A good laminate floor is, first and foremost, a floor that lasts. Whether it’s water, dirt, spilled food, or wear and tear from constant foot traffic, a laminate floor has to withstand a great deal of physical abuse. The best laminate flooring will handle that abuse and still look good even years after it’s installed, no matter the brand.
Choosing the right laminate flooring that suits your tastes and your home’s style of decor can be a challenge and a choice that can last years. To that end, we have compiled a list of the best laminate flooring you can buy today.
Best Laminate Flooring Comparison Table
Laminate Floor Brands We Reviewed
The style of Pergo laminate flooring we tested out was the brand’s Outlast+ Vintage Pewter Oak. Overall, the flooring looks superb, the Pewter Oak style having a warm and inviting gray color that works well when coordinated with just about any home decor style or theme. A dark fill brings out the rustic elements like cracks and splits while the multi-level gloss highlights the design’s natural character.
Overall the planks look and feel beefy when held, measuring about 10mm thick. The underlayment also adds about 2 mm of additional thickness, with a total thickness of about 0.5 in. Each length is about 7.5 in. wide by 47.25 in. long. Overall, it shouldn’t take many boxes of floor sections to cover a floor. The edges of each plank also fit tightly together in a nearly seamless manner, showing the very close machining tolerances on the part of Pergo.
Two of Pergo’s features for laminate flooring are ‘SurfaceDefense’ wear protection and the revolutionary new ‘SpillProtect’ waterproof technology only from Pergo that defends against household spills.
Through our testing, we found that there’s a good deal of merit to the brand’s claims as even prolonged immersion for a full day did nothing to the underlying board. Suffice to say, it’s unlikely that temporary spills will be much of a threat to the structural material of the flooring itself.
The glossy surface is also resistant to damage. We had to struggle to scratch just one of the boards. Overall, we feel that Pergo would be a sound choice for a room that needs a resilient floor. Ultimately, all of this means that Pergo is not cheap.
But when you want quality, cheap sn not what you want to look for. Arguably what you are paying for here isn’t so much the design or aesthetic of the flooring, but the expertise for as long as laminate flooring has been around. With that said, this is arguably the best laminate flooring on this list.
You can find Pergo Outlast+ Laminate Flooring on Amazon for an affordable price per pack.
Yes. Pergo’s Outlast+ line of laminate flooring comes with a limited lifetime residential warranty.
Armstrong Rustics Premium
Armstrong is one of the first names you might hear or read about when you start to research your laminate flooring options. And this seemingly universal name is warranted: Armstrong has for a long time been the laminate floor of choice for many professional carpenters and craftsmen of all kinds.
To this day, many people strongly prefer this brand regardless of what the product in question is going to be used for.
The brand loyalty is well-earned. Armstrong has a huge variety of colorations, styles, and patterns of laminate flooring that will suit the personal and aesthetic tastes of just about anyone looking for a new floor.
One of Armstrong’s strongest features is their patented locking system, allowing their laminate floor segments to quickly, easily and seamlessly snap together with ease. The company also offers matching trim and finishing pieces as well, allowing you to complete the look of any project big or small.
Like with pretty much all the other laminate flooring we acquired, the Armstrong Laminate floor pieces came in an unassuming white box. This is a good thing, as the thing that looks good is what’s inside the box, not on the outside of it. And overall, the Armstrong flooring looks fantastic.
The style we purchased was the Farm Fence color and Traditional Wood look from the Rustics Premium line of laminate flooring. Overall the segments both look and feel heavy, despite being lightweight laminate. The coloration of the style we purchased wouldn’t look out of place in either a dining room or living room.
The dimensions of each section are satisfactory to our tastes. Each section measures 5.31 in. wide, 47.44 in. long and 0.47 in. thick, making it a little thicker than many other brands.
The added thickness stems in part from Armstrong’s signature locking design, allowing anyone to very quickly and very securely connect the different segments together with ease. Overall, the mix of features this laminate flooring has makes it a good runner-up on the list of best laminate flooring.
