How Long Does Laminate Flooring Last? How to Install and Replace?

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Are you thinking about decorating your hardwood floors with the laminate floor?  It is a popular choice because it is affordable, stylish, and easy to care for. But maybe you are wondering, “Hold on, How Long Does New Laminate Flooring Last?”. Good question.

I’ve been there too. So, buckle up, because I’m about to spill the tea on the lifespan of laminate flooring, and how to keep those floors looking fabulous for years to come.

How Is Laminate Flooring Made?

Image of How Is Laminate Flooring Made?
Image source: home.tarkett.com

Laminate flooring is a multi-layer flooring material made from wood fiber designed to replicate natural wood.

It consists of four main layers: a bottom layer for protection, a high-density fiberboard core for strength, a decorative layer with printed images for design variety, and transparent surface protection for durability

Here’s a breakdown of its composition:

  • Base layer: This layer provides stability and moisture protection.
  • Core: Typically composed of high-density fiberboard (HDF) for strength and dimensional stability.
  • Decorative layer: This layer features a printed image that replicates the appearance of natural wood or other materials.
  • Wear layer: A transparent protective layer that resists scratches, fading, and wear.

High-quality laminate flooring offers several advantages:

  • Durability: Resistant to impact, scratches, and fading, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Water resistance: Can withstand occasional spills, ideal for kitchens and other water-prone areas. (Note: Avoid direct and prolonged water exposure.) However, with advancements in technology, waterproof laminate flooring options have emerged, offering increased durability and resistance to moisture-related issues.
  • Affordability: Offers the look of natural wood at a more budget-friendly price.

Please note: While laminate flooring boasts water resistance, it’s not entirely waterproof. Avoid direct and prolonged water exposure to maintain the integrity of the material.

What Are The Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of Laminate Flooring?

1. Quality Of Materials

Did you get some new laminate floors? But just like any hot new outfit, maintain them to keep them looking fresh. We will crack the code on keeping those floors fabulous for years to come, expert style.

  1. Protective Coating and Layers: A thick wear layer shields the flooring from scratches, stains, and UV rays.
  2. Core Layer and Moisture Resistance: High-density fiberboard (HDF) is recommended for moisture-prone areas to prevent damage.
  3. UV Rays and Impact on Flooring: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause discolouration and deterioration, emphasizing the need for a robust wear layer.
  4. High-Traffic and Low-Traffic Areas: Different areas require tailored solutions with appropriate durability and wear resistance.
  5. Refinishing and Maintenance Techniques: Employ suitable methods to maintain the integrity of protective layers and core materials.
  6. Moisture-Prone Areas and Installation Practices: Proper installation techniques are crucial to mitigate moisture-related issues and water damage.
  7. Laminate Flooring Image Layer and Durability: Choose laminate with a high-quality image layer for long-lasting visual appeal and resilience.

Laminate flooring rocks! But, just like any cool shoe, it might not love every terrain.  By thinking about the room (like kitchen vs. bedroom), you can make sure your floors last a long time!

2. Easy Installation Process

Thinking about laminate flooring? Great choice! But for a long life, proper installation is key. Like Legos, a bad foundation leads to trouble. Proper installation ensures a stable floor that handles daily use.

Imagine laying the floor on a bumpy road.  Over time, that can cause gaps and creaks. Flooring experts say a flat, clean, and dry subfloor (the layer beneath) is crucial. Experts recommend a special underlayment pad or area rugs for moisture protection.

Connecting the planks correctly matters too. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Hiring a pro installer can be a smart or cost-effective move for a perfect fit and to avoid future issues.

A careful installation is like giving your laminate floors a high five for a long and happy future. We will dive into the other stuff that affects their lifespan, like all the wear and tear they face, next time.

3. Level Of Foot Traffic

If you have got awesome laminate floors in your house, but are worried about keeping them looking good in all those high-traffic areas like hallways and living rooms?

We have been there. Here’s the thing: the more people walk on those floors, the more likely they are to get scratched, dented, or worn down over time.

But don’t worry! I have some expert advice to make your laminate floors last longer. Imagine adding a layer of protection, like a superhero shield, to your floors!

Here are some working tips:

  • Place Rugs and mats! Placing them in high-traffic areas catches dirt and debris before they can scratch your floors. Think of them as tiny floor protectors.
  • Cleaning is key! Just like you wouldn’t want your favourite shirt covered in dirt, your floors don’t like it either. Regular cleaning with the right products keeps them looking their best and prevents dirt from building up and causing damage.
  • AC rating? When choosing laminate flooring, look for one with a high AC rating. This rating tells you how well the floor can resist scratches and dings – kind of like a toughness score for your floor! The higher the AC rating, the better it will handle all that walking around.

