Wooden Flooring is a fairly new concept of floor covering in Pakistan. The carpet industry has a strong hold when it comes to our local floor covering market mainly because they are available in a large variety, easy to install (virtually any sub-floor) and of course, at low prices. The consumer focus has now started to shift more towards a ‘carpet free’ environment. Just to point out a few yet genuine recurring problems with carpets; they are easily soiled, hard to clean and not at all stain resistant. Allergies with carpet fibres and dust particles that settle deep within are some reasons why the new generation of flooring consumers have started to search for durable alternatives.

Besides carpets, tiles and marble too, have lost their ‘WOW’ factor since they are quite common. On the other hand hard wood floors have been around for quite sometime and are known for the appealing environment they create wherever they are installed. The trendy look of hardwood floors is a temptation for every home owner. The reason for their poor performance in Pakistan has been the maintenance factor (two thumbs down). First off, the installation is hectic and time consuming, then, they are easily scratched and the polish wears out with-in a matter of 8 to 10 months. Termite proofing is an additional expense affiliated with its installation.

Laminate Flooring was introduced in Pakistan quite recently. The product has been eye catching and has started to be the flooring of choice in most homes and offices being built or renovated in the major cities across Pakistan. The reason for its growing popularity among consumers, architects and interior designers is that it gives the trendy wholesome look to any space, availability of designs to suit any colour scheme, the wood looks and sound, no special maintenance and quick/hassle free installation on virtually any type of sub-floor.

With all these qualities, one should always keep in mind that there are good and bad qualities even in Laminate Flooring. Being a relatively new flooring product there are many misconceptions that exist in the mind of the consumer. Addressing all of them is impossible however its much easier to highlight ‘what to look for’ when shopping for a Laminate Floor.

Keep in mind that Laminate flooring technology is non-existent in Pakistan. It is a European product later adopted by Asian and American manufacturers. European Laminate flooring, to-date, is the best available quality worldwide. Always ask for the origin of the Laminate floor you are willing to buy.

Most Asian Laminate floors do not carry any warranty and even if they do, it’s more of a verbal commitment by the retailer. Always ask for a written warranty to be sure. Normal warranty period should be no less than 15 years.

Another aspect is the quality of the Laminate floor-board. Generally every retailer offering Laminate floor will claim it to be HDF (High Density Fibre board) but they are never sure of the density? Usually a good Laminate floor can resist 900 pounds and more on any given square inch of its surface. That means no worries when it comes to high heels or heavy furniture on your floor. A quality HDF board will provide good moisture resistance and dimensional stability for the board to retain its shape for a lifetime.

The decorative surface of Laminate flooring is a photograph of genuine wood grains firmly protected by a strong lamination, usually melamine (sugar based lamination). A good Laminate floor will have not one but two laminations, first a melamine coating then a hard coating over it for a life long surface protection and abrasion resistance.

The look is of course the first thing you may notice when shopping for a floor. Since Laminate floors are an alternative for hard wood flooring, the cheap quality of Laminate floor lacks originality. Wood patterns should look natural not mechanical. Always look for a little pattern variation from plank to plank.

Most retailers in Pakistan now offer an Isometric glueless locking mechanism instead of a male-female locking joint (requires glue). These joints are patented under specific trademarks such as “5G lock”, “Angle2Angle”,”Crystal Click” etc. Ensure that the locking joint is thick, even and firm. Durability of the joint ensures the re-installation of your floor in another location should you decide to change the floor covering after a few years.

Price is the most important factor. Usually a high quality Laminate floor will be found anywhere between Rs.180 to Rs.250 per square foot or more. Since Laminate floors enhance property value, it should be considered as an investment not expense.

Furthermore, changing from Carpet to Laminate Flooring is super easy! Check out the video below:

Important: Always ask the installer to perform a moisture test in the room you want to install your laminate floor, especially on cement sub-floors. Excessive moisture will cause irrepairable damage to your laminate floor.