Best Rated Laminate Wood Flooring 

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Deciding whether to get laminate flooring for your home or office can be daunting. It's even more challenging and overwhelming when it's time to choose which laminate floor to get. There are trusted laminate flooring brands that take pride in their AC (Abrasion Coefficient) rating, a wood floor rating system that helps determine the level of wear and tear floors can withstand, using trials that simulate real-life scenarios. 

What is the best rated wood laminate flooring? Many brands offer laminate flooring options, but only several are considered worthy due to their top-notch AC rating. Relying on the AC rating is one of the easiest ways to help you choose which laminate floor you should get. Below are the top brands to consider when opting for laminate flooring.

Best Rated Laminate Flooring Brands

1. Pergo

Regarded as the original inventors of the laminate floor, Pergo has cemented its place as the go-to brand for flooring. Owned by Mohawk Industries, it ranks as the number 1 flooring manufacturer in the United States, thanks to its sophisticated designs and technology. Among its best laminate floor products is the Pergo TimberCraft, its waterproof laminate floor, which features Pergo's WetProtect technology. It has an AC4 rating, which means this laminate flooring is suitable for commercial use and is applicable for even the busiest areas in your home.

Moreover, Timbercraft uses Pergo's UltraDef Technology, which makes the product almost similar to the look of solid wood flooring and natural hardwood flooring. Each plank consists of different textures like grains, knots, and other inconsistencies seen in real wood. With its 12 millimeters thickness, it also feels like real hardwood when you're stepping on it. 

The said line of laminate flooring products comes in a wide array of finishes with sizes ranging from 50 inches long and 7.5 inches wide. Another major selling point for customers is Pergo's lifetime residential and 10-year commercial warranties. If a homeowner is environmentally conscious, it's good to know that Pergo is GreenGuard certified for low-VOCs and CARB2 for low/no formaldehyde emissions.

2. Mohawk Industries

Mohawk, Pergo's parent company, is the world's largest flooring provider. It's best known for creating the well-acclaimed RevWood Plus, which uses the brand's Hydroseal technology. This covers each plank in a waterproof seal and a Uniclic joint locking system that hinders water from penetrating the seams between the planks. 

RevWood Plus is totally waterproof, making Mohawk's RevWood Plus line suitable for kitchens or bathrooms. In addition, customers can choose from several styles, 27 finishes, and plank widths of 5, 7.5, or 9.44 inches. Finishes come in bleached look of Buff to the dark brown of Buckthorn Pine. With its unique hand-scraped textures, the laminate looks like real wood, while its 12-millimeter thickness gives it the feel of natural hardwood.

3. Shaw Laminate

Shaw, a brand under renowned businessman Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, remains one of the leading laminate flooring brands in the industry. One of the primary reasons is its Shaw Repel, the best-selling waterproof laminate flooring in the market today. Like its competitors, it offers moisture absorption for 24 hours. 

In addition to resisting water damage, Shaw Repel comes in a wide range of options. You can choose from 9 different collections, with almost 60 total styles and color varieties, from washed-out and nearly white to rich browns with gray and black highlights. There are also numerous "looks" to match every style, be it rustic, traditional, country, contemporary, and modern eclectic, to name some. As an extra, these AC4 rated laminate styles include a 5-year commercial warranty to go with the 30-year residential warranty.

4. Armstrong World Industries

Armstrong World Industries bests its competitors like Pergo, Mohawk, Shaw, and Tarkett, through its wide range of laminate selections. The brand has the most number of style and budget options, with a collection of more than 20 stone and tile styles. Its rich stone slab laminate looks like the natural one, while its granite, limestone, slate, and other look almost similar to the real one. Among its best-sellers are the ultra-sophisticated Castilian Block and Porto Alegre tiles. 

The brand's Audacity laminate flooring line is backed by an excellent lifetime residential warranty and 15-year commercial warranty, making it one of the best waterproof laminate floors available in the market today. In addition, if you prefer laminate floor cleaner formulated with your laminate in mind, then Armstrong laminate spray bottle and refill are your best choice.

