How To Choose The Best Laminate Flooring For Your Needs

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best laminate flooring3Laminate flooring is a versatile, durable, and inexpensive alternative to traditional hardwood, and you can easily select the best laminate flooring for your home or other location.

Two important factors to consider are how much foot traffic will cross the floor and how easy the installation will be.

DETERMINE THE AC RATING YOU NEED

Before you shop for specific products, consider the rooms where you will be installing the laminate.

Think about how those rooms are used, how often the flooring is walked on, and any extra wear and tear that might occur to the flooring in that space. Then choose laminate rated for the way that space is used.

Each laminate flooring product has an AC rating. AC ratings, which are on a scale of 1 to 5, are a measurement of the product’s durability and resistance to damage.

A product rated 1 is more easily damaged than higher-rated types. AC 1 flooring is appropriate for areas such as guest bedrooms that are infrequently used.

Laminate with an AC rating of 3 is appropriate for the busier areas in an average house, the rooms that you use daily. Products with an AC rating of 5 are appropriate for high-traffic public places such as stores and busy offices.

If you have pets, the best laminate flooring for your home may be one that is usually used in commercial settings. These products, with AC ratings of 4 or 5, are very durable, which means you don’t need to worry about paws or claws damaging your floor.

You might also want to consider potential damage from children, from crowds of people, or from furniture being often moved around in the space.

Laminate flooring with a higher AC rating will cost more per square foot, but it will also stay beautiful and undamaged for longer.

So when selecting the perfect AC rating for your space, remember that flooring that costs a little bit more initially will also last longer.

Laminate products with the highest AC ratings often come with a lifetime warranty when they are installed in homes rather than in public places.

FIND PRODUCTS THAT ARE EASY TO INSTALL

Some laminate flooring products are easier to install than others. Attached underlayment and an efficient locking mechanism can help ensure an easy installation process.

All laminate flooring must be installed with an underlayment, a layer of padding that goes between the subfloor and the laminate. Underlayment reduces noise and cushions your steps.

A good underlayment can make laminate quieter and more natural seeming, more like real hardwood floors.

Underlayment is also essential for smoothing out any uneven spots in the subfloor. Laminate can only look its best when install on an a padded, even surface.

The majority of laminate products must be purchased with separate rolls of foam padding to use as underlayment.

This foam typically comes in 100 square foot rolls and must be cut to size with a utility knife then laid in place before the flooring can be installed on top of it.

This adds an extra step, but it’s one that can be eliminated by choosing a high quality laminate with attached underlayment. This can be either attached foam or an extra thickness of fiberboard below the layers of laminate.

Some laminate flooring must be glued in place, but choosing a product that locks together is another way to save yourself a step in the installation process.

“Glueless-click” or “tongue and groove” designs are the easiest to install. These products are easy to identify because you will see a grooved, unfinished edge where the pieces lock together. (The unfinished area is completely hidden once it is properly installed.)

At brick and mortar stores, experiment with locking the pieces together, noting how easily they lock and how snugly they fit. Or you can order several samples (often for free) from online building suppliers and examine how they lock together.

Laminate can be a beautiful and cost-effective flooring option. To select the best laminate flooring for your needs, start by determining the AC rating you need and by discovering which products will be easiest to install.

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