The Best Laminate Flooring Brands and how to Choose.

Laminate flooring is made up of four layers that are joined together through lamination, with Each layer designed to serve a distinct purpose. It is designed to look exactly like hardwood flooring with the same aesthetic value but is cheaper.

Laminate flooring is easy to install, clean, scratch-resistant, good for homes with kids and pets, and is relatively durable.

Top 5 best Laminate Flooring Brands

Mohawk & PERGO.

PERGO has been in the business of manufacturing laminate flooring for over 35 years now. They are the inventors of laminate flooring. This is an assurance that their laminates are almost the best overall.

PERGO has mastered the art of combining beautiful realistic design and at the same time manufacturing laminates that have long-lasting wear performance and durability like no other.

PERGO and Mohawk Laminate floors

Mohawk Industries produces floor covering products for residential and commercial applications. It is an American manufacturer that was founded in 1878 and is based in Calhoun, Georgia.

PERGO brand is owned by Mohawk industries Inc. Since 2013. The PERGO mission is to bring lasting beauty to indoor environments in combination with greater ease and complete experience of quality.

So why choose PERGO?

PERGO laminates are easy to install, easy to maintain, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, impact-resistant, and lately, the PERGO sensation is water-resistant.

These unique features and unique performance offer a LIFETIME WARRANTY for your laminate flooring.

Cons :

PERGO laminate flooring is expensive but why settle on a cheaper flooring and end up replacing it over a short period of time.

Verdict:

PERGO might be expensive but if you’re looking for laminate flooring with a wide range of beautiful, realistic designs to choose from and one that will last you a lifetime, cost shouldn’t be an issue.

“PERGO laminate flooring is designed to handle whatever lands on it and look good at the same time. Whether it’s a little spilled milk or an adventure in the tub, this floor is ready for all of life’s surprises. Strikingly beautiful and practically indestructible.”

Armstrong Flooring.

Armstrong is a company that is based in the United States. Armstrong’s laminates are designed to handle heavy foot traffic, are easy to clean, and are extremely durable at a cheaper price.

Armstrong Flooring

Armstrong has a large selection of stone/tile looks in its collection. Rest assured you’ll find a colour and a design that best suits you.

The good thing with Armstrong is that they manufacture their own floor cleaning products. This makes it easy for you to be able to maintain your floor’s aesthetic value because you don’t have the fear of using cleaning products that will damage your laminate flooring.

Cons:

It has been discovered that Armstrong has poor quality control.

Some people have complained about an infestation on their flooring after purchase, and sometimes the floor will chip and leave splinters when you walk over it.

The cheapest Armstrong laminates won’t last 10 years plus, but if it is within your planned expectations, you won’t be disappointed. 

Verdict:

Sometimes Armstrong will be bad, and sometimes it will be good. If you’re willing to take the risk, and it happens to be good, it is durable, and it will last for long.

But not to worry, One of the Pros of Armstrong is that their customer response is quick to answer any arising questions and deal with any complaints.

Unlike many companies, Armstrong offers long warranties, usually a minimum of 20 years, and in which they honor them. If the shipped floor didn’t meet your expectations, they compensate you fully

Shaw Floor.

Shaw’s floors are made with a dynamic design, color, and realism. These laminates have a highly resistant finish that endures handsomely, making your floor extremely durable through a technology that Shaw floors have devised called OptiGuard.

Opti Guard is a very high gloss, durable laminate finish that is compounded to be highly scratch-resistant and dramatically increases the detail, realism, and beauty of the floor. 

With this optiguard, Shaw laminates are more outstanding than any other high gloss products in the market. The surface is exceptionally smooth and fine, which makes it easy to clean your floor.

Another reason to choose Shaw Laminate flooring is that it is easy to install. Shaw floors manufacture longboards that are usually 6.5 feet. This ensures that installation goes faster because there are fewer seams, and at the same time produces a more elegant and expensive look.

On top of that, Shaw Laminates are manufactured with a locking technology that ensures the boards are secured together without the need of using messy adhesives.

This Lock and Place and VersaLock is hassle-free and means your floor locks in a snap, meaning you don’t have to give the glue time to cure, unlike the other laminate flooring brands.

