Laminate flooring has incredible appeal as an alternative to high-end materials like slate, marble, hardwood and others. Notably, the cost of materials is more affordable, and you may also save money on labor because of how easy it is to install laminate planks. The last thing that you want, however, is to install a cheap material that will quickly show wear and require replacement. As you decide if there is true value in this type of flooring, you need to ask one important question. How long does laminate flooring last?
How Long Does Laminate Flooring Last?
|FINISH||FOOT TRAFFIC – HIGH|
CLEANING AND CARE – LOW
SUBFLOOR LEVEL – BELOW AVERAGE
|FOOT TRAFFIC – LOW|
CLEANING & CARE – HIGH
SUBFLOOR LEVEL – GOOD
|AC 2||1 – 3 YEARS||5 – 10 YEARS|
|AC 3||1 – 5 YEARS||10 – 15 YEARS|
|AC 4||1 – 5 YEARS||15 – 20 YEARS|
|AC 5||1 – 5 YEARS||20 – 30 YEARS|
NOTE: Information in the table above are only estimates
As is the case with many other types of floors, the longevity of laminate planks will depend on the quality of the material. For example, high-grade laminate flooring will have thicker planks and a more durable wear layer. Because of these factors, they may continue to look great in your home for many more years than the cheaper, thinner alternatives would. While a typical warranty period for laminate floors is approximately 10 years, you may enjoy this material for up to three decades in some homes. The quality of the flooring is only one of several factors that could impact longevity.
Recommended Cleaning and Care
To maximize the life of your new floor, you must care for it properly. You should never use abrasive cleansers or chemical cleaning products that will strip the wear layer. Sweeping the floor regularly and mopping it periodically are the primary cleaning and care requirements for this type of floor.
Exposure to Moisture
The wear layer on laminate flooring is waterproof, but the sides of the planks are not. When moisture works its way in between the planks, they will warp. This damage cannot be reversed, so the warped planks will need to be replaced. You can avoid water damage by only using a slightly damp mop or cloth for cleaning. In addition, the material should not be installed in the kitchen, laundry room or bathroom because of the increased risk of water exposure in these areas.
The thickness of the wear layer as well the amount of foot traffic that it is exposed to will also impact longevity. You can generally expect the material to wear out much faster in a busy family room or entryway than in a guest bedroom that is seldom used.
Subfloor for laminate flooring installation must be level within 3/16″ over a 10 ft. span.
Should You Install Laminate Flooring in Your Home?
As you finalize your decision about installing laminate flooring in one or several areas of your home, consider the environmental factors that it may be exposed to. Review the warranty information, the thickness of the material and other factors so that you can determine if laminate flooring is suitable for your space and needs.