You can find Armstrong Rustics Premium Laminate Flooring on Amazon for an affordable price
Yes. Armstrong offers a limited warranty on their laminate flooring products.
Quick Step NatureTek Plus
As far as brand recognition goes, Quick Step might not carry the same weight that Armstrong and Pergo do. However, the brand still meets the same demanding standards of professional quality that the other, larger names carry.
An edge that Quick Step has over their competitors is technology. At the end of the day, they are the brand you want to buy from if you need modular, easy to assemble flooring that can fit almost anywhere and still look good being there.
Quick Step’s boards are compressed with direct pressure, ensuring that every board remains perfectly balanced over time and don’t rise or buckle because of extenuating circumstances. The boards that we got from Quick Step are from their NatureTek Plus brand, which features Quick Step’s proprietary waterproof HydraSeal locking system.
According to Quick Step’s website, the HydraSeal locking system prevents water from wicking through the gaps in the board and permeating the board from beneath, and our tests confirm this. Even at a four-way seam, no water permeated through the gap.
Another thing we noticed is that each of the boards is both wider and longer than most of the competitors’ boards, measuring 9.43 in. wide, 80.5 in. long and 0.37 in. thick. Overall, you’ll get a bit more bang for your buck compared to other competing brands in terms of square footage.
The boards also both look and feel pretty tough and are just as scratch and damage resistant as the previously listed competitors.
The boards look great in both natural and artificial light. The specific style of board we chose was the Pelzer Oak style, which is a rich brown tone that goes well just about anywhere in the home.
Our recommendation is to use it for your kitchen as the rich visible wood grain would look great there. Overall, this is one of the best laminate flooring options on this list if you’re looking for water resistance and modularity.
You can find Quick Step NatureTek Plus Laminate Flooring on Amazon for an affordable price.
Yes. Quick Step offers a limited 25-year warranty for the laminate flooring products.
Mohawk RevWood Plus
Mohawk is one of the leading brands in laminate flooring, hence its placement on this list. The company behind the brand has come up with an impressive spread of products, ranging from vinyl and tile to carpet and even rugs. They also manufacture their products with at least 50% recycled material, so you can rest assured knowing that buying Mohawk is an ethical choice in regards to recycling.
The boards that we ordered online were every bit as durable and high-quality as we expected. Overall, the brand is a great choice for just about everyone, despite their relatively expensive price. Realistically the price might be out of the range of some people, but those that can afford their steep price will be able to enjoy a solid, high-quality, and realistic-looking floor.
The specific color and style of board we ordered is the Stone Hearth Oak color from their Antique Craft line of laminate flooring. From looking at and handling the boards, we can honestly say that you will get what you pay for when buying Mohawk. Overall the boards have about the same dimensions as the Quick Step boards listed above.
Although they are ever so slightly wider at 9.44 in. in overall width. They also have about the same level of build quality to them, just from feel alone.
The locking system isn’t too much to write home about, so to speak. However, the boards fit perfectly and almost seamlessly together, leaving a seam that would be practically invisible if not for the wood grain pattern. This speaks highly of the design tolerances at Mohawk’s factory.
We hold Mohawk as the best laminate flooring on this list in terms of looks alone. If you see a look or pattern that you like on their website and can afford it, we recommend you try it.
You can find Mohawk RevWood Plus Laminate Flooring on Amazon for an affordable price
Yes. Mohawk offers several warranties for their RevWood Plus laminate flooring, based on residential or commercial needs.
As a brand, Shaw has been around since 1946. Their longevity speaks a lot about the quality of the name as a whole. All in all, the brand offers almost two hundred different varieties of laminate flooring, so suffice to say we were satisfied with the selection offered on their website.
