
The service contractor will place the repair underlayment between the subfloor and the laminate itself. It reinforces the laminate, which is a thin board, and prevents it from snapping or cracking under a heavy weight. It acts as a cushion to reduce the buckling of the laminate, increase absorption of noise and crackling sound of shoes or hard objects moving on the floor. Noise transfer is especially prominent between floors, in the common rooms like the living and dining rooms, and utilities like the kitchen and powder room. It acts as a sub- surface leveling on a slightly irregular subfloor. This prevents cracking of the laminate finishing and keeps the floor level. It also prevents upward movement of moisture from the basement rock. The underlayment is made of a thermo- insulated foam with air pockets trapped inside the foam, which helps keep the floor surface warmer.
In general, laminates are water- proof, but they do not go well with wetness. If by accident moisture is absorbed into the laminate itself, it will cause the laminate to expand and warp, and result in an uneven surface. Warping will cause more cracking and damage to the surface, eventually leading to irreparable damage to the laminate. There are, however, some laminates specially designed for the wet areas like the kitchen, powder room, bathroom, and outdoor areas. The laminate flooring used in repair work has to be made waterproof using an underlayment to reinforce the subfloor waterproofing and a strong resin on top to prevent water seepage. The underside of the laminate flooring may have a protective, moisture- proof, and cushioned layer.
You should be careful when choosing the replacement underlayment. An underlayment levels minor irregularities in the subfloor and cushions the laminate flooring, but it should not be too thick or too thin in relation to the existing underlayment, otherwise the floor will not be level. TheSpruce.com suggests a thin underlayment for a thin laminate. This way you do not have to resize the door or redesign the area around the door sweep. Underlayment costs a paltry $0.25 per square foot or $25 for a roll that covers 100 square feet. There are several types of underlayment to choose from;
Felt underlayment is a cloth- like recycled material, dense, and good at smoothing bumps. It is firm but thin so as not to reduce the room height, block the door movement, or have too much buoyancy. The underlayment is not a substitute for proper subfloor installation, especially leveling and protection against moisture. A roll of felt underlayment of size 3½’ by 27½’ costs about $40 ($0.55 per square foot).
Light- weight foam is inexpensive at $15 per roll of size 3’8” by 27’4” (or $0.20 per square foot), thin at 3mm, lightweight, and quick to install, but it is not durable.
Heavy foam is stronger and thicker, and costs about twice as much as a similar- sized light- weight foam. It is especially useful in a heavy traffic floor.
The contractor will replace the shoe mold after repairing the laminate flooring. He will use a pry to remove the old threshold. The new shoe mold will be nailed with 1½” nails. The gaps left between the shoe mold and flooring is filled with caulk, allowed to cure, and then painted. The total cost of the molding and painting is less than $50. The contractor will also replace the threshold where the laminate ends at the entryways of the room. This is a safety measure against tripping and the laminate being damaged at the edges. The threshold costs about $3 per linear foot to install.
Use dirt- trapping mats at the entryways to protect against UV lights and dirt accumulation. Dirt caused a transfer of its static electricity to the laminate surface, which may pose some danger to electronic gadgets. Use area rugs to protect the laminate surface from fading. Shift the area rugs or mats occasionally in order to ensure you have an even fading or aging process of the laminate that is not noticeable. Avoid too much sunlight into a room by draping large windows or installing external shading.
A vacuum or soft brush can be used for easy cleaning, while spills can be cleaned off with a damp mop or cloth. Unfortunately, snap in laminate system easily allows moisture to leak through the seams and cause bloating and warping. Cleaning requires a specially- formulated cleaning agent for laminate, otherwise harsh chemicals and detergents cause the laminate to wear off and fade faster.
Laminate flooring is an engineered product made to mimic natural wood and stone. It comes in different natural- looking colors, textures, and patterns. It also comes in different engineered thickness, sturdiness, materials, features, and pricing. The base material and quality of the laminate is consistent, hence similarity in the pricing across manufacturers. Some of the attributes to look out for are;
For the laminate floor to have an extended longevity, gleam, and a clean look, you need to give it proper care. You must have the right cleaning materials and supplies that are specially designed and recommended for that type of laminate. You can achieve the floor maintenance by engaging a floor cleaning service.
