Laminate Flooring

Here is where the water gets muddy. A laminate flooring is basically, a wood floor and as such, responds to moisture and humidity exactly as wood does. Laminate flooring is made with a dense fiber core with a stabilizing paper on the back and a decorative paper on the top, covered with wear layers much like coats of varnish. There are a few made with a Formica top layer. Until Wilsonart went out of business in 2010, they were at the top of the heap in terms of style, visual appeal, and durability. Unfortunately, they are no more. There are still a couple of manufacturers making Formica top floors, but they don't have the realism Wilsonart did.

hardwwod and tiles

Laminate is installed as a "floating" floor; that is, it is not anchored to your sub-floor and can move with the changes in atmospheric conditions. For this reason it will usually lay flatter than hardwood, but be aware!! The same conditions still apply to keep your warranty in effect: the home must be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and between 30 and 60% relative humidity. A pad is placed under the laminate but when the home owner walks on it, there is still a hollow ring to it. Many people hate the sound and echo of a laminate floor so opt for wood or vinyl instead. Laminate is also reasonable difficult to keep clean. It is so flat that every water spot shows on it. You have to mist it and dry it for a spot free look.

hardwood and tiles

The key to buying a good laminate now seems to be the core. The "Big Box" stores sell it for a little over $1.00 a square foot. You get what you pay for. We see these floors come apart or delaminated within six months to a year of installation. You get what you pay for, there is no free lunch. For a good laminate floor you are going to pay $3.00 to $4.00 a square foot. Get over it. You'll be happier in the end and have a floor that will last 20 years or longer. If you pay under $3.00 a square foot, you're buying junk. Don't waste your money.