With such an abundance of variety, we initially found it hard to settle on a specific style. We ultimately settled on the Composed Gold shade of Carriage House wood. This particular style caught our eye right away, and we ultimately ordered a pack of boards to try out for ourselves.
While not as big as the boards from some other brands on this list, the Shaw laminate boards still look and feel pretty hefty. Each board measures 6.2 in. by 50.79 in. by 0.5 in., making them arguably the thickest boards on this list.
This thickness lends itself well to the locking system, which is a simple bevel design that, despite its simplicity, still fits together smoothly and snugly, at least in our opinion.
Overall, we feel Shaw has some of the best laminate flooring on this list, and we are very impressed with the build quality and appearance of the flooring that we got from them. A definite thumbs up from us.
You can find Shaw Repel Laminate Flooring on Amazon for an affordable price
Yes. Shaw offers a residential limited warranty for their laminate flooring.
BerryAlloc Laminate DPL
While the last entry on this list, BerryAlloc’s line of laminate flooring is far from the least. The company behind the brand offers some of the nicest and most realistic-looking boards on the market. And with each board including a built-in underlayment, installation is incredibly streamlined and easy. Besides the streamlined design, the brand has some truly unique looking hardwood patterns that simply aren’t available from other brands.
While looking for something unique, we decided to acquire a pack of their Ocean style Charme White laminate flooring. Unlike practically all the other flooring options on this list, the boards we got from BerryAlloc have a unique look to them that can really stand out in a room with the right decor choices, especially if you want to install them in a bathroom.
Overall, the boards we got from BerryAlloc have a weathered and sun-bleached look to them, almost as if they were fashioned from driftwood.
The boards are pretty average in size, measuring 7.48 in. by 50.4 by 0.31 in. While not the largest per se, they are one of the thinnest. While the locking system isn’t anything to write home about, one of the other features about this particular board style is that the laminate flooring options from the Ocean range of products are coated in BerryAlloc’s HydroPlus treatment, making them totally impermeable to water.
We tested the validity of this claim, and to our surprise, the board in question suffered zero warping and expansion even after a full day immersed in water.
If you go with BerryAlloc and this type of board, we recommend using a herringbone pattern for maximum visual interest. All in all, BerryAlloc get a solid thumbs up from us.
You can find BerryAlloc Ocean Laminate Flooring on Amazon for for an affordable price
Yes. BerryAlloc offers a limited warranty for their laminate flooring products.
Frequently Asked Questions about the
Best Laminate Flooring
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is an inexpensive type of flooring material that is composed of a mixture of wood pulp and resin. Essentially, it’s a low-cost alternative to more expensive flooring options like hardwood, stone, and ceramic tiles, and can be cheaper than even carpeting and vinyl.
Laminate flooring can mimic almost any hardwood style. From traditional hardwoods like maple and cherry to more contemporary woods such as oak, pine, and maple, the best laminate flooring can create a similar effect. Laminate flooring can even resemble reclaimed wood from old barns or sheds.
Wood isn’t the only material that laminate flooring can mimic either. Other materials such as stone or ceramic tile can be mimicked by laminate flooring. Options for laminate floors that resemble flagstone, slate, granite, or many other materials also exist.
This means you have a nearly limitless number of choices when choosing a new floor for some or all of your home.
Laminate flooring is generally a composite made from several materials. The base of the flooring is usually a medium density fiberboard or MDF for short. MDF, as mentioned above, is wood pulp that is mixed with adhesive before being compressed and fashioned into a board. A ‘photo layer’ is then applied to the MDF, which replicates the appearance of a given hardwood material.
This photo layer can be a simple vinyl print or a thin slice of hardwood, depending on factors ranging from the brand of flooring to its price. After the photo layer comes the surface layer which is a thick coating of resin that is applied to the laminate flooring to finish the product.
Practically all laminate floor brands come in pre-cut and pre-shaped board segments. Laminate flooring is usually designed so that individual segments can be quickly and easily snapped into place or fitted together, easing the overall process of installing the floor.
