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How To Select And Purchase The Right Laminate Flooring For Your Home

Updated on January 7, 2016

Thanks to modern technology, laminate flooring has become a popular and affordable way to transform any home or office from ho-hum to wow. The easy to clean, durable high gloss laminate planks are simple to install and retain their like-new beauty for much longer than other materials. Before heading to a store to buy laminate flooring, however, there are several factors to consider. These factors include what colors are already in the home, price, style, use, measurement, AC ratings, warranties, and customer service. Taking the time to evaluate each of these factors will ensure that you select the right laminate flooring for your home or office improvement project.

There are several brands of laminate flooring available today. What started in 1977 as Pergo has now expanded to include other reputable manufacturers, such as Armstrong, Clarion, and Kronoswiss. Investing in high quality materials means your new floor will be more scratch and moisture resistant and will look better for longer. Before selecting a manufacturer, you will have an easier time selecting the right laminate flooring for your home if you have a clear understanding of the style and color scheme you want for each room.

How To Choose a Color Scheme for Interior Design

Flooring And Style

When high gloss laminate flooring is made, a photographic appliqué of the desired wood grain, tile, or stone pattern is adhered to the top of each plank and sealed in under a tough, clear top coat. These photographic images have become accurate to the degree that it can take an expert to discern the difference between hardwood and laminated flooring. Unlike hardwood, of course, laminate flooring requires no waxing, polishing, or periodic sanding and resealing to retain its beautiful appearance. The best way to identify your personal decorating style is to look at the art in your home, browse magazines, and create a notebook of what appeals to you. There are also many online quizzes and interactive guides that can help you to more clearly identify your personal style. Once you have a style in mind, it is easier to select the best color of high gloss laminate flooring for each room.

Choosing Harmony

Unless you will be starting with a blank slate and a blank check, you will need to take into account the colors, textures, and styles that you already have. Using a color wheel, you can see which colors go well together and which ones tend to clash. Furniture can be given a new look with slipcovers, and other articles of furniture can be painted or moved to another area. Adding photographs of the furnishings, art work, and other household items you already have to your planning notebook will help you to select a laminate flooring color and style that will look the best in your home.

Charismatic Colors

Once the style for each room is identified, the color scheme should be the next decision. Colors create mood and set the tone for a room. When choosing interior color, it is a good idea to consider the way you want to feel in each room. Kitchens and bathrooms are generally bright and cheery rooms that feature yellows and light blues on a white or off-white background. Dens, gaming rooms, and libraries are normally decorated in darker color schemes, such as brown, black, burgundy, or forest green. Of course, your personal tastes must come first. One way to determine which colors appeal to you is to grab a handful of different paint strip samples from the local hardware store or walk through a fabric store and see what appeals to you. The colors in the art you select are nearly always good choices for color schemes, as they are a clear indicator of what appeals to you. High gloss laminate flooring comes in practically every wood grain hue imaginable, from bleached pine to nearly black wenge. You can also choose from a wide range of tile and stone color designs while retaining the advantages of high gloss laminate flooring.

A Price To Suit Your Budget

You can find high gloss laminate flooring on sale for as little as $0.59 per square foot and as high as $3.75 or more per square foot depending upon the thickness of your planks, the quality of the materials used to build them, and the merchant you select. One factor that makes high gloss laminate flooring so affordable is its ease of installation. Homeowners do not need to hire an installation crew, nor do they need special tools or skills to install laminate flooring themselves. Any other durable, high quality flooring project requires professional installation, significantly increasing its cost. Set your budget ahead of time and stick with it throughout each of the phases of the decision process.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This cliché of the construction world is sound advice. When measuring rooms for new laminate flooring, it is a good idea to remove the baseboards and trim. Laminate flooring is sold in 8-inch by x 47-inch tongue and groove planks, and in both 15-inch square and 24-inch square tiles. Laminate flooring is measured in square feet. To learn how to measure a floor in square feet, it helps to picture your floor covered with a series of one-foot by one-foot squares. Each of these equals one 'square' foot. To determine the size of a square or rectangular room, simply multiply the length times the width. For example, a room that is 10 feet across and 12 feet deep would need 120 square feet of flooring. Since cutting is sometimes required, it is a rule of thumb to purchase 10% more than the initial measurements warrant. To get 10% of 120 square feet, simply multiply that number by 1.1 for a total order of 132 square feet. Measuring odd-shaped and circular rooms requires a bit more thought, but there are plenty of online resources available to help simplify the process. Before cutting your high gloss laminate flooring planks, it helps to allow them to sit in the room where they will be installed so that they can become acclimated to the temperatures and humidity. Whenever you are cutting laminate flooring, you should use a power saw and standard safety equipment.

