The average cost to install laminate flooring in a 12×12 room is $1,200 to $2,400, depending on the quality and type of laminate, the labor costs, and the additional materials needed. Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners who want a durable, easy-to-maintain, and affordable alternative to hardwood, tile, or carpet. Laminate flooring can mimic the look and feel of various materials, such as wood, stone, or ceramic, with a protective layer that resists scratches, stains, and moisture. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the cost of laminate flooring installation, the benefits and drawbacks of laminate flooring, and some tips on how to choose the best laminate flooring for your room.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Laminate Flooring Installation
The cost of laminate flooring installation depends on several factors, such as:
- The quality and type of laminate. Laminate flooring comes in different grades, ranging from low-end to high-end, based on the thickness, durability, warranty, and appearance of the laminate. Low-end laminate flooring typically costs $1 to $3 per square foot, while high-end laminate flooring can cost $5 to $10 per square foot. Additionally, laminate flooring can be either glued or snapped together, with the latter being easier and cheaper to install. Glued laminate flooring requires more time, skill, and adhesive, which can increase the labor and material costs.
- The labor costs. The labor costs for laminate flooring installation vary depending on the contractor, the complexity of the project, and the location. The average labor cost for laminate flooring installation is $2 to $8 per square foot, which includes the preparation, installation, and cleanup of the subfloor and the laminate. Some contractors may charge a flat fee or a minimum charge for smaller projects, while others may offer discounts for larger projects or referrals. It is advisable to get at least three quotes from different contractors before hiring one, and to check their credentials, reviews, and references.
- The additional materials needed. Besides the laminate flooring itself, there are other materials that are needed for a successful installation, such as underlayment, trim, molding, transitions, and fasteners. Underlayment is a thin layer of foam, rubber, or cork that goes under the laminate flooring to provide cushioning, soundproofing, and moisture protection. Underlayment can cost $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot, depending on the quality and type. Trim, molding, transitions, and fasteners are used to finish the edges and corners of the laminate flooring and to create a seamless look between different rooms or surfaces. These materials can cost $1 to $5 per linear foot, depending on the style and material.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring has many benefits and drawbacks that should be considered before making a decision. Some of the benefits are:
- Laminate flooring is durable and easy to maintain. Laminate flooring has a protective layer that resists scratches, stains, and moisture, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and households with pets and children. Laminate flooring is also easy to clean, requiring only a damp mop or a vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Laminate flooring does not need to be sanded, refinished, or polished, unlike hardwood or tile flooring.
- Laminate flooring is affordable and versatile. Laminate flooring is one of the most cost-effective flooring options, offering a wide range of styles, colors, and patterns to suit any preference and budget. Laminate flooring can mimic the look and feel of various materials, such as wood, stone, or ceramic, with realistic textures and finishes. Laminate flooring can also be installed over existing flooring, such as vinyl, plywood, or concrete, saving time and money on demolition and disposal.
- Laminate flooring is environmentally friendly and healthy. Laminate flooring is made from recycled wood fibers and resin, which reduces the use of natural resources and the emission of greenhouse gases. Laminate flooring is also certified by the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA), which ensures that it meets the standards for indoor air quality, formaldehyde emissions, and product safety. Laminate flooring does not harbor dust, allergens, or bacteria, making it a healthy choice for people with allergies or asthma.
Some of the drawbacks are:
- Laminate flooring is susceptible to water damage and fading. Laminate flooring is not waterproof, and can swell, warp, or buckle if exposed to excessive moisture or humidity. Laminate flooring should not be installed in areas that are prone to flooding, such as basements, bathrooms, or laundry rooms, unless it is specially designed for water resistance. Laminate flooring is also sensitive to sunlight, and can fade or discolor over time if exposed to direct or prolonged UV rays. Laminate flooring should be protected from sunlight with curtains, blinds, or rugs, or rotated periodically to prevent uneven fading.
- Laminate flooring is noisy and hard. Laminate flooring can create a loud and hollow sound when walked on, especially if it is not installed properly or if it does not have a quality underlayment. Laminate flooring can also be hard and cold underfoot, which can be uncomfortable for some people or pets. Laminate flooring can be softened with area rugs, mats, or carpets, or heated with radiant floor heating systems, but these can add to the cost and maintenance of the flooring.
- Laminate flooring is difficult to repair and replace. Laminate flooring is not easy to repair, as it cannot be sanded, refinished, or polished like hardwood or tile flooring. Laminate flooring can only be repaired by replacing the damaged planks or tiles, which can be challenging and costly, especially if the laminate flooring is glued or discontinued. Laminate flooring can also be difficult to remove, as it can damage the subfloor or the existing flooring underneath, requiring additional repairs or replacements.
Tips on How to Choose the Best Laminate Flooring for Your Room
Choosing the best laminate flooring for your room depends on several factors, such as:
- The size and shape of your room. The size and shape of your room can affect the appearance and installation of the laminate flooring. For smaller rooms, you may want to choose lighter colors, wider planks, or diagonal patterns to create an illusion of space and openness. For larger rooms, you may want to choose darker colors, narrower planks, or straight patterns to create a sense of coziness and warmth. For irregular or curved rooms, you may want to choose tiles or planks that can be cut to fit the contours of the room, or use transitions or moldings to create a smooth and seamless look.
- The style and decor of your room. The style and decor of your room can influence the choice of the laminate flooring, as you may want to match or contrast the existing colors, textures, and themes of your room. For example, if you have a rustic or farmhouse style, you may want to choose laminate flooring that mimics the look of natural wood, such as oak, pine, or hickory, with a matte or distressed finish. If you have a modern or minimalist style, you may want to choose laminate flooring that mimics the look of stone, such as marble, granite, or slate, with a glossy or smooth finish.
- The function and traffic of your room. The function and traffic of your room can determine the durability and maintenance of the laminate flooring, as you may want to choose laminate flooring that can withstand the wear and tear of your room. For example, if you have a living room or a bedroom, you may want to choose laminate flooring that has a medium to high AC rating, which measures the abrasion resistance of the laminate flooring. The higher the AC rating, the more durable the laminate flooring is. If you have a kitchen or a bathroom, you may want to choose laminate flooring that has a water-resistant or waterproof coating, which protects the laminate flooring from moisture and spills.
Laminate flooring is a great option for homeowners who want a durable, easy-to-maintain, and affordable flooring solution that can suit any style and preference. The average cost to install laminate flooring in a 12×12 room is $1,200 to $2,400, depending on the quality and type of laminate, the labor costs, and the additional materials needed. Laminate flooring has many benefits and drawbacks that should be weighed before making a decision, and choosing the best laminate flooring for your room depends on several factors, such as the size and shape of your room, the style and decor of your room, and the function and traffic of your room. By following these tips and guidelines, you can find the best laminate flooring for your room and enjoy its beauty and functionality for years to come.