Because of the ever-growing popularity of the laminate floor, dozens if not hundreds of laminate flooring brands have been emerging.
While many believe that all laminate flooring brands are the same in that they provide the same kinds of laminate flooring materials and follow the same kinds of laminate flooring procedures, this is definitely not the case.
There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing a laminate floor brand, and if you are the type to believe that they are all the same, you are choosing to ignore the overall value of your floor in terms of longevity, function, and aesthetics.
What is Laminate Flooring, and How to Choose It?
Of the handfuls of hard surface flooring that exist, there are three that are seen as the most common: Ceramic tiles, hardwood, and linoleum.
These three surfaces have long been the industry standard for flooring for practically centuries. So what is laminate flooring and what role does it play in flooring at large?
Laminate flooring is also referred to as “floating wood tile” because the tiles that it uses are placed on top of an underlayment that is made of film or foam. Because of this, laminate floors contain multiple layers. Although it contains multiple layers, it is much easier to install than the aforementioned kinds of floors. This is because laminate flooring uses tongue and groove planks that can be “clicked” into one another.
Choosing the best brand of laminate flooring will ensure that your laminate floor tiles or planks will stand the test of time and will encounter the least amount of wear and tear.
Choose a brand that does not specialize in perfect laminate flooring, and you will pay the price down the road.
Best Laminate Flooring Brands
Mohawk and Pergo Laminate
Pergo was introduced in 1979 as a laminate flooring brand while Mohawk began in 2013 and borrowed much from Pergo. Both brands use fantastic design in manufacturing laminate flooring.
Why Mohawk and Pergo are the Best Laminate
Sturdy Construction- Everyone wants to purchase laminate floors that will still look good after 5 years.
- The midgrade and premium lines of these brands will not come apart or crack after installation.
- The laminate flooring is constructed using technology such as uniClic locking system to prevent moisture from seeping between the boards.
- Also, a GenuEdge technology protects the layer and offers protective coating for maximum protection.
- Finally, the edges are coated with Hydroseal sealant.
Warren Buffet was the founder of Shaw laminate, but later Berkshire Hathaway purchased it. The brand is known for quality and affordability. It is considered one of the best brands because of the following features:
- Shaw repels- the laminate flooring is waterproof hence resisting moisture absorption for 24 hours.
- They are a wide range of options- shaw has a whole spectrum of colours from washed-out and nearly white to a rich brown with grey and black highlights. Besides, there are different styles, including rustic, old-world, traditional, modern, contemporary, country, eclectic and many more.
- Longboard and mixed-width planks- the boards are 6.5 feet long, making fewer end seams and fast installation. Also gives an elegant and expensive look. For mixed planks come in 3 widths to provide the laminate flooring with an authentic appearance.
- Warranty- the AC4 top rated laminate floor comes with a 5-year commercial warranty and 30-year residential warranty.
- American Made.
Although Mohawk, Tarkett, Shaw and Pergo brands have an excellent selection, Armstrong is the best. The brand is the best choice in two ways:
- Style Options- the laminate flooring is available in traditional, hand-scraped and speciality. The brand also has the best collection of 20+ stone and tile styles—includes, rich stone slab laminate- granite, slate, limestone and other saving over other stones. Secondly, the Castilian Bloch and Porto Alegre tile. Lastly, audacity waterproof laminate flooring comes with lifetime residential warranty and 15-year commercial warranty.
- Cost Option- low-quality laminate cost less than $ 1 per square foot, but Armstrong laminate cost about $1.50 to 4.00 per square foot. The midgrade or premium laminate is the most affordable and pretty good.
Armstrong manufactures floor cleaner to clean your floor with ease. It includes a spray bottle and refills for excellent cleaning.
Most of the brands make waterproof laminate but not like AquaGuard laminate flooring is. The brand has the best technology and comes with a 30-hour warranty, unlike others who provide a 24-hour warranty.
Why AquaGuard is the Best Water-resistant Laminate
- Coated edges- the AquaGuard boards are coated at the edges to prevent water absorption.
