Why has this new product category been such a hit? Laminate products feature a newer type of wear surface that resists scratching, denting, and burns better than many existing products. They also offer extended product warranties to back up these claims for superior performance. Much of the styling is done in wood grain patterns taking advantage of popularity of hardwood. Still other styling resembles natural stone like you would find in ceramic tile. Laminates offer a popular trade-off for people wanting wood or ceramic. Laminate floors are more scratch resistant than most regular hardwood finishes and easier to clean than the grout lines associated with ceramic tile installations. Laminates also require less demanding preparation of the subfloor because they are not glued directly to the subfloor. Most of these products are glued or snapped together over foam padding. This feature has made laminate flooring popular in areas where vinyl flooring traditionally was installed. Custom floor design is also very easily done with products that offer planks and squares that mix and match together.
High pressure laminate vs. direct pressure laminate. You'll hear conversation on this difference but both products perform equally as well in most situations. The high-pressure products have greater chipping and impact resistance. High-pressure laminates also have a separate wear surface protecting the pattern, where as the pattern and the wear surface is the same with direct pressure products.
Laminate flooring in wet areas. Many of the products are okay for wet areas, but the core is made of wood fiber. Look for products that have warranties, that cover water damage. All of them will insist on proper installation. Finishing touches are important. Look for products that can provide the needed accessories like reducer strips, stairnose, and even air vents that either match or coordinate with the flooring.