Laminate flooring has grown significantly in popularity, perhaps because it may be easier to install and maintain than more traditional surfaces such as hardwood flooring. It may also have the advantages of costing less and requiring less skill to install than alternative flooring materials. It is reasonably durable, hygienic (several brands contain an antimicrobial resin), and relatively easy to maintain.
One of the first things that consumers consider when purchasing flooring is price. Price, however, is not necessarily an indicator of value. Sure, you can find brand names of laminate flooring on the internet for less than a dollar a square foot, but be careful! You might be buying seconds or discontinued products, or you may have to buy a truckload to get such a low price.
In the case of discontinued products, if you ever have to replace a small section of flooring in the future, chances are there will not be any more of that style available. Having to replace the entire floor when all you may need is one box would, in the long run, prove that the original flooring was not such a good deal after all. While you are shopping, keep in mind the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Prices of good quality, first run, laminate flooring will generally range from about $1.50 to $3.00 a square foot, but they can cost more than $6.00 a square foot. Manufacturers of top quality laminate flooring offer a variety of choices to fit most consumers’ budgets.
In addition to price, one of the most important things to consider when purchasing laminate flooring is its warranty. A good rule of thumb would be not to purchase laminate flooring with less than a 15-year residential warranty. In addition to the length of the warranty, make sure the warranty period provides protection against premature wear, staining and fading. The better warranties will also offer protection against accidental moisture damage.
NALFA Certification Seal:
The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) has a certification seal for laminate flooring manufacturers. The seal certifies that the laminate floor has passed a rigorous and demanding series of ANSI tests designed to evaluate its performance, durability, strength, and overall quality of the laminate flooring. Look for it on the manufacturer’s sample boards.
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