When it comes to choosing a bathroom floor, many homeowners want the classic look of hardwood or tile but not the bloated price tag. Laminate provides a smart alternative for tighter budgets. The material has come a long way in recent years and is available in an impressive array of colors and styles that can even be mixed and matched to create interesting and unique designs.
Laminate floors are made from wood chips that are pressed together at high temperatures. That composite material is then covered with a photographic image of hardwood or tile. Although laminate does technically include wood, it isnt as popular as real wood floors among homebuyers. The material allows for upfront savings but will not provide a bump in resale value. Also, the price of laminate will go up depending on the quality of the wood grain or tile image.
Dont let resale value cause you to write off laminate altogether. If you plan to be in your home a long time, the flooring can be a smart choice. It is incredibly durable and is highly resistant to dents, scratches and stains, thanks to a top wear layer. That makes it ideal in a home with children or pets. When paired with underlayment, laminate is also quiet and a bit softer underfoot than hardwood or tile. Unlike hardwood, laminate is also water-resistant, making it one of the best options available for damp areas and below-grade bathrooms.
Installing laminate floors is a simple DIY project, even for homeowners with limited home-improvement skills -- and that means even more savings on installation costs. While older laminate floors required gluing pieces together, new options have a simple click-in-place design and can be installed directly over a plywood subfloor, concrete, or linoleum. And unlike hardwood or some types of tile, there are no imperfections to worry about because every piece looks the same. When installing laminate yourself, remember the material needs to acclimate 48 hours before its laid.
Laminate is easy to maintain, requiring only regular sweeping and damp mopping as needed. Theres no need for waxing or refinishing. In fact, laminate floors cannot be refinished, which is a problem if they are damaged. Once laminate is heavily worn or if it is gouged, fixing the floor requires replacing the affected area or the entire floor. The good news is that most manufacturers warrantee their products for 15 to 30 years.