Laminate Flooring: A Complete Guide to Materials, Installation, and Cost

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 23, 2022
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Lamination is the technique of manufacturing a material in multiple layers, so that the composite material achieves improved strength, stability, sound insulation, appearance or other properties from the use of differing materials. A laminate is usually permanently assembled by heat, pressure, welding, or adhesives.

Laminate flooring is a versatile and affordable choice that’s easy to maintain. In this guide, I’ll explain the basics of this material and why it’s so popular.

What is laminate flooring

The Versatile and Affordable Choice: Understanding the Basics of Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring is a type of floor covering that is made up of several layers of material. The bottom layer is typically made of particleboard wood, while the upper layers are made of a thin sheet of natural material topped with a transparent wear layer. The image layer is designed to mimic the look of different types of wood grain, stone, or other materials.

What are the Different Types of Laminate Flooring?

There are several different types of laminate flooring available on the market today. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Direct pressure laminate (DPL)
  • High-pressure laminate (HPL)
  • Fiberboard core laminate

Each of these types of laminate flooring has its own unique set of features and benefits, making it important to choose the right one for your particular needs.

The Many Materials of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a product that consists of thin sheets of pressed wood particles or fibers that are topped with a photographic image of natural materials like wood or stone. The image is then covered with a clear, protective layer that serves as a wear layer. Laminate flooring is not inherently waterproof, but certain types of laminate flooring contain water-resistant materials that make them good for use in areas that may be exposed to water, like kitchens or bathrooms.

The Best Laminate Flooring Materials for Your Home

When it comes to choosing the best laminate flooring materials for your home, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The type of laminate flooring you choose depends on your specific needs and tastes.
  • If you are keen on installing the flooring yourself, you may want to choose a product that is easy to work with and requires lower levels of accuracy and delicate techniques.
  • If you are running a busy household with active kids and pets, you may want to choose a product that is tough and able to withstand heavy foot traffic and wear and tear.
  • If you want a product that closely resembles the look of natural wood or stone, you may want to choose a product that offers embossed in register (EIR) finishes or other similar techniques.
  • If you want a product that is able to produce phenomenal designs, you may want to choose a product that offers a variety of finishes and styles.

The Phenomenal Styles of Laminate Flooring Materials

Some of the most popular styles of laminate flooring materials include:

  • Ebony
  • Sky high
  • Solid wood
  • Stone
  • Tile
  • And many more!

The Local Shop: Where to Find Quality Laminate Flooring Materials

If you are in the market for new laminate flooring materials, your local shop is a great place to start. They will be able to offer you a wide variety of products to choose from, and they will be able to help you find the best product for your specific needs and tastes.

Laminate Flooring: The Versatile Choice

Laminate flooring is often compared to hardwood flooring due to their similar appearance. However, there are some key differences to consider:

  • Laminate flooring is made of a fiberboard core constructed of wood byproducts, while hardwood flooring is made of real wood.
  • Hardwood flooring is more expensive than laminate flooring, but it can add value to a home.
  • Laminate flooring is more durable and resistant to wear and tear than hardwood flooring.
  • Hardwood flooring needs to be sanded and refinished periodically, while laminate flooring does not require this maintenance.

Laminate Flooring Layers

Laminate flooring consists of several layers that work together to create a durable and attractive product:

  • The base layer is made of a fiberboard core constructed of wood byproducts.
  • The core is encased in a clear layer of plastic to protect it from water damage.
  • A photorealistic imaging layer is added on top of the core to give the flooring its appearance.
  • A wear layer is then added on top of the imaging layer to protect it from damage.
  • Some laminate flooring products also have an added layer of aggregated particles subjected to pressure to make the flooring even more durable.
  • The exterior layer is a transparent layer impregnated with UV inhibitors to protect the flooring from damaging sunlight.

