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Laminated Flooring Problems - Common Complaints on Laminate Floors

Updated on July 8, 2013

Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular option with homeowners because of its low cost and relative ease of installation. It's an attractive alternative to hardwood floors, and can be installed by some homeowners, but it's not without it's limitations and problems. We examine a few of the issues with laminate flooring so you can make an intelligent decision on using it in your home.

Advantages of Laminate Flooring

Cost - Laminate flooring is significantly cheaper to install than hardwood flooring.

Ease of installation - Laminate floors often use an interlocking system, where the strips of flooring fit together without the use of glue, nails or staples. Laminate can be installed over many surfaces that hardwood floors cannot be installed over.

Durability - Even if they are treated, real wood floors are fairly durable but still can scratch and fade in direct sunlight. Laminate wood flooring is more resistant to both scratches and stains.

Disadvantages/ Problems with Laminate Flooring

Appearance - Laminate is supposed to look like real wood, simulating the grain and texture of a wood floor. However, it is a synthetic product, so the natural variations seen in a wood floor won't be there with laminate. There will be more of a regular pattern and not the occasional light or dark plank that breaks up the view with a natural floor. The more expensive laminates do a better job of imitating the natural variations of hardwood floors, yet are still relatively inexpensive.

Chipping - As the name implies, these floors are built up of several layers laminated together, as opposed to a hardwood floor which has a large piece of wood that makes up the section of floor. Since it has multiple layers, it's possible for the laminate to be chipped when it is struck by a falling object, leaving a fairly visible chip (since the layer underneath has not been finished, it will, of course, be a different color).

Moisture - Moisture is the enemy of most flooring, and laminates are no exception. Some areas, like a bathroom or the kitchen, can be a regular source of moisture, which will lead to discoloration and warping or even unpleasant odors for a laminate floor. A location near a door can lead to problems, espcially near a patio door. Once again pets and small children can be a source of problems when it comes to keeping the flooring dry. In the kitchen, some unexpected sources of moisture (ice maker/ dispensor, the sink, and disposal) can all be a source of moisture that will ruin the flooring.

Traction - Just like hardwood floors, a laminate floor can be fairly slippery, so young children (especially in socks) or larger pets like dogs may find that once they start going they have trouble stopping on these floors. In some spots the best way to combat this is to have an area rug, with either a traction pad underneath or a lining on the back to make it secured in one place.

Back problems - If you are used to standing on a carpeted surface, you may find that a laminate floor, as well as a hardwood or tile surface, will lead to fatigue and back pain because of the unforgiving surface. This issue is correctable by using a kitchen floor pad to ease the burden of no give on any hard floor surface.

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have a good friend that had laminate wood floors installed and it is a nightmare for her. She is still trying to get it resolved. I would never opt for it over other materials. Voted up.

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      Allene1948 6 years ago

      I got laminate flooring put down in 4 areas in my home. So far it cannot be cleaned using the recommended cleaning solutions from the manufacturer. After a damp mopping has dried I can use my finger to draw in the film that is left over. The images are easily photographed. When the dogs walk on it, they leave foot-prints. I would NEVER recommend laminate flooring, as the suggestions for cleaning include cotton towel buffing for the original shine. That means crawling over the kitchen, dining room, living room, and hall. I am not inclined to go to such heroic efforts to keep an "easy care" floor looking decently.

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      Rob Jackson 6 years ago

      Hi. I'm putting down a laminate floor in the kitchen over two surfaces - floorboards at the front, concrete at the back. Due to this the surface is not completely flat and some of the boards won't click into place as tightly as they should. If it's something I have to live with I'd like to know the best way to disguise the gaps.

      Please advise.

    • Lela Davidson profile image

      Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

      Any tricks for repairing blistering on a composite natural wood floor? That would be a great How To Hub!

    • profile image

      newsworthy 9 years ago

      The one room in my home with laminate floor is a main room.  I was fortunate to get the house Im in but I would like to get rid of laminate floor.  Its all that you say it is and unappealing. 

      From a decorating perspective, laminate does not blend well with different wooden stained furniture.