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How do I Choose the Best Laminate Wood Floors?

John Lister
Updated May 17, 2024
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Laminate wood floors are made from an artificial material designed to resemble wood but offering more flexibility about how you use it. It is also considerably cheaper than wood, often as little as half the price for the same floor space. In most cases it will be less susceptible to scratches and staining than wood, though these can still be problems.

Price will be an important factor when choosing between different laminate wood floors. The more you spend, the more likely it is to convincingly resemble genuine wood. It may be worth spending more if appearance is an issue to you, though there will come a price point where it could be better value to buy the real thing.

You may have a choice of thicknesses when buying laminate wood floors. For example, many manufacturers offer laminate in 0.47 inch (8 mm) and 0.32 inch (1 2mm) editions. Generally, the thicker version will be better suited to floors which need to be harder wearing. This could include material in a hallway where people will be repeatedly walking over the same section of flooring. It is worth asking manufacturers or retailer what difference the thickness is likely to make to the lifespan of the flooring, as it won’t always be worth paying the extra if you expect to move home long before the thinner flooring is expected to wear out.

There are several different ways in which the separate pieces of laminate wood floors can can fit together. The simplest style allows the pieces to be snapped together by hand. More complex versions can involve tapping or hammering pieces together, while some systems require glue to join and seal the edges. If you are planning to install the flooring yourself, you may want to consider the simpler styles.

There are some health concerns over laminate wood floors. This is because some versions are made with a substance derived from formaldehyde, which can cause problems with toxins vaporizing and entering the air. If this is a concern, look for details of the levels of urea-formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds; the lower the levels, the lower the potential health risks. You may also want to consider flooring which has been off-gassed, meaning it has been treated to release the toxins before you receive it. You should also look for environmental standards accreditation such as the GREENGUARD® logo.

If you are considering installing laminate wood floors on top of a concrete surface, you must take particular care. Because the concrete can store a great deal of water from the soil below, it should not come into direct contact with the laminate. If it does, there is a strong risk of the flooring deteriorating much more quickly than usual. The solution is to lay a material known as a damp proof membrane between the laminate and the concrete. You may be able to get this included with the flooring as a package deal.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
John Lister
By John Lister
John Lister, an experienced freelance writer, excels in crafting compelling copy, web content, articles, and more. With a relevant degree, John brings a keen eye for detail, a strong understanding of content strategy, and an ability to adapt to different writing styles and formats to ensure that his work meets the highest standards.
Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On Jul 09, 2014

I have laminate flooring in my dining room that is a light, natural wood color. I replaced a dark colored linoleum floor with it, and I love it. My tip for anyone considering this type of floor is to choose a light color. It will give any room a fresh, contemporary feel that will fit with almost any type of decor and paint.

By Rundocuri — On Jul 08, 2014

I have installed laminate wood flooring in several rooms, and I have some tips for anyone who is planning to put this type of flooring in his or her home.

When choosing laminate wood flooring, don't buy the cheapest that you can find. Though you will save money, you will pay more in the long run because it will not last. I installed discount laminate wood flooring that was very thin, and my first problem was that it didn't fit together securely. My next issue with this cheap flooring was that it began to chip and lift up shortly after it was installed. After two years, it looked so bad that I decided to replace it.

Your best bet for choosing laminate flooring that will work for you is to choose one that is affordable but not cheap. Look for sale prices on flooring that is otherwise more costly. Also, don't buy the thinnest laminate wood planks available, because they will not last, especially if you put them in high-traffic areas of your home.

John Lister
John Lister
John Lister, an experienced freelance writer, excels in crafting compelling copy, web content, articles, and more. With...
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