Laminate flooring is a decidedly stylish and attractive option that many people are keen to add to their homes. It offers many advantages, being reasonably cheap and easy to install. Some people even install it themselves, although you should only do this if you are skilled and understand the process.
Furthermore, it comes in a wide range of colors and styles, and it’s pretty easy to clean and care for, so it’s ideal for family areas and high traffic zones. All those are points in its favor, but it’s important to think about its longevity as well. After all, floors get a lot of wear and tear, and they need to last well.
How long does laminate flooring last? Overall, laminate floors last between 15 and 25 years if they are well maintained and properly cared for. Some laminate flooring will only last for around 10 years, especially if it was poorly installed, while other laminate flooring will last for up to 3 decades. The quality of the floor, its installation, and its use will determine its lifespan.
How Long Should Laminate Flooring Last?
Most kinds of laminate flooring should last for at least 10 years, and probably more like 15 or 20. Even cheap laminate floors should be hard-wearing and able to withstand a lot of use before they start to look worn out. One of laminate’s advantages is its long lifespan.
Of course, the longevity of any kind of flooring will depend on how it is treated and how much use it gets. A laminate floor that is in a low foot traffic area will last significantly better than laminate flooring that is laid in a hallway or a living room. You should be aware of this when selecting your flooring.
The installation is another factor that affects the longevity. If your floor is professionally installed, with the proper expansion gaps and the right underlayment, it should last far better than a poorly laid floor. Be aware of this if you are thinking of installing the floor yourself and you aren’t skilled. It is quite challenging.
Without the proper expansion gaps, there’s a high risk that the floor will warp and buckle, because the planks will press against each other. This can ruin even a newly laid laminate floor. The expansion gap needed will depend upon the floor’s overall area, which is one reason you might want to let professionals fit the floor.
Many companies will offer guarantees and estimates on the lifespans of their floors, so check these out before deciding which floor to buy. You should also find out what underlayment they recommend using; don’t neglect this aspect of laying the floor.
How Can You Make Laminate Flooring Last Longer?
Your care of the laminate will also make a big difference in how well it lasts, which means you need to know how to look after the floor. Regular cleaning with suitable products should help, and avoiding moisture damage will be critical. You can also use mats to protect areas that get heavy use.
It’s important to learn how to clean your laminate floors to minimize any damage to them. Allowing dirt to build up on the floor is a bad idea, because this will create small scratches on the surface of the laminate, gradually wearing it down. You should therefore sweep and vacuum the floor on a regular basis, using soft-bristled brushes/attachments.
You can mop laminate floors, but only with a damp cloth or mop – not a very wet one. Be cautious about the chemicals you apply to the floor, and avoid using undiluted bleach or other unsuitable cleaning products. Do not use abrasive brushes or cleaning implements on the laminate.
You should also make sure your laminate stays as dry as possible. That means you need to promptly clean up any spills using a clean, dry, soft cloth. Because laminate floor planks have small gaps in between them, there is a risk of moisture seeping down between the planks and causing warping or buckling.
A further way to protect your floor involves installing felt pads on the bottoms of your furniture. This will prevent accidental scratches when the furniture is moved.
How Can You Make Your Laminate Floor Look Newer?
Even when it’s still in usable condition, laminate flooring can start to look dull as it ages. Rather than replacing the whole floor, you should spend some time repairing cracks and scratches, and then buffing the floor back to its original shine. You may be able to get several more years of use out of an old floor if you do this.
You can purchase products that will help you repair scratches or dinks in the floor. Sometimes, minor ones can be covered with a matching nail polish or a stain pen that will put the color back into the laminate. Any bubbles can be burst with a sharp knife, and then glued down.
Often, cleaning your floor and buffing it back to a shine will work wonders, even on an old floor. Start by sweeping and vacuuming up all loose dirt so you have a smooth surface.
Next, choose a suitable laminate cleaner. Avoid cleaners that are oil-based or have detergent in them. Dilute the cleaner and then either spray a thin layer of it over your floor or use a mop to spread it around and clean the floor. Working in sections is generally the most effective way, and reduces the risk of moisture damage.
Once you’ve mopped the whole floor, let the room dry, and then use a soft, microfiber cloth to buff up any dull spots. With a bit of vigorous rubbing, you should be able to make the floor look glossy and attractive again.
Laminate flooring should last for well over 10 years if it has been laid correctly. You can maximize your floor’s lifespan by treating it with care and following the proper cleaning routine. Even a dull floor can often be revitalized with a few careful repairs and a thorough clean and polish.