Thursday, 12 November 2015

Is Laminate Flooring the Same as Vinyl Flooring?

With the number of flooring choices that have flooded the market, saying that you are spoilt for choice is a great understatement. When it comes to choosing the best hardwood floor alternatives, things tend to get even trickier. There are numerous hard wood floor alternatives and choosing the best, you will have to take into consideration a number of factors. In this article however, we will have a look at laminate and vinyl flooring. Many people, probably you included think that they very similar. Well, they are when it comes to their durability being budget friendly and DIY products. But that’s about it. They vary on many other different platforms. But to be able to understand the differences, one must understand these floorings individually.

· What is laminate and vinyl flooring?
Laminate flooring is for the most part a hard surface that resembles hardwood floor types and is made from hardwood that has been recycled. It gives the impression of being a hardwood but it is not real. There are those laminate floorings however that looks very real, far too real. Covering its top is a melamine layer that makes it scratch resistant and on its underside it features a core board of high density.

Vinyl flooring is a synthetic material that resembles hardwood or tile. Many of the vinyl flooring are glued directly on the floor. They come in many forms including sheet vinyl, vinyl composite tile, plank and luxury vinyl tile.
Now that we have an understanding of what the two flooring types are, let us dive into their differences.

· What you get
The laminate flooring planks normally come with four layers. At the very top, the wear layer, is made of durable plastic while the following layer carries the design of the flooring. The 3rd and 4th layers are composed of a combination of plastic, glue and wood chips.
Vinyl sheets on the other hand are far simpler in design. They are made up of a single layer of vinyl with fiberglass or cloth acting as the backing. Sure they contain layers similar to those of the laminate flooring but they do not consist of any wood fibers. 

· Moisture resistance
Laminate floor boards, given the fact that they are made with wood fibers are not the best for use on floors that are most likely to experience a high level of moisture like bathrooms or laundry rooms. They are best suited for rooms that are open and do not get lots of moisture. Installing them in moist areas will cause the boards to swell and its edges to curl upwards as they start to push against each other.

Vinyl tiles and sheet on the other hand are created water proof. While vinyl plank flooring is not made waterproof, it is certainly more water resistant than laminate flooring. All in all, vinyl flooring tends to handle humidity, spills and dampness better than the laminate flooring.

· The installation procedure
There is a huge difference when it comes to the installation on the laminate sand gluing down of the vinyl sheets. If you are looking for flooring that you can install efficiently without experiencing a lot of setbacks, then the laminate flooring is the one for you. The laminate floor systems feature a snap lock mechanism that is designed for DIY. The boards are very easy to cut into the desired measurements and tend to fit together just like puzzle pieces would.

Laying a piece of vinyl flooring on the other hand requires one to have great glue spreading skill not to mention accurate cutting skill. Installing the vinyl tiles however is not as demanding as the sheet vinyl. But unless they are the self-sticking type, you will have to get your hands messy with a little glue. The vinyl planks will fit perfectly together to form a floating floor just like the laminate flooring would. But given the fact that they are highly flexible, they will take slightly more effort to lock into place. 

· Acclimation and subfloor requirements
Both the laminate floor and the vinyl floor need a flat and dry subfloor to be installed. However, even though this holds true, you can lay the laminate boards on a floor with minimal imperfections and not feel a thing. With vinyl flooring however, you will feel every dip and rise. Before you lay the vinyl floor, you will need to lay plywood on the subfloor to even out the floor. Since the laminate floors have a tendency to swell, it is important that they are laid all around the room for a minimum of three days before they are installed. The acclimation is not necessary with the vinyl flooring.

· Comfort
Laminate flooring tends to be more comfortable than the vinyl flooring. Why? Well, probably because the laminate flooring is considerably thicker. It is warmer and softer to the touch. With the vinyl you have to add a layer of polyurethane foam to act as cushioning. And while it is not necessary, the same can be done to laminate flooring to improve on the comfort.

