HELP CENTER: Laminate

Top Questions For Laminate

  • What is the difference between laminate and vinyl flooring?


    Both laminate and vinyl flooring are man-made products, available in a variety of colors and styles. Vinyl is constructed from different layers of PVC with a printed PVC film layer and a protective top wear layer. Laminate is comprised of resin impregnated paper backing, high-density fiberboard core, a photographic paper film and protective wear layer on top. We offer water-proof and water-resistant options for vinyl and water-resistant options for laminate in a variety of textures and colors.

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  • Can laminate be installed over existing floors?


    • Concrete: Yes, the subfloor must be prepped and leveled, and we require using an underlayment and a vapor barrier. Note that many underlayments have a moisture barrier included. Please consult your installation instructions and warranty for more details.
    • Ceramic: Yes, the floor must be well attached and grout lines greater than 1/8" should be leveled prior to installation. It is required to use an underlayment. Please consult your installation instructions and warranty for more details.
    • Vinyl: Yes, the vinyl must be only 1 layer in thickness, in good condition, prepped, and leveled. It is required to use an underlayment. Please consult your installation instructions and warranty for more details.
    • Plywood: Yes, the subfloor must be prepped and leveled and underlayment must be used. Please consult your installation instructions and warranty for more details.

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  • What are laminate floors and how are they made?


    Laminate flooring is made by covering a High-Density Fiberboard (HDF) with melamine impregnated paper. The HDF is sandwiched between the melamine papers and bonded together under heat and pressure. The decor paper image can be designed from a photograph of wood, stone, or other material. There are four layers of laminate. Click here to view our selection of laminate floors.

    • Back Layer: Which is responsible for protecting the flooring against moisture, and adds balance to the floor; bottom layer
    • Core Layer: Durable, High-Density Fiberboard that provides the flooring's rigid base and protection from dents; above the back layer
    • Design Layer: Incorporates the high-resolution photograph image for the surface appearance; above the core layer
    • Wear Layer: A top protective layer containing aluminum oxide that provides resistance against stains, fading, and surface burns

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  • Do you offer in-store installation classes?


    Yes, every Saturday we offer free in-store installation classes. Each specified time is in local time.

    • Wood & Laminate: 10am
    • Backsplashes: 11am
    • Tile & Stone Install: 2pm

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  • Do you have samples of laminate?


    Yes, we offer samples of most flooring. They are $3.00 and this includes shipping within the continental United States. Click here to learn more about our samples.

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  • How durable are laminate floors?


    Laminate flooring is long-lasting and highly durable because of its four-level construction. The surface is made with aluminum oxide which is one of the hardest substances on earth and provides a very robust and wear resistant surface relative to other types of flooring. Laminate is ideal for active families, pets, and children, making it a great choice for heavy traffic areas. Laminate can be used in the kitchen and bathrooms if proper installation instructions are followed.

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  • What is a laminate floor AC rating?


    AC stands for Abrasion Class and is a wear rating that has been standardized by the EPLF (European Producers of Laminate Flooring). The AC rating measures the abrasion resistance of the floor which determines how well the floor will withstand day-to-day wear. AC ratings range from 1 to 6 and signify if the laminate flooring is suitable for moderate, general, or heavy traffic. AC 3 is the industry standard for everyday residential use. AC 4 and AC 5 are considered appropriate for heavier traffic commercial applications.

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  • What is Authentic Texture (EIR)?


    EIR stands for Embossed in Register and is a method used by manufacturers to create the appearance of wood grain similar to real hardwood. This process intensifies the texture, depth, and appearance of the floor.

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  • Can laminate be shipped to me?


    Yes, you can order most of our products online to be shipped to you. Shipping charges are based on the weight of the order and the distance from the warehouse to your home. Charges can be seen during the checkout process.

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  • How are laminate floors installed?


    Laminate floors are installed as a floating floor, meaning that they are not actually connected to the subfloor. The laminates lay on top of the subfloor and are cut during installation to allow an expansion gap around the edge of the flooring installation. Note: it is essential that space is left around the perimeter of the floor, as this allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature throughout the year. Please consult your installation document for more details.

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  • Do I need to acclimate laminate flooring?


    Acclimation times vary on the manufacturer, but most laminates require a minimum of 48 hours of acclimation. Please refer to your installation instructions and warranty information for more details.

