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Laminate Flooring FAQs

How are laminate floors made?

Laminate flooring combines multiple layers which are pressed and glued together. The layers used to create laminate are a protective topcoat, a visual layer using high resolution pictures, a core layer of high density fiberboard or HDF, and a layer of melamine backer for increased stability. For more information on how laminate floors are made, please visit our laminate flooring construction page.

What is the difference between modern laminate flooring and first generation laminate?

Modern wood laminate flooring is different than the laminate you may have seen in your grandmother’s house. There have been a number of changes in the wood laminate flooring available today - for more information, please visit our Myths about Laminate page.

Can laminate flooring be installed in any type of room?

Laminate flooring is versatile and can be installed in many rooms in the home, as long as the room has a solid, flat subfloor. Laminate flooring is a wood product and while it can be moisture-resistant, installing it in high-humidity rooms like bathrooms and basements is not recommended.

Which direction should laminate be installed in?

The direction the laminate flooring should be in installed in is personal preference, but laminate flooring generally looks better if installed parallel to the longest wall in a room. This will help “elongate” the room and will help naturally pull the eye around the room.

What is a floating floor?

When laminate is not glued down or otherwise attached to the subfloor or other flooring beneath, you have a floating floor. Laminate flooring is the primary example of a floating floor, as it uses a “click and lock” system to hold it in place, rather than glue or nails.

What is HDF and what is it made of?

High Density Fiberboard (HDF) is composed of fiber extracted from wood chips and wood scraps. It is compressed into a very hard and dense fiberboard that is used as the core for laminate flooring. For more information on the layers of laminate flooring, please see our laminate flooring construction page.

How long will my laminate floors last?

With proper installation, a quality underlayment, and regular maintenance, your new laminate floors can last for years. To extend the life of laminate floors, have them installed by a flooring professional.

A high quality underlayment can help protect your laminate flooring from moisture and warping. Underlayment also enhances the performance of laminate floors by providing an added layer to help reduce the impact from walking and furniture weight.

By following our suggested routine maintenance of laminate flooring, you can help extend its life and “new” look. Use approved cleaning products to help prevent damage to the protective top coat layer of laminate flooring. In addition, clean up spills and liquids quickly so the chances of warping and buckling are reduced.

Can laminate flooring be installed over existing flooring?

Laminate flooring can be installed over some types of existing flooring like vinyl or tile, but it is highly recommended that you install laminate flooring over the subfloor, which needs to be clean, dry, and level. These considerations are why it is often better to have a professional install your laminate flooring rather than doing it yourself. Subflooring installation at Empire Today is a separate service from typical flooring installations.

Is laminate flooring pet friendly?

Generally, laminate flooring is pet-friendly. The durable top coat layer can withstand most scratches, dents and stains caused by our furry friends.

Are there different finishes for laminate floors?

Yes, there are several types of decorative finishes for laminate floors.

An Embossed Finish follows the grain of the wood in the visual layer to provide texture and a more natural wood look. The feel of an embossed finish is similar to feeling real wood.

A High Gloss finish is offers an ultra-sleek and glossy sheen to highlight the wood look. Shiny and reflective, high gloss finish is very smooth to the touch.

A Hand Scraped finish is designed to mimic a centuries-old method to help provide an aged and weathered look in solid hardwood flooring. The hand scraped technique is a type of embossed finish, done to the visual layer prior to the top coat finish being applied. The process gives the laminate a much more weathered, “rustic” look.

Each finish provides a way to further customize the look of your new laminate floo[8] rs. Please see the How Laminate is Made page to learn more about the features in the variety of finishes.

How can laminate flooring make my life easier?

Overall, laminate flooring is easy to live with. The construction of laminate flooring makes it durable, allowing you to sit back and relax while the kids play. Laminate flooring can be very resistant to stains, fading, dents, and scratches. Laminate flooring is made to help withstand everyday wear and tear without sacrificing looks.

How do I choose the best style when there are so many options?

Should you choose the light grey hickory laminate in a hand scraped finish or a dark cherry Brazilian cherry with a high gloss finish? The large variety of styles and designs can make it difficult to settle on one floor.

Your in-home appointment will help you view the samples in the natural light in your home. Placing samples next to wall colors and near furniture will help you imagine what your new laminate floors will look like once they are installed.

Laminate allows you to make bold design choices while often leaving room in the budget for other projects. With all of the new styles and consistent durability, you can feel confident in your decision.

Are there moldings to coordinate with my laminate floor?

Yes, there are moldings and transitions to help coordinate with your laminate floors. Once installed, you will have a cohesive look to your new floors, similar to solid hardwood floors.

Will the transitions in doorways and rooms be high?

No. The thin-layered construction of laminate makes them less invasive to your home. Removing your existing flooring prior to installation will help reduce the height of your new floors.

My subfloor is uneven. Can I still install laminate flooring?

Yes, but it’s recommended to hire a professional to level your subfloor prior to the install (for an additional expense). Placing a high quality underlayment over the subfloor will help even the surface where laminate will be laid. This is one of the many factors you should consider when deciding whether you should install laminate flooring yourself.

Is there a hollow sound when I walk on laminate flooring?

This is a common misconception about laminate flooring. Advancements in modern laminate flooring underlayment has greatly reduced the hollow “click” sound that laminate flooring used to have.

What is an AC Rating?

The Abrasion Class (AC) Rating is a 5 level rating system to classify the use and durability of laminate. Please see our AC rating page to learn more about the AC Rating system and how it can help you choose the right floor for your home.

Can I install laminate flooring in my kitchen?

The high durability of laminate flooring enables it to perform well in kitchens. In case of a spill, make sure you clean it up quickly to reduce the chances of damage.

Can I install laminate flooring in my bathroom?

It is not recommended that you install laminate flooring where there are high levels of moisture, such as a full bathroom.

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