When we buy a flat or we want to renovate the one we already have, one of the main structures that we must study well is the floor, since, once it is installed, we will have to live with it for many years. That is why it is convenient to take a good look at the pros and cons of the different choices that we can make.
In general terms, and without going to more expensive and minority techniques such as microcement, there are two main types of flooring to install. On one side is the floating platformof wood slats or products based on wood, which is known as laminate, and on the other hand there is the porcelain stonewarebased on mineral materials treated to achieve a vitreous structure.
What is a floating platform?
The floating floor, unlike the parquet that used to be installed in the past, is not glued to the floor, but are slats of variable size and manufactured in series that are assembled on the floor, with an intermediate layer of protective plastic paper.
The platform can be solid wood, that is, sheets of wood, or some by-product of the wood mixed with resins, glue and pressing, with a top plastic layer and a digital print imitating the waters of the wood. In this second case we are talking about laminate flooring, which is a hybrid between organic wood floors and stoneware minerals.
Pros of laminated flooring
The main advantage of the platform is its thermal insulation capacity, which allows heat to be conserved in a house. This results in energy savings but also in comfort, since it allows us to walk barefoot or lie down without noticing the cold floor.
It also aesthetically gives the floor a pleasing appearance and today, with laminate flooring, hundreds of shapes and textures can be reproduced. On the other hand, it is as easy to install as it is to remove, since the pieces are not glued and the wooden slats are quite light, so they can be handled without problems.
Cons of laminated flooring
Their price must be taken into account, since they are in the high range of floor materials, although it depends on the quality of the wood that we use, although it is better not to bet on bargains, unless they are offers at the end of stock etc If you opt for laminate flooring, the price is substantially reduced, but then do not expect the quality of the wood.
On the other hand, its resistance to abrasion is very limited and over time, from ten years onwards, the floor begins to lose its good appearance and in the end it needs to be restored, which means a new investment and eventually moving house. for a week or more, due to the toxic effluvia of the varnishes used.
Laminate flooring, being partially synthetic and having a plastic surface, is more resistant to abrasion, although it can also accumulate marks from falling objects, since it is less resistant to impacts as it is not compact wood.
In addition, the platform is very sensitive to humidity, and bulges when it is high, not to mention that it can be damaged by falling water, for example from a leak, and needs to be replaced. Laminate flooring suffers a similar fate, since it is usually pressed wood residue, although in the highest qualities materials such as vents are added, which are much more resistant to water.
It requires a special wash avoiding aggressive materials and soaps; a specific type of liquid with waxes is required.
What is porcelain stoneware?
With greater or lesser technical evolution, these are inorganic components cooked at high temperature, which vitrifies them. Porcelain stoneware is made from a ceramic paste enriched in fluxes -materials that favor the fusion of the paste-, feldspars.
Its presence allows the material to reach a liquid state when the ceramic paste is fired, thereby eliminating the gases present and covering most of the pores. Subsequently, the paste is dry pressed to obtain the desired piece and its surface is printed according to the desired design or waters.
Pros of porcelain flooring
It has a much more varied range of prices than wood, so it is not necessary to pay so much to find a more than acceptable quality floor that fits our budget.
In addition, new printing techniques allow to have porcelain floors with imitation of the most varied textures, from all kinds of wood to stone or even marble, although at different prices depending on the complexity of the drawing. Therefore, it can also be used to cover walls in toilets.
Another advantage is its great resistance to abrasions, blows and, above all, waterlogging, since porcelain flooring lacks pores that retain water. Therefore, after a leak, the floor will remain in its original good condition.
It also resists the passage of time much better than wood and it will take many decades to see it deteriorate. It does not store annoying scratches, as wood does. It does not require any type of special liquid to scrub it, and it resists most detergents well. In addition, in summer it offers a sensation of freshness that wood does not provide.
Cons of porcelain flooring
The most obvious disadvantage is that it is an inorganic, mineral soil and therefore it insulates little or nothing, so it will always stay cold. In summer it will be appreciated, but in winter it is mandatory to always wear slippers or slippers.
In addition, although its price is more affordable, the labor cost to place it is considerably higher, since it is heavy to handle and requires adherent cement. It should also be borne in mind that its cut is much more cumbersome.
And obviously, we will not be able to change it every year if we feel like it, since its replacement is cumbersome and forces us to clear the house for weeks or months. If there are pipes under the floor and a leak occurs, it will have to be raised.
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