13 Dec Laminate Flooring Review – Honest Buyers Guide & Expert Opinion
If you’re considering laminate floors for your home or office, you’ve come to the right place. There are so many laminate flooring options to choose from. Whilst there is no ‘best laminate flooring’, not all laminate floors are made equal. As a leading flooring supplier and installer in Sydney, FloorVenue alone shelves close to a thousand different laminate flooring colours and styles – and we definitely understand the indecision.
That’s why we’ve composed our ‘Honest Buyers Guide’ series which provides unfiltered pros and cons of our top selling laminate flooring brands. But before we begin, let’s understand what the fancy term ‘Laminate Flooring’ actually means.
Laminate Floors – What Are They?
First introduced to the Australian market in the late 1980s, laminate floors were considered the affordable alternative to solid hardwood timber flooring. Risen to popularity over the last three decades, laminate options make flooring much more accessible with lower price tags.
The earliest laminate floors have a misconception of being low quality and cheap looking compared to other options. However with the advancement of flooring technology, most laminate floors can easily outperform natural wood in both durability and stability against moisture. In fact, laminate flooring can last two to three decades with the right care! High end ranges can look as real as natural timber, which you will soon discover below!
Laminate flooring is made up of three primary layers:
- Wear Layer – Most laminate floors have a hardwearing aluminium oxide wear layer which protects your floors from daily life. Many options have commercial-grade durability.
- Print Layer – Laminate flooring is synthetically manufactured with a printed woodgrain design under the wear layer. This allows the planks to achieve almost any look imaginable, so you’ll definitely be spoiled for an option.
- Core Board – The core of laminate floors are high-density fibreboards (HDF), constructed from recycled wood fibres and a melamine resin that bonds the material together.
Top 5 Laminate Floor Brands in Sydney NSW
Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of our top-selling laminate flooring brand ranges. By providing an unfiltered perspective, you’ll know exactly what you are paying for.
Number 1: AquaFloor Laminate Flooring Review
The 12mm thick AquaFloor is one of the only extreme water-resistant (168 hours of moisture protection) floors using a black fibreboard composition as opposed to traditional melamine resin and wood fibres. You can recognise this range by the black wax-sealed side profiles. AquaFloor laminate planks come in both Australian hardwood designs as well as European oak visuals.
AquaFloor technology is widely used in American laminate flooring and have excellent performance metrics in durability as well as moisture protection.
Advantages of AquaFloor Laminate Flooring
- Extreme Durability – AquaFloor has the highest durability class of AC5 (Heavy Commercial) which makes them virtually impervious to scratches and dents from daily use. Suitable for both residential and commercial settings.
- Extreme Water Resistance – AquaFloor laminate has unmatched water resistance and offers 168 hours of moisture protection through the unique black fibreboard composition technology. The secret? Mixing resin amongst other stabilisers into the fibreboards!
- Digital Printing – AquaFloor laminate has 30 unique patterns in each colour. This makes it practically immune to pattern repetition, which can be a problem amongst cheaper laminate flooring.
- 30 Year Structural Warranty | 5 Year Moisture Warranty – Aside from an exceedingly long 30-year structural warranty, the AquaFloor range is the only laminate floor to offer any moisture warranty in the Australian market.
Disadvantages of AquaFloor Laminate Flooring
- Less Affordable – The saying follows as; you get what you pay for. AquaFloor Laminate offers the highest specs in the industry but also commands a higher price tag than most laminate floors.
- Long Boards – Each plank exceeds two metres long, making transportation difficult to pick up without a larger vehicle. On the other hand, longboards are arguably a benefit regarding aesthetics.
You can view Aquafloor Laminate colours here!
Number 2: Kronoswiss Aquastop Reviews
Manufactured in Switzerland, the Kronoswiss Aquastop laminate flooring range offers some of the highest performance in durability and water resistance. Aquastop Laminate comes in three different ranges – 8mm thick, 12mm thick and 14mm thick with varying costs and performance.
Benefits of Kronoswiss Aquastop Laminate Flooring
- Extreme Durability – The 12mm and 14mm Kronoswiss ranges offer AC5 heavy commercial durability against scratches and dents. Whether you have pets, kids, customers or even trolleys on the floor, the Aquastop laminate flooring won’t feel a thing.
- Water Resistance – Kronoswiss Aquastop offers up to 72 hours of water resistance. This is a premium feature amongst laminate floors made possible thanks to high-density-fibreboard (HDF) technology.
- Embossed In Register (EIR) – Digital printing combined with synchronised surface embossing makes the planks appear and feel just like real hardwood flooring. Aquastop laminate flooring offers some of the most realistic prints.