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  • Can you place heavy items such as cabinets, tubs, or vanities on top of laminate flooring?


    It is important that laminate flooring to be able to expand and contract freely. Therefore, laminate floors should be cut to fit around heavy objects such as a bathtub, vanity, kitchen counter island, etc. Please see the installation instructions and warranty for more details.

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  • Can laminate floors be installed over radiant heat systems?


    Yes, laminate can be installed over most embedded radiant heat systems as long as proper precautions are taken and installation instructions are followed.

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  • Is laminate waterproof or water-resistant?


    Traditional laminate is not water-resistant. AquaGuard laminate is a water-resistant laminate floor that can be installed in most wet rooms in the house such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. AquaGuard laminate resists swelling and damage from everyday spills for up to 30 hours and can be wet and steam mopped. Click here to view our selection of AquaGuard water-resistant laminate.

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  • Do I need an underlayment for laminate flooring?


    We recommend using an underlayment for better sound absorption, correcting subfloor issues, moisture control, and a softer feeling underfoot. Please consult the installation instructions and warranty for information regarding underlayment for your laminate product. You can view our selection of underlayment here.

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  • Do you have coordinating moldings for laminate flooring?


    Yes, we offer coordinating moldings and transition pieces for laminate. Click here to find moldings for your flooring.

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  • How can I protect my laminate floors from scratches and dents?


    Laminate is highly durable, but in order to keep your floor looking as new as day one, there are protective measures you can take. We recommend applying protective furniture pads to the bottom of couches, tables, dressers or anything else on top of your laminate flooring. This measure of protection will help prevent scratches and keep your flooring looking brand-new. Additionally, we recommend using non-slip mats or area rugs to trap dust and debris upon entry. Please consult your installation instructions and warranty for more details.

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  • How do I clean laminate flooring?


    In addition to protective measures, we recommend cleaning your floors regularly. You can sweep the area with a broom, dry vacuum, or microfiber mop to pick up any loose rocks, sand, or debris that could potentially scratch the surface of your laminate. For our AquaGuard and water-resistant laminates, you can also wet mop or steam mop the floors using an approved cleaner. For our HydroShield water-resistant product, you can wet mop. Be sure to look for laminate specific cleaning products, and avoid cleansers with lotions, waxes or conditioners, as these could leave greasy streaks and dull the appearance of your floors.

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  • What is AquaGuard water resistant wood-based laminate?


    AquaGuard is an innovative wood-based water-resistant laminate floor, designed to combine the advantages of both laminate and luxury vinyl. It is made with a unique water-resistant core that enhances water and temperature resistance. You can view our selection of AquaGuard here.

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  • What is the AC rating of AquaGuard laminate?


    AquaGuard laminate has an AC 5 wear rating, except for some high gloss styles which have an AC 4 wear rating. The higher the AC rating, the higher the durability. AquaGuard laminate is perfect for residential and commercial use. AquaGuard laminate with an AC5 rating is also ideal for heavy traffic commercial use.

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  • How durable is AquaGuard laminate?


    AquaGuard laminate is pet-friendly with planks that are extremely durable. AquaGuard also comes with an expanded Pet Warranty. Please see warranty for details.

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  • How long does AquaGuard water resistant wood-based laminate resist water?


    AquaGuard Laminate will resist moisture damage, from wet mopping and everyday household spills, up to 30 hours. See warranty for details.

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  • Where can I install AquaGuard laminate?


    AquaGuard can be installed in heavy-wear residential and commercial areas. The flooring is perfect for full bathrooms, kitchens, basements, mudrooms and laundry rooms.

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  • Can AquaGuard be installed over tile? Should I level the grout lines on my existing floor prior to installation?


    Yes, AquaGuard laminate can be installed over existing tile floors. The grout lines would need to be filled with a self-leveling compound, so the overall floor is leveled to 3/16 of an inch over a 10-foot linear span.

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  • Can you install AquaGuard over concrete or plywood subfloors?


    Yes, AquaGuard laminate can be installed over concrete and plywood subfloors. Please note that an underlayment is required at all times. A moisture barrier is required on installations over concrete subfloors.

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  • Does the subfloor need to be leveled prior to installing AquaGuard water resistant wood-based laminate?


    Yes, the subfloor must be clean and level to 5mm (3/16”) within a 10-foot span. Please see details in the installation instructions.

