Laminate flooring is composed of synthetic core material that is then covered with wearlayers and finishes that make it more scratch resistant and durable. The top of all laminates is essentially a pixel imprint of either a type of wood or stone that the laminate is to resemble. The differences between laminates lies in several key areas including:
Pixelation – Higher quality laminates have much higher pixel imprint resolutions giving them a much more realistic appearance than other laminates.
Beveling – Especially important in wood laminates. Beveled edges mean angled edges making the product appear more like natural hardwood than smooth laminates.
Thickness – Laminates range from 7 mm to 12 mm board thickness. The thicker the laminate usually the better the quality of the product.
Scratch Resistance – Look for laminates that apply higher quality scratch resistant coatings to their products. These will last longer and are more durable.
Locking Mechanisms – Probably the highest point of failure for most laminates. The better the locking mechanism the longer the product will continue to look good in your home. Try to find out if the laminate you are looking at has a reported history of lock mechanism failure.