The best laminate flooring is designed with floating-floor installation in mind, but in some specific cases, it can be glueddown depending on the circumstance.
One thing to keep in mind is that unlike hardwood flooring, laminate flooring cannot be refinished. If the floor is damaged, either from wear and tear, exposure to water and moisture, or other forms of damage, it will have to be replaced entirely.
Fortunately, laminate flooring is both tough and resistant to surface moisture and stains, thanks to a layer of impermeable resin on its surface. However, the joints between floor pieces and the seams where the floor meets the wall are weak points that can be vulnerable to moisture, and even the best laminate flooring can swell and chip if the core layer becomes exposed to water.
Why Choose Laminate Flooring over Traditional Wood Flooring?
There is a variety of reasons to consider choosing a laminate floor over other flooring options such as hardwood, ceramic tile, and carpeting. One of laminate flooring’s biggest advantages is it is usually much cheaper when compared to many other flooring options available.
Hardwood, stone, tile, carpet, and ceramic tile are all often comparatively more expensive than laminate. Even options such as vinyl are often more expensive per square foot than laminate. Because of this, going with laminate floors can be a budget-conscious decision when making a choice.
The best laminate flooring options are also easy to clean and maintain. You can take care of a laminate floor with just regular sweeping and mopping and with a cleaning agent as simple as vinegar mixed with water.
Compare this to ceramic tile and stone which often require special care to keep them looking pristine and unblemished and are a challenge to keep clean.
Laminate in this respect also has a major advantage over carpeting, which can require anything from a vacuum cleaner to even a steam cleaner to clean and maintain, depending on the situation. Laminate flooring also wins out over tile and vinyl, which are often more prone to damage and wear than laminate.
Is Installation Difficult with Laminate Flooring?
Compared to other flooring options, laminate flooring is easy to assemble and install, even by homeowners and laborers. As mentioned previously, the best laminate flooring options are often the brands available in pre-cut and pre-fabricated lengths.
These segments can be quickly and easily snapped together at the job or construction site, by even unskilled laborers. In this regard, laminate flooring is the easiest of the different options in terms of installation.
In most cases, laminate flooring is meant to be installed on a ‘floating floor’ basis. What this means is that the flooring in question is not actually attached or adhered to the substrate, unlike most other forms of flooring. Hence the usage of the term ‘float.’
The purpose of this is to allow the floor to respond more easily to changes in a room’s temperature or humidity. By allowing the floor to expand and contract freely, the possibility of the floor damaging itself because of thermal expansion is negated.
While laminate flooring can be glued to the substrate, it is almost never needed and is often not a good idea. The best laminate flooring doesn’t have to be attached in the first place.
What Kinds of Style Options Do You Have with Laminate Flooring?
Because laminate flooring can mimic virtually every type of hardwood imaginable and comes in multiple shapes and styles, you have an endless degree of choice in choosing a new floor. Whether you want a simple wood board look or something unique and outrageous, it’s possible with laminate flooring.
Because of the modular nature of the prefabricated flooring segments, the flooring can be arranged or rearranged into a wide variety of repeating patterns. For example, one popular pattern of floor is the herringbone pattern. As the name implies, the herringbone pattern is a series of rectangles arranged to resemble the bones of a fish.
The best laminate flooring patterns are those that exploit the interlocking nature of laminate floor segments themselves to their fullest extent.
There are many patterns to choose from, and browsing catalogs and the internet can be a good way to find ideas.
In terms of materials, there are many options. The best laminate flooring comes in many wood styles, with some brands offering a greater variety of colors and styles to choose from than others.
For example, looks are available in unfinished, prefinished, and finished. Hardwood styles include oak, pine, applewood, maple, reclaimed wood, and countless others.
