Laminate Styles

Knowledge about laminate styles.

Laminate offers you a large family of styles and our goal is to help you understand the big picture on installation types when it comes to this unique family of flooring products. This information will let you shop smarter and compare with confidence.

For many of us, when it comes to picking a style of any product, we usually “know it when we see it.” Perhaps that describes you, too.

Well, if laminate interests you, it’s virtually guaranteed you’ll find a style that’s right for your home.

This section explains types of laminate installation, and offers you all the information you need to make smart choices.

Is it real or laminate?

If laminates looked fake the last time you checked, it’s time to check again!

Today’s laminates are looking better and better, and often need close examination to be identified.

Laminates have truly come a long way. Why?

Because of the growing popularity of laminates, manufacturers are creating an increasing array of traditional, rustic, and exotic wood grain designs.

In fact, presses have improved to the point where the texture imprinted on top of the design looks more real than ever, even with distressed wood or natural stone designs.

Want to know what’s new under the laminate sun?

As with sheet vinyl floors, some of the new laminates really have the look of natural materials, particularly the textured products that give the floor dimension. The most common, basic laminate designs have a wood grain appearance.

Some of the most popular laminates have rustic or historic wood grain patterns.

If you’re curious about what are the best sellers, it’s the natural stone look-a-likes, particularly slate and tumbled tile varieties.

Quality is focused on the photography.

The quality of the laminate partially has to do with the photography and the number of photographs per style, which is known as "screens".

Here’s an example for you. When manufacturers emulate a natural stone tile, they try to recreate the variation in color, pattern and texture that is a result of cutting a natural product.

The more screens a product has, the more variation it can offer. And the more “authentic” the laminate looks.

Understand this about color.

Like any floor, select the laminate color to compliment the size of your room and the activities taking place in it.

Remember that lighter colors will make a smaller room appear larger, while darker colors will absorb the light and create a more intimate setting.

Choose a color that either coordinates or contrasts with your cabinets and other furniture. Avoid matching everything to the same color and style.

Let your creativity guide you! And remember, contrasts can make your room more interesting.

Laminate flooring types – yours will be installed in one of these 4 forms.

Glueless laminate flooring.

No mess, glueless installation makes these floors quick and easy-to-install.

They come in a variety of ceramic and wood designs and colorations, as well as some manufacturers offer a real, hardwood veneer instead of a printed layer. It looks amazingly hardwood-like.

These floors come in both planks and squares. A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture from below. (Remember, moisture is the enemy of your flooring.)

In fact, most laminate floors require a plastic underlay sheet (4 mil poly) be installed directly underneath the laminate planks or tiles.

This helps the floor float freely over the subfloor. Another option is to add a vapor barrier or noise reduction underlay before installing the laminate flooring.

Laminate flooring with attached underlay.

These floors come with several different types of tongue and grooved locking systems and an attached underlayment to reduce noise levels. That’s good to know.

Glued laminate flooring.

These are the original laminate floors that do require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas for each plank.

Once the glue is dried the planks are almost impossible to pull apart. These floors are offered in both planks and squares.

Pre-glued laminate flooring.

No mess, because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves which makes these floors quick and easy-to-install.

A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture and prevent the glue from sticking to the substrate.

Moldings are the finishing touch.

Laminate moldings also affect the overall style and give your room a beautiful finished look.

Moldings are important because they cover the space that is allowed for the flooring to expand and move naturally on top of the subfloor, and they help with the transition to an adjacent floor.

Most manufacturers offer coordinating moldings for all styles and colors for any laminate flooring you choose.

However, be aware that moldings for laminates are slightly larger than their wood or ceramic tile counterparts.

Here, to familiarize you with various standard moldings, are some styles and definitions.

The Step Down Stairnose is a coordinating piece providing the proper transition for all the steps in your home.

A Reducer Strip is the transitional piece the installers use to connect the laminate with another type of floor covering such as vinyl, thin ceramic tile, or low-pile carpeting.

An End Molding or Carpet Reducer is used as a transition from laminate floors to different flooring surfaces when the reducer does not allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick ceramic tile.

T-Molding is commonly used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms. It's also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that is approximately the same height.

Finally, a Quarter Round may be installed wherever the laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.

We recommend that you work closely with us to become familiar with the moldings and transition pieces.

Ask to see samples if possible, so there are no surprises come installation time.

With a lot of knowledge, hopefully from the above, and a little imagination (that’s your department), you will find a laminate flooring that is just right for you and your home.