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Your laminate flooring guide

Laminate flooring is a multi-layered product that includes an underlayment, core, image layer, and top clear wear sheet, all fused to form rigid boards. Once thought of as mainly an economy flooring, laminate floors are now seen in living areas, kitchens, dining areas, bedrooms, and hallways in some high-end homes where once only genuine wood or stone would be considered. Since this product is made up of wood byproducts, excessively wet areas should be avoided.

Examine flooring thickness

Thickness isn’t an indicator of durability, but it does affect the “feel” of the floor. Manufacturers are quick to point out that your choice shouldn't be based on thickness alone but on a combination of factors that determine quality. Measurements range from 5-mm to 15-mm. Thicker is better, and if you are wanting a laminate wood flooring opt for 12-mm to 15-mm to get that authentic hardwood feeling.

The AC rating determines the durability

The (abrasion coefficient) rating is a number system ranging from one to five, with durability increasing as the numbers do. For example, C-1 means it’s appropriate for low traffic floors, while C-5 is typically used only for commercial installations. Most recommend a C-3 rating for any residential installation.

Other things to know about laminate

  • Images are taken with 3D photography, so they are clear and accurate. You should see vibrant patterns and, when applicable, knots, grains, veining variations. If you don't, it could be of lesser quality.

  • Cores are directly responsible for a product's level of waterproof capabilities. These cores are either MDF (medium density fiberboard), HDF (high-density fiberboard), or particleboard. HDF is the best choice.

  • Wear layers are the clear, aluminum-coated top sheets that protect the floor from scratches, scuffs, and minor abrasions. It makes it impossible to "walk-off" the image. The wear layer affects the longevity and performance of your floor.

  • Installation is an uncomplicated floating floor. The pieces click together like a puzzle, form a mat, and hover over the subfloor with no nails or glue. Many strongly also recommend installing an underlayment to provide stability. Many come with one already pre-attached; if yours doesn’t, ask your flooring pro about buying one.

These floors mimic the look of wood and natural stone and tile. If you are looking for a laminate wood flooring look, visit Church's Carpet at our Hickory, NC showroom. Our flooring experts will show you all your options in laminate and provide you with a free quote as well. We serve customers in Hickory, NC.