And if you want to forego wood styles altogether, there are many more options still. For example, laminate flooring can mimic stone or even brick floors, dramatically increasing the options available for you. Are you looking for a rustic and weathered cabin floor for your study? Or a sleek and stylish flagstone floor for your master bathroom? In practically any situation you can think of, you’re covered.
Is Laminate Flooring Durable?
Despite what its price would imply, laminate flooring is very durable for its low price. It might surprise you to know that in many cases, laminate is more durable than traditional hardwood.
This heightened durability is due primarily to laminate flooring’s composite material and to its thick and tough surface layer of resin. The best laminate flooring choices are as close to an indestructible floor as you can get.
Laminate flooring is also resistant to not just surface wear and foot traffic, but also the elements. The surface resin layer is impervious to both moisture and water, which makes cleaning a laminate floor a breeze.
Laminate flooring is also more resistant to sunlight fading than other flooring options and will still look good even years after you’ve installed it.
Many manufacturers frequently offer guarantees for as long as twenty-five years on their laminate flooring products, making this a good comparison point when comparing different brands and manufacturers.
Is Laminate Flooring Good for Households with Pets and Children?
You could argue that laminate floors laugh at dog claws. Because the resin surface of a laminate floor is so resistant to wear and tear of all kinds, It can be a good flooring choice if you have cats, dogs, or any other household pet.
A laminate floor will not stain or discolor like carpet can from any messy accidents your pets might cause while you are trying to housebreak them or to teach them how to use the litter box.
Nor will it become scratched or marred like vinyl can from claws. Laminate will also hold up against splashes and messes caused by your pets eating and drinking from their food and water bowls.
One caveat of laminate flooring regarding pets is that some pets’ feet might not grip the surface well. For example, dogs or cats with long claws might slip and slide across the floor in question, as their claws can prevent them from getting a good solid grip on the floor.
Another caveat can be the sound, so to speak. The tippity-tappity of your pets’ footfalls and claws can be noisy and distracting in what could be an otherwise quiet room or home.
Despite these factors, laminate flooring can be one of the best flooring options available for pet owners who want a tough but good looking floor that won’t be damaged by their pets.
How Long Will Laminate Flooring Look Nice in My Home?
As mentioned above, laminate flooring is tough and very durable and can last for many years so long as you work to clean and maintain it. Since the resin surface layer can resist practically all forms of damage to it with relative ease, the underlying layers of the floor will last a very long time.
Most manufacturers often advertise and measure their guarantees in the form of years. A guarantee of twenty-five years is not unheard of in this regard. The best laminate flooring options are those that have long guarantees and prove it by example.
There are a couple of ways to extend the life of your laminate floor. First, you can extend your floor’s life by minimizing wear and tear. One good idea is to place things like throw rugs or carpets over the most high-traffic parts of the floor.
A good carpet can also bring out and accent the best parts of your floor if properly color coordinated. Another thing you can do that will greatly extend your floor’s life is to keep it swept and mopped, as explained below in the next section.
How Do You Care for Laminate Flooring?
Thankfully, the best laminate floors are very easy to clean, requiring just a broom and a mop. When you have a laminate floor, you will want to make a habit out of regularly sweeping the floor at least daily to prevent the buildup of dust and dirt. Be sure to use a broom that has soft bristles as the hard, stiff bristles of some brooms can damage or scratch the floor surface, thereby defeating the purpose.
Although laminate floors are about as scratch resistant as a floor can get, even the best laminate flooring can be scratched or damaged if excessive amounts of dirt, hair, dust, and other detritus are allowed to build up over time. Therefore, regularly sweeping your laminate floor prevents the possibility of such scratches altogether. Keeping your floor swept can also keep it looking good as dirt and dust can be very noticeable on a laminate floor.
You will also want to mop your floor periodically. Fortunately, a laminate floor lends itself well to being mopped thanks to its smooth and easy-to-clean surface. While a regular mop can work fine, a Hoover-style mop can be better to use most times.
