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Laminate flooring was invented in 1977, and the company that developed it introduced Pergo to the European market in 1984. Pergo is just one brand of laminate flooring out of many but since its product was first out of the gate, Pergo is often (mistakenly) used as a generic term for the whole category.
The market is flooded with cheap laminate floors that cases of buyer's remorse waiting to happen. Beware suspiciously low prices and look for the seal of the North American Laminate Flooring Association, or NALFA.
All laminate floors require an underlayment. Sometimes that underlayment is the bottom layer of the flooring material and sometimes that underlayment is a sheet of material that you have to purchase separately.
Laminate floors installed directly on concrete or in areas with a lot of moisture need an additional moisture barrier. Again, ask lots of questions before you buy and be sure you're buying the right product for your needs.
Laminate flooring is stain- and fade-resistant and has a tendency to repel water. It's an extremely hard and durable surface, but it is possible to scratch it. It's not possible to repair the actual scratches when they occur, so be sure to buy extra material with your initial purchase and hold onto it in case you'll need it later.
Laminate flooring doesn't need any special cleaners or special treatment to keep its looks. It never needs to be waxed or polished. At the same time, it can't be refinished.
Laminate floors are an affordable option for a short or long term flooring solution. If you're in the market for a laminate floor, do your homework and ask a lot of questions. If you have any direct experience with laminate floors, we'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
Pros: It's a low-cost alternative to other floors and easy to live with.
Cons: Cannot be refinished or repaired easily.
Suggested uses: Anywhere you'd use a plank, engineered, tile or carpet floor.
Price range: $2-$4 per square foot.
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