Laminate as a floor covering for the hallway today confidently competes with tiles and linoleum. Despite the nagging of some skeptics, this is a fairly good and durable coating – it is only important to choose the appropriate option from all the ones on the market. Of course, dirt from shoes, melting snow, scratches from sand and sledges are not able to withstand any type of coating. We will try to determine which laminate to choose for the hallway, and what qualities it should have.
Laminate structure and properties
In order not to be unfounded in listing the advantages and disadvantages of the material, it is better to refer to its structure, and then it will become clear what basic properties the laminate has. The laminate board consists of several layers:
MDF or chipboard is the main layer. The stiffness and strength of the boards may vary and depend on the amount of wood in their composition. The higher this indicator, the higher the reliability and moisture resistance;
the decorative layer completely determines the appearance of the material. This is a thick paper on which a drawing of any type of wood, stone, ceramic tile, etc. can be printed;
top protective layer made on the basis of melamine or acrylic resin. It provides protection against abrasion, sunlight and moisture. Some types of laminate have several layers of protection, which increases their durability. Often, manufacturers add various substances to this layer to improve performance: for example, to increase strength, add silicon dioxide, cellulose fibers or corundum;
- bottom layer made of thick kraft paper. Its function is to protect the slab from high humidity.
Plates are 7-12 mm thick, 20-25 cm wide and 1-2.5 m long. Laminate is characterized by such advantages as durability, reliability, ease of installation and maintenance, excellent decorative qualities and reasonable price. Among the minuses, they usually call low durability and moisture resistance, but thanks to modern technologies, manufacturers have learned to make a laminate that is resistant to moisture and is characterized by increased strength and durability. It is he who is suitable for the hallway.
Hallway laminate performance
This is the first parameter to pay attention to when choosing. Since it is impossible to enter the apartment bypassing the hallway, the load on its floor covering will be very high. Accordingly, it is necessary to choose a laminate that is maximally resistant to loads, especially point loads.
In terms of wear resistance, the laminate is divided into several classes, which are determined after testing. It consists of scratching the material in a circular manner: the longer the laminate remains intact, the stronger it is. The wear resistance class is written in the form of two numbers: one means the recommended class of the room, the second – the degree of load on it. For example, class 23 is intended for residential premises with a high degree of stress and may well be used in hallways, but laminate class 32 and 33 are much better suited – these are laminates for commercial premises with medium and high degree of stress, respectively.
As already mentioned, the thickness of the laminate can vary from 7 to 12 mm. The strength of the castle is directly related to the thickness, and the resistance to mechanical stress depends on it. Since they will often walk through the hallway every day, it is better to choose a thicker material. It, of course, will cost more, but buying a thinner material, you risk in a few years again to repair and change the coating in the hallway.
Today, laminate flooring with the following types of locking joints is common:
- Lock when laminate panels are driven in. Suitable for horizontal laying only;
- Click when the panels snap into place. This is one of the most reliable and durable options, especially since it will be possible to lay the laminate not only horizontally, but also in an L-shaped way.
Basically, modern laminate is installed without glue. This is additional simplicity in the installation process and excellent maintainability, because in which case it is enough to change the damaged board, and the floor covering is again like new.
However, the adhesive version of laminate flooring is still used. This is not only additional spending on glue, but also the ability to use a water-repellent adhesive composition to protect the most dangerous place – the joints of the panels. The main disadvantage of this method is that if one board is damaged, it will not work to change it, you will need to dismantle the entire coating.
Moisture Proof or Water Resistant?
Everyone agrees that for the hallway it is better to use a laminate that is resistant to moisture, which can appear here quite often, because during rain and snow, it is brought along with shoes, clothes and umbrellas, and if there are also pets in the house, then its number increases. So which laminate is better to choose – moisture resistant or water resistant?
Moisture-resistant laminate is distinguished by the fact that its ends are additionally treated with water-repellent compounds. Often, the outer protective layer is also amenable to such processing. The result is a material that can be washed using household chemicals, and which withstands exposure to moisture for some time, but it is better to remove puddles from it without delay. It is better to use water-repellent adhesives for panel joints, because this is the most vulnerable spot. This is a good option for a hallway, which will provide the flooring with sufficient durability, even in the specific conditions of the given room.
For those who want to get the most durable and water-resistant material, a new type of it has been developed – waterproof. Thanks to new production technologies, fantastic results have been achieved. Such material does not just withstand the accumulation of water on the surface – if the panels are lowered into water for a day, then it will not swell and change its appearance. Naturally, you will have to pay for this, and such a laminate costs twice as much as moisture resistant. But it can be used with peace of mind not only in the hallway, but also in the kitchen and even in the bathroom.
Decorative qualities and practicality
Laminate, offered to us today by a huge number of manufacturers, differs not only in color and pattern, but in the type of surface and the method of its production. It largely depends on how practical, comfortable and beautiful the coating will be.
Laminate is usually divided into the following types:
- with a smooth finish. This is not the most suitable option for hallways, and if the surface is also glossy, then traces will remain on it, and at the slightest wet the floor will turn into a skating rink;
- with a matte finish. Such a laminate more naturally repeats the surface of the wood, it is not so slippery and there are fewer traces on it, but still, for hallways, the option is not the best, especially if many people pass through it;
- beveled laminate is not only very similar to natural wood, but also has increased practicality;
- textured laminate is the best option for hallways. Firstly, the surface of the wood is completely simulated, and the resemblance to a massive board is striking, and secondly, the surface is non-slip and non-marking.
There are several ways to give the laminate wood texture:
- embossing. A thicker protective layer is applied to the laminate and then pressed to form the characteristic texture. This is additional strength, and the coating will have to be washed less often;
- stamping in the register. Here, not only the protective layer differs in relief, but also the decoration pattern. It looks even more impressive;
- brushing consists not only in embossing, but also in staining the grooves, after which another protective layer is coated. Such material is great for hallways, because it gets additional strength and resistance to abrasion;
- “Chrome zone”. A chromium alloy is used to decorate the grooves, which allows the laminate to acquire useful performance and a spectacular appearance.
As for shades, patterns and textures, then each of us has a choice, and there is plenty to choose from. It can be a monochromatic coating, imitation of wood species, natural stone or even tiles. All these options look equally impressive, it remains only to decide what will fit better into the interior of the hallway.
Common sense dictates that for a hallway, which is often devoid of a natural source of light, it is better to choose a light laminate. By the way, you can lay it diagonally, which allows you to visually expand the space.
Combining laminate with tiles
For those who are still afraid to use laminate flooring, there is a compromise option – to combine it with other materials. At the threshold, you can use ceramic tiles or porcelain stoneware, which will take the brunt. The rest of the hallway can be finished with laminate to make the room feel cozy. Moreover, in this case, you can choose a laminate with not the highest performance, because the impact on it will be minimal.
With the help of such a combination, it is easy to zone the hallway space, clearly highlighting the place where you need to take off your shoes. For hallways that are too long, this is a great way to make the space more harmonious. Tile and laminate must be compatible with each other, but the border between the coatings must be clearly visible, therefore it is not recommended to use identical shades.
The transition between zones can be made straight, diagonal, curvilinear or wavy – it all depends on your own desires and interior style. Some people prefer to raise the area near the threshold, making a mini-podium. This allows you to even more clearly divide the zones, but the main thing is not to get carried away and not make the podium higher than 3 cm.
Thanks to the rapid development of technology, laminate flooring today can be called without exaggeration an excellent option for hallways. If you do not save money and choose a material with suitable properties of wear and water resistance, then you will be able to decorate the hallway with a beautiful, durable and durable coating that brings comfort and withstands all possible negative influences.