So much has changed in laminate flooring over the last few years. Some changes are very positive, and some not so.

First, let me state categorically that I can buy cheap product and sell it like everyone else ($.39, $.79, $.99, etc. per square foot) but I choose not to because my clients are too important to me. I’m not in business to do a disservice to my customers.

Let’s get the “not so” out of the way: Cheap laminate flooring. Products advertised under $1.50 per square foot (material only sale prices – not retail) are likely to have at least some of the following faults:

  • Obscure imports (China, etc.) generally can’t be re-ordered, should you need some additional material for a repair. Companies bring in whatever they can buy cheap and when it’s gone, it’s gone – and you could be stuck.
  • Obscure imports (China, etc.) generally don’t have matching accessories available – so you’ll end up hunting down a transition strip that may or may not match to finish your job.
  • Obscure imports (China, etc.). Who is going to help if there’s a problem with the actual product? Who is actually going to support the warranty? Just because a salesperson says the product is trouble free, doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • Cheap products don’t have the structural strength in the core and locking system, so typically after a period of time (6-months to a couple of years) you start to get gapping in the boards – or worse, the boards can come apart.
  • Cheap products are more likely to chip and ding because the core is not as dense and the laminate is not processed on to the core properly.
Ok, here’s the fun stuff. Laminates used to be so limited in styling but now we have:

  • Individual boards (planks) that show each board as a separate piece (just like real wood flooring).
  • Beveling of these planks: from small micro bevels to the more rustic styles of deeper bevels.
  • French bleed type of bevels where it looks like the stain collects at the board edge and highlights it.
  • Hand scraped textures (very popular in wood flooring) or undulations in the plank.
  • Heavy textures not previously available.
  • Glossy furniture finishes for a more formal look.
The price for these innovations is small if you compare the cost to that of a real wood floor. Especially in the higher end products, the same characteristics in a real wood floor are easily double the price.

Don’t be afraid to spend $7 - $8 on a good laminate floor (On Sale installed price). You will reap years of enjoyment and service out of a good floor, as opposed to years of kicking yourself for buying the cheap stuff.

As always, if you have a question ~ just write to me.