Flooring is one of the important features forming the structure of any well-designed home or building. As a result of this, choosing a new floor is a tasking chore, given the almost infinite supply of different options for flooring. Wood flooring has always been held in high regard as the top choice for homes and other buildings because of its beauty and natural appearance. Lately however, an increasing amount of Kenyans are choosing laminate flooring for their homes which offers a combination of the authentic look of a natural wooden floor with several practical benefits.
Mr Isaac Maikweki, a sales executive at Floor Décor Kenya, a company dealing exclusively in laminate flooring offered some insight as to what exactly laminate flooring is and why it is currently the most preferred flooring method. “Laminate flooring is made to simulate wood and is made of compresses fiber board and wood particles compressed together then laminated,” says Mr Maikweki. “Lamination is the clear finish on the multi-layer compressed product.” Installation of laminate flooring is a fairly easy process and given the right access, one can do it for themselves.
“The first step to installing laminate flooring is ensuring that your floor is level. Installation of the laminate boards on an uneven floor can result to squeaking of the flooring later,” advises Mr Maikweki. He continues, “Before installing laminates one is provided with an underlay to be used before installing the actual flooring. Its purpose is to prevent moisture from beneath from reaching and damaging the laminate flooring. It also serves as a padding that offers comfort to those using it.”
Poor installation of the laminate flooring may result to warping of the flooring. The most 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. It is therefore advisable to get professional help in the installation of laminate flooring in one’s home.
Laminate flooring has been in the Kenyan market for a long time but is lately gaining a lot of popularity because of the benefits it offers to its users. Given the country’s economic status, people are looking for pocket friendly products that can serve them for a long period of time.“Laminate floor boards come in different levels of quality and the difference in quality level determines its price. On average, the floor boards range from Ksh. 2650-3650 per square meter,” notes Mr Maikweki. He adds that this is very cheap as compared to pure wood boards that range from Ksh 8,500-10,500 per square meter.Installation prices for this type of flooring is also affordable, ranging from Ksh 200 per square meter. However, if used on a staircase the installation price will be a bit more costly as it is charged from Ksh 500 per step. Not only is laminate flooring affordable, it is also durable. It gives a guarantee of between approximately twenty years of service against scratching and wearing off. Laminate floor boards of higher quality can last up to fifty years of use.
Another major advantage of laminate flooring is that it is very low maintenance. “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 emphasizes that the floor must not be exposed to large quantities of water otherwise the floorboards will buckle or warp. “Laminate flooring is water resistant but not water proof. “The fact that laminate flooring is easy to clean and maintain it makes it hygienic compared to other flooring material,” opines Mr Maikweki. He adds that the laminate boards are made of components containing antibacterial products. Laminate floors are also warmer that tile or pure wood floors and thus offer more comfort to its consumers. Added to that, the fact that laminate boards are not fully made from wood, they are considered to be more environmental-friendly products as compared to pure or engineered wood.
While this makes for a good investment, Mr Maikweki is quick to give a word of caution to Kenyans who would like to purchase laminate floor boards for their use. “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.”