4. Maintenance and Care

proper care! Just like your favourite shoes, regular cleaning and using the right stuff will keep your laminate floors looking fantastic for years.

Imagine this: you accidentally spill your juice box. With laminate, just grab a cloth and wipe it up quickly. Unlike real wood floors, laminate is water-resistant when installed properly, so you don’t have to stress about those little mishaps.

Image of Laminate flooring which has some drop of water,
image source: thespruce.com

Pro tip: Furniture with protective feet is your new best friend.  Scuffs and scratches? Not on your watch!

Now, let’s talk cleaning. Must avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, or excessive water. They can damage the top layer, which is what gives laminate its beautiful wood look (it’s kind of like a picture on a board, not real wood). Instead, use a damp mop or a cleaning product recommended by the manufacturer.

Think of it like this:  using the right cleaning products is like using the right shampoo for your hair.

how long does laminate flooring last?

Laminate floors – like them for your home or office? They’re tough, easy to clean, and won’t break the bank. Just curious about how long they usually last. We got you covered!

1. Residential Use

Laminate floors are a popular choice because they look great and can be easier on your wallet than some other options, like real hardwood flooring or fancy tile. But how long they stick around depends on a few things.

High-quality laminate, like most things, can last a long time with proper care. Now, the Average Lifespan Of Laminate Flooring is 15 to 25 years in a typical home environment!  Think about it this way: If you take care of your stuff, it usually lasts longer, right?  The same goes for your floor.

Choosing the right laminate matters too.  Look for thicker planks with a higher AC (Abrasion Class) rating.  Think of the AC rating as a suit of armour for your floor.  The higher the number (AC3 or higher for homes), the better it can resist wear and tear from everyday use.

2. Commercial Use

In commercial, there’s special commercial-grade laminate flooring built extra tough for busy places.

How long does laminate flooring last in businesses? On average, it can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, depending on a few things.

Imagine it like this: the better the quality, the more care it gets, and the type of business it’s in, all affect how long it lasts.

What Are The Signs That Laminate Flooring Needs To Be Replaced?

The question is, how do you know when it’s time to give your laminate the boot?

Here’s the lowdown on the top signs it’s time for a new floor, straight from the experts and backed up by those in-the-know surveys.

We’ll get your floors looking fresh in no time!

1. Visible Damage

Image of Visible Damage on laminate flooring
Image source: preferred-flooring.com

Keeping an eye on your laminate flooring is a smart move! Just like most floors, laminate can get scratches, chips, or cracks over time. These can be caused by things like heavy furniture getting dragged around, or even just dropping something.

The good news is that minor damage might not be a big deal. But if you see a lot of wear and tear, especially large cracks or deep scratches, it might be time to think about getting new laminate flooring.

Here’s a tip: You can also find protective furniture feet to prevent scratches from chairs and tables.

I found a report from Reddit, The User Says that laminate flooring is not as durable as some people believe, and it can suffer from issues like scuffing, scratching, and water damage, especially when installed in rental properties

2. Warping or Buckling

Image of Warping or Buckling on laminate flooring
Image source: bcfloors.ca

One common problem is warping or buckling. This happens when the floorboards lift, swell, or separate from the layer below (called the subfloor).

Moisture is usually the culprit, and it can come from spills, leaks, or even just high humidity in the air.  Temperature changes can also play a role.

If you see any warping or buckling, it’s best to address it promptly. Left untreated, the damage can get worse and the laminate flooring might need to be completely replaced.

3. Discoloration

Image of Discoloration on laminate flooring
Image source: pinimg.com

One thing to watch out for is colour change. While laminate has a clear protective coating and is generally extremely durable, excessive moisture can still cause problems.

I found another user report from Completely Floored highlights that discolouration, loose planks, and warping are signs of water damage in laminate flooring.

You might notice the planks getting darker or developing a yellowish tint. That’s a sign we (or you, the homeowner) need to take action!

If you see these changes, it’s important to promptly address any spills and make sure there are no leaks. 

If there is regular water falling on your floor then, It can lead to more serious problems, like structural issues that might require replacing the entire floor.

We (or flooring companies) recommend laminate for many spaces because it’s easy to care for and can last a long time with proper maintenance.

But remember, even though it’s tough, it’s not invincible! By keeping an eye out for water damage, you can help your laminate floors stay beautiful for their longer lifespan.

4. Loose or Separating Planks

If you notice a gap between the planks on your laminate floor. Maybe it’s just a little one, but it can be concerning. Is it a sign that Something went wrong?

Gaps between laminate floor planks don’t always mean there’s a major problem. it is important to identify the cause to avoid any damage.

One reason for gaps could be simply improper installation.  When laminate flooring is installed, the subfloor (the layer beneath the laminate) needs to be perfectly level and stable. If it’s not, the planks can shift and create gaps over time.

