How to Choose Laminate Floors

Written by amy dunay
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Laminate floors are an attractive alternative to traditional hardwood floors. Builders and consumers often choose laminate floors for their price tag and their ease of installation. Over the years manufacturers have improved on the look and durability of laminate floors, giving consumers a larger variety of styles to choose from. Consumers should consider several things before deciding which type of laminate flooring to install.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Consider whether you have a high or low traffic area. High traffic areas, like entrances and kitchens, need a higher quality laminate floor with the core material being high density fiberboard (HDF). However, you save money in low traffic areas with a lower quality laminate.

  2. 2

    Look at the pros and cons of direct pressure laminate (DPL) and high pressure laminate (HPL). DPL has 3 layers, while HPL has 5 layers. DPL can withstand normal wear and tear, but high traffic areas can start to show wear and tear more quickly than with an HPL floor. HPL is more expensive than DPL, and DPL is more readily available to consumers in the U.S.

  3. 3

    Review the warranties for each brand of laminate floors you consider. Closely look at the length of the warranty, and make sure that regular wear and tear, water damage and staining are included in the warranty.

  4. 4

    Ensure that the flooring you choose has a seal of approval from the National Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). Manufacturers often display this seal on their product information, or you can visit the NALFA website to see if they recommend the brand you are considering.

  5. 5

    Choose laminate flooring that has at least six different wood grain patterns. The more the patterns and lengths of the planks differ, the more your floor will resemble a traditional hardwood floor.

Tips and warnings

  • Although laminate floors are durable, they cannot be refinished like traditional hardwood floors.

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