The Versatility of Today's Laminate Flooring

By Jill

Posted on Friday, January 30, 2015 3:15 AM


Laminate flooring by Shaw FloorsWhen you think of laminate flooring, does it conjure up images of “imitation” floors that are easy to discern from real woods or natural stone? If so, you might be surprised by the selection of high-end laminates available today. Top flooring manufacturers such as Quick Step, Shaw, and Mohawk have applied the latest in flooring technologies to create laminate products that are far more authentic looking than ever before. With beautiful design options, impressive realism, and durability that allows for easy maintenance and long-term wearability, today’s laminates are worth a second look if you’re shopping for new floors. A Few of the Perks Far more affordable than many other hard flooring surfaces, laminate flooring features an abundance of designs that impressively replicate some of today’s most sought-after flooring, including domestic and exotic woods, ceramic tile, and natural stones such as slate, porcelain, and travertine. Styles range from traditional narrow planks to today’s popular wider planks and include varying lengths and an array of tile styles that make it easy to create your own unique designer look. But today’s laminate is more than just good-looking replicas. A highly durable wear layer makes these floors extremely resistant to daily wear, moisture, staining, and fading caused by direct sunlight. And most laminates are easier and often less expensive to maintain than other flooring types. Installation is also easier, as most floors can float over a variety of subfloors, including concrete and floors below-grade level. Many laminates can even be installed over radiant heating systems – typically not an option with solid hardwood. And installations are literally a snap, as most flooring includes the latest in click-and-lock technology. What to Look for in a Quality Laminate Laminate Flooring for Every RoomMost laminates are comprised of four layers: a bottom backing layer for stability; a core layer made of high-density fiberboard and often a melamine resin for durability and water resistance; a thin paper image layer on which a digitally enhanced image is printed or embossed; and a top wear layer for added protection. Layers are then combined under incredibly high pressure and heat to produce a resilient sheet, which is then milled into planks or tiles. Of course, as with any type of flooring, there are different levels of quality.  So how can you tell the high-quality laminates from the lower ones? Here are a few things to look for. Thickness Laminate planks typically range from 7 millimeters to 12 millimeters in thicknesses. While thickness doesn’t always determine dent resistance, a thicker laminate will help prevent bends in the floor that can occur if the subfloor is not completely level. Thicker laminate products are also typically less noisy. Abrasion Class (AC) Ratings To assess laminate’s durability, the flooring industry uses the Abrasion Class rating system (also known as AC rating) as its standard. After extensive durability testing, laminates are assigned an AC rating between 1 and 5, with 5 being the most durable. Here’s a quick overview of each rating category:

  • AC 1: Suitable for home use with minimal foot traffic (guest rooms, for example)
  • AC 2: Suitable for home use with medium foot traffic (such as formal dining rooms or living rooms)
  • AC 3: Suitable for home use with all levels of foot traffic (includes high-use areas such as entry halls, kitchens, and busy family rooms)
  • AC 4: Suitable for home use in all traffic areas and for standard commercial use (such as an office building)
  • AC 5: Suitable for heavy commercial traffic (busy retail stores, for example)
Laminate floors that fail any of the durability tests are not certified and are labeled "Unrated." Generally, this flooring is not recommended for long-term use. Embossed in Register and Liquid Laminate The Versatility of Laminate FlooringTo produce laminate’s amazing realism, many manufacturers use an embossed in register (EIR) technique in which digitally enhanced images of natural materials are embossed onto a paper image layer that is pushed toward the tile surface, producing a raised image that adds more depth and texture to the surface. This embossing process is also used to mimic distressing techniques such as wire-brushing and hand-scraping. A new technique that is further enhancing the overall look of laminate is liquid laminate technology. This process, which originated in Europe, uses liquid melamine to adhere the wear layer directly to the backing layer, eliminating the need for the top paper. Without the paper, the surface is much more transparent, which adds to the floor’s overall realism. Learn More Have more questions about laminate?  Ask one of our Barry Carpet flooring experts. Or, if you want to see just how well laminate can capture the look of woods and natural stone, stop in our Barry Carpet showroom in West Los Angeles.

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Why Shop a Specialty Flooring Store?

By Jill

Posted on Monday, October 20, 2014 6:53 PM


Why Purchase Flooring from a Specialty Store?

While national flooring retailers and big-box stores often attract customers with the promise of a great price, there’s far more involved in making the right flooring purchase than price alone. Some customers come into our Los Angeles flooring showroom after having first gone to one of those locations, where they were left feeling frustrated about their shopping experience. Oftentimes, the sales clerks lack the knowledge to give customers the correct answers to their flooring questions. Or, the customers encountered a high-pressure sales associate who only focused on the final price of a product without really explaining the total costs. Or, maybe there was no sales associate available at all, and the customer was left feeling confused in a sea of flooring samples.

