The flooring material, design and colour you choose can have a huge impact on the style of your interior spaces. Whether you prefer an ultra-modern, contemporary setting or a more classical, traditional look, the flooring is an important consideration.
Laminate flooring was first introduced to the UK in the 1980s and quickly became a fashionable choice for homes, with its popularity as a material continuing to grow each year. There are now extensive ranges of size, colour and texture available to order online, with prices a lot lower than traditional hardwood floors, contributing to its ongoing success as a material. Also, it is a low maintenance option making it a universally established choice for homes, offices and other commercial interiors.
Laminate wood flooring simulates the appearance of a hardwood floor with a photographic applique layer sealed with a clear protective layer, supported by a composite base constructed from other materials, including melamine resins and fiber boards. A range of wood designs are available with current trends favouring greys and whites, although oak laminate flooring overall is still the most requested style.
Generally laminate flooring is easy to maintain, making it ideal for use in busy areas and homes with children and pets. However, it is important to keep laminate floors clean as dust and dirt particles could cause scratching of the surface over time. Here are a few tips for maintaining your laminate floor.
Cleaning Laminate Flooring
- Regular maintenance several times a week is beneficial to avoid a build-up of dust and dirt which could result in scratching and matting of the finish. Use a broom or a vacuum cleaner with a setting for hard floors.
- Use a damp mop to clean the floor. Always use a flat headed mop where most of the water can be squeezed out prior to using and don’t steam clean or use a steam mop on any laminate flooring.
- Use a pre-finished floor cleaner approved for laminate floors regularly to clean any marks, ensuring whatever product you choose clearly states it is suitable for laminate flooring. is recommended. Always use products that are suitable for your floors finish.
- Do not buff, wax or use cleaning products that contain surfactants or use harsh abrasive materials as these can leave permanent marks.
- Never use products such as white spirit to get paint off your floor. Use a knife blade, gently to try and remove any paint off without scratching your floor.
Avoid Excessive Humidity
Although laminate flooring is water resistant it is not waterproof and excessive or prolonged exposure to liquids and moisture will damage the flooring. Spills should be cleared up immediately to avoid the boards swelling, buckling and warping.
As well as cleaning using damp mops, not wet, make sure any cleaners used are also not left on the floor for prolonged periods.
It may also be a good idea to use cups with lids for smaller children prone to spilling drinks and remove shoes or wipe pet paws on rainy days if the laminate flooring is used in an entrance area. Pet toilet training accidents should be cleaned immediately, and litter boxes or food / water dishes should not be placed directly on the floor without a protective mat.
In regions or seasons of high humidity, a dehumidifier can be used and air conditioning units also help reduce the moisture in the air.
Repair Scratches Early
Even with careful maintenance and cleaning, overtime wear and tear can impact the appearance of any laminate floor. Small scratches maybe minimised using a wax pencil or filler products designed to conceal minor imperfections.
If a board is damaged to the extent that it can’t be repaired then you can replace it and it is always a good idea to keep any spare boards when you lay the floor initially in case they are needed to repair a section. Never try to sand and refinish laminate flooring as the top layer is an image of wood, not real wood.
General Maintenance Tips
Since prevention of damage is better than cure for laminate flooring, here are a few more suggestions to take care of laminate flooring;
- Use floor protector felt pads on the bottom of all furniture legs to help prevent scratching. These should be replaced periodically as they wear and accumulate grit with use and can damage the floor.
- Always lift furniture rather than dragging it across your floor, which could cause permanent damage.
- Use matting by entrances to help trap grit and dirt and also help absorb moisture from outside shoes and paws before they have a chance to damage the flooring.
- Using rugs will help prevent scratching and can also be a design statement. However, sometimes colour variation can occur where rugs are placed, especially where there is a lot of exposure to sunlight.
- Avoid wearing outside shoes on the floor as particles of dirt can be stuck in the tread, plus stiletto heels will cause indentations.
- Always check around areas where there is potential for water spills such as washing machines, fridges, household plants and use protective waterproof mats if needed.
- Chairs with wheels can damage your floor with continuous use, especially on the joints, and you should use an appropriate floor mat under any wheeled furniture.
- Keep pet nails trimmed, especially dogs, as they may damage the floor.
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