Wooden Floor Laminates: 101 With Lucas Benoit

The real estate industry is getting more and more refined, and with a revolutionizing boom where creative concepts are being blended with an appreciation for quality. Flooring has gotten its own little limelight.

Wooden floors have stood the test of time in flooring options until ceramic tiles, terrazzo and other options became the common occurrence in every home. But what if you still want wooden floors with pocket friendly prices and less hassles? Wooden floor laminates are your best bet.

If you’ve been to the Tribe Hotel, Village Market, Karen Country Club among other places then you’ve probably seen great wooden floor laminates done by Lucas Benoit

I caught up with Lucas Benoit, Director DecoMagna Kenya and this is what he had to say.

F&B: Tell us a little bit about you

Lucas Benoit, Director Decomagna Kenya
Lucas was born in Belgium but lived in France till I was about 6 then moved to Kenya with my parents and sister. Studied in Hillcrest and graduated. Did some works across the globe including Sous-Chef, borehole drilling, management at my parents firm, Stand up shout out organization.
Last year we had the opportunity to represent Quick-Step in Kenya and E.A. Knowing the product we gladly took up the project.

F&B: Please explain to us what exactly is wooden floor laminates?

Wooden floor laminates are floor solutions that incorporate wood but are not completely wood. it is composite wood pressed together at high temperatures.

Laminates. Depending on the experience you’ve had with laminates, you’ll either love them or hate them. There’s a big misconception that laminates don’t last and are problems waiting to happen, but that mostly depends on how much time and ultimately money you’re willing to spend on your floors.

Top quality HDF (high density boards) core laminates are virtually unscratched, inseparable and are so easy to maintain.

F&B: What wooden floor laminate solutions does Quick step offer?

Lucas: We offer various laminate solutions i.e MDFs ( medium density boards) and HDFs ( high density boards).

One of our products; Uniclic locking system which basically allows one to lay planks without using glue or nails because the tiles click together. As easy as that!

Our wooden floor laminates are from Belgium and are of high quality. We provide a different array of options and prefer to do the installation for you. The reason is we give you a warranty whether 15 years, 20 years or a lifetime warranty and if we don’t do the installation then its null and void really but most people don’t tell you that.

Our products are also water resistant and fade resistant too.

F&B: Advice for people who want to install laminates but don’t know where to start or what to look for?

Lucas: 1)Expensive isn’t the best option Don’t always get tempted into buying the most expensive product. In the case of laminates, we notice a pattern where sellers try convince the customer into buying a commercial or industrial grade floor for a ridiculous price as the seller uses the customer’s fears. Laminates have gotten a bad reputation due to the flooding of low grade products on the market. In fact I would always say it’s better to buy a entry level premium quality product rather that going for the most expensive floor from an unknown source. To verify the reputation and awareness of a product its always good to get a feel for the online response and how much of it there is. The gap between a premium laminate manufactured by a reputable company with years of experience and the second grade alternatives, a majority of which made in China is unfathomable. Sadly it’s those cheaper products that flooded the market before the arrival of the world renown companies and as a result people has lost confidence in the product altogether.

In contrast to this, the European market has flatly rejected these poor quality laminates right from the start and only used the well trusted companies and the market has been booming. There is an absolute trust in laminates and in some cases there are reports of intact floors even after 50 years.

2) Water resistance. Water-resistance is one of the major features to look for when buying your floors and most quality laminates come equipped with a splash-resistance. This means that it’s easy to wash with a mop for example but precaution is still to be taken as too much water for too long will have an effect. Again, top quality HDF (high density board) laminates are generally way more resistant. To demonstrate this to our customers, we sometimes do a demo by putting two samples (one premium quality the other low) in a basin of warm water and note the difference.

There are however new generation laminates that have been designed for wet areas such as bathrooms or kitchen. Quick-Step for example has launched it’s new gen IMPRESSIVE collection that boasts a 10 year wet area warranty. But even in this case, installation is oh so important.
For those who are looking at an extremely high level of water exposure and an over ten year warranted lifespan, Vinyl’s are the option albeit more expensive.

 3)Installation. In my experience the installation is just as important as the product itself. A poor or misguided installation can be a nightmare situation. I recommend the buyer to do in depth research (including reading reviews and forums) to get an idea of the product for a third party.

Installation going on

F&B: What do you think has enabled you to get this far?

Lucas: 1) Trusting my team: I have a team of 4 full time employees. I trust them absolutely. When they say something i know it is worth listening because i got them and I trained in Belgium on all the work we do.

Team at Work

2) WORK HARD! If you find something you enjoy and love to do, you will do it all the time, you should dedicate yourself to it. Don’t do halfsies. Put back your returns to your business and work hard. It will pay off.

F&B: Most people think that buying the right product is all that matters but we both know installation is important. Tell us about how you go about that.

Installation of a laminate is easy in essence but hard to master. There is some knowledge in the requirements in order to have a professional job. For example, the sub-floor or screed on which you will install the laminated has to be level. This is important as I’m sure you don’t want to have you floor wobble under every footstep you take, and that’s why we always do a site survey prior to sending the proforma so that we can give you the guarantee promised on the product.
What sellers don’t tell you about the guarantees is that they only apply under a set of circumstances. As accredited installers we are aware of all the parameters and give you an official stamped warranty for your new floor.
The hallmark of a bad laminate is separation at the joints witch is caused by a poor interlocking mechanism. This leads to damages as water dirt is allowed in the cavity which accumulates over time, further damaging the floor. Also the edges of a separate laminate will easily brush against shoes which over time will cause chipping.
High quality laminates generally guarantee these joint locking.

You cannot install a laminate without an underlay. Underlay’s are generally composed of a polymer based material that rolls out onto the floor before placing the laminate on top. As much as they seem like the unnecessary third wheel, they are in fact the difference between a good installation or a bad one. Underlays come in a variety of materials and can be foamy, rubbery, plasticky and all sorts of breeds in between. Each materials has it’s set of pro’s and con’s and they all specialize; soundproofing, waterproofing, leveling or heat management or variants that combine several uses.

We only supply official Quick-Step underlays as we are aware of this important contributing factor.
final result
Final Look of a wooden floor laminate

F&B: Parting Shot?

Give laminates a chance they just might surprise you. Also, don’t be fooled by people who say it’s expensive. Seek out the information then decide for yourself.

F&B: There you have it loves. Everything you can as about wooden floor laminates.

Hope you all learned something worthwhile about wooden floor laminates and can use it when you decide to build your home or even remodel your floors.

Catch Lucas on http://www.decomagna.com

or on email decomagnadev@gmail.com

Love & Light,

Frankie & Bren

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