5. Mannington

Mannington has made its mark in the market as the brand with the most realistic looking laminate, matched with the durability and environment-friendly standard. Its most impressive product is the Mannington Restoration, which uses the brand's SpillShield Plus Waterproof Technology. This technology makes the laminate floor product resistant to water damage. With an AC4 rating, the Mannington's Restoration Collection is scratch and scuff resistant. This makes the collection suitable for areas like kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. 

It also offers a sleek look, as each laminate plank is designed with a rare wood grain pattern. At 2 millimeters, planks are thick and provide a solid feel. Every plank marks 51 inches long and 8 inches wide. The Restoration Collection is available in numerous styles and finishes, including single planks that mix 3-, 5-, and 8-inch wide planks and distinct patterns such as Chevron. Its range of finishes comes in light Black Forest Oak to dark Arcadia Smoke. Manufactured in the United States, Mannington laminate flooring is FloorScore certified, which means that the laminate has an independent test and meets an indoor air quality standard.

6. Tarkett

Tarkett's most acclaimed product line is the Tarkett's Menards' Exclusives, which boasts dent and scratch resistance that can handle high foot traffic and heavy furniture. With its AC4 rating, it's scuff-resistant and stain-resistant. Customers can choose from Tarkett's Menards' Exclusives' 14 different finishes, ranging from classic walnut and oak finishes, suitable for office projects. Every plank is 48 inches long by 8 inches wide. Installation is also easy with the brand's Angle Lock and UNIFIT lock system.

7. TrafficMaster

TrafficMaster is favored by many due to its quality products at a more affordable price than other higher-end laminate floorings. With its scratch-resistant top layer, the brand's laminate flooring can keep up against moderate foot traffic. 

Furthermore, TrafficMaster aims to make their laminate flooring look like real wood, with textured planks and designs ensure no two planks are similar in appearance. This is 7 millimeters or 8 millimeters thick, with planks that range between 6 to 8 inches wide and around 4 feet long. Customers can choose from TrafficMaster's wide range of laminate flooring, in a wide variety of finishes and styles, despite its budget price.

8. Dream Home

Dream Home is known for its residential laminate flooring that is not only high quality but also cost-effective. It has more than 30 styles, which give customers a wide range of options for size and color. You can choose from oak, walnut, hickory, and other species. 

Widths come in 7mm to 14mm, some with pad attached, making it suitable to fit your installation needs. Moreover, it has its Water-resistant X20 Dream Home laminate, which competes well with Shaw Repel, Mohawk RevWood Plus, and Pergo WetProtect. Aside from its lifetime warranty and water-resistant warranty, Dream Home is guaranteed to be healthy for your indoor air quality.

The Advantage of Laminate Flooring

Living room in a luxury apartment with laminate flooring

While traditional hardwood floor certainly has its allure, there are quite a few advantages of choosing laminate flooring. It's more durable than standard hardwood as it contains pressed wood that resists dents, scratches, and moisture. Some laminates are also waterproof, making it suitable for areas that frequently get wet such as laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Moreover, laminate flooring is also easy to clean with a broom, a microfiber mop (If you prefer to use a steam mop, use it on the lowest setting), and laminate floor polish, as it's also relatively cheaper and easier to install than hardwood flooring.

When considering laminate flooring, you have two options: engineered wood laminate and plastic laminate. Engineered wood has multiple layers of material pressed together to form a plank. The bottom and core layers comprise three to 12 layers of fiberboard, plywood, or unfinished hardwood. The top layer, called veneer, consists of a minimal amount of natural wood. And because the top layer is actual hardwood, it looks very similar to real hardwood. Engineered wood can be sanded and refinished around three times to refurbish the flooring, depending on the thickness of this top layer. 

Meanwhile, unlike engineered wood flooring, plastic laminate flooring is artificial and comprises several layers, including the backer, which is the bottom layer. This layer serves as a moisture barrier. On the other hand, the core layer consists of a high-density fiberboard that endures dents and serves as the flooring's backbone. 

