Laminate Flooring FAQ's

If you're thinking about purchasing laminate flooring for your home, you probably have some questions about the product. This is a perfectly natural part of the comparison shopping process, and will help ensure that you make an informed decision when it's time to buy.

For your convenience, we've decided to share some of the most frequently asked questions from our customers, along with answers that we hope will help you understand more about the products we offer. If you don't see your question here or if you need further assistance, please feel free to contact us. A knowledgeable team member will get back to you as soon as possible.

Q: What is laminate flooring?
A: It is a synthetic alternative to natural hardwood floors that was first introduced by a Swedish manufacturer under the brand name Pergo in the late 1970s. The company did not begin marketing its high gloss laminate wood floor substitutes to American consumers until many years later.

Q: How is it made?
A: Laminate flooring is constructed of several layers of composite materials that are compressed together using a laminating machine capable of applying more than 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch at temperatures in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: What are the different layers and what do they do?
A: The base or backing layer provides a basic level of moisture resistance to help prevent warping. Next, the core layer is there to give the plank the structural strength and stability required to hold up under the intense forces exerted when people walk across the surface. Above that is the décor layer. This usually consists of a high resolution photograph of natural wood that allows the plank to mimic the look of real hardwood. Topping it all off is a wear layer, which provides protection against fading and yields the high gloss laminate finish consumer’s desire.

Q: What materials are used in manufacturing?
A: Recycled plastics, fiberglass, wood pulp, and various resins.

Q: What types of laminate flooring are there?
A:  The two major types are called Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL) and High Pressure Laminate (HPL). DPL and HPL products differ in both the number of layers used in construction and the number of steps used in the fusing process. HPL is a far better product that commands premium prices, but is not really a necessity for most homes. Some manufacturers, including Pergo, offer both types of products.

Q: What design elements are important when choosing a floor style?
A: The most common design elements that consumers consider before making a selection are color, look (such as distressed wood, traditional wood, or natural stone), and DIY level. Consumers must also decide whether they prefer matte or high gloss laminate, and which brand name they wish to go with. Pergo remains a bestseller, but other popular brands include Armstrong, Wilsonart, and Diamond Living.

Q: Will I be able to install my new laminate flooring myself or will I have to hire a professional?
A:  Although some customers choose to pay a contractor to tackle installation, many of today's most popular faux wood floor products feature a simple "click-lock" assembly that makes the project suitable even for beginners. For more information about installing your new floor by yourself, please see our Installation FAQ page.