Pros:

  1. Shaw’s laminates are water-resistant, which guarantees you 24-hour protection against water.
  2. Shaw laminate flooring is Green-Guard certified to be low in volatile organic compounds.

Cons:

  1. Shaw commercial warranty is shorter usually 5years unlike PERGO and Armstrong who have a 10-15 year commercial warranty.
  1. Shaw does not have a large selection of stone/tile looks, unlike Armstrong which has a wide selection in its collection.

Tarkett Laminate Flooring.

Tarkett laminates are of high quality, high in aesthetic value, and are easy to install. Tarkett is impact-resistant and therefore durable and long-lasting. This type of laminate flooring is ideal for residential and commercial use.

All Tarkett laminates are pet friendly and certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of the United States of America as asthma & allergy friendly. This ensures a beautiful and healthy environment for you and your loved ones.

Tarkett Floors

A good reason to choose Tarkett laminate flooring is that it is cheap and still a durable floor. It costs around $.99 to $3.29 per square foot and an installation fee of about $1.75 – $2.50per square foot if you have to hire somebody.

Another reason is the Tarkett warranties, which are among the longest available. For example, a 25-year residential warranty will cover 100% of labor and material within the first 5 years, then 50% within the 6-10 years.

Aqua Guard Laminate Flooring.

Aqua guard laminate flooring just like the name suggests is a water-resistant laminate flooring that looks and feels exactly like hardwood. It is fit for both heavy foot traffic residential and commercial applications.

It costs anywhere from $2.50-$3.99 per square foot depending on the line, looks, and warranty.

Acquaguard laminate flooring is rated AC 5 which makes it one of the most durable laminates.

Aqua guard comes in five categories, namely:

  • Aqua guard Authentic Texture laminate flooring; 
  • Aqua guard standard texture laminate flooring;
  • Aqua guard High gloss laminate Flooring;
  • Aqua guard hand-scraped laminate flooring;
  • Aqua guard Smooth Laminate flooring;
  1. Aqua guard Authentic Texture laminate flooring; 

Made from real wood planks and has a texture as authentic as the one for hardwood planks. Costs $2.69-$3.79 per square foot. It is fit for homes with heavy and active households and because of its AC 5 rating, it is common in commercial settings.

  1. Aqua guard standard texture laminate flooring;

It has a lighter texture but still has a look of hardwood wood flooring. It is 12mm thick and rated AC 5.

Ideal for a busy home with kids and pets.

  1. Aqua guard High gloss laminate Flooring;

They are very attractive with sparkles, but the gloss makes them more slippery than the other aqua guard floors. 

They have a lifetime residential warranty and a 15-year commercial warranty. They are 12 mm thick with an AC rating of, AC 5.

  1. Aqua guard hand-scraped laminate flooring;

They have a classic/vintage look. Hand scraping helps in exposing the richness of the wood grain. Aqua guard hand-scraped laminate flooring costs between $2.50-$3.99 per square foot.

It is suitable for holiday home cabins and man caves. The specs are the same as the rest aqua guard laminates, 12 mm, AC 5, Lifetime residential warranty, and 15-year commercial warranty.

  1. Aqua guard Smooth Laminate flooring;

This category is a contemporary, modern style that has no texture. Each tile has a colorful design that is different from the other rather than being uniform.

They are popular in bathrooms, basements, and entryways.

Cons:

  1. Acquaguard laminate flooring is only sold online so if you wanna feel the sample before purchase then this is not a good option for you. 
  1. Aqua guard laminates expensive but not to worry because the quality is good.

Components of Laminate flooring

The four layers that are joined together to form laminate flooring are a back layer, core layer, design layer, and wear layer.

The wear layer is the topmost layer and is responsible for protecting the floor against stains and surface burns. This layer is made of aluminum oxide.

The design layer is a photographic applique layer that resembles wood or sometimes stone. It gives the floor its rich aesthetic value.

The core layer is placed above the back layer. It is made of melamine resin and high-density fiberboard. It makes the floor durable and protects it from indentations.

The back layer which is the bottom layer protects the laminate planks against moisture and balances the floor.

