Consumer Edge: Take a look at Laminate

In Flooring, hard surface choices have exploded in the last decade. Every supplier/manufacturer we use has a line of laminate or vinyl plank. As a consumer it's tough to know what choice to make. Here's a quick buyers guide to the pros and cons of each hard surface choice. 

I have some obvious biases. Let me just put that out there. I have worked in flooring... forever. One of my earliest childhood memories is being on a job site with my Dad cleaning up carpet scraps while he did install work. I started up myself at 13 and haven't looked back. *Except for a brief stint at Tim Hortons when I felt I needed a "real job" as a surly teenager, but we don't talk about that. Flooring has been my career of choice for more of my life than not. 

LAMINATE. Let's get these aforementioned biases out of the way first. I hate laminate and almost always try to move customers into a different product. Most laminate warranties say any moisture or liquid must be removed from the surface immediately or the warranty is void. If you can't over-water a plant accidentally or have a pet accident on your floor, in my opinion its not a good floor. Water? Too bad, get a new floor, try better next time. the core is made of HDF, a denser material than your ikea furniture, but essentially offers the same performance. 

BUT, you say, Isn't it cheap? Well, when you compare to hardwood, yes. Install is less and the material is less money. There are more than just the two options out there now. Why not pay the same for something that won't self destruct in 3-5 years. Like a vinyl plank, maybe?

To be fair, there are some good options out there. Armstrong makes laminates that have VERY HIGH standards for expansion and moisture tolerances, they stand out as one of the best finishes and cores. They have invested a ton of research in creating quality products that perform how they need to (

So not everything in the laminate category is a no-no, but I would say MOST. Some of the visuals are amazing, some offer textures that are impressive, there are some good things. BUT just maybe those good features are available in other categories.