Be sure to use mild soaps as some cleaning agents can be harsh on the resin surface of the floor and might damage it. Vinegar in water is a cleaning solution you can safely use as it’s both non-toxic to pets and children and gentle on the surface of the floor. Always be sure to dry the floor afterward.
If you have any small or minor spills of liquids, you will want to wipe them up immediately with a mop or a rag to prevent any liquid or moisture from pooling on the surface of the floor.
If moisture manages to seep into the cracks or seams between the boards, it could spell disaster down the line in the form of warped and swelling flooring. Therefore, minimizing the amount of moisture that comes into contact with your laminate floor is a must.
What Are the Best Rooms for Laminate Flooring?
You can install laminate flooring almost anywhere in the average American home. Whether it’s the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. or any other room, laminate flooring can go well with the decor. However, there are exceptions one should consider because of the nature of laminate floors.
For starters, you should refrain from installing laminate flooring in any room that is subjected regularly to high levels of humidity—for example, a bathroom that becomes hot and steamy after you take that long shower and fog up the mirrors.
If you have an enclosed shower, this might not be a problem, but humidity, and therefore moisture, over time can and will damage the core of the laminate floor and cause it to warp and deform as a result.
Another potential exception is rooms or areas of your home that are regularly exposed to the elements. Mudrooms and foyers are good examples as wind-blown rain and moisture from tracked-in mud can damage the laminate flooring in the way described above.
While the best laminate flooring can resist moisture for a time, you should as a general rule-of-thumb refrain from installing laminate flooring in humid rooms and areas, or parts of your home that are regularly exposed to moisture.
With the places you shouldn’t install laminate flooring out of the way, we can talk about the places where you can. In most rooms, laminate can be a good choice especially if you have kids or pets, thanks to the ease of cleaning and maintaining it. It’s resistant to spills or messes that both pets and children can cause.
Laminate flooring can be a great addition to the common areas and hallways of your home because of its inherently tough nature. Good accessories to have that can enhance and accent your floor are throw rugs and carpets.
However, two of the best places for laminate floors are the living room and dining room. For starters, your living room is a place that sees a lot of foot traffic and therefore will need a flooring material that is both very durable and looks good regardless of decor. Laminate floors fill this niche quite well and can handle a lot of abuse.
The dining room is another popular choice for laminate floors. As they are often just as frequently used in the living room, the need for a durable floor that can handle foot traffic is just as clear. No matter where you put your floor, odds are it’ll look good.
How We Reviewed
We tested several samples from six of the leading brands of laminate floor. Besides factors such as scratch and stain resistance, we also looked at how easy it was to install the prefabricated segments and how well those individual segments fit together.
We compared the overall look and feel of the different flooring options to see which looked and felt the best, compared to the competing brands. Ultimately, we determined which amongst these six are the best laminate flooring options amongst their peers, based on their features, pros and cons, price, and warranty options.
Overall Price Range
You don’t want to go too cheap on laminate flooring, no matter what guarantees or features said product might have. While laminate flooring is already cheap in terms of square footage when compared to other materials, going too cheap can be a major mistake that won’t become clear until much later.
Anything less than about 2 dollars per square foot can mean major compromises in quality. Whether it’s how well the segments fit together, the composition of the board, or the surface layer of resin, the product might be flawed in some major way if you go too cheap.
Like with many other products, you get what you pay for, and the best laminate flooring might last a lifetime if properly maintained and cared for.
Best Laminate Flooring: The Verdict
Because of the massive variety, the average homeowner will be inundated with the moment they look for replacement flooring, it can be an absolutely daunting task to find the right floor.
In our opinion, the clear winner of any contest of the best laminate flooring has to go to Pergo.
With the right balance of price, quality, and style, the brand strikes a near-perfect balance. However, it’s a close race, and we feel that the others on this list should all, in a way, get second place. With this said, we hope that this list and guide are helpful to you in finding the right laminate floor for you.
Last update on 2021-01-25 at 09:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API