Laminate Flooring

Laminate Flooring Guide

Laminate flooring (also called floating wood tile in the United States) is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials. There is a European Standard No. EN 13329:2000 specifying laminate floor covering requirements and testing methods.

Laminate flooring has grown significantly in popularity, perhaps because it may be easier to install and maintain than more traditional surfaces such as hardwood flooring. It may also have the advantages of costing less and requiring less skill to install than alternative flooring materials. It is reasonably durable, hygienic (several brands contain an antimicrobial resin), and relatively easy to maintain.

Installation
Laminate floors are reasonably easy for a DIY homeowner to install. Laminate flooring is packaged as a number of tongue-and-groove">tongue and groove planks, which can be clicked into one another. Sometimes a glue backing is provided for ease of installation. Installed laminate floors typically "float" over the sub-floor on top of a foam/film underlayment, which provides moisture- and sound-reducing properties. A small (1–10 millimetres (0.039–0.394 in)) gap is required between the flooring and any immovable object such as walls, this allows the flooring to expand without being obstructed. Baseboards (skirting boards) can be removed and then reinstalled after laying of the flooring is complete for a neater finish, or the baseboard can be left in place with the flooring butted into it, then small beading trims such as shoe moulding or the larger quarter-round moulding can be fitted to the bottoms of the baseboards. Saw cuts on the planks are usually required at edges and around cupboard and door entrances, but professional installers typically use door jamb undercut saws to cut out a space to a height that allows the flooring to go under the door jamb & casing for a cleaner look.

Improper installation can result in peaking, in which adjacent boards form a V shape projecting from the floor, or gaps, in which two adjacent boards are separated from each other.
Installation of laminate flooring - note underlay to allow for contraction, expansion, and moisture control and method for squaring and distancing from wall.
Fitting individual laminate planks.

Secure tongue-and-groove connections create floor that is both tight and flexible.

Care
It is important to keep laminate clean, as dust, dirt, and sand particles may scratch the surface over time in high-traffic areas. It is also important to keep laminate relatively dry, since sitting water/moisture can cause the planks to swell, warp, etc., though some brands are equipped with water-resistant coatings. Water spills aren't a problem if they're wiped up quickly, and not allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time.

Adhesive felt pads are often placed on the feet of furniture on laminate floors to prevent scratching.

Inferior glueless laminate floors may gradually become separated, creating visible gaps between planks. It is important to "tap" the planks back together using the appropriate tool as gaps are noticed in order to prevent dirt filling the gaps, thus making it more difficult to put into place.

Quality glueless laminate floors use joining mechanisms which hold the planks together under constant tension which prevent dirt entering the joints and do not need "tapping" back together periodically.

Advocacy
The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) is a trade association of laminate flooring manufacturers and laminate flooring manufacturer suppliers in the United States and Canada. It is a standards developing organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop voluntary consensus standards for laminate flooring materials, and it has established testing and performance criteria that are used in North America.

NALFA issues a certification mark named the NALFA Certification Seal which signifies that the product has passed 10 performance tests, has been proven to meet these standards by an independent, third-party testing lab, and has been manufactured in North America. The certification review includes:

  • Static Load – Measures the ability of laminate flooring to resist residual indentation resulting from a static load.
  • Thickness Swell – Measures the ability of laminate flooring to resist increase in thickness after being exposed to water.
  • Light Resistance – Measures the ability of laminate flooring to retain its color when exposed to a light source having a frequency range approximating sunlight through window glass. It is not intended to show the resistance to continuous exposure to outdoor weathering conditions.
  • Cleanability and Stain Resistance – Measures both the ease of cleanability and stain resistance of laminate flooring to common household substances.
  • Large Ball Resistance – Measures the ability of laminate flooring to resist fracture due to impact by a large diameter ball.
  • Small Ball Resistance – Measures the ability of laminate flooring to resist fracture due to impact by a small diameter ball.
  • Water Resistance – Measures the ability of the surface of laminate flooring to resist abrasive wear through the décor layer.
  • Dimension Tolerance – Measures the dimensional variance between tiles of laminate flooring in a manufactured free standing (unrestricted) shape in respect to thickness, length, width, straightness and squareness.
  • Castor Chair Resistance – Specifies a method for determining the change of appearance and stability of a laminate floor, including joints, under the movement of a castor chair.
  • Surface Bond – Measures the force required to delaminate or split away the surface of laminate flooring plank or tile.

