Buying Guide: Shopping for Laminate Floors
Laminate flooring provides a cost-effective, attractive, versatile option for new construction, remodels, and rehabilitation projects. Whether you’re tackling a monster do-it-yourself project or have hired a contractor to install your floors, you need to know what you’re looking at. When you’re shopping for laminate floors, it can be hard to know where to start and what questions to ask. But you don’t have to do it alone! Read through this buying guide to learn how to make shopping for laminate floors a breeze.
Before You Buy: Plan It Out and Count the Benefits
Before you go shopping for laminate floors, make sure laminate is the best choice for you and the specific application you have in mind. Plan the rooms where you want to install laminate floors, measuring the square footage and considering the room’s primary use. With the wide variety of options in color, shape, texture, and other appearance factors, you could very well decide to recover every floor in your house with laminate flooring. But some rooms are better for laminate flooring than others – and some rooms will need different types of laminate flooring.
Where to Use Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring, for instance, can be a great choice in high-traffic areas like hallways, entry ways, and dining rooms. Some laminate flooring, however, performs better than others when it comes to rooms where moisture is frequently present – like bathrooms. That said, some premium laminate flooring – when properly installed – can be water resistant or even waterproof.
You should also take care if you’re laying laminate flooring in a house with under-floor heating. Your laminate floors will need some special considerations in this type of house; be sure to ask your flooring provider or contractor about what needs to go underneath laminate flooring in these situations.
You can also use laminate flooring in bedrooms – but take into consideration that laminate flooring can sometimes be hard under foot and reflect sound. Pair your laminate flooring with area rugs or premium padding to give it a softer feel and more comfortable spring to your step!
Abrasion Criteria: How to Choose
When it comes to laminate flooring’s toughness, there’s a convenient way to choose the right type of laminate flooring for each application. The Abrasion Criteria (AC) of the laminate flooring you’re considering rates how well the flooring stands up to scratching and other damage on a scale of one to five. An AC of three or four is most common for flooring applications. Generally speaking, flooring with an AC of one or two will be softer – and therefore less durable – and should be considered for use in low-traffic areas like bedrooms. Flooring with an AC of three or four is suitable for just about any home application – including in high traffic areas like foyers and hallways. The highest AC rating, five, is generally reserved for very heavy traffic in commercial applications.
Other Materials Needed to Install Laminate Floors
In addition to the choices you’re making for your laminate flooring – what color, shape, size, texture, material, and AC you prefer – you’ll need to make some considerations with regard to other materials. Principally, these materials are sealant, underlayment, molding, and (if you’re doing it yourself) tools. Depending on where your laminate flooring is being installed, you might need to consider special sealants to ensure its water resistance or special underlayments to make your flooring softer or protect it from under-floor heating. Underlayment is also important as a moisture barrier and thermal protectant for any floors. Some laminate flooring comes with its own acoustical underlayment or underlayment provided for extra comfort – but these are completely different from a moisture barrier. Especially if you’re installing laminate flooring on a concrete subfloor, you need to install a moisture barrier to protect your floors!
Call the Pros for Laminate Flooring Help and Installation
We may be called The Carpet Center, but we know laminate flooring! Our professional sales team and flooring technicians will help you select the perfect laminate flooring for your project – and get the job done quickly and efficiently the first time around. Call us today for help selecting the right flooring for your project or to schedule a free quote to handle the whole job from start to finish!