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How to Choose Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a great alternative to genuine hardwood flooring. It's cost-effective, it can resemble more expensive flooring materials like hardwood or stone and it’s significantly more durable than hardwood. It's stain-resistant and easy to install and great for high-traffic areas.

The Home Depot Canada offers laminate flooring in a variety of colours and grains, making it easy for you to find flooring that suits your space and design. We’ll help you learn how to choose laminate flooring that’s perfect for your space.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is comprised of four layers, a backing layer, fibreboard core, decorative layer and a tread or wear layer. The layers are combined to form one extremely dense surface. This handy infographic will explain the different layers in depth.

1. The Wear Layer – coats and seals the Decorative layer. This top layer gives the floor its resistance to scratching, UV rays, burning ash and embers and chemical agents. Most decors have a melamine resin-based coating containing Aluminum Oxide. Some decors have a multi-step lacquer finish.

2. The Decorative Layer – gives the laminate floor the beauty an elegance of an actual hardwood or tile floor. It is a high-definition photographic print (paper or direct to HDF) of a particular wood species.

3. The Core Layer – is made of High Density Fibreboard (HDF), giving the laminate durability and high impact resistance. This allows the floor to withstand the shock of localized impacts such as high-heeled shoes and dropped objects.

4. The Backing Layer – is the base layer that gives the laminate additional stability while making the laminate a floating floor.

Shop Laminate Flooring by Colour

There are all types of laminate flooring, with styles and coordinating transition mouldings that will help create a seamless transition between your spaces. Whether you’re looking for grey, dark or white laminate flooring or other colour palettes, we have what you’re looking for.

Shop Laminate by Thickness

Laminate is available in different thicknesses and is durable and resistant to dents and scratches. Thicker laminates might be useful for sound dampening and stability. When choosing the right thickness of laminate, you should also consider replacing your subfloor or adding an underlayment. Samples are also a good option when you're not sure of your needs.

Shop Laminate by Texture

There’s a laminate texture for any space! We’ll help you choose the texture and finish that’s right for you.

Embossed Laminate

Embossed or Embossed in Register (EIR) texture mimics the grain pattern of wood for a realistic look and feel.

Handscraped Laminate

Handscraped laminate - though not created by hand - is meant to look like handcrafted restored natural wood for a rustic appearance.

Smooth Laminate

Smooth laminate flooring is not textured and comes in many gloss levels from matte to satin for a sleek look.

Water-Resistant Laminate Flooring

While there is no such thing as a truly waterproof laminate flooring, most laminate is water-resistant. Brands like Lifeproof® have a high-density foam core, edges treated with wax and a click-together interlock system, all designed to reduce water damage and keep your floors looking like new.

What is an Abrasion Criteria (AC) rating?

The Abrasion Criteria (AC) rating identifies suitable uses for laminate on a scale from 1 to 5 - the higher the number, the more durable. For residential use, look for laminate with an AC rating of 3 or 4.     

1: Very light foot traffic; suitable for bedrooms
2: Moderate foot traffic; suitable for living rooms
3: Heavy residential traffic; suitable for all areas
4: Residential or commercial traffic
5: Heavy commercial traffic

Tips for Installing Laminate Flooring

Laminate Underlayment

Laminate floors require a thin underlayment, which creates the realistic sound of walking on a hardwood floor and feels softer underfoot. Some laminates have a pre-attached underlayment for easy installation and noise reduction. 

Do you need a moisture barrier under laminate flooring?

Even with pre-attached underlayment, when you’re placing laminate flooring over concrete or below grade, a 6 mm poly vapour barrier is also required to block any moisture from damaging your new floor. 

Check out Our Step by Step DIY Instructions for Installing Laminate Flooring

Learn how to install your new laminate flooring with this helpful how-to video.

Things to Remember

When installing laminate flooring, your subfloors must be solid, flat and clean. If you’re installing over concrete, below grade or in a room with high humidity or moisture, a vapour barrier is required. If you’re replacing a vinyl floor installed prior to 1990, consult a professional beforehand.

There are also different methods of installation:

Angle/Angle Install This installation requires you to angle the short sides first, before clicking into the previous row.
Drop Lock This is the easiest to install. Planks are installed one at a time.
Tap and Angle This installation is installed plank by plank, tapping the short side together then angling the long side.

How to Install Laminate Flooring | The Home Depot Canada

Check out Our Step by Step Diy Instructions for Installing Laminate Flooring

Cleaning your Laminate Flooring

It’s easy to keep your new laminate floors clean, but there are some things you should keep in mind. Vacuuming and dry-mopping will keep your laminate floor looking as beautiful as the day it was installed, but avoid sweeping with a rough-bristled broom, as it may scratch the floors.

When washing your laminate floor, make sure to use the laminate cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Spray the cleaner directly onto a microfiber cloth and wash. Try to avoid the use of wet jets, steam mops, regular detergents, soaps and wax products, which will cause your laminate floor to dull over time. Furniture markers that match your floor are also available for repairing minor damages. In some cases, laminate planks may have to be replaced.

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