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(National-Consumer Reports) August 24, 2006 - One flooring store sells everything from hardwood to vinyl to linoleum. Another type of flooring that's been a big favorite lately is laminates.
Jeffrey DeFrancesco thinks it's a good choice, "Laminate is the easiest way to cover a floor quickly, cheaply, and with a good look."
Laminate flooring can mimic many materials, including hardwood, but costs much less to buy and install. Consumer Reports just tested laminates, along with other types of flooring, to see how it holds up to everyday use and abuse.
The flooring was subjected to a full battery of tests. One test simulates the effect of foot traffic to see how quickly the floors will wear. Other tests assess how easily the floor will dent or scratch.
Consumer Reports also evaluated how resistant each type of flooring is to spills. Dave Trezza of Consumer Reports explains how that was done, "To simulate a minor spill we left a damp sponge on the floor for 24 hours to see what would happen."
When all the results were in, the laminate flooring proved to be more durable than hardwood.
Top-rated in the group was the Armstrong Nature's Gallery American Duet for $4.50 a square foot.
Consumer Reports says while laminate flooring offers many advantages, be aware that it can't be sanded and refinished like hardwood can, and replacing a damaged section can be difficult.