Laminate flooring is one of the great developments in home improvement of the past 50 years. It’s inexpensive, durable and prefinished, but best of all, an intermediate DIYer can install it with just a few tools. Most of the various styles are installed by just snapping together the planks-no glue or fasteners required.

All laminate flooring needs foam underlayment. Don’t skip it. Underlayment prevents the floor from clicking on the subfloor as you walk across it and makes it feel a bit softer. It also makes the planks easier to install because it evens out small inconsistencies in the subfloor.

If you lead a quiet life, choose whatever flooring style appeals to you. But if you have one of those crazy households with kids, pets and lots of visitors, be a bit more careful. Flooring with a varied grain pattern, a low-gloss finish or distressed or hand-scraped patina will look much better, much cleaner, much longer than flooring with a glossy, monolithic grain pattern.

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