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Shopping For Laminate Flooring: Factors You Should Consider

Today’s post is from Anthony Garrison.  Since 1985, Anthony has been a professional laminate and hardwood flooring installer. He’s currently proprietor of laminate-flooring-installed.com, a site designed to website to help those that are interested in purchasing laminate flooring, advising them as to which laminate are good and which ones are not …


There are a lot of factors to consider when you decide to purchase new laminate floors in your home. It can be confusing sometimes, as I have seen when working with some of my clients. There are a lot of choices on the market today compared to the past.

Now you can select from a shiny piano finish to rustic hand scraped look.You can get the square edge that fits flush on the edges or a beveled or V-groove edge. The plank sizes can vary from a few inches wide to 12 inches and wider. You can also find some brands that have different lengths that can be mixed together,which gives the appearance of real hardwood flooring.  The thickness is also a factor, the thickness of laminate is measured in mm. Laminate flooring is manufactured anywhere from 6mm up to 14mm thick. Some have the padding attached to the bottom while others do not.

When choosing your flooring you may be open to a wide range of colors or you may be stuck on a certain look. The color is usually the main factor for consumers. Its hard for me to advise my clients on which color to choose. I am more likely to advise on locking systems, edge types, thickness, finishes and cost comparison.

Locking Systems
Some locking systems ( the edge that locks the planks together ) are not designed very well. Most consumers are not aware of this. Problems can arise from a poorly designed locking system, such as joints separating for no apparent reason or the edges being different heights when joined together ( I have seen this more times then I can remember).

Peruvian Rosewood laminate flooring with a beveled edge

Edge types
The edges on laminate flooring affects the overall look of your finished floor. The square edge will result in a smooth finish. Some problems associated with the square edge are uneven joints. This is usually caused by a low quality brand or a poorly designed locking system. Or in some cases improper installation.

Beveled edges come in many variations. There are very distinct V-groove bevels, or a bevel with a lower profile or just an eased edge. They all offer a different result for your finished flooring. I like to recommend the beveled edges on laminate flooring mainly because it can hide any imperfections at the joints and it gives the appearance of real hardwood flooring.

Laminate thickness
Many folks believe that the thicker the laminate the more costly it will be. This is not always the case. I say this based on my own experience. For instance, I had a client that bought an 8mm name brand laminate from one of the big box stores for 2.49 per sq/ft. Another client ordered a 12mm laminate online and only paid 2.36 per sq/ft including freight.

Most of the laminate I have installed is 8mm, this seems to be the most common size. I like to recommend a 10mm or a 12mm. The extra thickness gives a more solid feel when walked on. Most sub floors are not exactly flat, and in some cases would take a lot of time and money to make it so. The thicker product can help with this.

Frosted Oak 'Piano Finish' High Gloss Laminate Flooring

I have seen finishes on laminate flooring that range from a very dull appearance to a very high gloss.  The appearance is one thing but the durability is another and should be looked at. AC ratings are used to rate laminate flooring, AC-1 is the lowest AC-5 is the most durable finish. I recommend at least a AC-3. Its even better to be able to get a sample of the laminate your interested in and use a key or something to see how easy it will scratch. Some retailers will offer free samples to you.

Cost comparison
The best tip I can offer here is educate yourself by doing the research on all the choices out there.  Talk to people who have laminate flooring ask them how it’s holding up. Talk to installers of laminate flooring. Look for reviews on the Internet. Order samples.  Check your local retailers and then check the Internet for price differences.

I know it can be a lot of work sometimes trying to find information, but getting it done right the first time will save grief and money. And give you the beautiful floors you deserve for your money.


Thanks, Anthony!

For more from Anthony on the subject of choosing laminate flooring, be sure to check out laminate-flooring-installed.com.



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