A laminate flooring is one that is made to look like another material, usually hardwood, but which is much easier to care for and which may be much more durable overall. A laminate wood floor is also often lighter than a real wood floor, so you don't need to brace up the subfloor when the laminate is installed. It may also come in long sections rather than individual slats, so it's easier to install overall. If you decide on a laminate wood floor, note a few tips for its overall care and maintenance so you can help it last and always look its best.
Sweeping and vacuuming
A laminate material may be very durable, but this doesn't mean it's indestructible. It's good to always use a soft broom or dust mop when cleaning it. If you must vacuum the laminate floor for any reason, you want to remove the bristles or the beater bar of the vacuum, or at least ensure the beater bar is disengaged. The hard bristles of the beater bar in your vacuum cleaner can leave scratches and scuffs on the floor very easily. The same is true of a broom with stiff bristles; avoid these and always use something soft when cleaning your laminate floor so you don't scratch or mar the surface.
You can use nail polish remover to get up most stains like markers, paint, and oil. This remover typically is not strong enough to damage the finish of your laminate flooring. If you spill candle wax or food on the floor, use a cube of ice over the stain to freeze it and then carefully scrape it up with something soft but firm, like an old credit card or a plastic spatula from the kitchen. Avoid using metal scrapers with sharp edges as this will scrape the laminate itself.
Most laminate flooring is not meant to be cleaned with plain water, as this can leave water marks and stains behind. If a dust mop doesn't get up a stain, use a cleanser specifically meant for laminate flooring and a soft rag. If a section of flooring is ruined by a stain or other such damage, you may need to have it replaced altogether as wood fillers and painting over the area won't be effective. Note the manufacturer's instructions for this type of maintenance and be sure you follow them completely so you know you're cleaning the floor properly and not making damage worse.