Laminate Buying Guide
Is Laminate Flooring Right for You?
Let’s first figure out whether laminate flooring should be your choice of flooring.
Do you need flooring that is low maintenance?
If you cannot dedicate regular deep cleaning or upkeep/maintenance hours (for instance, if you’re a parent to a bunch of young‘uns and have to manage tedious domestic chores alongside a busy professional schedule), what you need is an easy to clean floor that requires a basic sweep and mop twice a week — making laminate flooring the perfect choice for you.
Do you want a great hardwood finish that transforms the look of any room?
If you love the rich look a wooden floor brings to your home and want the gorgeous hardwood grains to enhance your space, then go for laminates. You get to have that teakwood finish without the tedious fuss involved in maintaining an actual hardwood floor.
How much foot traffic does your room receive? Do you require a flooring that doesn’t scratch easily?
Do you have a busy household with kids and pets? Are you considering flooring for commercial offices or community spaces where you have a lot of people gathering, where you are also likely to be moving furniture across the floor every once in a while? Then, consider laminate flooring because these floors can withstand scratches from high-heels, furniture bushes or wheels, while still giving your space a very premium feel.
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you can be confident laminate flooring is right for you! Let’s look at some more considerations that will help you narrow down your selection on the laminate flooring that is just right for you.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring (or floating wood tile) is essentially made up of four layers of material, which are fused together.
Let’s see what these layers are.
- Wear layer: shields the floor from spots and fading
- Design layer: has the image of wood, stone or other natural visual
- Inner core layer: has plastic resin for structural strength. This keeps the laminate stable and flat
- Backing layer: protects the floor from warping by creating a moisture barrier
The base material is a melamine or aluminium oxide or fiberboard composite product. It is often a medium-density fiberboard (MDF). A supporting layer is then added to avoid seepage due to dampness, which can damage the planks. It is this graded assembly that makes laminate floors so amazingly resistant to wear and tear.
Where To Use Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is a great choice for areas that receive tend to receive higher traffic, such as living rooms or foyers. The detail and style make it a visually appealing flooring option for all spaces.
Laminate can be used in kitchens and bathrooms, and even basements. However, excessive moisture can make it swell.
You can even get creative and have laminate floor planks on your side walls too!
Average Costs for Laminate Flooring
Pricing for laminate flooring can range from $1.50 per square foot for entry level options, up to $5 per square foot for higher end materials.
Popular Laminate Flooring Brands
This brand has been producing flooring for well over a century and provides a wide variety of laminates – over 130 types. Armstrong has the widest range of thicker 12mm laminate flooring products in the market today.
Started in 1915, Mannington is one of the older laminate flooring companies. Their laminates are made in the United States and carry multiple certifications. At Nebraska Furniture Mart, you will find stunning finishes and diverse collections.
From high-gloss and distressed trendy options to neutral, classic finishes, Mohawk has several lines of laminate flooring. Most laminates from Mohawk come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Quick-Step is a Belgium company, which solely focuses on the manufacturing of laminate flooring. It is popular due its affordability and for bringing in the “click to lock” easy installation for laminate flooring.
Shaw Industries is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. It offers more than 200 colors and styles of laminate flooring.
Decisions You'll Need to Make When Choosing Laminate
How Thick Should Laminate Flooring Be?
Laminate flooring is typically available between 7-millimeter to 12-millimeter thickness. Most laminates provide a decent level of resistance to dents. Thicker laminate is better able to resist bending caused by uneven areas in your subfloor and also helps in keeping down the noise.
Do You Want a Wood or Stone Finish?
Be choosy! With so many laminates in wood finish available, you can buy the exact color, design, and style you want. You can choose from a vast array of laminate wood finishes, such as cherry, hickory, oak, maple, chestnut, pine, and walnut.
This type of laminate floor offers the beautiful look and warmth of hardwood, but is also easy to maintain and super durable.
Tile and Stone Look
Tile and stone-look laminate floors resemble the stylish look of tile or stone but are easier to maintain and more affordable.
You can browse NFM's wide selection of laminate flooring online at our stores.
Adding Laminate Trims
Trims are multi-functional pieces typically used as a completion to the space where a laminate floor ends. They serve as transition pieces from a laminate floor to carpet or used in spaces where the floor and wall meet.
This is a necessary accessory to consider buying. Do check in with our store experts to help you choose a set of trims appropriate for your home.
Laminate is also known as “floating” wood tile. This means that it can be installed over existing wood, tile, or vinyl flooring.
Because it is a floating floor, laminate needs to be evenly laid across the flooring under it. This is called “underlayment”, which gives it support, stability, noise reduction, and sturdiness.
Installing laminate flooring is a relatively simple process. In fact, many people consider the easy installation feature of laminate while making their flooring choice. Most laminate floors have designs that can be easily locked into place like two pieces of a puzzle. Others may require a bit of adhesive to be secured into place.
Maintaining Laminate Floors
Although laminate flooring is low-maintenance and requires less upkeep than other floor types, it is important to remember that any flooring material you choose will have to be cared for over time.
Unlike other floors that are high-maintenance and might require you to purchase some additional and specific cleaning materials, laminate flooring’s protective layer keeps most of the dirt and debris off of its surface. This makes it easy to clean using any of the cleaning materials and accessories found at home.
To keep laminate floors clean, you will typically need to do a basic sweep, vacuum, or dry mop. If you want to deep clean these floors, then use a very mild soap and water solution to gently scrub or mop specific areas. Ensure that you don’t leave any water puddles on the surface of the floor for prolonged periods of time, as this can cause long-term damage.