If you want the look of hardwood floors, tile or stone without the hassle of a complicated installation, laminate flooring may be your solution.
Laminate flooring is durable, easy to install and creates the look of natural wood, stone, tile and more.
It comes in a wide range of styles to suit any décor, ensuring a perfect fit for any room in your home. Plus, it’s made from sturdy, lasting materials and offers easy care and maintenance, making it perfect for high-traffic areas.
With such a large variety of options, keep these questions in mind before you buy:
• What type and style of flooring are you looking for?
• How important is budget in your final decision?
• Will you install the floor yourself or hire a professional?
• Do you need flooring that is easy to clean and care for?
Types, Uses and Construction
Laminate floors are designed for fast, easy installation. They utilize a simple floating method that is not fastened to the surface below but is instead held in place by molding and room transition pieces installed around the perimeter of the room.
Interlocking pieces join together to create a large covering over a thin layer of foam called underlayment.
Laminate floors can be directly fixed over most existing surfaces, including wood, vinyl, tile and more.
It easily compensates for changes in humidity, moisture and other factors that can cause a floor to expand and contract. And you can walk on laminate flooring immediately after installation.
Many flooring configurations utilize a glueless method that makes installation faster and simpler.
• Laminate floors require a thin underlayment to help it float above the sub floor.
• Some laminates have an attached underlayment for easy installation and noise reduction.
• The thickness of laminate flooring varies. Thicker flooring is indicative not only of quality
construction but also of durability.
Laminate floors can be used in places traditional hardwoods cannot. They are durable, long-lasting, and offer an attractive alternative to wood floors and carpeting.
Many laminates look close to real wood, marble and stone, and have realistic textures that mimic the feel as well.
Laminates made to look like tile can be installed without the worry of cracking, cleaning grout and other complications that come with traditional tiling methods. And just like tile or stone, you can piece them together to create decorative patterns.
• Choose from a variety of wood appearances, including pine, maple, cherry, oak and more.
• Many premium laminates are embossed for realistic wood, stone and tile textures.
• Laminates are stain- and fade-resistant for a long-lasting look that retains its luster.
• Laminate floors can be removed easily to replace a plank or change styles.
• Easy cleaning and care make laminate floors an ideal choice for high-traffic areas.
Laminate flooring consists of four key layers that help create a tough surface designed to withstand the rigors of daily use.
Some are made of noise-dampening materials that can be installed for added comfort.
The layers are similar to the durable plastic counters found in many modern kitchens and provide the same lasting beauty and reliable performance.
The following chart highlights the four layers along with their purpose and benefits.
|Back Layer||Provides additional support and stability||• Often includes moisture-
|Core Layer||Made of high-density fiberboard often infused with resins for added strength||• Adds stability
• Resists impact
• Long lasting
|Decorative Layer||Printed image that can create the look of natural wood, stone, tile and more||• Wide range of styles and
• Mimics wood, marble, tile
and other decorative
• Affordable choice for
decorating on a budget
|Wear Layer||Tough, clear surface layer designed to absorb daily impact
||• Easy to clean
• Difficult to scratch or
Wood Veneer: Some laminates create the beautiful effects of a hardwood floor by including a layer of wood veneer over the surface of the planks for added elegance and beauty.
Molding: Laminate planks and tiles are held firmly in place by special molding positioned around the edges of the room. Different molding styles create different effects. They also allow you to install laminate in areas such as stairwells or next to carpeting.
Room Transition Pieces: Installing laminate in areas of a room where it meets other rooms or different types of flooring will require you to place a proper room transition piece. The type of floor it is installed next to and the height of the floor will determine what type of transition can be used. The Home Depot carries all types of transition pieces suitable for matching color and function for these areas.
Protecting Your Floors: Use doormats at exterior doorways to reduce wear on the surface of the floor. Floor protectors such as casters on furniture legs can help prevent scratching.
Warranties: Laminate flooring manufacturers offer attractive warranties, some as long as 50 years. If you have children, pets or you plan to stay in your home for many years, warranties ensure you get maximum use out of your flooring.