Laminate is an excellent floor covering with many advantages, including a high degree of wear resistance, a huge selection and an attractive affordable price, thanks to which laminate is very popular. But the price range for laminate is wide. The thrifty buyer, of course, is asking the question: what is the difference between a cheap laminate flooring and its dear brother?
Does it make sense to overpay?
The answer lies on the surface: it's all about quality! But let's take a closer look. What parameters determine pricing:
First, this is the top decorative layer. A cheap laminate will have a minimal resemblance to a natural image (wood, stone), caricature, in an expensive version - it is almost impossible to distinguish the texture from the natural one, and the pattern moves from plank to plank. In addition, cheap laminate flooring is quickly scratched (moved a chair, dropped something), and if there is an animal in the house, then its life is rapidly reduced under the pressure of sharp claws. To check the coating for the quality of this parameter, run your fingernail along the plane. If you cling to the junction, it means that after a while the protruding edges will be trampled, break out and even white stripes will appear.
Secondly, the class of wear resistance. In a cheap laminate, it is low, or (even worse) it is indicated on the marking incorrectly, does not correspond to the real one (in fact, an unscrupulous manufacturer deceives the buyer!). It is also common when the class is indicated correctly, but its indicators are at the lowest mark and barely meet the requirements of wear resistance, there is no safety margin. Everything is transparent with an expensive laminate, and moreover, the manufacturer values his reputation, therefore, on the contrary, he underestimates the warranty period (i.e., promising 10 years of excellent service, you can hope for all 15).
Thirdly, the quality of materials, their environmental friendliness. An expensive laminate has a dense slab (and it is wrong to judge this by its width: 8 mm may be denser than 12 mm).
Fourth, geometry. Expensive laminate boards have perfectly rectangular or square boards that fit without difficulty. In a cheap laminate, the geometry "breathes on incense", the ridges and grooves may not coincide, it always forms gaps. They will answer your complaints: “You laid it incorrectly”, but this is a lie, just the quality does not allow you to get a beautiful flat floor even with the most professional installation. Of course, you can always use special devices, grouting to make all the flaws less noticeable, but during operation, the micro-crevices will increase, the locks will break and soon you will have to change the coating.
Fifth, fashion. This item does not depend on quality and here you can really save money. If you do not strive to keep up with fashion trends and are ready for "classics" (beech, oak), then it will cost you less than wenge or panga-panga.
Sixth, brand and country of origin. It is clear here without additional explanations that innovator manufacturers (those who have invented and patented something convenient and cool: for example, Quick-step - the inventor of the click lock) or those who have been on the market for a long time will cost more than “newcomers”, and domestic ones are cheaper than foreign ones.
7 point - moisture resistance. The marketing ploy is designed to confuse the buyer and pass off moisture resistance for water resistance. In practice, this "translates" into the fact that the person is sure that his coating "withstands" water and does not particularly worry about spilled water. But in fact, after a few hours, it seeps into the depths of the board and spoils it.
8 indicator - creak. A manufacturer of cheap laminate flooring saves on the processing of locking joints, because of this dust, dirt, sand particles accumulate between them, which lead to creaking. An expensive laminate may also creak at first, but the reason will be different: the lamellas just need to "rub in" and after a while the creak will disappear.
Why would a non-professional know all this? In order to choose a floor covering for a long time (after all, no one wants to make repairs every 2 years?) - you need to be able to separate the grain from the chaff, be able to filter information from sellers (who are interested in selling goods, even if they are not of high quality) who can to be insufficiently aware, to weigh all the pros and cons and choose the best option for yourself for your needs, requirements, budget.
Enjoy the shopping!