Potential health effects and LEED status
Laminate flooring is often made of melamine resin, a compound made with formaldehyde. The formaldehyde is more tightly bound in MF than it is in Urea-Formaldehyde, reducing emissions and potential health effects. Thus LEED v2.2's EQ Credit 4.4 precludes the use of UF, but allows the use of MF.

Laminated flooring is commonly used in LEED residential and commercial applications.

History
Laminate flooring was invented in 1977 by the Swedish company Perstorp (company) (sv), and sold under the brand name Pergo. They had been making floor surfaces since 1923. The company first marketed its product to Europe in 1984, and later to the United States in 1994. Perstorp spun off its flooring division as the separate company named Pergo, now a subsidiary of Mohawk Industries. Pergo is the most widely known laminate flooring manufacturer, but the trademark PERGO is not synonymous for all laminate floors.

Glueless laminate flooring was invented in 1996 by the Swedish company Välinge Aluminium (now Välinge Innovation) and sold under the names of Alloc and Fiboloc. However, a system for holding flooring panels together was also developed in parallel by the Belgian company Unilin released in 1997 and sold under the name of Quick-Step flooring (nl).

The two companies have been in a great number of legal conflicts over the years, and today most, if not all glueless locking flooring is made under license from either Välinge, Unilin, or even a combination of both.

Benefits
There are many benefits to choosing a laminate floor over other types of flooring. Laminate flooring is quite versatile and durable. Due to laminate flooring being a printed strip of vinyl over a composite board many textures and styles of flooring can be replicated. Recently laminate floors have seen success in simulating stone and tile patterns as well as wood.

Cleaning laminate floors is easy and comparable to cleaning other hard surfaces such as hardwood floors. It is generally not recommended to mop laminate floors as this has been shown to cause damage by soaking into the composite portion which allows warping over time. Most manufacturers suggest using dry methods such as brooms to clean with occasional wet cleaning with more specialized mop-type products that do not leave excessive water on the flooring.

Installation is a large benefit of choosing laminate flooring. A generally handy person is well equipped to install laminate flooring as the locking and floating aspects of laminate floor are mostly self-explanatory. Also, due to the ease of installation, having professional flooring contractors install this type of floor is less expensive than other types of flooring such as tile or hardwood.

Laminate Flooring

Top 4 Types of Laminate Flooring


Laminate Flooring Planks

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Laminate Flooring Planks

Laminate plank flooring is a multi-layer product fused together. Laminate flooring planks simulate wood grain with a photographic layer under a clear protective finish. It is usually easier to install and maintain than traditional hardwood flooring.

See our collection laminate flooring planks brands like Shaw Laminate Flooring, Armstrong Laminate Flooring, Mannington Laminate Flooring, Tarkett Laminate Flooring, Pergo® Laminate Flooring, and more... Click below to see our whole selection of laminate flooring planks brands!

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Laminate Flooring Tile

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Laminate Flooring Tile

Laminate flooring tile looks like ceramic tile or stone, but without the expense and required maintenance. Laminate tile flooring has a photographic layer under a clear protective finish. It is easier to install and maintain than ceramic or stone.

See our collection laminate flooring tile brands like Shaw Laminate Flooring, Armstrong Laminate Flooring, Mannington Laminate Flooring, Pergo® Laminate Flooring, BerryAlloc Laminate Flooring, and more... Click below to see our whole selection of laminate flooring tile brands!

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Laminate Flooring Blocks

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Laminate Flooring Blocks

Most laminate flooring does adequately replicates the look of wood floors. Unlike real hardwood, laminate block flooring don’t have imperfections or dents, which contributes to less wasted materials.

See our collection laminate flooring blocks brands like Shaw Laminate Flooring, Armstrong Laminate Flooring, Mannington Laminate Flooring, Pergo® Laminate Flooring, BerryAlloc Laminate Flooring, and more... Click below to see our whole selection of laminate flooring blocks brands!

