best laminate flooring

How to Choose the Best Laminate Flooring for Your Home

Over the past 50 years, we've had no shortage of great home improvement developments. One quintessential example: laminate flooring.

Since its inception, laminate flooring has been durable and affordable. What really made it a hit, though, is how easy it is to install. With many of the best laminate flooring styles, all you need to do is snap the planks together.

Looking to install new laminate flooring in your home? If so, the trickiest part of this process is choosing the right product for your needs. We'll help you out by outlining the main factors you'll need to consider!


First things first: laminate flooring consists of several layers put together. The top layer is just a printed image protected by a transparent wear layer.

Thanks to this design, laminate flooring can mimic any other material at a fraction of the cost. Most homeowners opt to recreate hardwood, but tile and stone are also popular options.

Keep in mind that the "laminate" description can include other flooring products as well. For instance, engineered hardwood is a lot like laminate, but the top layer consists of real hardwood.

Vinyl plank flooring is another popular laminate-like option. In this case, the similarities are only skin deep, as vinyl plank has a very different composition. It's also made only from synthetic materials.

Water Resistance

Many laminate flooring types come in waterproof and water-resistant forms. These terms, however, can be misleading.

For starters, waterproof laminate flooring still contains a fiberboard layer in its core. If moisture reaches this layer, it will start swelling. If the fiberboard absorbs more than a few drops, it won't return to its original shape.

The reason this type of flooring gets the "waterproof" label is that this doesn't happen too often. As long as you install the product correctly, no spills will be able to penetrate the surface.

So, what's the difference between waterproof and water-resistant flooring? Simple: it's the amount of time each can resist moisture. Water-resistant flooring will resist it for some time, but it will eventually succumb.

Flooring Patterns

Most laminate floors try to mimic other popular materials like hardwood. As a result, the planks often stick to the traditional length and width.

That said, it's possible to find laminate flooring with narrow or wide planks. In general, wider and thicker planks tend to suit larger rooms like bedrooms. They can also make the floor seem sturdier and more luxurious.

By comparison, narrow planks work better in smaller rooms with uneven subfloors. Your kitchen and mudroom, for example, would likely be solid fits for a thin laminate floor.

Resale Value

Thinking of ways to increase your home's resale value? If so, one thing you may want to consider is installing a premium laminate floor.

The reason why laminate flooring can impact resale value goes back to the product's strengths: high quality at an affordable price. As long as it's installed properly, these floors make a great first impression.

What kind of a return on investment does a laminate floor offer? That depends on how much of an upgrade it is when compared to your current floor. Keep in mind that hardwood floors tend to offer even better returns.

Household Activity

Household activity can also be a key factor in choosing a flooring type. The more activity there is, the better option a laminate floor becomes.

The easiest way to measure household activity is to focus on foot traffic. Whether it's guests, kids, or pets, high foot traffic areas demand family-friendly flooring. Thanks to its scratch resistance, laminate is a solid fit.

Of course, not all laminate flooring is designed with durability in mind. When choosing a laminate floor, pay attention to its AC rating. This rating represents the flooring's abrasion class or its durability:

  • AC1: Light foot traffic
  • AC2: Moderate foot traffic
  • AC3: High foot traffic
  • AC4: Light commercial traffic
  • AC5: Heavy commercial traffic

Installation Methods

Above, we've talked about how installing new flooring can be a DIY project. If you go this route, though, you need to ensure you'll do it right.

One method of installing a laminate floor involves gluing it to the subfloor. On one hand, this lowers the odds of moisture reaching the fiberboard. On the other hand, using glue can be messy and time-consuming.

At first, the click-lock installation method seems more appealing. It involves using locking the planks at the edges, which works over most surfaces. Even click-lock methods can come in four different categories, though:

  • Angle/angle: edge and end click at two different angles
  • Angle drop: edge locks in at an angle as the ends sit against each other
  • Angle clip: edge locks in at an angle; slide-in clips secure the ends
  • Angle tap: edge locks in at an angle; a tapping block secures the ends


When it comes to affordable types of flooring, it's hard to beat laminate. The question is: which types of laminate will set you back the most?

First, you'll need to consider the floor's features. Lower-price floorings come with lower AC ratings, less water resistance, and thinner materials. As you go up in quality, the price will increase to match it.

The image layers also play a part in determining the price. Flooring that mimics hardwood tends to cost less than flooring that imitates tile or stone. The average cost per square foot ranges from $1 to $4.75.

Finally, you'll need to choose a finish type. Different finishes, particularly glossy ones, can really impact a room's aesthetic. At the same time, glossy finishes offer less resistance to marks and scratches.

What Is the Best Laminate Flooring?

As you can see, choosing the best laminate flooring is all about preferences. With so many options on the market, though, making this decision can be overwhelming. Consult the above guide to make sense of it all!

Looking to install new flooring in your home? At National Floors Direct, we offer great deals on all the flooring top brands! Click right here to take a look at our current offers or schedule a free in-home estimate!