Laminate flooring does one thing really well above all else: it imitates wood flooring.
Developed decades ago as an inexpensive alternative to real wood, today’s laminate flooring manufacturers have upped their game with better quality and dozens of types of wood species. You’ll find everything from American icons like oak, hickory and heartwood pine to exotics such as tigerwood and prado.
There are rustic and antiqued versions, too, in case you want your floor to look as if it’s been there for centuries. Plus, many manufacturers throw in an increasingly varied portfolio of stone, tile and metal look-alikes.
All this variety is due to the photographic process used to create the design layer of laminate flooring — a high-resolution image of actual wood that’s vividly realistic. The image is printed and glued to a core of fiberboard backed by a bottom layer that’s treated to prevent moisture damage. It’s all covered by a tough, clear top wear layer that resists scratches and dings.
With this vast array of choices before you, here’s the pros and cons you need to know:
The Good News:
The Not-So-Good News: