Laminate flooring can be a great option for households with children and/or pets that are looking for a low maintenance, highly durable flooring option. There are many laminate floors on the market today, ranging from very low cost, to some topping the price of hardwood. In this article, I will breakdown what causes such a wide range of price and how to decide what is best for you and your budget.
Let’s discuss exactly what laminate flooring is. Laminate flooring refers to a high density fiber board with a photograph of either wood or stone laminated on the top layer. Laminate flooring is a very durable product built to stand up against burns, scratches, dents, scrapes, and spills. Most laminates today are “free floating” with a “snap” or “click” together locking system, eliminating the need for glue. Wearability of laminate is measured by its “AC Rating” (abrasion resistance), which ranges from AC1 – AC5; the higher numerical rating equals higher wearability. Floors with higher AC ratings will typically carry a higher price tag. Construction can also be linked to product cost; some laminates are HPL (high pressure laminate) and some are DPL (direct pressure laminate). DPL laminates make up the majority of the market and in most residential situations, DPL is more than sufficient. DPL laminate is more economical than HPL. Embossing (texture) will often affect the price of most laminates on the market today. If you are looking for a wide-planked, hand-scraped, beveled laminate you are likely to pay more than if you went with a square edge product with little texture. If you are looking for a basic, domestic, wood look choose a laminate with low to moderate texture to keep your project costs down. Warranties are also something to be aware of; products with unrealistic warranties usually use higher prices to compensate a higher insurance cost on their end. Having some product knowledge and knowing what you are looking for is always more beneficial than comparing warranties.
All in all, laminate is a great choice for anyone looking to get that wood or stone look without going with the real thing. Fast and easy installation makes laminate a top choice for DIY projects. Knowing what to look for and what you are paying for can save you a tremendous amount of money. Do your research and make an educated decision, so you can enjoy the benefits of your brand new floor without breaking the bank.