Laminate Flooring 101
Find out what you need to know before choosing your laminate floor.
Laminate is a durable floor that offers photorealistic images and grain patterns to provide the look of hardwood floors and other premium materials at a lower cost. They resist dents better than hardwood flooring and are well suited to any area of the home except for wet areas such as full bathrooms.
Laminate is made from four layers: a clear top layer infused with aluminum oxide to resist scratching and wear; a design layer, which features a photographic image of real wood flooring; a core, which gives the laminate its strength and structure; and a backing layer that provides additional support and stability.
Laminate floors differ in three basic ways: thickness, warranties, and wear ratings.
Laminate floors generally range in thickness from 7 to 12 millimeters. Thicker laminates will bend less when placed on uneven surfaces and reduce sound better than thinner floors.
Laminate floors come with warranties ranging from 10 years to lifetime.
Wear Layer Ratings
Laminates come with wear layer ratings of AC 1-5. The ratings reflect how well the top layer will resist scratching, denting and other signs of wear with 5 being the highest. Floors of each level are suited for use in different areas as follows:
- AC 1: Light traffic areas of the home such as bedrooms.
- AC 2: Areas of the home with medium foot traffic.
- AC 3: Any area of the home including high traffic areas such as kitchens and foyers.
- AC 4: Any area of the home plus light commercial use.
- AC 5: Any residential or commercial areas, including the heaviest commercial traffic.
Extensive Style Choices
America’s Finest Carpet Company offers laminate floors that provide the look of maple, oak, cherry, walnut and other fine woods in a range of finishes from dark and elegant to light and contemporary. All of our laminates feature heavy wear layers that resist scratching and denting and require minimal upkeep.
Fast, Easy Installation
Another advantage of laminate floors is that they install easily over just about any subfloor with minimal preparation. Unlike solid hardwood floors, laminates can be installed in basements and over concrete. They may also be installed over existing flooring such as vinyl or even tile provided that the existing floor is level and sound. Because they lock together and are installed without nailing or glueing, they are one of the easiest floors to install and make a manageable project for the competent do-it-yourselfer. All of these factors make laminates one of the fastest, easiest and least expensive floors to install.