What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is an engineered flooring that consists of between 3-12 layers, which are sealed together with an adhesive. The bottom layer, known as the “backing” layer, is designed to resist moisture, which causes natural woods to warp. Laminate floors are one of the most water resistant flooring options and can often withstand both floods and standing water without significant damage.
The next layer is the inner core, which is often constructed of a high-density fiberboard. The core is generally coated with a special resin, which further enhances the moisture resistance of the flooring as well as increasing durability. The third layer is the image layer. The image layer is essentially just a picture of a natural stone, wood or material. High end laminates will have a non-repeating pattern, which contributes to the natural look and feel of laminate, while lower-priced options will essentially use a single picture which is printed again and again. This gives the flooring a more uniform look, which feels less natural.
The top layer is a wear layer, which protects the floor from dings, dents and scratches. High end laminates may also have a UV coating, which protects the laminate from fading in sunlight. When laminates first came on the market, they were often shunned by high end designers, because they looked cheap and fake. Today’s high end laminates can even fool experts and are finding their way into higher and higher end homes.
Since laminate flooring essentially uses just a picture of wood, stone or other materials, theoretically, you could have a field of wildflowers installed on your kitchen floor. There is not a huge market for wildflowers, however, so that may not be an option. On the other hand, there are hundreds of options to choose from ranging from natural woods to distressed concrete to whitewashed stone. Even when a homeowner narrows their choices down to laminate floor installation, there are still hundreds of styles and designs, textures and colors to choose from. Here is a guide to help you choose the right laminate flooring colors for your kitchen.
1. Decide whether you want to accent or offset your cabinetry color
If you have a modern kitchen that utilizes cherry cabinetry and stainless steel appliances, then laying laminate in a cherry wood finish can make your kitchen look dark and overbearing. On the other hand, using a lighter natural wood can clash with the cherry. Instead, you might opt for a lighter wood with a distressed finish or even a concrete look. Conversely, if you have light maple cabinetry, you might opt for dark onyx floors to offset the light maple. If you have vintage white cabinetry with maple accents, you might want to lay a maple wood flooring to complement the cabinet accents. Laminate flooring offers an almost limitless array of patterns, textures and color tones to choose from to match or offset almost any type of cabinetry on the market.
2. Consider the size and lighting of your kitchen
Dark colors and low lighting make spaces appear smaller and more intimate, while bright lights and light colors make spaces appear larger and more festive. Therefore, your laminate flooring colors choice will also be influenced somewhat by the size of your kitchen and how much light it receives. If you have a small kitchen with a giant window, you might still be able to use darker finishes without making your kitchen appear miniscule. On the other hand, you may have a giant kitchen with lots of light and still want to use lots of whites and bright colors to create a festive, cheery space. If your kitchen doesn’t have a lot of light, you may want to opt for a simple, plain flooring, such as a stone or tile finish. If your kitchen is bright and gets a lot of light, you may want to use a more subtly textured pattern like a distressed finish.
3. Consider the mood or tone you want to create in your kitchen
Some people prefer high end elegance in their kitchens, while others want their kitchen to be a light, lively, bustling center of domestic interaction. Your color choices for laminate flooring are going to have a lot to do with the kind of mood or tone you want to create in your kitchen. Is your kitchen the kind of place where serious gourmands conduct serious culinary business or the place where a flour war or food fight might break out at any moment? Your color choices should reflect the type of activity you see happening in your kitchen and the kind of mood, tone and atmosphere you want to create there.
4. Consider kitchen traffic
If you have a busy home with lots of feet roaming through the kitchen, you might want to opt for a lighter laminate flooring colors, which doesn’t show off dirt and dust as much. The darker a finish is, the more dirt and dust will show up, particularly in sunlight or bright light. If you have pets, paw prints will also show up more readily on dark finishes than on lighter ones.
Laminate flooring is one of the best and most durable flooring options for any home. Best of all laminate floor installation is a breeze, since it can be installed over a wide variety of other flooring. Laminate flooring offers a wide range of options to help you find exactly the right flooring for your needs and to create the perfect atmosphere for the heart of your home.