Everything you need to know about laminate kitchen flooring
Laminate flooring is a fantastic choice for many kitchens, thanks to its affordability, durability and design options.
The variety of laminate flooring designs and styles can feel intimidating, since there's such a large selection to choose from. This guide will help you make the right decision for your kitchen, from installation to care – and everything in between.
What is laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring is made from several layers of material, which includes moisture resistant backing, durable and highly dense fireboard, a high-definition wood image and a wearable layer that protects the laminate from damage.
These layers make laminate flooring a great choice for high-traffic areas of the home, particularly the kitchen, which usually experiences plenty of footfall throughout the day, and is bombarded with moisture during cooking.
What different types of laminate flooring are available?
Functionally, there are three main types of laminate flooring available.
- Smooth laminate – This mimics the effect of varnished wood, and is smooth to the touch. This is a very affordable option, but is the most likely to experience damage.
- Textured laminate – It features a protective layer on its topmost surface which makes it more durable than smooth laminate. The texture isn't too intense – you're unlikely to notice it beneath your feet – but it can create a more natural finish to your design.
- Hand-scraped laminate – A great choice for those with a bigger budget. Each board features a durable layer that protects the flooring against daily wear and tear, as well as light and stains. It can be indistinguishable from real wood flooring when done well.
Choosing the best type for you depends on three factors: your budget, your style preferences and how durable you want your kitchen flooring to be.
What styles are available for laminate kitchen flooring?
Laminate flooring is available for all sorts of design preferences. Your only limit is your imagination.
Wood-effect laminate is one of the most popular choices. As each piece of laminate fits together as a board, it's very easy to recreate the look of a genuine wood floor. Colours, tones and hues are available for every type of wood you can think off, from deep American walnut to lighter natural oak.
You can also still get a wood-effect look while using an artificial colour such as white or black – for a thoroughly modern result.
Laminate flooring is also available in a ceramic, tiled effect. The benefits over real ceramic include that laminate is much more hard wearing – it's unlikely to chip or crack like ceramic. Additionally, laminate is much warmer and so more comfortable under foot, whereas ceramic can feel cold. Available in a variety of natural colours, slate and cream are particularly popular.
Patterned ceramic-effect laminate flooring is a bold option for those looking to create an eye-catching design. Mediterranean patterns in terracotta, soft greens and creams can create a warm finish for your kitchen, while black and white geometric designs can transform your kitchen into an Art Deco haven.
How to treat and clean laminate flooring
No matter how durable your flooring, it still needs to be cleaned regularly and treated well to last a long time. Unlike other flooring materials, laminate flooring is a great option for relatively relaxed maintenance.
Dirt and crumbs should be cleaned using a soft broom or the bristled attachment on your vacuum cleaner to avoid the flooring becoming scratched.
For food stains and spills, try to avoid using a very wet mop. Instead, use a gentle floor cleaner and microfiber mop, or slightly damp cloth.
While laminate will generally resist the steam and moisture that circulates around a kitchen, lots of water can damage the flooring. If you spill something, try to clean it up quickly to avoid staining. There's no rush – just don't let the moisture sit for long periods of time.
Laminate boards generally resist damage, but dropping a heavy or sharp item can scratch, dent or even tear the material. Unlike wood flooring, laminate can't be treated, and the board will need replacing. Thankfully, this isn't a massive expense, and a floor fitter should be able to help you with minimal disruption.
Laminate flooring is a brilliantly beautiful and affordable option for kitchens. Whether you choose wood or ceramic effect, with the proper daily care, your laminate flooring can look wonderful for years to come.