The Homeowner's Guide to Wood Laminate Flooring

By: Robert Thomson

Wood laminate flooring offers numerous benefits to the budget-conscious homeowner. By mimicking the look of authentic hardwood, you can enjoy the beauty of nature without breaking your budget. What's more, laminate floors are extremely durable and won't bend, bow or fade over time. Laminate goes just about anywhere you do - the living room, bedroom, hallway, family room and recreation room. It's not well-suited for moisture prone areas like the bathroom or kitchen, but can make a lovely statement in your home while adding years of durability.

Buying Laminate Floors - How Much Traffic Will Your Floors Get?

There are three main grades of wood laminate flooring: AC1 Moderate Residential, which is suitable for bedrooms that don't receive a lot of food traffic. AC2 General Residential is for moderate foot traffic like living rooms and dining rooms and AC3 Heavy Residential is for rooms whose floors get a lot of wear and tear. It's also used in some commercial settings as well. The AC stands for "Abrasion Class" and covers things that will walk (or roll) on your floors - from shoes to office chairs.

Choose from a Huge Palette of Beautiful Styles

Another benefit of wood laminate flooring is the sheer number of colors, styles and designs available. Get the look of more expensive and exotic hardwood at a fraction of the price. You'll need to consider things beyond the color of the wood, however. There's also the grain, plank width, edges, and finish to look at. Floor planks average between 3 1/4 to 5 inches. Most people choose wider planks because they're easier to install. Narrower planks give a home a more rustic, traditional look. All wood laminate flooring also has edging, which you can also customize. Micro-beveled edges more closely replicate the look of real hardwood, while rounder bevels give a home a rustic feel. You can also choose to have no edges at all for a seamless look from wall to wall.

How Much Laminate Floor Do You Need?

A big question when it comes to buying wood laminate flooring is calculating how much you need. Fortunately, you can do this with some simple math. Just measure the length and width of the room and multiply those two numbers. This is your total square footage. Now add 10% to cover any waste or leftovers to get a good estimate of how much laminate you need. This can also give you a little extra in case you need to make repairs in the future.

For the Best Advice - Work with a Professional

When buying wood laminate flooring, it can be incredibly helpful to work with a hardwood flooring specialty store. They can provide you with samples, warranty information and even installation help - although laminate is very easy to install with its tongue-and-groove locking system. The bottom line is that you'll be investing in floors that are both beautiful and durable, while giving your home a fresh, modern and updated look without a huge price tag.

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Charlie Dima writes out of Earth City, MO about home improvement tips and wood laminate flooring for home design Always looking for the most affordable prices and well-known brands, she finds to be a good resource.

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