Above the inner core is the design layer, which holds a high-definition photographic image, which often tries to imitate solid hardwood and other stones. Compared to vinyl flooring, especially luxury vinyl plank flooring, engineered wood, and plastic laminate better resemble hand-scraped hardwood, stone, ceramic tile, and other materials. When it comes to pricing, both laminate floor, and vinyl floor are usually less expensive than other flooring options.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Laminate Flooring

When buying laminate flooring, there are a few considerations you should take into account. This guide will help you select the best laminate flooring based on your needs.

1. Purpose

If you're looking for flooring that you can install in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, dining areas, and even bathrooms and basements, laminate flooring is your best choice as it has materials that are able to resist dents, scratches, moisture, and wear. Less expensive than real wood, laminate offers an economical alternative to traditional solid wood and engineered hardwood floors.

2. Location

With the correct installation and proper underlayment insulation requirements, laminate flooring is well-suited even in spaces that frequently get wet, like kitchens and even bathrooms, thanks to its water-resistant qualities. When buying flooring, the terms "direct pressure" and "high pressure" are mentioned. Direct pressure laminate or DPL is a laminate flooring mostly used for residential are composed of four layers: a core layer, a stabilizing layer, a wear layer and a decorative layer. These layers are combined with 300 to 600 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure. Most laminate flooring for residential use is DPL.

On the other hand, high-pressure laminate (HPL) flooring combines a fifth layer consisting of a kraft paper, treated with a resin to make it suitable for commercial use. 

3. Thickness

If you're considering laminate flooring, you must also examine its thickness, which varies between 7mm and 12mm. Thicker laminate flooring fills in uneven areas in your subfloor as it resists bending. In addition, thicker laminate is also able to absorb noise than thinner flooring. Keep in mind that some manufacturers will note the underlayment in the listed thickness of their flooring while others may not.

4. AC Rating

The Abrasion Coefficient (AC) rating helps customers determine the durability of a laminate flooring product. The said rating is based on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest. AC1 means strong enough for light use, such as in the bedroom. AC2 means suitable for areas with moderate foot traffic. AC3 means the flooring is suitable for high-traffic areas like kitchens and foyers. While AC4 means adequately strong for bathrooms, kitchens and commercial use. 

5. Texture and Finish

A laminate flooring's texture and finish make it look as much like real hardwood flooring as possible. Engineered hardwood flooring copies natural hardwood flooring as it uses actual hardwood as its uppermost layer; it possesses the texture and specific wood grain that makes hardwood nice-looking. 

On the other hand, plastic laminate doesn't use specific wood, so manufacturers have to obtain imagination to give it real wood. With modern technology, designers can use high-tech printing and embossing procedures to imitate natural wood and stone. Like traditional hardwood flooring, laminate flooring comes in diverse finishes, including walnut, cherry, hickory, chestnut, pine, maple, and oak. Laminate flooring doesn't accumulate dirt and dust and is resistant to mold and bacteria. 

6. Planks

Most laminate flooring planks are approximately 4 feet long and 3 inches wide-broader planks measure around 7 inches in width or more. But always remember that wider planks are more challenging to install than narrower planks.  

7. Installation

Laminate flooring is simple and convenient to install. Thus many homeowners who choose to DIY prefer this flooring product. It's lightweight, slim, lightweight, and simple to work with as it uses a snap-and-lock installation process. So there's no need for nails or glue. You can also "float" laminate flooring above existing floors (exception carpet), eliminating the hassle of having to tear up old flooring. A laminate flooring installation can only take up just one day with a smooth and clean subfloor.

But remember that you must install underlayment over the subfloor before laying down the laminate flooring; unless the flooring itself includes an underlayment layer. If you decide to install the flooring material yourself, a chop saw and a table saw on hand to help you cut are required.

8. Features

Laminate flooring has some features that make it suitable for use in bedrooms and the living areas of your home. Scratch-resistant coatings make laminate a fair choice for areas of your home with high traffic. In addition, some laminate flooring includes extra layers and special locking designs that waterproof the flooring for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas.

The Top-Notch Laminate Flooring Provider, At Your Service

Whichever laminate flooring brand you decide to trust, Zothex Flooring is here to help you acquire the best laminate flooring option that will fit perfectly with your style and needs. Let us help you build your dream home with high-quality products and top-notch customer service. For inquiries, call us at (916) 925 - 1958 or visit our website.

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