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About Laminate Flooring

You want the look of hardwood but don’t have the budget. Get ready for a great solution. Laminate flooring is durable, scratch, stain and fade resistant, easy to clean, hypoallergenic and perfect for households with pets and children and costs less than solid hardwood, every time. There are all kinds of laminates, not only with different looks but different plank widths and colors that are built to withstand different degrees of traffic. Laminates can resemble stone or ceramic tile but are best known as substitutes for wood floors. Best of all, the innovations in laminate keep on coming; new and better locking systems, embossing, new finishes and more.

Brown Oak Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring offers a real wood look and feel. (Cavero Laminate 12mm Woodcraft Collection – Alpine Oak)

What is Laminate Flooring?

A laminate floor is a high-tech floor made by fusing together several layers of materials into one board. The core layer or the center of the laminate floorboard is almost always made of high density fiberboard, but sometimes medium density fiberboard. This core, which supports the weight and stress of foot traffic, will affect how sturdy and stable your floor will be. Strength and stability is further ensured by the laminate’s bottom stabilizing layer. A decorative layer is fused on top of the core. The decorative layer is actually a picture of the floor that is printed on a type of “living paper”. A transparent wear layer is applied over the décor layer and is then treated with one or more coats of an aluminum oxide finish. This is what makes for the incredible wear resistance against scratches, burns, dents and stains that laminates are so famous for.

Then there’s the locking system. It’s the system or the way the laminate boards will click together to form your floor. It’s the hallmark of laminate flooring to come with glueless, click-lock joints or locking systems that are easy to install. That’s why installing laminate floors has become something many people can do themselves. You virtually never need to glue a laminate floor to a subfloor nor build a level subfloor first like you would have to do with a solid hardwood installation.

Check Out These Resources

Before you make any purchasing decision that will last as long as a floor can, it makes sense to learn as much as you can about laminate flooring. Whether it’s information on the manufacturing process or information about alternatives to what you’re considering, it’s always a smart decision to do some research so you make the right decision for your home.

Is Laminate Right For Me? – Determine whether or not laminate is the best choice for your project.

Types of Laminate – Learn about the different types of laminate.

Buying Guide – Learn how to make an informed laminate flooring purchase decision.

Laminate Cleaning & Care – Find out how easy it is to care for a laminate floor.

FAQs – Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about laminate flooring.

Want to see the quality of our laminate flooring products in person? Order up to 5 FREE samples with no credit card required and we’ll ship them right to your doorstep.

(69) Comments

  1. we are interested in bamboo flooring but have been told by other flooring companies that in the western desert states the dry climate is not good for bamboo, including the stranded bamboo. We have been told that eventually the bamboo will dry out and cracks will appear in the surface due to the low humidity. Is this correct?

  2. I have a question about moulding. I just bought 1600 sq ft of Laminate Floors 12mm, AC4. When i placed the order, i order quarter round moulding. As we beagn to install the floors we noticed that the moulding measures 3/4″ . When I called the company to tell them i recieved the wrong moulding the told me that “Quarter Round” is the name of the moulding but the standard size is 3/4″. Is that true? 3/4″ moulding seems way too thick – what size moulding would you recommend?

  3. I am trying to make a big decision in my new home. The whole lower floor is a light laminate and then there is two stairs down to our back living room with carpet. The carpet needs to be replaced. I thought we should just match the same wood throughout and my husband wants to put a total different DARK laminate in the back living room instead. He says that it is a different room and the stairs will break it up so it will look good. I beg to differ. What are others thoughts?

    • Hi Marjorie,

      While steam cleaning may not hurt the finish of laminate, it is still not recommended as it you are still exposing the laminate to moisture.

      Generally speaking the most effective way to clean the flooring is the simplest. Regular sweeping and the use of a lightly damp cloth wet only with water) is the most effective method. You do not want to use any special cleaning product, vinegar, etc., as repeated use can have a diverse affect on the appearance of the flooring.

      Here are some links for care and maintenance for laminate flooring:



      Hope that helps and let me know if you need any further assistance.


  4. We are thinking of puting laminate flooring in an older shed converted into a craft room/spare bedroom. The room is on a concrete slab. We are worried about moisture coming up through the concrete. (there will not be a sink or any water souce). Would laminate flooring be ok to use? Would we need to put an underlayment? If so, what kind would be most cost effective? Thank you!

    • Hi Derald,

      The thickness of the lamiante really has more to do with how the flooring will sound rather than durability. This is due to the amount of high density fibre that the plank is comprised of. If you were stepping on a 7mm laminate flooring, you will have more sound feedback than a 12mm laminate flooring (this of course can be reduced with an accoustical underlay //www.builddirect.com/Flooring-Accessories/-3-in-1-SoundChoice-Acoustical-Underlayment/ProductDisplay_10119_p1_10074922.aspx).

