Low-maintenance laminate flooring offers an enormous variety of styles, colors, and patterns. It’s similar to engineered wood in that a top wear layer is backed by layers of plywood or compressed fiber backing that is extremely stable. The big difference is that the top layer is not real wood but a plastic coating applied over a photograph. The photo-realism technology that’s used produces look-alike finishes indistinguishable from real wood and other materials such as stone, ceramic tile, even stained concrete. It is amazing how far we’ve come and can replicate other materials so well! Textures are also mimicked, making them look and feel like the real thing more now than ever.
Laminate comes as planks or tiles. Most are floating floor systems, meaning they can be installed directly over old existing flooring without glue or nails — no tear-out is necessary. Laminate is a popular DIY flooring, but it’s wise not to overestimate your skills as installing around corners and between door jambs takes patience and ingenuity.
Constructed of dense fiberboard with a photo beneath a clear-plastic protective layer, laminate flooring can mimic nearly anything. Laminate is low-cost and a great value, as the best laminates resist scratching and discoloration from sunlight better than most wood products. It is also incredibly low maintenance, it is easy to clean and stain-resistant.