Installing laminate flooring or any other right flooring that works best for your house can provide years of interior decor and aesthetics. Besides, functioning seamlessly, laminate flooring is one of the top flooring materials in the market close to vinyl flooring. But, how long does laminate flooring last?
It most certainly depends on various factors including maintenance, high-quality laminate flooring installation, foot traffic, protective layer, and a lot of other factors. While the answer to how long does laminate flooring last can vary from one household to another.
You can expect it to last for over 20 years, 25 years maximum in low traffic areas.
If your house has high traffic areas (i.e. foot traffic), the lifespan of your new laminate flooring can come down to 10-15 years. Still, proper maintenance and use of adequate cleaning products can preserve the quality of your laminate flooring.
Do Laminate Floors Wear Out?
While top types of laminate flooring last for 15-25 years when installed properly, they're prone to wear and tear. Laminate flooring can wear out like no other type of floor. However, there are countless reasons why that could happen.
To start with, abrasive cleaners and harsh cleaning products are the major causes of laminate flooring wearing out. Some other factors include using the beater brush on laminate flooring and moving furniture without furniture pads.
Let's start with a basic question: is laminate flooring durable?
Is Laminate Flooring Durable?
Laminate flooring is durable compared to hardwood flooring. However, it lasts only 20-25 years in the best cases considering the proper installation and floor maintenance. Laminate floors' plants comprise core fiberboard, rubber base, a protective layer, and decorative covering.
It's even more durable compared to hardwood floors when you take fade resistance into account. Laminate flooring has a wear layer that acts as a protective layer against quick spills and scratches.
Generally, high-quality laminate floors have a core layer of high or medium-density fiberboard. The decorative layer offers an elegant look while the bottom layer provides the floors with a "floating" ability.
By that, we mean that the laminate floors remain afloat and in place through the average lifespan. The wear layer covers the decorative layer to prevent stains, fade, and spill damage.
There are many additional factors that influence the lifespan of laminate flooring in your house. Additional factors could include the protective coating quality, thicker laminate existence, and abrasion class rating (ACR).
What Causes Laminate Flooring to Wear?
Check out some of the main reasons why laminate flooring experiences wear and tear damage despite having a long average lifespan.
Moisture has a huge part to play in floors' lifespan. For your information, excessive moisture exposure, buildup, and subsequent damage can cause laminate flooring to warp and buckle.
Exposure to water causes a series of damages to laminate floors. High moisture can trigger floor warping and buckling. Standing water on the floor is another major cause of warping.
For your information, water damage causes warping/ buckling and that's why most flooring experts recommend dry mopping or dry vacuuming the laminate floor. You must place a moisture barrier because originally, they aren't present in laminate flooring to protect against excessive water damage.
Buckling or warping can also occur as a result of heavy furniture placement without furniture pads. Moving furniture that's extremely heavy across the laminate floor can also trigger buckling/ warping.
Peaking occurs when the laminate floor plants move against and over each other. Following that, the boards end up on high angles and away from the joint. It normally happens due to a lack of proper installation.
When laminate floor and moldings don't have enough expansion space, peaking can occur. absence of expansion space between the laminate floor and walls can also trigger peaking. However, you can solve this laminate floor issue quite easily by removing a small portion of the floor that's facing the wall to provide an expansion room.
HIgh-Density Fiberboard (HDF) Expansion
The core of a laminate floor plant comprises HDF. And since HDF expands at a steady rate over time, you must use water-resistant cleaning chemicals. Otherwise, you will have to get the laminate floor replaced. A replaced laminate floor will require additional care and maintenance which can be time-consuming and costly.
You will rarely hear about a laminate floor gapping. It's a less frequent occurrence, but again, a product of poor maintenance and installation.
When boards in the laminate floor draw apart from each other, it results in gaps between them. In turn, this causes the boards to drift further as a result of expansion causing serious wear and tear.
Corner chipping on the laminate floor occurs due to a variety of reasons. Let's look at the most popular ones below:
- Poor handling of the new flooring during the installation process
- Using the beater bar as an attachment on a vacuum cleaner when cleaning the laminate flooring
- Using wrong techniques and poor methods to install laminate flooring
- Moving household furniture in living rooms quickly without furniture pads
Mildew and Mold Growth
In bathrooms, a laundry room, or any other room n the house comprising laminate flooring with a smooth finish, you can expect mold growth if excessive moisture buildup is a common nuisance. It's one of the leading causes of disturbances and reduction in the floor's lifespan.
When there are excessive moisture issues, there will be higher chances for mold and mildew growth. To prevent mold from developing on or under your laminate flooring, avoid standing water on top of it and control moisture.
Installing Laminate Flooring on Mold/Mildew
Sometimes, homeowners ignore the need of checking the foundation and install the laminate material on the floor. the presence of mold and mildew from before can also affect the durability of laminate material.
Abrasive Cleaning Methods
You can avoid using abrasive cleaners, stick to the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning, and keep steel wool away from laminate flooring. On a refinished water-resistant laminate floor, you can place furniture pads to avoid extreme pressure.
Unlike hardwood flooring, laminate can't bear excessive and precise surface pressure from the furniture. Other than that, check out helpful maintenance tips to care for your laminate floor below.
How Can I Make My Laminate Floors Last Longer?
You can use the following maintenance tips to make your laminate flooring last longer:
- Use cleaning products that don't contain abrasive and harsh chemicals. Such products can leave residue on the floor and make it look dull and less elegant. Furthermore, you must ensure the use of cleaning methods that don't wear away the protective layer.
- Try using a mop that's not wet or dripping. Instead, opt for a damp mop that will help you clean the laminate flooring easily and quickly. Standing water can cause warping/ buckling or mildew growth.
- The use of acidic cleaning products increases the chances of damage to laminate flooring.
- Avoid using the beater brush when vacuuming your laminate flooring
- Use soft brushes along with a broom and dustpan to wipe off the dirt from the floor first. Stiff brushes with harsh surfaces can cause scratches on the floor.
Which Lasts Longer Laminate or Vinyl Flooring?
Both types of floorings are quite popular among homeowners today. Due to the aesthetic appeal, elegant looks, and incredible properties, homeowners love both vinyl and laminate flooring. However, both require proper care, especially the top layer of the laminate floor material as it's quite vulnerable to certain types of damage.
Pros of Vinyl Flooring
Here are some of the pros that beat laminate flooring:
- It is more resilient than laminate flooring because it's water-resistant and requires extremely less care
- It also has a wear layer that protects it from extensive wear and tear damage such as from quick spills and stains
- It's suitable for high foot traffic areas inside the home
- It's waterproof in several cases
- It maintains a constant temperature
Pros of Laminate Flooring
Here are some of the pros that beat vinyl flooring:
- It's easy to maintain and clean if you use the right cleaning products, tools, and methods
- It can be cleaned using a simple soft microfiber cloth
- It mimics the natural wood appearance thanks to advanced embossing
- It appears similar to wood in terms of texture
- It's sleek and easy to install
We must say that there are also several cons to both types of flooring materials. You should only purchase flooring material based on their properties, your requirements, and your budget.
No matter what flooring types you choose, protecting it from wear and tear will add longevity. Several factors will affect the quality of the flooring in your house. Those factors will include space in the room, moisture, wear rate, stains, regular cleaning, and so on.
To improve the lifespan of your laminate flooring and preserve the quality of the flooring, you must keep several factors in check.
Whether you're indulging in regular cleaning, adding area rugs, or avoiding heavy furniture, maintenance will have to be on point to improve the average lifespan of your new flooring.