How to Choose the Best Laminate Flooring for your Home

When choosing laminate flooring for your home, it is important to do some background checks of the product you’re buying and not settle only on aesthetic value.

Factors to consider when selecting Laminate flooring:

The thickness of laminate flooring Planks

The thicker the planks, the better. Thicker laminates are more resistant to bending or buckling and to wear and tear, therefore they last longer.

The thickness of the laminate is measured in millimeters, usually from 6 mm-12 mm, and is defined by the base to the top of the board. Some laminate floors come attached with a pad, However, their thickness should not be included.

Take note because some salesmen may be misleading by including the thickness of the pad.

The thicker the laminate the more expensive the floor is.

Comparisons between a thicker laminate and a thinner laminate.

  1. Installing a thicker laminate, say 10 mm – 12 mm, is less tasking because the subfloor doesn’t have to be so perfect as the thickness will hide the imperfections.
  1. Thin laminates are easily subjected to damages and are less durable than thick ones. Thicker laminates are more impact resistant.
  1. The thicker laminates like the 12 mm laminate have the highest aesthetic value, almost looking exactly like hardwood and are also as comfortable to the foot as hardwood flooring.
  1. Thicker laminates are also less echoing and are good for soundproofing.

Verdict:

The ideal thickness for laminate flooring is between 10 mm to 12 mm. This is for people who want to have a more durable floor that feels exactly like hardwood.

The major difference between the 10 mm and the 12 mm is the aesthetic value. The other features are relatively comparable.

If you are looking for a relatively cheaper and still good quality laminate, you can opt for the high-quality 8mm thick laminate floors.

AC Rating.

AC stands for the abrasion coefficient and is usually rated from AC 1 – AC 5. It is a test that is taken to measure the laminate’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains, and burns.

If a laminate flooring has an AC rating it means that it has undergone all the tests and it has passed. Failing on one test will disqualify it.

Each rating is represented by international pictographs representing the area of the laminate of application and its durability. The primary application is divided into two: Residential and commercial. Each group is then further divided according to the intensity levels of traffic into the application areas that are: Moderate, general, or heavy.

Below is a breakdown of the AC ratings, their symbols, and the suitable uses

AC 1: Residential; Moderate traffic; Suitable for bedrooms

AC 2: Residential; General traffic; Suitable for living rooms and dining rooms

AC 3:Residential; Heavy traffic; Suitable for all areas

AC 4:Commercial; Moderate traffic; Suitable for office settings, hotel rooms, and heavy home traffics like apartments.

AC 5:Commercial; General traffic; Suitable for office, boutique, and cafes.

Verdict;

For home use, Laminate flooring that would be ideal is one that is rated AC3.In areas with minimal traffic like closets and possibly adult rooms that kids don’t play in or where you don’t move furniture as often, AC 1 rated laminate can save you money.

AC 5 rated laminates are not good for home use. But you might be wondering why not install AC 5 rated laminates and last longer. First, they are expensive and you will end up paying more money as compared to if you installed AC 3 rated laminate flooring.

Second, AC 5 laminate flooring is designed for commercial areas with high traffic therefore they are high pressure and they are made with a rough texture. Rough enough to put holes in your socks and don’t feel comfortable in bare feet.

You can settle for AC 4 if you find the price favorable but make sure it is not too rough for your feet before you have it installed.

Cost.

As the rule goes, what you pay for is what you get. It’s not different for laminate flooring. Cheaper options have a tendency to deteriorate faster.

Factors like AC rating and Thickness determine the price of your laminate as discussed above.

Another factor that determines the price of laminate flooring is the warranty. Usually, the more you pay the longer the warranty will be. A longer warranty means that the manufacturer is confident about the product they are making. 

The factors above cut across all the brands of laminate flooring and even with the best brands that are available in the market, it is wise to consider these factors keenly.

Verdict: Before choosing the brand that you are going to install, it is good to consider factors like thickness, AC rating, and cost depending on the area you want to install whether commercial or residential areas. Also, factors like durability, traffic in the area of application, and aesthetic value should be considered.

The above Top 5 brands have been clearly expounded, and I believe they should offer you a wide range from which you can decide.

Good luck!

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