Every now and then, at least once a year at most, you should engage the services of a professional laminate floor cleaning service provider. This is because unlike normal cleaning where you wipe off dirt and water from the floor, the floor needs some repair, sealing, and restoration to a good- as- new look. Over time the laminate flooring will experience some scratching from furniture, shoes, or other objects dragging on the floor. Muddy shoes and wind drafts will deposit dust, and the stresses on the floor may result in minor cracks or gaps. Sunshine and aging will cause the colors to go dull and tired. Fungi, bacteria and other pathogens will hide in the gaps and accumulated grime on the floor.
Laminate flooring and surface finishing look pleasant when it is in a good condition, but it looks downright cheap and unappealing when it is worn out and faded. It is certainly a hard sell if you were to put up the home for sale with a less than pristine laminate flooring. Luckily, it is possible to restore it with a proper service by a pro.
It is essential that you take the task of cleaning the floor seriously, since improper cleaning damages the floor, creates an unhygienic environment, and over time it reduces the house’s ROI. Therefore, hiring the pro to do a professional cleaning from time to time, or at least twice a year, is the way to go. The pro follows the correct steps, and uses the right chemicals, supplies and tools for the job. He also does a thorough job of locating all the hard to reach corners and accumulated greases, stains, and scratch marks. He will take care not allow moisture to seep into the subfloor or the base board. He has chemicals for lifting off the grime, disinfectants for all pathogens, chemicals for repairing and sealing the gaps, machines for proper buffing, and chemicals for creating a new shiny and water- proofed top sealing.
Some of the tools employed professional by the professionals include a spray mop, a suction vacuum cleaner, a caulk applicator, a buffing machine, and a high- pressure air hose. The spray mop ensures an even application of the cleaning and sealing agents. The buffing machine will level the caulked surfaces without damaging the surrounding laminate. The vacuum cleaner with clean off dirt and small solids from the floor, while a circular mop will pry lose any stuck particles and polish the surface.
Apart from the floor, laminate is used on counter tops, in cabinets and shelves, and even bathroom vanities. The kitchen surfaces are especially susceptible to moisture and stains. Regular cleaning with all-purpose laminate cleaner and a soft brush, damp cloth will keep the surface clean and longer-lasting, but at some point you need a professional service to rejuvenate and repair the surfaces.
Cleaning the laminate cabinet requires the same care as cleaning the floor. The professional laminate service provider recommends at least quarterly visits to do a thorough restoration of the laminate surface and to protect it from grime, bacteria, mold, moisture, and other unwanted conditions that affect laminate surfaces. For simple maintenance, they use a diluted solution of vinegar mixed with an all- purpose cleaner. A cloth is soaked in the mixture and wringed to a damp condition. The surface is wiped in regular motions such as straight or circular movements. After rinsing with a clean cloth, disinfect the surface with an antibacterial kitchen cleaning agent. Be especially keen on cleaning the seams, edges, gaps, joints, and corners. Use a soft brush to clean the difficult areas, but avoid abrasive or harsh cleaning chemicals. For fresh stains apply a paste of baking soda and rinse with water after about 5 minutes. Original lemon juice is acidic and a good solvent for many types of stain.
When a room is well-polished and gleamed, it gives the impression of a large, spacious floor. Buyers are easily impressed by the appearance. Keeping it spotless takes dedication on your part as the home keeper, and sometimes you need a little help from a professional cleaning service. You especially need the professional service when germs, bacteria, grime, mold, fungi, and mildew spores build up, especially at the far corners and hard- to- reach points, and when the surface loses some of its gleam. Be careful about the kind of laminate cleaner you use because the cleaners are made specifically for a given type of laminate.
The laminate flooring is not the most popular flooring option, therefore you have to be careful how it appears before putting up the property for sale. A new- looking finish will appeal to buyers, some who might appreciate the fact an old laminate installation can actually look pristine.
