- Ideas & How-Tos
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Laminate flooring looks great and stands up to scratches and dents. Available in a number of different styles including oak, hickory, bamboo and mahogany, it looks like real hardwood without the cost, and it's available in a number of different styles including oak, hickory, bamboo and mahogany.
Consider these key features to help you choose the right laminate for your home.
Laminate flooring is typically available in 7-millimeter, 8-millimeter, 10-millimeter and 12-millimeter thicknesses. Some retailers will market the thickness of the product including the core and attached pad. When you compare laminate, take this into account. All laminates provide a similar level of dent resistance; however, thicker laminate is better suited to prevent bend caused by unlevel spots in your subfloor. Thicker laminate can also help reduce sound.
Warranties range from 10 years to lifetime. Though these warranties are typically residential, some laminate flooring offers a commercial warranty.
This rating is a 1 to 5 representation of laminate’s resistance to wear. The higher the AC rating, the higher the durability:
Some products already have an acoustical pad attached to make installation easier. See Underlayment below for more information.
Laminate flooring is available in many types of textures to simulate the look of real hardwood flooring.
Use this chart to help you compare by brand.
|Attached Pad||Locking System|
8 mm and
|Armstrong||12 mm||Lifetime Residential
|allen+roth||10 mm||Lifetime Residential
|AC4||2 mm||Swiftlock Technology™|
|Style Selections||8 mm||30-Year||AC3||None||Swiftlock Technology™|
|Project Source||7 mm||15-20 Year||AC3||None||Locking|
Underlayment is typically available in 100-square-feetrolls and can provide moisture protection, improve sound suppression and eliminate minor subfloor imperfections. Underlayment with a moisture barrier is required when installing laminate over concrete subfloors at or below ground level, as moisture passing through the subfloor can cause your floor to expand, creating issues like cupping, gapping and squeaking. Follow the flooring manufacturer’s instructions for moisture protection.
Underlayment can provide sound suppression through acoustical padding measure by IIC (Impact Insulation Class) and STC (Sound Transmission Class) ratings: The higher the rating, the better the sound absorption. These ratings are measured with or without a sound-absorbing acoustical ceiling (skewing the scores higher), so compare apples to apples. Underlayment can also eliminate minor subfloor imperfections. Imperfections outside the laminate flooring manufacturer’s tolerances for levelness need to be addressed appropriately.
Some laminate floors have acoustical pads already attached to the product. Although the attached pad can make installation easier, these pads aren't moisture barriers.
Be sure to get the matching and coordinating moulding you need to complete your job, including quarter rounds, T-mouldings, thresholds, reducers and wallbase.
Laminate is designed to be affordable and durable. Laminate starts with a wear layer filled with aluminum oxide to help resist scratches from daily wear. The wear layer also makes laminate flooring easy to clean, fade-resistant and stain-resistant. The décor layer is a printed image that recreates the natural looks of any wood, tile or stone. The core layer gives laminate its structure and dent-resistant properties. Laminate flooring is much more resistant to dents than real hardwood flooring. The final backer layer provides additional support and stability.
All laminate floors lock together for easy installation making it a great DIY project. However, if you don’t want to install yourself, please see an associate about our professional installation services. Here are a few videos to help you install laminate and prep your subfloor:
Here are some quick tips for installation:
Make sure you leave the manufacturer recommend expansion gap around the entire perimeter of the floor and all vertical surfaces. This is extremely important to prevent issues related to expansion, such as cupping, gapping and squeaking. Make sure you completely read and follow the installation instructions and recommendations by the manufacturer
Help protect your laminate flooring investment by following the below care and maintenance tips: