How to Decide on Your Laminate Floor’s Thickness
If you’re trying to figure out how to choose laminate wood floors for your home and wondering how thickness fits in, here are answers to your questions.
How is laminate flooring thickness measured?
For laminate flooring, plank thickness is measured in millimeters (mm). A millimeter is roughly 0.039 inches.
Flooring products like Swiss Krono will state plank thickness on their packages or in their advertising by measuring the entire plank thickness — from the bottom surface that rests on the subfloor to the top of the plank. So if a plank has an attached pad (meaning the underlayment is actually attached to each individual plank), you may see a plank thickness of 14 mm. That means it’s a 12 mm thick plank with a 2 mm thick pad attached, equaling 14 mm.
Therefore, plank thickness doesn’t refer strictly to the core of the plank but instead to the combination of all layers that make up the plank.
Is laminate flooring thickness a guarantee of durability?
Not necessarily. At Swiss Krono USA, we see durability provided by the aluminum-oxide wear layer that’s on top. The wear layer makes the laminate floor able to stand up to foot traffic and minor abrasions, thus improving its durability.
Impact resistance, or the ability of a laminate floor to withstand the impact of a falling object, is related to plank thickness. In general, the thicker the plank the more resistant the floor becomes to fracture from a dropped object. Our floors meet and exceed a light commercial rating on “Large-Ball Impact Resistance” and “Small-Ball (Dart) Impact Resistance” tests.
Is thickness a guarantee of quality in laminate flooring?
Again, not necessarily; a thicker laminate could be manufactured with lower-quality materials. Swiss Krono USA uses a superior high-density fiber (HDF) core made of 50% southern yellow pine and 50% hardwood in our laminate floors, no matter what the thickness is. Every component of our laminate floor is important in every product we make.
Are there advantages to a thicker plank laminate floor?
Yes. BuildDirect sums it up this way in its blog article titled, “Choosing 12 mm Laminate Flooring“: “The balance between this spectrum of ease of installation and hardy walking experience, 12 mm laminate flooring feels just like the real thing, and a floor surface that is DIY friendly, too.”
- A thicker plank is easier to install. It’s actually a bit forgiving because it can better span minor subfloor deviations without problems later. “Levelness” is important to a successful installation. Since a laminate floor is a floating floor, a subfloor that has a peak or valley of over 1/8th of an inch within 40 inches of grade is not good.
- A thicker plank can provide superior acoustics. Because the plank is thicker, sound doesn’t travel as well.
- A thicker plank provides better impact resistance.
- Swiss Krono USA offers 14 collections with 12 mm of thickness.
What are the different thicknesses of laminate flooring?
There are four standard laminate-flooring plank thicknesses on the market. As you might expect, the thinner the plank the less expensive the laminate floor. Our planks come in the three thickest measurements: 8 millimeter (8 mm), 10 millimeter (10 mm) and 12 millimeter (12 mm).
What’s the best advice regarding laminate flooring thickness?
As with most purchase decisions, there’s no correct answer for how to choose the best plank thickness. Bigger (or thicker) is usually better for all the reasons we’ve examined here, but there’s no reason to buy more floor than you need.