There are a number of laminate types, designs, textures, and sizes. Costs range from $0.60 per square foot of Equestrian Collection brand, to $1.60 for the Russian Collection brand. There is a wide range of colors that mimic the natural wood or stone colors, and other colors are artistic. They include chocolate brown, ash grey, roasted brown, American quarter horse, marble gray, ebony, ash blonde, cement gray, ash brown, and so forth. Natural wood colors, patterns, and textures include light oak, dark oak, mahogany, red wood, ebony, teak, and so forth. You are literally spoilt for choice. When choosing the size, note the dimensions of the floor area to cover. Do some math to see the correct width of planks that will result in minimum cutting and wastage.
Routine care and maintenance of the laminate flooring is quite simple as it involves vacuuming or sweeping with a soft- bristled brush. Wet spills can be cleaned off using a damp cloth or mop. Occasionally you mop the laminate surface with a warm and damp mop. If you do have the recommended laminate cleaning agent, you can use a little dish- washing liquid or window cleaner added to the damp mop. Avoid floor waxes and shines so as to prevent wax build- up. A soapy residue in pine- scented, soapy cleaners makes the floor slippery and dangerous. Stains and spots can be wiped off using a little vinegar, but on a wider scale vinegar causes loss of shine and transparency. Murphy’s Oil is a good cleaner on hardwood, but it causes a murky streak on laminates. Sharp and heavy objects can ruin the laminate flooring. Falling knives, stomping with stiletto shoes, pet claws, and dragging of furniture will cause considerable damage to the surface. You can place a pet mat for the dog or cat to lie on, place soft pads under the furniture legs, and wear flat shoes in the house.
The laminate service provider will do several activities that will preserve the flooring and maintain its pristine appearance. There are several activities you can do to maintain the laminate flooring. Since strong sunlight causes fading of colors on the laminate, use dirt trapping mats at the entryways as protection. The area mats and shades or drapes can be shifted occasionally in order to reduce the sunlight exposure to the same floor area.
The color fade will not be so contrasting. Clean off food or coffee spills immediately using a slightly damp cloth or mop and make sure the area is dry. If the finishing on the flooring was not done properly or has worn off then moisture will leak into the subfloor through openings and create creases and warps.
Vacuum- clean and dust the floor and furniture legs regularly, just like you would do with the carpet. Soaps are abrasive and tend to accumulate as grime, therefore use the recommended cleaning agents for laminate flooring, such as Laminate Flooring Cleaner brand.
To repair the laminate, do the mop cleaning first, then use a laminate repair kit or cleaning agent applied to a damp micro fiber pad. The agent is sprayed on the pad. Do not use Murphy’s Oil, Pine Sol, bleaching agents, soaps, abrasive and acidic products, detergents, or waxes, as they create a streaky and dull surface on the laminate. For minor scratches, get a touch up repair kit with a color that closely matches your floor’s color. Use the marker to color over the scratches, or a crayon to fill a deeper scratch. Use a fine grit sander to remove excess filler.
Premix a wood filler of the nearest matching color and apply it on the scratch or crack using a plastic putty knife. A plastic putty knife does not cause new scratches. Allow the putty to dry thoroughly.
Floating floor: This is a floor covering that is not fixed to the subfloor with nails, staples, or adhesive compound.
Flooring layers: The different layers of a floor, from the structural foundation to the floor finishing. It also refers to the different layers that make up the flooring material, for example a laminate flooring has a base, photographic paper, and a hard-wear top.
Laminate: A material that is made of layers of different materials.
NALFA: The North American Laminate Flooring Association or NALFA is a lobby group that encourages home owners to use laminate flooring.
ROI: Return on investment or ROI is the increased value of the house brought about by a development or remodeling.
Shoe molding: A 2” to 4” wide plank that is installed to cover the edges of the floor finishing and give it an elegant appearance.
Subfloor: The permanent floor surface made of concrete, stone, brick, hardwood, or other appropriate material, onto which a movable or floating floor is installed.
Tongue and groove: The groove is a narrow trough cut along one side of the plank and which fits over the tongue of another plank. The tongue is a narrow ridge along the side of plank which locks into the groove of another plank.
Underlayment: The part of the floor above the subfloor and on which a floating floor is installed. It acts as a cushion for the flooring and as a moisture barrier.