- Pet-friendly warranty- the laminate can keep out moisture and resist permanent staining caused by pet urine when thoroughly cleaned.
Other reasons for considering AquaGuard laminate include:
- Good selection- the brand has 100 options such as embossed in register (EIR), smooth, textured, high gloss, hand-scraped, among others. Some of the laminates have wood floor looks and two-tile looks.
- Warranty- the laminate flooring comes with a lifetime residential and 15-year commercial warranty.
- AC5 wear rating- AquaGuard laminate is perfect for a commercial setting.
The Dream Home is manufactured by Lumber Liquidators and designed for residential use.
Why Dream Home is the Best Value Laminate
- Value- Most of the laminate styles cost between $ 1.49 and $ 1.99 per square foot. A lifetime warranty and water-resistant back. For Dream Home, it costs below $1 per square foot. It is easy to install in lightly space and for wall covering.
- Good selection- the brand offers over 30 styles in a different size, colour and style options in hickory, oak, walnut and others. Widths between 7mm to 14mm and some with pad attached making it suit your preferences and needs.
- Water-resistant- the brand makes laminate similar to Shaw Repel, Pergo WetProtect and Mohawk RevWood Plus.
- Low-VOC- the laminate is known to be healthy for indoor air quality.
Laminate Flooring Brands to Avoid
Here are the 4 laminate flooring brands to avoid when quality counts.
The TrafficMaster laminate is cheap stuff and made of low-quality material. It costs 68 cents per square foot. When most brands offer a lifetime residential warranty, this brand gives a 15-year warranty. If you are looking for cheap laminate flooring, then TrafficMaster will suit you best. Although it gives you a decent look, it will not look good for more than 6-10 years.
Cheap Armstrong Laminate
Armstrong is known for manufacturing the best laminate. Armstrong laminate is also available in cheap lines. It fits everyone’s budget.
The cheap laminate is backed by a 20-year warranty which is longer compared to the TrafficMaster laminate warranty. Disappointingly, if the laminate flooring cracks or breaks down in 10 years, then Armstrong will cover 50% of the material and no labour cost. The laminate warranties only cover manufacturing defects. Shaw warranties are the best since they cover manufacturing defects and other fails like wear, stains, and fading.
Laminate from Lowe’s
Despite laminate from Lowe’s success, they have an awful reputation for laminate flooring. Most customers complain of not getting what they ordered for, or being charged for the same service severally. The workers miss appointments and are messy.
Home Depot Laminate Flooring
Home Depot is a huge brand that doesn’t get the customers what they need. People have complained about warped planks and low-quality laminate flooring. It isn’t easy to install the laminate flooring. Besides, about 15% of the planks are unusable or warped.
The workers are not professional and have less or no experience in installing laminate. The floor can’t be reinstalled in another place in case of some changes.
Most Important Aspects of a Laminate Flooring Brand
Laminate flooring is popular because it is much easier and faster to install despite containing multiple layers. Installing these layers does not require the usual plethora of materials and tools that are required to install other kinds of flooring.
This breakthrough made laminate flooring more popular than ever, and this popularity has caused many brands to come up with their own laminate flooring planks and installation services.
And like with anything that is currently popular or is rising in popularity, it is important to know what brands you should avoid. Laminate flooring is no different.
While many things make up laminate flooring in and of itself, there are really only two aspects of a laminate flooring brand that truly determines whether it is a brand that you should trust or not.
- The first of these is the quality of the materials used in the underlayment as well as the planks.
- Whether this underlayment is made of film or foam and whether the planks are made of vinyl, tile, or any other kind of material, you need to make sure that this material is made of only the best quality.
- While quality is seen as a subjective measure in most aspects of home improvement, it should be seen as an objective measure when it comes to laminate flooring brands.
- Because standing water is the one thing that affects laminate flooring the most, you need to look for materials that are as resistant to water as they can possibly be when it comes to laminate flooring brands.