      What you want to look for are what’s known as AC ratings. This is a measurement of how durable the laminate floor is in relation to where it is being installed, and the amount of traffic expected. For instance, AC1 and AC2 are suitable for infrequent traffic, such as bedrooms. AC3 is designed for high residential traffic. AC4-AC5 are for commercial use. The higher the AC rating, the more durable.

      With wheelchair, you would most likely be good with an AC3 at least (even AC4 is better).


  5. Hello,
    My husband and I want to install laminate flooring ourselves. We ordered a sample from you guys and really liked it. The apartment we just moved into has tile floors but it seems the previous owners did not take very good care of it as it is badly scratched and dull, many of the tiles creak when stepped on, and some are even a little loose. Is there any step we should take before laying the laminate to ensure the floor will look even and the creaking will stop? And, do the laminates come with installation instructions? (My husband swears he knows how to do it, but I want to be sure.)
    Also, is it safe to use laminate flooring in a small bathroom (mostly used for guests)?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Anna,

      You can completely remove the tiles and put down the laminate flooring, or put the laminate on top of the tiles (increasing the height of the floors). Please note that in either case, make sure the subfloor is leveled. You should have no more than a 1/4″ over 8′ variance on your subfloor.

      If you go with the latter option and you are worried about sound, you can use the 3 in 1 SoundChoice underlay (//www.builddirect.com/Flooring-Accessories/-3-in-1-SoundChoice-Acoustical-Underlayment/ProductDisplay_10119_p1_10074922.aspx) made out of fibre as it has a sound barrier, so when you step on the flooring it will eliminate the sound feedback.

      The laminate comes with instructions to install as well as manufacturer guidelines. The installation instructions are also available on our website. Installing our laminate is fairly straight forward, with locking systems that will make it easy for any DIYers.

      It is not recommended to use laminate flooring in bathrooms, as the moisture are may cause warping later on. You would be better off playing it safe and going with tile.


  6. My husband and I are getting ready to finish our basement. The house is about 8 years old and the basement doesn’t appear to leak at all or have any large cracks. Trying to decide which would be better to put down as far as flooring, carpet or laminate (pergo type) flooring. We would like to put the laminate at least in the office area. What are your thoughts? Would we need to put down a vapor barrier? What kind of laminate would work for basements and med to high traffic?

    • Hi Jenny,
      Laminate is a good choice for durability. What you want is at least an AC3 rated floor, which will mean it is rated for heavy residential traffic. Those will typically be your 8-12mm floors. You would definately want to have a vapor barrier, and both the underlayments on our site have those attached already, so either of those would work for you.

  7. I just moved into my condo a year ago…there was a very small leak in my pipes under my kitchen sink. I didn’t notice it until several months later. I had someone fix the leak. Many months later I realized it did severe damage to my laminated floors surrounding my kitchen counters. My question is can I only replace the damaged floors or do I have to replace the entire floor?


    • Hi Diana,

      In your case, you can replace the affected area of laminate flooring and you do not have to replace the entire flooring. If you have leftover boards from before of your laminate flooring, simply use those to replace the planks you have currently that were damaged from the leak. If not, see if you can source the laminate boards again from your original supplier.


  8. I installed a 3/4″ tongue & groove Australian Cypress prefinished hardwood floor in my great room about 5 years ago. When I completed the installation, the floor was beautiful. This was obviously not the right choice, as my 130 lb plus Rottweilers have turned it into a scratched up mess! I plan to tear it up and replace it; I want something that looks great, and is extremely durable – possibly commercial grade flooring. Looks and durability are primary concerns. I’m not concerned with price (within reason). Any suggestions?

    Also, the flooring was nailed into 3/4″ thick OSB board, and some of the flooring boards move a bit when walked on. Could this be due to the nails not setting properly into the OSB?

    • Hi John,

      Thank you for your inquiry. Please keep in mind that there is no such thing as a scratch resistant flooring and with your 130lm Rotweiler, your floor will most likely scratch. With that said, there are some viable options for you with regards to durable flooring. You can go with strand woven bamboo flooring that is twice as hard as regular bamboo flooring and harder than Brazilian Cherry. The following link will direct you to our strand woven collection (https://www.builddirect.com/Strand-Woven-Bamboo-Flooring/Result_N_4294967291+4294966291+4294967064_Ne_27.aspx). Also laminate may offer be a good alternative as well. Look for ones that are AC3-AC4 rated for durability, as they are great for high residential use. And actually we recently launched an AC6 high performance laminate flooring (https://www.builddirect.com/Laminate-Flooring/Result_N_4294967290+4294966291+4294959599_Ne_109.aspx) so check that out as well.

      I advise you to order samples and see for yourself how durable they are. As mentioned, no such flooring is scratch resistant but there will be flooring that is more durable than others.

      With regards to nailing toOSB board, they are okay but not the greatest choice. Nails get loose over the years which can create some squaeking sounds. If you are going with solid hardwood, it’s always best to nail on plywood.


