Laminate Flooring Buying Guide
Laminate in an incredibly popular flooring choice for homeowners across North America. Offering durability and a wide range of style options at wallet friendly prices, laminate flooring will help you transform the look of your home or place of business. Still, deciding on the right laminate is a big decision—and one you don’t want to get wrong. Check out our laminate buying guide to better understand everything you need to know about this type of flooring
There are two types of laminates . One, known as DPL, or Direct Pressure Laminate, the other known as HPL, or High Pressure Laminate. With the HPL process, the backing and top wear layers are treated separately and then fused directly onto the core, creating a very strong floor suitable for very heavy traffic.
HPL laminates consist of the same four layers as in Direct Pressure Laminate, with the fifth layer being a special high-strength paper. HPL flooring is generally more expensive than DPL flooring but many residential applications won’t require this type of floor. To better understand which laminate is right for you
You’ll need more than just the planks of laminate to complete your floor. Underlayment, moldings, transition pieces, trim, even adhesives will need to be part of your installation. Make sure your vendor has all these pieces ready for your job.
You’ll need the right moldings and trim to finish your floor. Ask your flooring retailer if they have pieces that match the laminate you are purchasing. At BuildDirect, many of our laminate flooring options have coordinating moldings available. Paying attention to the smaller details will make your new floor look even better
Laminate Floor Buying Guide
Durable laminate flooring looks like real hardwood (without the cost), and is available in many different styles, including oak, walnut, hickory and maple. Laminate is also a great do-it-yourself floor project.
Laminate flooring is a synthetic product made of several layers that are sealed together in the lamination process. Designed to be affordable and durable, laminate flooring consists of four distinct components
The wear layer helps resist scratches from daily wear, creates an easy-to-clean surface and maintains a fade- and stain-resistant appearance
The décor layer is a printed image that recreates the natural look of 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
How to Determine Laminate Floor Quality
Laminate floors are designed to look, feel and even sound like real hardwood without the hardwood price tag, and many laminate products also last longer and wear better than the real thing. The wide range of laminate flooring materials on the market can seem overwhelming, especially if you have never installed a laminate floor. To select a new floor that will serve you and your family well for years to come, don’t be afraid to look closely and ask questions. The more you know about the material you choose, the more likely you are to get a good-quality product.
Ask the salesperson about the product’s grade. Laminate floors are graded for quality on a three-level scale: good, better and best. Products with higher grades are likely to be more expensive, so you might not be able to make your decision on this factor alone
Look at a sample of the floor installed in the store. Check the alignment of the boards and look for gaps or unevenness. Good-quality laminate floorboards should lock together seamlessly and create a flat surface
Examine the floor sample to see if you can spot the repeating pattern. Higher-quality laminate floors have patterns with enough variety that they look natural. If the floor looks machine-made, it is of lower quality
Ask the salesperson if the material is direct- or high-pressure. While both processes create functional flooring, high-pressure laminate is a newer technology and often of better quality.
Pro Tips and Tricks for Installing Laminate Flooring
Taper both sides of the room
When figuring out the size of your starter row, you also have to make sure the walls are parallel. You may find yourself installing laminate in a room that is 6-inches narrower at one end than at the other. That means you’ll have to rip a severely tapered last row and it’ll look ugly. Unless one side of the room will be forever covered with furniture, you’re better off splitting the difference and tapering both the first and the last rows so neither side will be so noticeable.
Which tape should you use?
All underlayment seams need to be taped. It’s tempting to use whatever tape you find in the pickup, but don’t do it. Some packing tapes and house wrap tapes are too rigid and may cause an annoying crinkling noise when they’re stepped on. Use whatever tape is recommended by the underlayment manufacturer, or buy an underlayment that has built-in seam tape.
Start with a smooth subfloor
Laminate floor systems do not function well on uneven surfaces. Before starting any flooring work, inspect the subfloor. Crawl around with a straightedge to find any areas that are more than 1/8-inch high or low. Subfloor seams are the usual suspects
How to cut laminate flooring
Cutting laminate with a miter saw is a noisy and dusty affair. And walking back and forth to your miter saw isn’t very efficient. Why not cut the planks with a laminate shear—quietly and cleanly—right where they’re going to be installed?
Where to start installation
Installing flooring around doorways is one of the thorniest issues you’ll deal with. Simplify it by starting on the wall that has the most doorways. Of course, you’ll still have to undercut jambs and trim, but it’s a lot easier starting at a doorway than ending up at one.
How To Choose Laminate Flooring: A Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to flooring, there are several materials that will confront you, each with a promise of being a good choice. Among others, however, one of the options that can be taken into consideration would be laminate flooring. The latter is popular not only because of its aesthetic appeal, but also because of its durability, versatility, ease of maintenance, and affordability. However, these benefits can be enjoyed only if you choose the best option available on the market. With this, keep on reading and we will provide you with more insights on how to choose laminate flooring.
Types Of Laminate Flooring
The first thing that you have to do is to choose which type is preferred. Engineered wood is the perfect choice if you have the budget and if you prefer a natural appearance. It has a thin hardwood on the top, which might make it prone to dents and scratches. Through sanding and refinishing, however, its original appearance can be restored. This makes it longer-lasting compared to its counterpart. The second option is a plastic laminate. This is lower priced and the ideal choice in an area that often gets wet. They can withstand moisture, as well as high traffic areas.
Thickness Of Laminate Flooring
This is one thing that is often ignored by many people, in spite of its importance. It is better to choose a thicker laminate, which means that it is going to withstand wear and tear. It can also resist bending and can reduce noise. Take a look at the AC rating of the laminate flooring to decide which one is best for your needs. AC1 is ideal for bedrooms and other spaces where you expect minimal foot traffic. AC2, on the other hand, is for medium foot traffic. AC3, meanwhile, is for high-foot traffic portions, such as the kitchen. AC4 and AC5, on the other hand, are ideal for commercial areas
Aesthetics Of Laminate Flooring
The design and overall look of laminate flooring will also be an essential consideration. In this case, consider the colour that you want, which should complement the interior of the space where it will be installed. More so, you also have to take a look at the texture, which will greatly impact the way it looks. You can choose high-gloss if you prefer it to have a mirror finish. You can also consider hand-scraped, which is pressed and looks like true hand-scraped wood.
Where To Buy Laminate Flooring
At the end of the day, the most important thing that should be taken into account would be the reputation of the seller of laminate flooring. Make sure to read reviews and consult with what other people are saying. By choosing a reputable seller such as The Floor Shop, you can be confident about the quality of the product being offered, as well as installation. They should also have an extensive warranty coverage, which can provide you with peace of mind. You should look at multiple sellers and do your research thoroughly before coming to a final decision