Top Five Myths about Laminate Flooring

Many homeowners begin the buying process with their minds already made up about the type of flooring they want in their home. With advancements in laminate flooring construction, this flooring solution has become one of the most popular choices in wood-look flooring.

Here are the top five myths that people still believe about laminate flooring.

Laminate flooring looks fake or different from hardwood flooring.

The improved visual layer of laminate flooring is the primary area where laminate flooring has made advancements. Modern, top-of-the-line photographic equipment captures the true essence of the wood. The images are then digitally enhanced to create an optimum visual layer that looks more like real wood while avoiding repeating patterns not found in solid hardwood. Another major improvement in laminate flooring today is the advanced embossing techniques that have been developed. Some styles of laminate flooring are so advanced that the top-layer is embossed to match the visual layer below. This allows plank textures to match the high definition photograph highlighting the grains and natural wood elements and creating a natural look and feel.

Embossing the topcoat lets manufacturers create a wide variety of ‘finishes’ for laminate flooring. A flat finish is much like traditional hardwood flooring where only a subtle wood grain comes through in the texture. Distressed finishes, such as hand scraped and wire brushed, create a look that can give much more depth to the flooring. Flooring with a distressed finish has become very popular and can be seen throughout home magazines and television shows. At Empire, flooring with a distressed finish has become so in-demand that we have expanded our laminate offerings to include a variety of hand scraped and wire brushed finishes.

Modern laminate flooring not resembles real wood - it can be difficult to tell the difference between wood laminate flooring and real hardwood flooring. For more information, please see our laminate flooring and hardwood flooring comparison page.

Laminate flooring sounds hollow or makes a “click” when I walk on it.

Laminate flooring was once known for a loud, hollow “click” sound that set it apart from solid hardwood flooring. Modern laminate flooring has greatly reduced this sound.

Laminate floor is a floating floor – that is, it’s not nailed or glued to the subfloor. This construction creates space between the planks and the subfloor that can result in a hollow or “clunk” sound. Modern laminate flooring has increased in thickness to help reduce this sound. The thicker underlayment also helps reduce the “clunk.”

Laminate floors all look the same.

The “fake wood floor” look of laminate flooring was the only option on the market years ago. Offering only a few visuals and select color choices, old, first generation laminate flooring may have earned its infamous reputation.

Modern laminate flooring offers both traditional and fashion-forward wood looks along with a variety of plank widths, a wide range of wood visuals, and several different decorative top coat finishes. For more information, please visit our laminate flooring styles page.

Laminate isn’t as durable as hardwood.

Laminate flooring offers a surface that can be more scratch- and dent-resistant than traditional hardwood floors. The durable top coat finish provides resistance and protects against fading and staining.

In fact, laminate has its own advantages over hardwood floor. It is naturally resistant to fading, whereas hardwood flooring is susceptible to UV damage. Laminate flooring is also more tolerant to moisture and humidity - but you’ll still want to avoid installing it in bathrooms and other areas where high humidity and moisture exposure is a concern.

Advancements in technology have created a modern laminate flooring with improved quality, craftsmanship, and designs. This modern laminate flooring provides a thicker, higher-quality construction. When installed by a professional, as recommended by the manufacturer, modern laminate flooring locking systems create a tight seal to reduce warping and damage from liquids.

I’ve never seen laminate flooring that I’ve liked.

Customers are still hesitant to consider laminate flooring due to the stigma created by memories of first generation laminate. However, once they are able to experience modern laminate flooring, many choose wood laminate floors over hardwood floors not just to save money - they often prefer the style as well. Further, many people have walked on laminate flooring, thinking it was hardwood, and not even realized it.