Laminate flooring: A buyer's guide

Laminate flooring offers a wealth of aesthetics and boasts innovative features that can help your style and design endure for years to come. Whether you are going for the look of stone, ceramic, or wood, laminate can provide a fresh finish without breaking the bank.

This cost-effective flooring offers useful aspects to its design, such as water-repellent and waterproof capabilities, as well as resistant capabilities to scratches, dents, and stains. This makes laminate an appealing option for homes with kids and pets.

Laminate flooring is made of high-density fiberboard with a moisture resistant layer and topped with a high-resolution photographic image made to imitate popular styles, such as slate, stone, wood, and tile. The durability that protects its surface from scratches and stains comes from the protective coating on the top layer.

When it comes to laminate, underlayment is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It absorbs sound as well as any minor imperfections in the subfloor. Underlayment choices include:

Padding only: This provides a cushion under the boards.
Padding and moisture barrier: Along with a cushion, this offers defense from bouts with moisture.

Regardless of the type, you still will want to add a separate moisture barrier before installing it in areas where moisture or hydrostatic pressure could penetrate the subfloor (e.g., basements or levels with a crawl space under them).

Customizable features in laminate

Laminate also comes with many choices that will give your space new life. There are a variety of surface and locking types with styles and AC ratings to choose from, including:

Looking into lock types

Glueless/Click: Most of today’s laminate flooring falls under in the category of a floating floor that sits on the subfloor, held in place by the boards themselves. This option is not recommended for rooms like bathrooms, which garner a lot of moisture.
Glued Laminate: With this type, the joins must be glued together. While this makes for a very strong floor once in place, installation time and costs typically are higher than with a glueless/click.
Pre-Glued: The joins in this lock type already have glue applied to them, but it may need to be moistened, in order to activate its adhesive properties before joining the boards together.

Singling out surface types

Smooth: This type features a plain finish, often associated with hardwood, in high, medium, and low gloss finishes.
Embossed or Textured: This type comes with a textured finish, so it can fool the eye into seeing a surface grain, and adds greater slip resistance.
Distressed/Hand Scraped: This type is created through a process that adds an older look to, giving the floor a more authentic wood appearance.
Embossed in Registration: This type is created through a process that matches the grain of the wood for an authentic embossed look.

Style for miles

Wood: This style easily is the most common style of laminate flooring, highlighting the same varnishes and finishes which exist in hardwood.
Tile: Offering the appearance of tile, this style boasts the advantages of laminate.
Stone: Without the expense or maintenance associated with stone flooring, but provides its natural look.

Laminate Basement Bathroom Bedroom Dining Entertainment Entry/Hallway Kids Room Kitchen Laundry Living Room Media Room Office


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