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PVC Waterproof Laminate

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PVC Waterproof Laminate

Waterproof PVC flooring is water-resistant flooring that effortlessly withstands extreme humidity. This flooring combines all the benefits of laminate and vinyl and is an ideal options for any room - even bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms.

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Featured Brands

The Best 10 Laminate Flooring Brands


Shaw Laminate Flooring
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Shaw Laminate Flooring

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Shaw Laminate Flooring is naturally durable, making cleaning a breeze. Here, we’re going to give you the crash course on how to care for your Laminate flooring and keep it looking great for years. Our laminate flooring is approved for use over radiant heating systems. Coordinating moldings give your Shaw Laminate flooring a finish with flair. We have plenty of accessories to complete your unique look. Learn More

Armstrong Laminate Flooring
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Armstrong Laminate Flooring

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Crystal clear visuals that look and feel like hardwood or stone, plus a surface that resists scratches, stains, dents and moisture. Laminate flooring makes it all possible on a practical budget. Choose from countless traditional, rustic or modern styles, perfect for any room in your home – even your walls! Learn More

Mannington Laminate Flooring
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Mannington Laminate Flooring

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Mannington laminate offers the most realistic wood and tile looks. Our laminate flooring is one of the most durable and environmentally friendly floors you can buy. And Mannington laminate offers all that...and more. Made from over 70% recycled content, using low-VOC inks and adhesives, Mannington laminate is FloorScore certified, ensuring good indoor air quality for your home. Learn More

Quick Step Laminate Flooring
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Quick Step Laminate Flooring

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Quick-Step flooring has earned the prestigious FloorScore certification for indoor air quality by passing the most stringent tests in the world. All Quick-Step products are officially FloorScore certified, giving families living on our flooring peace of mind that they are bringing a product into their home that meets strict indoor air quality standards. Learn More

Bruce Laminate Flooring
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Bruce Laminate Flooring

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Bruce Laminate Flooring are precision engineered in a 4-ply construction that is fused together under tremendous heat and pressure to form a single plank of unprecedented strength and durability. Learn More

Tarkett Laminate Flooring
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Tarkett Laminate Flooring

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Tarkett Laminate flooring combines high quality with high design and easy installation. Styled and designed for your lifestyle, Tarkett laminate is ideal for any home, and some commercial applications. Durable, indent resistant and easy to clean, laminate is pet friendly. Learn More

Pergo® Laminate Flooring
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Pergo® Laminate Flooring

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PERGO® is the world’s most recognized and trusted flooring brands. We invented the category over 30 years ago and continue to innovate with around 500 patents and pending patent applications throughout the world. Learn More

BerryAlloc Laminate Flooring
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BerryAlloc Laminate Flooring

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It features our patented aluminum locking system that simplifies installation and holds the joints firmly together. Learn More

Wilsonart® Laminate Flooring
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Wilsonart® Laminate Flooring

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Wilsonart® Flooring, the exciting new high pressure decorative laminate floor, is available in a wide range of woodgrain plank and stone-look tile formats. It's more practical than wood and more durable than vinyl, providing a great new option for the home or business. Learn More

BerryAlloc Parquet Flooring
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BerryAlloc Parquet Flooring

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Apart from the beautiful looks of a wood floor, BerryAlloc® parquet floors add some specific characteristics that make parquet floors even more appealing. Learn More

Laminate Flooring Videos

The Top 2 Laminate Flooring Videos


Looking For A Waterproof Scratch Resistant Wood Fl
RevWood Plus provides the look of wood with the toughness of revolutionary laminate floor.

Laminate vs. Luxury Vinyl
When you shop for flooring, the choices can get confusing. We're here to explain the differences between laminate flooring and luxury vinyl flooring. Watch and find out how to make the right choice for your space.