  9. Put Laminate over vinyl in kitchen & replaced carpet in dinning area with same laminate. I do have the height difference, but the gap between the two areas (really just one big room) starts at one corner 2 1/4″ and then tappers to 1 1/4″ at the other end (total length is 13 ft). Should I cut laminate to fill in the big gap, or is there something I can use without wasting planks. Can I maybe use a reducer and t-mold and have it look ok? Any suggestion would be appreciated.


    • Hi Gary,

      Thank you for the question. When transitioning from your living room to your kitchen you should use a reducer. If the variance in height is more then ¼” of an inch from floor to floor you will need to use this type of molding. If the difference in height between the flooring is less then ¼” of an inch a T-molding would suffice.



  11. I have laminate flooring now. When I bought, I was not informed of differences, so settled. I want to know can you put new finishes on the laminate to change color or to make it shine, like polyurethane for example? My flooring is flat looking like a dull look, no shine. Interested! I have used different fluids to shine, but it does not last long.

  12. Hello,
    I have the same question as Lynn above:
    I don’t see any information on the type of pressure (Direct or High ) on the descriptions of flooring.
    Is there a way to find which products are HPL?

    Thank you

    • Hi Lori and Lynn,

      We unfortunately do not carry products that are high pressure laminate. All of our laminate flooring are direct pressure, where the layers are fused together by means of pressure treatment, and the decorative layer and stabilization layer are pressed together onto the core layer.

      In High Pressure Laminate, the layers are glued together only after the decorative layer and wear layers are pressed onto an additional layer of high strength paper by means of high pressure. You can source this elsewhere, as unfortunately we co not carry it.


  13. Dear Madam /Sir

    I would like to introduce our self as one of the leading company in IRAN in home decoration items. We have been in the business for the past 30 years.
    Being in the business for long time has created very strong connections throughout other major IRANIAN cities. At present, we import floor vinyl from CHINA, wallpaper from ITALY, laminate from GERMANG, carpets (modern design) from TURKEY.
    Our head office is in Tehran and we own number of retail shops in some of Tehran’s top locations.
    We are interested in your product and we appreciate if you can furnish us with some more information about yourself and your products.
    I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    Best regard

    Farhad Najmi
    Exp/Impt manager
    Gaman Gostar Co.
    #11, No.7, 10th St, North Mofateh Ave.
    Tehran Iran.
    Tel: 009821-88534337-38
    Fax: 009821-88753339
    Mobile: 00989121031349
    E-mail: info@gamangostar-co.com

  14. We are installing new laminate in our home and wondered if we can lay it right on the previous laminate flooring. There are alot of squeaks throughout the house and thought we could just screw down the current floating floor and lay the new floor on top. Would there be issues/problems with doing this?


  15. I was wondering about cutting the laminate, I know the installation instructions states to cut with a jig saw but I have some tricky angles to cut and was wondering about using a miter saw? What blade to use if this is acceptable?

  16. I would like a HPL (High pressure laminate) flooring to accomodate the weight of a baby grand piano.

    I don’t see any information on the type of pressure (Direct or High ) on the descriptions of flooring.
    Is there a way to find which products are HPL?

    Thank you

  17. I was wondering if it is ok to use and underlayment with a moisture barrier built in in when installing my laminate flooring over concrete?

  18. Hi,
    Was wondering about installing Laminate Flooring that will go upto a door. How would we handle that type of a situation with the “float” requirement? Do we try to trim the laminate to the edge of the door or try to use some of the co-ordianted baseboards etc that are available?
    Thanks Jim

    • Hi Brenda,
      Unfortunately laminate is a synthetic product, and as such cannot be re-finished in the same way natural flooring can. Moisture left to stand for an extended period of time over a laminate can lead to product warping etc. In these instances, the only way to repair the flooring is to replace the affected planks. Please feel free to contact us to get panel replacement instructions.

  19. I have a floating laminate floor I use just water and a microfiber mop to clean it but when I walk across it with white socks they get dirty. Around my stove grease and dirt accumulate. How do I clean my floor when water just isn’t enough.

  20. What does “narrow board” mean in the description of some flooring? Specifically, Lamton Savannah Cherry. I notice that other styles are even narrower boards and not referred to as “narrow board”. I appreciate your help.

    • Hi Kate! Your confusion is understandable. From where our product lines stand, the ‘narrow board’ lines, while indeed representing a narrow board style, are called ‘narrow board’ in comparision to other product lines under the same brand.

      You’re right. Under other brands, you can get boards which are equally narrow, or more narrow. They’re just not under those specific branded product lines that specify narrow board style. I hope this clears things up. If you’re thinking about buying narrow board style laminates from us, one of our sales guys can explain the range of choices open to you. But, if there remains to be questions about this, feel free to send me an email at robjones (at) builddirect (dot com).

      Thanks for your question! 🙂

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