How to Calculate Total Square Feet & Order Laminate Flooring

AC Rating Assurance

As high gloss laminate flooring continued to grow in popularity, the industry began to recognize a need for standardization and product quality testing and rating. Simply because one manufacturer's laminate flooring is thicker or more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will withstand heavy traffic, spills, stains, and all the other hardships that real life can dish out. To ensure that your high gloss laminate flooring will continue to shine as promised, the European Producers of Laminate Flooring put together a series of tests called the Abrasion Rating System. These tests include ratings for burn, impact, stain, and moisture resistance. Higher AC rating numbers mean the product is better designed to withstand normal use. Below are basic guidelines for each of the AC ratings:

  • AC1/21 Moderate Residential - moderate residential use such as bedrooms or closets
  • AC2/22 General Residential - normal residential use, such as living rooms and dining rooms
  • AC3/23 Heavy Residential - all residential uses
  • AC3/31 Moderate Commercial - all residential uses, plus hotel rooms and small offices
  • AC4/32 General Commercial - all residential uses, plus offices, boutiques, and cafes
  • AC5/33 Heavy Commercial - all residential uses, plus heavy commercial uses and public buildings

It is a good idea to avoid laminate flooring rated AC1 or AC2, as these tend to be low quality products made in China. Most residential laminate flooring is rated AC3/23. This rating demonstrates that the product has been proven to be durable against normal residential traffic. The new Taber abrasion test has caused some confusion that new laminate flooring buyers should be aware of, as the test is more stringent and products may now rate lower. The risk lies in the fact that low quality products are advertised as having higher AC ratings when, in fact, the rating was awarded as a result of the earlier, less stringent test. Your laminate flooring supplier should be able to tell you which AC rating a particular product was tested under. Generally, there is no need to invest in more expensive products rated above AC3 for normal residential use.

Check The Warranties

Reputable suppliers provide warranties and guarantees to back up both their products and their service. Be sure to look for a laminate flooring supplier than offers delivery guarantees, manufacturer warranties, a strong dedication to customer service, and a wide inventory selection. A simple way to check on a company's customer service record is to read through some of their customer testimonials. You can also use this method to see which brands other homeowners are most satisfied with.

Helpful Tips

By investing in a high quality, well-known brand of high gloss laminate flooring, you avoid running the risk of replacement planks becoming unavailable in the future. While fading is not a problem with laminate flooring, companies that produce low quality products tend to go out of business, taking replacement planks with them when they go. As rare as the need may be, a dropped heavy tool

can gouge even the most resilient laminate flooring. Having a matching replacement available ensures that your floor will continue to look its best. There are also touch-up sticks you can buy from some manufacturers for deep scratches.

Create a budget and stick to it. Carefully measure the square footage of the rooms to receive laminate flooring, and take the time to learn more about the home decorating styles and color schemes that appeal to you. This way, you are far more likely to select high quality laminate flooring that will showcase your home for many years at a price you can afford.

Useful Resources

Personal Style Quiz

This simple quiz from the design experts at sproost yields surprisingly accurate results after you respond to just a few images of different rooms. By identifying your personal decorating style, it is far easier to select colors, flooring, and accent pieces for your dream home.

What is your design style?

This Better Homes & Gardens interactive quiz is another excellent way to identify the color schemes and styles that suit you best. This knowledge helps you to select the flooring that is right for your personal style, furnishings, and color scheme.

How to Create a Mood With Color

This article helps you understand the impact color can have on your long-term satisfaction with a particular décor. Even the most beautifully designed room, if done in a color scheme that doesn't work for you, will leave you uncomfortable and dissatisfied. The article goes on to introduce lighting, color blending, and other tools to help create your personal style.

Selecting Laminate Floor Colors to Fit Your Home

This article from The Free Library points out several areas of consideration that will help homeowners select the best laminate flooring for their home. Not only must the color of the laminate flooring be considered, but furnishings, light sources, and home décor as well. Pulled together properly, a home can look as though it had been decorated by professionals at a fraction of the cost.

Decorating Dos and Don'ts

Before making major changes to your home's décor, these simple guidelines can really help you stay focused and on track to create the interior design that suits you best, using a color scheme, putting descriptions in writing, and collecting images of what appeals to yo

I Want What I Want When I Want It, But What Do I REALLY Want?

Before selecting the laminate flooring right for your home, it is important to recognize and fully understand your style, your color scheme preferences, and the realities of completing a home redecorating project. Rather than trying to accomplish everything at once and feeling overwhelmed, this article helps amateur decorators create professional results.

How To Compare Laminate Flooring Brands

This is an excellent resource for fully understanding the various methods and materials used by different manufacturers to create laminate flooring of various qualities. Floors take a beating on a regular basis, so it is important to invest in high quality, well-made planks that will last.

Add impact with wood-effect laminate flooring

For a clear look at the impact you can attain by installing laminate flooring in your home, and the ease with which installation occurs, this article provides a brief but effective summary about starting an affordable DIY laminate flooring project.

Decorate and Maintain Laminate Floors

This is a virtual encyclopedia of the many facets of laminate flooring. It includes everything from selecting the right color to measuring rooms accurately, installation tips, and cleaning and maintenance suggestions. For practically every question you can think of regarding laminate flooring, this is the place to look.

Laminate Flooring: Pros and Cons

This article provides simple and to the point comparisons of the pros and cons of laminate flooring. The affordability, durability, and ease of installation and cleaning are all mentioned, as is laminate flooring's tendency to have a hollow sound. As with all floors, laminate flooring does not handle standing water very well and should be avoided.


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