Flooring is one of the important features forming the structure of any well-designed home or building. As a result, choosing a floor is a taxing chore, given the almost infinite supply of different options for flooring. Wood flooring has for long been the top choice because of its beauty and natural appearance. Lately, laminate flooring has made inroads in many Kenyan homes, largely because of its authentic look so close to the wooden flooring, but with more practical benefits.
Mr Isaac Maikweki, a sales executive at Floor Décor Kenya, a company dealing in laminate flooring offered some insight as to what exactly laminate flooring is and why many Kenyans seem to favour it.
“Laminate flooring is made of fibreboard and wood particles compressed together, then laminated.
Lamination is the clear finish on the multilayer compressed product,” says Mr Maikweki.
HOW TO INSTALL LAMINATE
Installation of laminate flooring is a fairly easy process and given the right access, homeowners can do it for themselves.
“The first step is ensuring that your floor is level to avoid squeaking of the flooring later,” advises Mr Maikweki.
He continues, “Before installing laminates, one should lay an underlay whose purpose is to prevent moisture from beneath from reaching and damaging the laminates. It also serves as a padding that offers comfort to those using it.”
Poor installation may result in warping of the flooring. A common mistake made during its installation is failure to allow room for expansion of the boards during high temperatures. Since the boards have no room for expansion, they warp upwards, destroying the flooring, explains the sales executive. If you are not confident to follow the steps, Mr Maikweki advises that you should engage professionals.
Laminate flooring has been in the Kenyan market for a long time but is lately gaining a lot of popularity.
People are looking for pocket-friendly products that can serve them for a long period of time.
“Laminate floorboards come in different levels of quality and the difference in quality level determines its price. On average, the floorboards range from Sh2,650-Sh3,650 per square metre,” notes Mr Maikweki, adding that this is more affordable compared to pure wood boards, which range from Sh8,500-Sh10,500 per square metre.
Mr Maikweki further notes that it is cheap to install laminate flooring, with costs being as low as Sh200 per square metre, and Sh500 per square metre if installing a staircase.
Not only is laminate flooring affordable, it is also durable. It gives a guarantee of approximately twenty years of service against scratching and wearing off.
Laminate floorboards of higher quality can last up to fifty years of use.
“Maintenance of laminate flooring is quite basic. For cleaning, all one needs is to mop the floor using a semi-wet mop,” says Mr Maikweki.
He emphasises that the floor must not be exposed to large quantities of water or the floorboards will buckle or warp. “Laminate flooring is water-resistant but not waterproof.
“The fact that laminate flooring is easy to clean and maintain makes it hygienic compared to other flooring material,” opines Mr Maikweki, adding that the laminate boards are made of components containing antibacterial products.
Laminate floors are also warmer than tiles or pure wood floors, and thus they offer more comfort.
In addition, the fact that laminate boards are not fully made from wood, they are considered to be more environment-friendly products compared to pure or engineered wood.
While laminate floors make are a good investment, Mr Maikweki is quick to give a word of caution to Kenyans who would like to purchase laminate floorboards.
“The market is flooded with laminates because manufacturers have started to notice the interest Kenyans have in it and many of them want to make as much profit from it as they can,” says Mr Maikweki.
“Because of this greed, there are a lot of counterfeits in the market that come at a very low price.
Anyone looking for laminate flooring should be cautious to ensure that they are buying genuine products that will give them the value they need,” he advices.