· Resale value
Formerly a disgrace to a house sale, the stature of vinyl flooring has been slowly rising in the past years, especially following the introduction of the luxury vinyl flooring. But still, similar to the past times, buyers may cast a blind eye to vinyl in bathrooms and laundry rooms but be unforgiving when they are installed in living rooms. Regardless of whether they are the high end vinyl plank.
Laminate flooring on the other hand does have a good resale value and normally does not put of the buyers. If anything buyers have found certain laminate styles to be appealing to them and be the tipping factor.

But when all is said and done, deciding on the type of flooring to use will be determined on the place that you want it installed, the traffic in that area, the exposure to sunlight and temperature variations. All these factors are to be put into consideration. Sure the picking process may take some time but it will prove to be very important.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Engineered Wood Flooring VS Carpet

When it comes to choosing flooring for your home or office in Singapore, you have a wide range of options to consider. You can find different types of floors made of different material and with different shapes, style, design, colour and so on. To get the right one for your needs, you need to evaluate a few things before making your decision. Engineered wood flooring and carpet flooring are some of the most popular options but each has its pros and cons.

What is engineered wood flooring?
One of the most common flooring types, the engineered floor comprises of multiple layers of wood that are glued together with adhesive under high heat& pressure. The top layer is usually veneer and the other layers are plywood which are collectively called the core board. Like regular wood flooring, engineered wood is typically treated with varnish to both protect & beautify it.

Pros of engineered wood flooring

1. Durable 
This type of flooring is available on the market in a range of types and thicknesses, from 3 to 12 plies & 1.5mm to 10mm in terms of thickness. But what makes it very durable is the fact that the top layer (veneer strip) is attached to the much stronger under plies. Engineered wood floor is in fact more durable than most flooring options.

2. Moisture resistant
Because of its unique construction process, this flooring is not susceptible to effects of humidity or moisture. As such, it does not easily warp or cup, making it an excellent choice for use in the bathroom, kitchen and other areas often exposed to high moisture. It’s for the same reason that it's said to be strong and durable.

3. Flexibility in installation
Engineered wood flooring can be glued, stapled or floated, according to the product you select. Floating floors are typically easy to install and can be installed over another existing floor.

Cons of engineered wood flooring
1. Prone to damage
One of the major drawbacks of this flooring option is that the veneer layer can be very thin, making it susceptible to damage and you may find yourself needing to replace the flooring sooner rather than later. 

2. No sanding/refinishing
Since the initial layer of engineered wood floor is very thin, you can only sand or refinish it a few times. Screening it (or light sanding) can help deal with topical scratches.

3. Can be costly
Engineered flooring may cost a lot more per square foot than carpeting flooring and some other flooring types. If cost is a major factor of concern, it can be best to consider other options first.

What is carpet flooring?
A carpet floor is flooring that’s felted or woven from either natural or artificial fibres. It can be fitted to the floor structure in which case it extends from wall to wall and is immobile (can’t be moved to another room or area). The flooring can be made from acrylic, polyester and wool among other materials.

Pros of carpet flooring
1. Insulation
Carpets are known to provide excellent insulation. They can help maintain the temperature in your room or office, therefore making it comfortable for you. This can also help cut down on your power bills. 

 2. Absorbs sound
Another benefit of this type of flooring is that it can help to insulate against unnecessary sound. It tends to absorb the sound from electronics and keeps it isolated into particular rooms. Carpets also help minimize the echo effect. 

3. Aesthetic purposes
When you choose the right carpeting for your home, it will bring a whole lot of difference. The flooring adds life to any room and gives each room a unique look. The thickness, colour and design of carpet can make a big statement in all rooms!

Cons of carpet flooring 

1. Regular maintenance 
Unlike engineered wood flooring and some other flooring types, carpets require more regular and higher level of maintenance. Any lapse in properly maintaining them can make a room look dirty and unsightly rather than warm and inviting.

2. May hold allergens
One of the biggest drawbacks of carpeting is that it can have negative health effects especially for people who have respiratory challenges. The floor can hold allergens like dust and even harmful micro-organisms which can cause a lot of problems for individuals with asthma or other respiratory ailments. Infants with very sensitive respiratory systems may also have breathing problems.

3. High sensitivity to moisture& stains
Carpet flooring can absorb stains and spills, which can be really hard to eliminate. Moreover, it can get damaged if soaked. This is why carpets are not recommended for use in moist environments.