Another culprit?  Moisture!  Laminate flooring is resistant to water, but not entirely waterproof.  If you spill something and don’t clean it up promptly, the moisture can cause the planks to swell and separate.

How Can You Extend The Lifespan Of Laminate Flooring?

The survey reports from Flooring.com.sg suggest that with proper maintenance, laminate flooring can last up to 20-25 years. However, the average lifespan of laminate flooring is about 10-15 years

1. Proper Installation

Image of Proper Installation
Image source: bobvila.com

We all want our laminate wood flooring to look its best for years to come, right? The very first step to achieving this is by making sure it’s installed properly.

You, the homeowner, can play a part in this by ensuring two key things: selecting the right underlayment and checking that the subfloor is completely dry.

Here’s where Eco Cork Foam comes in. This underlayment boasts a 6-mile vapour barrier, which is necessary when installing laminate flooring on a concrete subfloor.

Think of it like an invisible shield that protects your new flooring from moisture damage, a sneaky culprit that can shorten its lifespan.

2. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Image of Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Image source: thespruce.com

We recommend sweeping or vacuuming your laminate floor daily. This removes dust and dirt particles that can scratch the surface over time.  Pro Tip: When vacuuming, avoid using the beater bar setting, which can be too harsh for laminate.

Now, let’s talk about cleaning solutions. You must avoid using harsh chemicals on your floor for cleaning, you shouldn’t use them on your floor!

Avoid abrasive cleaners, ammonia, or any products specifically designed for hardwood floors (like hardwood floor polish). ​

These can damage the protective layer of your laminate.  Instead, opt for a mild detergent solution and a microfiber mop. Microfiber cloths are great because they trap dirt and dust effectively without scratching the surface.

3. Protecting Against Moisture

Laminate floors are awesome, but they’re not fans of too much water. Here’s how to keep them happy:

  • Skip wet rooms: Since laminate isn’t a water lover, bathrooms or laundry rooms might be better suited for tile flooring.
  • Moisture barrier: Think of a tiny raincoat for your floor! A moisture barrier underlayment helps block extra moisture.
  • Quick clean up: Spills happen, but be a cleaning superhero! Promptly addressing spills with a vacuum cleaner prevents water damage.

With this care, your laminate floor will stay beautiful for years! While not perfect for every room, laminate’s cost-effectiveness compared to hardwood flooring makes it a great choice for many areas. Enjoy the beauty of laminate without water worries!

4. Avoiding Heavy Furniture and Sharp Objects

Heavy furniture and sharp objects can scratch or damage the surface of laminate flooring. Use protective pads under furniture legs and avoid dragging heavy objects across the floor.

Thinking about laminate floors? But remember, they scratch easier than tiles. To protect them, use furniture pads (think tiny superhero capes!) and lift furniture instead of dragging.

Pro tip: Laminate flooring comes in different durability ratings (how well it resists scratches). For high-traffic areas, chat with a flooring expert to find the right one.

Final Thoughts…..

The lifespan of laminate flooring can vary depending on the quality of the materials, installation, and maintenance.

With proper care, laminate flooring can last 15-25 years in a residential setting.

Here are some tips for extending the lifespan of your laminate floors: choose high-quality materials, ensure proper installation, clean regularly with recommended products, and avoid excessive moisture exposure.

If you have any then ask in the comment section.

FAQs

What is the downside to laminate flooring?

Not waterproof. Laminate flooring is constructed of solid wood which has no resistance to water. The material is therefore not suitable for use in bathrooms and should be disposed of carefully in the kitchen and laundry areas. Light surfaces for cleaning should not have any problems though saturation needs to be avoided.

How often should you replace laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring typically lasts 10-15 years. The lifespan varies depending on traffic and frequency of cleaning. If they don’t start warping, that would probably happen.

Does laminate flooring wear out?

Many homeowners prefer laminate flooring because it provides aesthetically attractive and reliable flooring options. Your floor should last anywhere between 15 and 30 years on average depending on its condition, if properly cleaned.

Does laminate last longer than vinyl?

Long Life. Vinyl floors have a lifespan of between 30 and 35 years, while Thin Vinyl floors have a lifespan of just under 10 years. Laminate flooring can endure between 15 and 25 years, but poor maintenance laminate can last between 5 and 15 years.

How long does cheap laminate flooring last?

Laminate Flooring lifespan: 3-5 years for low-quality tile installation; 25-30 years for excellent installation.

What is a common problem with laminate flooring?

The cracking in the fabric often occurs due to moisture and/or water damage. Laminate floors have different effects on water. High moisture levels within air cause buckling or warping. Excess water may cause buckling or warpage on floors.

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More