Flooring Buyer's Guide

Given the wide array of flooring options available, you're bound to find one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Learn about 10 popular flooring types to find your match.

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Casual Living Old Magnolia Laminate flooring. Photo courtesy of Pergo


Laminate
Low-maintenance laminate flooring offers an enormous variety of styles, colors and patterns. It's similar to engineered wood in that a top wear layer is backed by layers of plywood or compressed fiber backing that is extremely stable. The big difference is that the top layer is not real wood but a plastic coating applied over a photograph. The photo-realism technology that’s used produces look-alike finishes indistinguishable from real wood and other materials such as stone, ceramic tile, even stained concrete.

Laminates comes as planks or tiles. Most are floating floor systems, meaning they can be installed directly over old existing flooring without glue or nails — no tear-out is necessary. Laminate is a popular DIY flooring, but it’s wise not to overestimate your skills — installing around corners and between door jambs takes patience and ingenuity.

Quality varies, and laminate flooring costs $1 to $7 per square foot. Installation adds $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on difficulty.

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