Watch Out for These Things

While laminate flooring is a durable and versatile choice, there are some things to watch out for:

  • Laminate flooring can be viewed as a lower-quality product compared to hardwood or engineered wood flooring.
  • Laminate flooring can be susceptible to water damage if not installed correctly or if the subfloor is not level.
  • Laminate flooring can be quickly damaged by sharp objects or heavy furniture.
  • Laminate flooring can be noisy to walk on if not installed with an underlayment.

The Easiest and Most Secure Laminate Flooring Installation Methods

The snap and lock method is the most popular and easiest method of installing laminate flooring. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by laying a thin plywood or hardboard underlayment over the subfloor to protect the laminate flooring from moisture.
  • Measure and cut the planks to fit the room, leaving a 1/4 inch gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for expansion.
  • Begin laying the planks in the corner of the room, with the tongue facing the wall.
  • Insert the tongue of the second plank into the groove of the first plank at an angle and snap it into place.
  • Continue laying the planks, snapping them together at the short end and tilting them up to engage the long end.
  • Make sure to align the planks and press them firmly together to avoid any gaps.
  • If a plank doesn’t snap into place, use a pry bar to lift it up and try again.
  • Once all the planks are in place, use a tapping block and a hammer to ensure a secure fit.

The Glue Method

The glue method is the most secure installation method, although it is generally the most time-consuming. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by laying a thin plywood or hardboard underlayment over the subfloor to protect the laminate flooring from moisture.
  • Measure and cut the planks to fit the room, leaving a 1/4 inch gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for expansion.
  • Apply glue to the tongue of the first plank and the groove of the second plank.
  • Slide the planks together at an angle and press them firmly into place.
  • Make sure to align the planks and apply pressure to ensure a secure joint.
  • Continue laying the planks, applying glue to each plank and sliding them together until the floor is complete.
  • Use a pry bar to lift any planks that slip or slide out of place and reapply glue.
  • Once all the planks are in place, use a carpenter’s or cabinetmaker’s tool to press the planks together and ensure a secure fit.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you install your laminate flooring like a pro:

  • Read books and articles by contributing editors in home decor and DIY to learn more about laminate flooring installation.
  • Watch TV shows and listen to radio programs that feature home improvement experts to get more insights on the best installation methods.
  • Choose a pattern that fits your home decor and lay the planks in the same direction as the longest wall in the room.
  • Use a pry bar or a plank to lift and engage the planks if they don’t snap into place.
  • Make sure to align the planks and press them firmly together to avoid any gaps.
  • Use a pry bar to lift any planks that slip or slide out of place and reapply glue.
  • Apply pressure to the planks to ensure a secure joint.
  • Use a pry bar or a plank to lift and engage the planks if they don’t snap into place.
  • Use a pry bar or a plank to lift and engage the planks if they don’t snap into place.

Subfloor and Underlayment: The Unsung Heroes of Laminate Flooring

  • The subfloor is the actual surface that your laminate flooring will be installed on.
  • It can be made of a variety of materials, including concrete, wood, or even an existing floor.
  • It needs to be properly prepared and familiar with the type of laminate flooring you choose.
  • The subfloor should be solid, level, clean, and dry before installing the underlayment and laminate flooring.
  • It supports the weight of the flooring and prevents it from shifting or moving.
  • It also helps to prevent moisture and mold from developing.

Underlayment: The Protective Layer Between Your Laminate and Subfloor

  • Underlayment is a thin sheet of material that is placed between the subfloor and the actual laminate flooring planks.
  • It serves several purposes, including providing a smooth and comfortable surface to walk on, reducing noise, and adding a bit of insulation.
  • It also helps to protect the laminate flooring from moisture and mold.
  • There are a variety of underlayment types to choose from, including felt, natural materials, and closed-cell foam.
  • The type of underlayment you choose will depend on the type of laminate flooring you have and your personal preferences.
  • Some laminate flooring comes with an attached underlayment, while others require an additional layer to be rolled out.
  • The thickness of the underlayment can significantly impact the feel of the flooring, so it’s important to choose the right one.
  • A thicker underlayment can also help to increase the sound insulation and make the flooring feel more solid.
  • However, a thicker underlayment can also make the flooring slightly more expensive and may require additional work to properly install.
  • Despite the additional cost and work, a good underlayment is ideal for making your laminate flooring feel and sound excellent.

Choosing the Right Subfloor and Underlayment

  • When choosing your subfloor and underlayment, it’s important to consider the type of laminate flooring you have and the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Some laminate flooring requires a specific type of subfloor or underlayment to be used, so be sure to check before making a purchase.
  • If you’re not sure which subfloor or underlayment to choose, it’s always a good idea to ask an expert or the manufacturer for advice.
  • Despite being the unsung heroes of laminate flooring, the subfloor and underlayment are two of the most important components of a properly installed and maintained floor.

Where to Lay Your Laminate: A Guide to Installing Laminate Flooring

When deciding where to install your new laminate flooring, there are a few things to keep in mind. Laminate is a versatile material and can be installed in almost any room of your home, but there are a few areas where it may not be the best choice. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Laminate is not recommended for areas that are prone to extreme moisture or wetness, such as bathrooms or laundry rooms.
  • Kitchens can be a good choice for laminate, but it’s important to choose a high-quality, water-resistant material and to take extra care to clean up any spills or messes promptly.
  • Laminate is a great choice for high-traffic areas like living rooms, hallways, and entryways, as it is durable and easy to clean.
  • Bedrooms and other low-traffic areas are also good choices for laminate, as they allow you to enjoy the benefits of this material without worrying about heavy wear and tear.

Preparing the Space

Before installing your laminate flooring, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to prepare the space:

  • Make sure the area is clean and free of debris. Sweep or vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or other particles that could interfere with the installation process.
  • Check the level of the subfloor. If there are any high or low spots, you may need to patch or level the area before installing the laminate.
  • Measure the area carefully to determine how much laminate you’ll need. It’s always a good idea to order a bit extra to account for any mistakes or unexpected issues that may arise during the installation process.

Installing the Laminate

Once you’ve prepared the space, it’s time to start installing your laminate flooring. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  • Begin by laying down a sheet of underlayment to protect the subfloor and provide a smooth surface for the laminate to rest on.
  • Start in one corner of the room and work your way across, laying down the laminate pieces one by one. Laminate is designed to click together easily, so you should be able to achieve a fairly smooth and seamless look without too much effort.
  • Use a table saw or circular saw to cut the laminate pieces to size as needed. Make sure to measure carefully and use a quality blade to ensure clean, accurate cuts.
  • As you lay down each piece of laminate, use a tapping block and a hammer to gently tap the edges together. This will help to create a tight, secure fit and prevent any gaps or spaces from forming.
  • Continue laying down pieces of laminate until you reach the other side of the room. If you need to trim any pieces to fit around corners or other obstacles, use a jigsaw or other cutting tool to make the necessary adjustments.
  • Once the entire floor is covered, use a rolling pin or other heavy object to smooth out any bumps or uneven spots. This will help to ensure that the laminate is properly attached and will prevent any noise or movement when you walk on it.

Final Touches

Once your laminate flooring is installed, there are a few final touches you may want to consider:

  • Trim the edges of the laminate to create a clean, finished look. You can use a variety of materials for this, including wood or metal.
  • Use a patching compound to fill in any gaps or spaces between the laminate pieces. This will help to create a smoother, more even surface and prevent any moisture or dirt from getting trapped underneath the flooring.
  • Add rugs or other focal points to the room to help cover any areas where the laminate may not be the desired look.
  • Protect your new laminate flooring by following the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance. This will help to prevent damage and ensure that your flooring lasts for many years to come.

