Your modern kitchen needs a floor that can hold up to frequent traffic as well as the inevitable spills and splashes that are sure to occur while you’re cooking and cleaning. Is laminate good for kitchen floors? If you pick the right type of laminate and install it properly, laminate can be a smart choice for the flooring in your kitchen.
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate is a man-made flooring material that comes in a range of styles. Many varieties provide the look of a hardwood floor, but others simulate stone or tile.
To produce laminate, manufacturers fuse together four layers. First, there’s a base layer. Above that is a layer called the core that’s made of particleboard. Next comes a photograph layer; it provides the laminate’s hardwood or tile appearance. Finally, there’s the wear layer, which is a clear coat designed for protection.
One major advantage of laminate floors is their affordability. While you can use this material to simulate the look of stone or hardwood, it will cost you a fraction of those natural materials.
Also, in many cases, laminate installation can be a DIY project. Not only can you save on the material itself, but you can trim your budget even more by not needing to hire professional installers.
Is Laminate Good for Kitchen Floors?
If you’re attracted to the versatility and affordability of laminate flooring, you might be considering it for your kitchen remodeling project. First, though, you’ll need to determine whether this is a suitable material for kitchen installation.
The short answer is, “Yes, laminate can be a good choice for kitchen floors.” There are caveats, though. If you’re going to lay laminate flooring in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to select the right variety and make sure that it’s installed just right.
Laminate and Moisture
The biggest concern with laminate in the kitchen is whether it can handle getting wet. You know that pots sometimes spill, sinks sometimes overflow and messes are sure to happen in the kitchen.
If the laminate’s core layer — the one made of wood particles — takes on too much water, it can become misshapen.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that the flooring can never get wet. If the seams are tight, moisture won’t penetrate too quickly. Sealing the laminate along the edges increases its water-resistance as well.
The key is to mop up spills right away. With proper care, you can keep most moisture from damaging your floor.
The Durability of Laminate Flooring in the Kitchen
If your kitchen is like many others, it is one of the most heavily used areas of the home. Everyone in the home may visit the kitchen numerous times each day, and it may be a gathering area during meals and when entertaining. In addition, the flooring is commonly exposure to food and drink spills, dropped plates and utensils and more.
Some people who have held laminate planks in the past are aware that they material can bend slightly, and because of this, they may think that it is not as durable as wood. The reality, however, is that it is a very long-lasting material that can hold up well to the abuse it may endure in a typical kitchen.
The melamine layer works well to resist signs of wear from foot traffic and to protect the underlying photographic layer from damage related to everything from dropped items to food and drink spills.
Picking the Right Kitchen Laminate
If you’re particularly concerned about water and your floors, then you might want to take a look at some of the newer laminate technology that is on the market. These days, manufacturers are offering laminate options that are waterproof or water-resistant. They can be just right for use in the kitchen.
What sets these types of laminate apart is their core construction. They feature a material that stands up to water better so that it’s less likely to become misshapen if it gets wet. Although you’ll still want to wipe up spills right away, this feature can offer invaluable peace of mind.
You may also want to choose a variety with square edges. Beveled-edge laminate has grooves that may trap standing water that can eventually lead to damaged floors.
No matter what laminate variety you settle on for your kitchen, you may want to invest in an extra box or two. If your flooring becomes damaged, you might be able to lift out the worn sections and replace them with new ones. However, an exact match for your original laminate pieces may no longer be on the market. If you had the foresight to buy extras upfront, you won’t have to scrounge for an acceptable match — you’ll already have exactly what you need!
Laminate Flooring Installation Tips
When you’re putting laminate down in a room with the potential for moisture issues, start with a vapor barrier. That will help prevent moisture damage that begins underneath the floor and works its way up.
Make sure to create tight seams between each piece as you go. You may need to use a silicone sealer around the edges of the room. In the wettest parts of the room, such as the sink and dishwasher areas, consider sealing each seam as well. Silicone caulk applied in the floor’s expansion joints is another step that can help keep water out of the interior layers of your flooring.
Living with Laminate Flooring in the Kitchen
Regularly sweeping your laminate floor can help prevent scratches in the wear layer. In addition, you should occasionally mop the floor. When you do so, use a microfiber variety, or wring your sponge mop thoroughly to keep the water level to a minimum.
Of course, one of the best things you can do for your laminate floor is to wipe up any spills right away. If you’re careful to do that, your durable, well-installed laminate floor should serve you well in the kitchen for a long time to come.