Personal Attention from Flooring Experts

Specialty Flooring Store Los Angeles, CA There’s something to be said for the personalized service you receive at a local specialty flooring store. In fact, superb customer service is usually a small flooring retailer’s biggest asset. You like to shop where you feel comfortable and where you know you will get trusted answers to your questions. New flooring is definitely an important investment in your home and one that is pretty permanent. So you want to get it right. Choosing a specialty flooring retailer is gives you access to the knowledge from sales professionals who are truly experts in flooring, because all they focus on is flooring. They are aware of the latest flooring styles and technologies and how different flooring types will perform in different situations. For example, there may be reasons why a floating floor is the best choice for your room, but there also are important considerations to keep in mind when choosing this type of installation. A good specialty flooring retailer will clearly explain all this. As a specialty flooring retailer, Barry Carpet has been serving the flooring needs of the Los Angeles area since 1965. In those 50 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about the products we sell. We understand each flooring type’s unique advantages, as well its limitations. We know the quality of our products, and we can explain what is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty – and what is not. When we quote a price, we give you a true breakdown of all the costs involved in a flooring installation – comparing apples to apples so you can make the most informed decision that meets your flooring needs – and budget.

Large Selection

Specialty Flooring Store Los Angeles, CASpecialty stores typically carry a large selection of products, often from top name brands. So while you may find an image of flooring you like on Pinterest, Houzz or in a magazine, a specialty store is where you can go to actually see and feel the product for yourself, get more detailed information about how that product performs and usually get samples for you to take home to see how the flooring works with your décor. Furthermore, many specialty flooring stores, like Barry Carpet, offer design assistance and free in-home consultations to help with your selection and ensure measurements are accurate – before you place your flooring order.

Professional Installations

Many specialty flooring stores have longstanding relationships with local contractors who are experts in flooring installations in your area. This means that they will confidently stand behind your flooring installation, often with a guarantee of 100% customer satisfaction. A specialty flooring store is also more likely to take the time to explain the proper maintenance of your new flooring and will be available in the event you have questions – long after your installation is complete.

Come See for Yourself

Specialty Flooring Store Los Angeles, CAWe invite you to visit our Barry Carpet showroom in West Los Angeles to find out for yourself the many advantages of shopping a specialty flooring store.

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Some Things To Consider Before Making Your Next Flooring Purchase

By Jill

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014 1:17 PM


New flooring checklist. Los Angeles Carpet & Flooring Store. There’s no doubt that new flooring is made to be beautiful. Whether you choose the authentic character and rich grains of hardwood, the luxurious warmth and comfort of carpet, or the sophisticated realism of luxury vinyl tile – the right flooring can completely transform a room. While flooring manufacturers continue to develop products that are more durable than ever before, the fact remains – not all flooring material is suited for use in all situations. For example, while certainly beautiful and durable, a solid hardwood may not be the best flooring choice for some situations as solid woods tends to swell when exposed to high humidity and moisture. For rooms prone to these conditions, a quality engineered wood floor would be the better choice. How to choose a floorCustomers often come into our showroom looking for a specific flooring type based solely on a decorating style they are trying to achieve. But when we find out more about the room they are planning on covering, we sometimes realize that the flooring they have in mind may not be the best choice. So as a flooring consumer, how can you ensure that the flooring choice you make will not only complement your design aesthetic but also measure up to your expectations? It all starts with asking the right questions – even before you step into the showroom. To help you get started, we’ve put together the following informal checklist of some important things to consider when shopping for new flooring.

New Flooring Checklist

Location
  • What room(s) is the flooring for?
  • What is the size of the room (width, length, and shape)? (Draw a simple diagram of the room layout.)
  • Is the existing floor above grade (suspended), on grade, or below grade?
  • Is this a remodel project? If so, what is the existing flooring?
  • What is your décor – contemporary, traditional, ultramodern, rustic, etc.?
  • Are there a lot of other colors or patterns in the room?
  • What is underneath the existing flooring (concrete, plywood, oriented strand board [OSB])?
  • If looking at hardwood or tile… Is the sub-floor level?
  • Is there the potential for moisture, mold, or mildew in this room?
  • Does the room get direct sunlight?
  • What flooring is in the adjoining rooms?
  • Are there outside entrances to the room?
Function
  • What is the function of the room? Choosing a floor.What do you use the room for?
  • Do you have pets? If so, will pets be allowed in this room?
  • Does anyone using this room have allergy concerns?
Questions to Ask Prior to Installation
  • What is the cost of installation? What does this cost include?
  • If the old flooring needs to be removed, will installers remove old flooring? If so, what is the cost?
  • Who will dispose of the old flooring? If installers, will there be an extra charge?
  • Do you need furniture moved? If so, will there be an additional charge?

Have questions about your next flooring purchase? Stop in our Barry Carpet showroom in West Los Angeles. Or give us a call or send an e-mail. We’d be glad to answer your questions and help you pick the flooring that best marries function and style.

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To find the hardwood flooring that best meets your needs, contact us. We’d be happy to answer all of your hardwood flooring questions and show you the latest trend in hardwood flooring.