Why Laminate Flooring is the Durable and Affordable Alternative to Hardwood and Stone

Laminate flooring is a type of flooring material that originated in Europe and has become one of the biggest products in the flooring market. It is a type of flooring material that is manufactured by attaching a tough external layer and resin coating to a core material. This tough external layer and resin coating make laminate flooring much stronger, scratch-resistant, impact-resistant, and longer-lasting than any hardwood, vinyl, or hard surface. Laminate flooring is virtually resistant to dogs, cats, kids, and even high heels. It is a durable and affordable alternative to hardwood and stone flooring.

Is Laminate Flooring as Comfortable as Other Flooring Options?

While laminate flooring may not be the most comfortable option, it is a popular choice among homeowners due to its affordability and durability. Additionally, with advancements in technology, laminate flooring designs have become more realistic, making it a suitable alternative to solid hardwood or stone flooring.

The Cost of Laminate Flooring: What You Need to Know

When looking for new flooring, the cost is always a major consideration. Here are some factors that can affect the cost of laminate flooring:

  • Type of laminate: Laminate flooring comes in a range of types, from wood to stone finishes. The type you pick will affect the cost.
  • Brand: Different brands have different prices, with some being more expensive than others.
  • Size of the area to cover: The larger the area, the more material and labor will be required, which will increase the cost.
  • Smooth or textured finish: A smooth finish is generally cheaper than a textured one.
  • Thickness of the laminate: Thicker laminate is typically more expensive than thinner laminate.
  • Underlay: The type of underlay needed will vary based on the existing floor and the level of work required to remove it. This can add to the cost of installation.

How Much Does Laminate Flooring Cost?

So, how much can you expect to pay for laminate flooring? Here are some points to consider:

  • Laminate flooring typically starts at around $0.50 CAD per square foot for the material alone, with the highest-end products costing around $5 CAD per square foot.
  • Labor costs for installation typically start at around $0.50 CAD per square foot and can go up to $4 CAD per square foot.
  • The cost of underlay can vary based on the type of underlay needed and the size of the room. Expect to pay around $0.10 to $0.50 CAD per square foot for underlay.
  • Some popular brands of laminate flooring include Pergo, Shaw, and Mohawk.
  • Laminate flooring is generally considered a budget-friendly option compared to real wood or stone flooring, but it still offers high value and durability.
  • One of the main benefits of laminate flooring is that it is easy to clean and maintain, and it is also water-resistant, making it suitable for areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Laminate flooring is sold in multiple lengths and widths, so you can find a product that fits your specific needs and budget.
  • Laminate flooring typically comes with a warranty, with some brands offering up to 30 years of coverage.

Do You Need a Professional to Install Laminate Flooring?

While it is possible to install laminate flooring yourself, it is generally recommended to hire a professional to ensure that the job is done correctly. A professional installer will have the tools and expertise needed to properly install the flooring and ensure that it looks its best. Additionally, if any damage occurs during the installation process, a professional installer will be able to address it quickly and effectively.

The Ins and Outs of Laminate Flooring

  • The type of material you choose will make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your laminate flooring. Make sure to choose a material that fits your style and needs.
  • It’s important to choose a laminate flooring that is fully present in the area where it will be installed. This will help ensure that it looks good and performs well over the long term.
  • The potential for damage is a big consideration when choosing laminate flooring. Make sure to choose a product that offers the right level of protection for your needs.
  • It’s worth familiarizing yourself with the different styles and brands of laminate flooring available. This will help you find the perfect fit for your home and budget.
  • The biggest reason to choose laminate flooring is that it offers a great balance between cost and quality. It’s a good choice for those who want a good-looking, durable floor without spending a lot of money.


Laminate floors are a great way to add some extra style to your home. They’re affordable and versatile, and perfect for areas with high traffic and moisture.

Laminate floors are made of a fiberboard core, encased in a clear layer of plastic, topped with a photographic image of natural materials like wood or stone, and finished with a wear layer. They’re inherently waterproof, but you should avoid areas exposed to water like kitchens and bathrooms.

So, now you know everything you need to know about laminate floors. They’re a great way to add some extra style to your home and you can do it yourself!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.