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  • When installing AquaGuard laminate in a bathroom, should I seal the area around the shower and tub?


    It is recommended to seal areas around tubs and showers with silicone caulk. Floor & Decor recommends Dap clear silicone sealant.

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  • Does AquaGuard have coordinating moldings?


    AquaGuard laminate has coordinating moldings, including quarter round, T-molding, overlapping reducer, and overlapping stair nose. Click here to find the coordinating moldings for your flooring.

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  • How do I clean my AquaGuard laminate?


    In addition to regular sweeping, AquaGuard laminate can be wet-mopped, jet-mopped, or residential steam mopped. Please refer to the maintenance and care section of the installation instructions for more details.

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  • How do I clean HydroShield laminate?


    For best results, dust mop regularly. If the floor becomes visibly dirty, use a laminate flooring mop combined with a laminate flooring cleaning solution. It’s best to mist the mop head rather than the flooring. Using this practice will also preserve your laminate flooring cleaning solution. If needed, the floor can also be wet mopped.

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  • What does it mean when you say "expansion gaps are also required around fixed objects"?


    Fixed objects are items like floor to ceiling columns in the middle of a family or living room, islands in a kitchen, or toilets in a bathroom. Since they don’t move, if you were not to include the required expansion gap around them, you would likely experience the same conditions mentioned in the previous question, such as buckling or creaking.

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  • Why are expansion gaps needed for HydroShield laminate flooring installation?


    HydroShield is a wood-based water-resistant Laminate floor. The core is made of HDF (High Density Fiberboard) which is made from wood. As a result, it acts and performs like wood in many ways including expanding and contracting. As temperature and humidity conditions change in a home throughout the year, your flooring will expand and contract. Without adding in the necessary 5/16 in. – 3/8 in. required expansion gap, eventually your floor is most likely going to experience one or more of the following conditions: buckling & sagging or making creaking, cracking and other possible sounds. Buckling & sagging also weakens your floor’s locking joints which can disrupt the integrity of HydroShield’s water resistance.

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  • Are the moldings and transition pieces water resistant?


    Moldings, including transition pieces and quarter rounds, are not water resistant. Sealing them is important to maintain the water resistance of the flooring where moldings are used. See installation instructions for more details.

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  • Does HydroShield water resistant laminate have coordinating moldings?


    HydroShield has coordinating moldings, including quarter round, T-molding, overlapping reducer, and overlapping stair nose. Click here to view our moldings.

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  • Does the subfloor need to be leveled prior to installing HydroShield laminate?


    Yes, the subfloor must be clean and level to 5mm (3/16”) within a 10-foot span. Please see details in your installation instructions.

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  • What makes HydroShield water resistant?


    A combination of a very tight locking system and moisture resistant edge bevel coating give HydroShield its high level of water and moisture resistance for up to 24 hours.

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  • Why is installation using foam backer rod recommended in addition to a required silicone sealant? Is it required to maintain the warranty? Why is a silicone sealant required?


    The expansion gap around the perimeter of the room must be sealed with 100% flexible silicone sealant following the installation instructions in order to create a watertight seal. Foam backer rod helps to fill the empty space in the room perimeter expansion gap and reduces the amount of 100% flexible silicone sealant needed during installation. It also helps to ensure the silicone sealant stays towards the surface to properly span the gap between the top of the HydroShield floor and the wall. Refer to the installation instructions and warranty for additional details.

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  • What is HydroShield water resistant wood-based laminate?


    HydroShield is a wood-based laminate floor that is water-resistant for up to 24 hours and is highly durable with an AC4 wear rating. HydroShield laminate is rated for residential and commercial use. Please see installation instructions for details. Click here to view our selection of HydroShield laminate.

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  • Can HydroShield laminate be installed over concrete or plywood subfloors?


    Yes, you can install HydroShield over concrete and plywood subfloors. Please note that an underlayment is required at all times and an additional moisture barrier is required on concrete subfloors. Click here to view our selection of underlayment.

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  • Where can I install HydroShield laminate flooring?


    HydroShield can be installed in residential and commercial areas, and is warrantied for installation in full bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, and basements. The flooring can be installed on all grade levels of your home. Please see the installation instructions and warranty for further installation details.

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  • Does HydroShield water resistant wood-based laminate contain any latex or rubber?


    No, HydroShield is not made with latex or rubber.

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