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Cheap Laminate Flooring – The Truth Behind The Price!

When buying a new floor or doing home remodeling, all that matters today is how cheap can you do the renovations? You may find cheap laminate flooring on the market, but the question is are you buying a good quality product?  You don’t have to sacrifice the quality of laminate flooring just because you have a tight budget. However it is in your best interest to check following details before you will make your final purchase decision.

AC Rating

While buying cheap laminate be sure to check its Abrasion Rating called AC rating.  The AC number will tell you how durable is your laminate floor. AC3 rated laminate wood flooring is perfect for general, residential use. If you have pets, kids and a busy home you may consider a higher AC rating- like AC4 rated, for rooms with intensive foot traffic (kitchen, family room) laminate floor. AC4 laminate floor is suitable for heavy residential and light commercial use. When looking for discount laminate floors for a commercial application (installed in the store, office, gym, spa, etc)  use laminate wood floor with AC5 or AC6 rating. For higher than normal foot traffic, you need laminate floors with higher durability. It is important when buying cheap laminate wood flooring to stay away from floors with AC2 or AC1 rating. Floors with AC2 of lower rating is suitable for use in a very low traffic places like closet or guest bedroom.

What is AC Rating for Laminate Flooring

Thickness of the Laminate

It’s a misconception that the thickness of laminate floors is the most important factor. For all over cement subfloor installations, 6mm thick laminate is just perfect!  However be sure you have a good quality, even subfloor. When installing laminate over the wood subfloor, we suggest installing 7mm or thicker laminate. The golden rule when selecting thickness of the cheap laminate wood flooring is the less perfect your subfloor, the thicker laminate floor you need.  The reason for it is simple, if you have uneven subfloor, your laminate floor will start to flex up and down, adjusting to your subfloor. After a while you may see micro-gaps between laminate boards and in some cases, locking system can be damaged. If your subfloor needs repaired, be sure to invest your time to fix the problem. This way you will enjoy your flooring for many years to come.

Laminate flooring thickness
Laminate flooring is available in a number of various thicknesses

Quality of the Core

Do you know why some laminate floors are more rigid, or resistant to more moisture and damage?  This is due to the quality of the core material. Be sure when buying discount laminate wood floors to select the one with Highly Compressed HDF Material (High Density Fiberboard). This HDF board is what gives the laminate its high gross density and absolute rigidity. Stay away from laminate floor close outs that don’t have a brand name associated with the product or an AC rating on the box. Not having an AC Rating on the box, usually tells you that this floor does meet the AC rating standards. In the diagram below, Layer C is the HDF core. See how it makes up most of the laminate flooring’s profile? Making sure the core is sound, will set a good basis for the rest of the floor.

What laminate flooring is made of
Layers of laminate flooring – Photo Compliments of NALFA

Buy Brand Name

When you buy brand name laminate, you have not only reputation behind it, but you have warranties to make claims against, should something happen. Flooring purchase is a major home investment even if you buy cheap laminate flooring, so be sure to check all the details: who is producing your floor, what warranty is, and what warranty covers.

When buying use our  list of the manufacturers with the best performing core materials:

  1. Alloc
  2. Kronoswiss
  3. Quick-Step
  4. Inhaus

Look For Additional Features

Our other recommendation when looking for cheap laminate flooring, is to consider the additional features the flooring may have. Such as:

  • Moisture resistant core (Kronoswiss, Alloc, Quick-Step)
  • Waxed edge system (Classen)
  • Variety of edge styles ( Quick-Step)
  • Drop-down locking system (Kronoswiss)
  • Megaloc system (Classen)
  • AC3/31 or higher abrasion rating (Alloc has products up to AC6 Rating)

View the video below for help on choosing the best laminate flooring for you:

Reputation of the Seller

It is very important to work with a company who’s number one priority is customer satisfaction. There are many ways to check to see if the person selling you your flooring is doing their best to help you and not the manufacturers. Searching for a BBB rating for the company will be the easiest one. You can do a web search on the company name, check eBay ratings, or read testimonials. If you’ve selected laminate flooring from two different companies and you need help making a decision, choose the one with better reputation. You will be able to purchase with peace of mind knowing someone will have your back after making such a large purchase.

Samples from Bestlaminate

Now the decision is yours! There are many discount laminate floors on the market that will meet above requirements. Following the helpful tips above may help you finish your project below your budget!

More About Discount Laminate Flooring:

About Bestlaminate

Bestlaminate’s blog is dedicated to you by making the home improvement process easier and more affordable. We hope to make your home remodeling and maintaining a more positive experience.

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  1. Hello, good article but not informative enough. The best way to find a good quality product is not the AC rating, because it is only one part out of seven different product characteristics which make laminate flooring strong and good. Please look at the appropriate “class of use” like 31 or 32 allways in connection with a standard like as EN13329. There are symbols developed which show you what class a product is for and then you can compare.
    In general for residential applications all products with up to class 32 are very well fitting and good enough. If you like to have a “Mercedes” at home, please choose class 33.
    For commercial installation use class 32 – 33 – 34 depending on how you clean your flooring (by hand or machine).

    I hope this helps!

    Enjoy your laminate flooring – Michael

    • Thank you for input. It will be interesting to see how sellers are educated and ask them about EN standards… is anybody using it to talk about quality of the laminate? Go to Lowe’s and ask store associate…

      Knowing laminate “AC number” is sufficient in my opinion to make good purchase decision.

      I am happy the see comments from Egger people~ all the best and I hope to see you again!

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