Laminate Flooring News

Latest Laminate Flooring News

Pergo Outlast+® with SpillProtect™
...Pergo Outlast+ is a waterproof laminate flooring with an authentic look and feel. The detailed edge chatter and pillowed bevels give a most luxurious feel to this clean, subtle and authentically time worn look. The durable, fortified wood plank with SurfaceDefense protection offers strength and stability with superior dent, scratch and stain resistance. Exclusive SpillProtect technolog...
MALTA ISLANDS Collection
...Advanced Laminate Flooring with Natural Wood Texture ​Republic Floor brings you closer to nature with our stunning Malta Islands Collection of laminate floors, embossed with real wood grain texture to bring the joy of nature into every room. We have scouted the world’s forests to create six realistic designs, without cutting down a single tree! Republic laminate floors are...
EGGER PRO Laminate Aqua+
...EGGER PRO Laminate Flooring with Aqua+ technology provides a water resistant flooring solution and an easy-to-clean, cost-effective alternative to tiles. The Aqua+ range is available in 18 trend-led decors including a variety of wood grain, stone and ceramic decors. The boards are available in two different board formats (Classic and Kingsize) and both in 8mm thickness. Application area...
Best Laminate Flooring for Your Kitchen
.... PERGO laminate, specifically, is durable, easy to install and available in styles to fit just about any need.  But with an abundance of options out there, how should you go about selecting the laminate flooring that’s right for the needs of your kitchen? What is Your Style?First, consider your style. Depending on the layout and vibe of your kitchen, certain la...
Pro Tips for Cleaning up Pet Stains
...k well without lightening the color of the wood. Of course, cleaning up an accident as soon as possible is the best way to avoid long term staining. If You Have LaminateLaminate flooring is by far the easiest to clean when it comes to pet stains. Use a damp cloth to gently wipe up the area within the first 30 minutes and the problem will be solved. Laminate doesn’t a...
Ultimate Guide to Laminate Flooring
...As the leader in flooring, Mannington has put together a guide that details everything you need to know about the laminate flooring options on the market. From an overview on the different options available, to benefits, misconceptions and cleaning tips, take the confusion out of floor shopping by reading this handy guide. Laminate Flooring OptionsLaminate flooring is off...
Restoration Collection® laminate flooring
...What a peaceful retreat! This bathroom is quite the refreshing space, featuring our Restoration Collection® laminate flooring in Fair Haven—ideal for bathrooms because it includes our SpillShield® Waterproof Warranty. Shown in Color: Brushed Natural...
Is Laminate Flooring a Smart Commercial Flooring Option?
...Laminate is a popular flooring choice, but is it a good option for commercial installations? We're looking at the relative strengths and weaknesses of laminate flooring, to understand whether it's a smart commercial flooring choice, or if there are better alternatives. The Strengths of Laminate Flooring The biggest selling point for laminate flooring is how it looks: it can riva...
Going Green: Laminate Flooring Is the Homeowner's Eco-Friendly Choice
...ooring wisely. Both environmentally friendly and a good value, a laminate floor can transform a room without felling a tree, mining a quarry or depleting your wallet. Among homeowners in the know, laminate flooring has long been known as an affordable solution. Now, with the green movement catching on with homeowners, laminate has earned a reputation as an inherently green one as well. Lamin...
Inspired New Longer Wood Lengths in Laminate from Armstrong Floors
...The big news in laminate flooring this year is Rustics Premium™ New England Long Plank, a dramatic line from Armstrong which offers a hand-scraped, oiled finish hardwood look and the longest laminate floor boards to date – over seven feet. Called ‘New England Long Plank’ because it emulates the look of single plank, centuries-old reclaimed hardwood, the floor’s real-life counterpart would be ...
Wilsonart Contract Flooring Moves to Main Street
...ential Impact Warranty, coupled with Professional Studio’s lifetime residential warranty for wear, fade, stain and topical moisture in the home, are more compelling consumer “reasons to believe” in laminate flooring. On the style front, the new designs offer myriad design solutions, featuring a portfolio inspired by urban and global influences that brings a chic accent to any business or home....
Laminate Flooring Blocks
...Most laminate flooring does adequately replicates the look of wood floors. Unlike real hardwood, laminate block flooring don’t have imperfections or dents, which contributes to less wasted materials. Laminate flooring block lasts about 15-25 years, but can last as long as 30 years depending on the amount of traffic and the quality of the installation. Laminate blocks holds up fine in we...
Laminate Flooring
...Laminate flooring (also called floating wood tile in the United States) is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials. There is a European Standard No....