- Installation is the second thing that makes up a laminate flooring brand, and it is just as important as the materials that are used to complete the installation.
- Expert installation that results in a floor that not only looks impressive but is very sturdy and can last a very long time is another thing that you want to look for in a laminate flooring brand.
- Unless you intend to install laminate floors completely by yourself, you will probably need to recruit some help in order to install them. This is why it is very important to choose a laminate flooring brand that practices only the best installation techniques.
- What installation technique is optimal? Installation techniques that are consistent. Nearly any laminate floor installation team will promise to install your laminate floor tiles the right way, but how many do this the same way every time? This is the question you should be asking.
- Inconsistent laminate tile installation can lead to a host of all kinds of issues, and it needs to be avoided. You need to make sure that you are selecting a laminate flooring brand that has a team that installs their floor tiles the same way every time.
Now that you know about the two major details of laminate flooring that you need to be aware of the most, it is now time to explore which brands make the most of these details.
Major Store Brands Will Let You Down
Perhaps the first thing you think about when it comes to putting in a new floor is to order something from your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, see what laminate flooring materials they have, and let them install it.
While thinking this way is very common, it is also very lazy thinking.
Here is the deal with major organizations such as Lowe’s or Home Depot: They do not specialize in anything when it comes to home improvement.
Places like that contain literally anything and everything you need for home improvement. In that aspect, they deserve credit.
While they may have the materials you might need for optimal laminate flooring, how good do you think their installation is?
Organizations such as Lowe’s or Home Depot have thousands of people working for them, and this includes their installation “experts.” How much time do you think they dedicate to learning about floor installation when they need to learn about other kinds of installation as well?
This is why major store organizations will let you down when it comes to laminate flooring brands. They probably will have the materials that you need, but you know that they will be overpriced because of who is distributing them.
So that means that local organizations and local brands are where to go, right?
Not so fast.
While major brands and organizations should definitely be avoided when it comes to laminate flooring brands, this certainly does not give local brands a free pass.
In fact, you may need to be twice as suspicious of local laminate flooring brands as you are of major brands.
Too Good to be True? What You Need to Watch For When You Shop Local
Shopping for laminate flooring brands is best done locally, but you can’t just go to any given small-scale flooring brand sight unseen.
You need to understand that just because a laminate flooring organization or brand is small does not make them perfect.
Beware of any local laminate floor brand that promises installation that is quick and easy.
Why is this?
Guess who else promises “quick and easy” installation?
The previously mentioned major brands and entities, that’s who.
If you won’t be able to trust major flooring brands with their quick installation methods, what makes you think the local one will be any better if they also promise quick installation?
Remember, the key to quality installation is consistency. This is what you need to ask when seeking out laminate flooring from a smaller brand or entity; ask if they do the same things every time when it comes to installation.
While it is understandable for smaller laminate flooring brands to charge more money for their materials, they have no business making their public wait significantly long periods of time for siad materials.
A lot of the smaller brands do this to improve their profits, but this results in them overcharging their buyers.
If you come across a smaller brand who not only charges more money for their materials but also charges additional fees for their installation or puts you on a waiting list or employs any other kind of gimmick to bolster their own profits, stay away.
There is also the mistake of trusting in a brand that is too small. If you come across a brand that has only been bought and utilized by only a handful of people, you may be taking a risk as they may not have as much experience as you would want them to.
The best laminate brands seem to be large enough to where they have a significant following, but not faceless in their execution, which is what you see in Lowe’s or Home Depot.
Laminate flooring is quickly becoming the industry standard when it comes to flooring for most homes and even some establishments.
Because of this, more and more laminate flooring brands are emerging.
But with these options come materials that are not optimized for laminate flooring as well as installation methods that are inconsistent or take shortcuts.
Knowing which laminate flooring brands to avoid is going to be more and more significant in your search for the perfect laminate flooring for your home or establishment.
Use all the information you have at your disposal to determine which brands to avoid.
Fail to do this, and you will pay the price – literally.