The Ultimate Home Laminate Flooring Guide for Homeowners

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 05/08/24 •  7 min read

In this casual and friendly guide, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about laminate flooring, from its benefits and types to installation and common problems. By the end, you’ll be an expert in all things laminate flooring. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Benefits of Home Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has gained popularity among homeowners for good reason. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Durability: Laminate flooring is resistant to scratches, dents, and fading, making it perfect for high-traffic areas and homes with pets or children.
  2. Affordability: Laminate flooring is often more budget-friendly than other options like hardwood or tile, and with the “laminate flooring installation cost per square foot” being relatively low, it’s an attractive choice for those on a budget.
  3. Low maintenance: Laminate is easy to clean and maintain, requiring only regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping.
  4. Versatility: With countless styles, finishes, and textures available, laminate can mimic the look of hardwood, tile, or even stone, allowing you to achieve your desired aesthetic without breaking the bank.
  5. DIY-friendly: Many laminate flooring products feature a simple click-and-lock installation system, making it a great project for DIY enthusiasts.

Comparing Hardwood Flooring to Other Flooring Options

To help you compare laminate flooring to other flooring options here’s a quick table that compares the durability, water resistance, maintenance requirements, and DIY-friendliness of the more popular flooring options.

Keep in mind that these values can vary depending on the specific product or brand.

Flooring TypeDurabilityWater ResistanceMaintenanceDIY-FriendlyPrice Range (per sq. ft.)
LaminateHighModerateLowYes$1 – $5
HardwoodModerateLowModerateNo$3 – $12
Engineered WoodModerateModerateModerateYes$3 – $10
TileHighHighLowNo$1 – $15
Luxury VinylHighHighLowYes$2 – $7
CarpetLowLowHighNo$1 – $5

Laminate Types, Styles, and Finishes

Laminate flooring is available in a wide variety of types, styles, and finishes, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your home. Here are some of the most common options:

  1. Thickness: Laminate flooring ranges from 6mm to 12mm in thickness. Thicker options offer better sound absorption and a more comfortable underfoot feel.
  2. AC rating: The Abrasion Class (AC) rating measures the durability of laminate flooring. AC1 (lowest) to AC5 (highest) are the available ratings, with higher ratings recommended for areas with heavy foot traffic.
  3. Texture: Laminate flooring can have smooth, embossed, or hand-scraped textures, so you can match any unique look and feel you want.
  4. Style: There’s no shortage of style options with laminate flooring, including wood, stone, and tile looks. Popular wood imitations include oak, maple, and walnut.
  5. Finish: Laminate flooring can have a glossy, satin, or matte finish to suit your personal preference. You can now also get lots of textured laminate flooring, such as distressed finishes if you want a more “lived-in” look to match your decor.

Best Areas in Your Home for Laminate Flooring

When considering laminate flooring, it’s essential to choose the right areas in your home. Laminate is best suited for:

  1. Living rooms and bedrooms: Laminate’s durability, affordability, and vast style options make it an excellent choice for these spaces.
  2. Hallways and stairs: The scratch and dent resistance of laminate is perfect for high-traffic areas like hallways and stairs.
  3. Home offices: Laminate offers a comfortable surface for prolonged standing or sitting.

It’s worth noting that laminate is not the best choice for areas with high moisture levels, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, as excessive moisture can cause warping or swelling.

The cost of laminate flooring varies depending on factors like thickness, AC rating, and brand.

On average, you can expect to pay between $1 and $5 per square foot for materials, with an additional laminate flooring installation cost per square foot of anywhere from $2 to $8 if you hire a professional.

Remember that these are just estimates and can vary, a lot, based on your specific location, design choices, and flooring situation.

Some popular laminate flooring brands include Pergo, Mohawk, and Shaw.

Installation Process

Installing laminate flooring can be a DIY project if you’re up for the challenge. Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  1. Prepare the subfloor: Ensure the subfloor is clean, level, and dry. You may need to remove old flooring, fill in low spots, or sand high spots.
  2. Install a moisture barrier: If installing over concrete or in moisture-prone areas (like in a basement) use a moisture barrier to protect the laminate.
  3. Install underlayment: Choose a suitable underlayment for your laminate flooring. It helps with sound absorption, insulation, and moisture protection.
  4. Measure and plan: Measure your room and calculate the number of planks needed, taking into account any cuts or waste. Plan the plank layout, ensuring the first and last rows are of sufficient width.
  5. Install the planks: Begin in one corner of the room and work your way across, clicking and locking the planks together. Use spacers to maintain an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room.
  6. Install transitions and moldings: Once the floor is complete, remove the spacers and install any necessary transitions or moldings to finish the job.

Tools and materials you may need include a measuring tape, utility knife, spacers, tapping block, pull bar, and a saw for cutting planks.

Maintenance and Care Tips

To keep your laminate flooring looking great and extend its lifespan, follow these maintenance and care tips:

  1. Sweep or vacuum regularly to remove dust and debris.
  2. Use a damp mop with a gentle cleaning solution for occasional deep cleaning. Avoid using excessive water or abrasive cleaners.
  3. Place protective pads under furniture to prevent scratching or denting.
  4. Use area rugs or mats in high-traffic areas to minimize wear and tear.
  5. Maintain a consistent indoor humidity level to prevent warping or swelling.

Common Laminate Flooring Problems and Solutions

Laminate flooring is generally low-maintenance and durable, but there are a few common issues that may arise:

  1. Warping or swelling: Excessive moisture can cause damage to laminate flooring. Address any moisture issues, and replace damaged planks if necessary.
  2. Scratches or dents: While laminate is scratch-resistant, accidents can happen. Minor scratches can be repaired with a touch-up kit, while more severe damage may require plank replacement.
  3. Gapping or peaking: Changes in humidity or improper installation can lead to gaps or peaks in the flooring. Maintaining consistent indoor humidity and following proper installation guidelines can help prevent these issues.

Laminate Flooring Warranty Information

Most laminate flooring products come with a manufacturer’s warranty, typically ranging from 10 to 25 years.

These warranties often cover issues like wear, staining, and fading but may not cover damage caused by improper installation or maintenance. Be sure to read and understand your warranty before settling on a specific laminate product.

Conclusion: Laminate Can Be A Cost Effective and Durable Solution

There you have it – a comprehensive guide on home laminate flooring, covering everything from benefits to common problems. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge you need, you can confidently choose the perfect laminate flooring for your home.

And remember, if you’re interested in exploring other flooring options, don’t hesitate to check out our article on choosing flooring types for your home by clicking the link.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.