Drawbacks of Kronoswiss Aquastop Laminate Flooring
- Less Affordable – Whilst Kronoswiss laminate floorboards offer superior features, the price tag is also on the higher side of laminate floor options.
- Warranty – Although the Aquastop laminate flooring has a 35-year residential warranty, the value depreciates by 10% annually. This means your claim may not be worth as much as you’d expect after a few years.
You can view Kronoswiss Aquastop Laminate colours here!
Number 3: Luxflor Premium Hugo Review
Luxflor Hugo represents affordability and quality in a single package, offering hardwood and oak designs with a tough wear layer build for all residential and light commercial applications. Hugo laminate has been one of our top-selling mid/high tier flooring amongst the laminate ranges with 25 years of product warranty. Luxflor Hugo’s key selling point is its value for money.
Advantages of Luxflor Hugo Laminate Flooring
- Durable – Hugo laminate offers an ‘EverGuard’ scratch-resistant feature that achieves AC4 durability, making it suitable for light commercial settings and domestic use. Great for pets and kids!
- Water-Resistant – The Premium Hugo range has a fibreboard that is 1.5-2.5x denser than most other laminate floors, providing 48 hours of water resistance to keep the floors safe from spills.
- Embossed in Register (EIR) – Synchronised pattern between the print and embossing makes the planks feel just like real timber!
- Affordable – Hugo laminate has a surprisingly affordable price tag despite having great features. Whilst it is against our policy to put prices on the website, you can definitely contact us for a quick quote.
Disadvantages of Luxflor Hugo Laminate Flooring
- Long Boards – Similar to AquaFloor Laminate flooring, each plank exceeds two metres long, which makes transportation difficult, especially if you wish to pick it up with your own car.
- Colour Range – Luxflor Hugo has been around for a decade. Whilst Australia’s preferences have turned towards neutral and lighter tones, the Hugo laminate range offers stronger shades and courser tones which would have appealed to the older generation.
You can view Luxflor Hugo Laminate colours here!
Number 4: Quick-Step Perspective Nature Reviews
Hailing from the finest manufacturers in Belgium, the Perspective Nature laminate range is king if you are looking for the closest thing to natural timber. They are unrivalled in capturing the beauty of real oakwood through 3D scanning timber planks before printing not only the perfect colours but also the matching knots, grains and other wood features that you can feel! You’ll need to touch the samples in our showroom to truly understand how real Perspective Nature laminate flooring feels.
Benefits of Perspective Nature Laminate Flooring
- Ultra Realistic European Oak – Perspective Natural is undoubtedly the most realistic laminate flooring in the Australian market. The unmatched embossing and print make the planks look just like natural oakwood.
- Robust Surface – The wear layer on Perspective Nature achieves an AC4 moderate commercial grade rating which makes them suitable for both high-traffic areas of the home, and office or shopfront usage.
- Hydroseal Waterproof Surface – For even better protection, Perspective Nature laminate flooring is protected from most spills and accidents as the surface is entirely watertight. As long as moisture doesn’t get between the joins, you can be worry-free when it comes to moisture.
Drawbacks of Perspective Nature Laminate Flooring
- Shorter Plank – On the contrary to holding the best aesthetic look, Perspective Nature doesn’t offer the grand size and is only 1.38 metres long whereas most premium laminates are over 2 metres long. Luckily they have a wide plank which is the current trend.
- Less Thick – Perspective Nature is 9mm thick, which is less than the common 12mm laminate flooring. This means the plank may feel less solid, and there might be more movement underfoot when the subfloor isn’t flat (which is more common than not).
Number 5: Luxflor 12mm Gloss Laminate Reviews
The Luxflor 12mm Gloss laminate range is for shiny floor lovers. It offers a very affordable satin finish in a gorgeous selection of Australian hardwood designs – from deep reds like Merbau and Jarrah to lighter blonde tones of Blackbutt and Cypress Pine. The aluminium oxide protective layer offers AC3 heavy residential protection from scratches and 24 hours of water resistance, perfect for a cost-effective and secure home solution.
Advantages of Luxflor 12mm Gloss Laminate Flooring
- Fashionable Designs – Luxflor 12mm Gloss comes in 12 Australian timber designs, including rarer colours including Brushbox, Iron Bark and Teak. Furthermore, each colour has a beautiful high gloss finish, which is difficult to find these days.
- Wax-Sealed Joints – The click-lock system is coated in wax sealant for added moisture protection from occasional spills, especially if it gets in the gapping between planks.
- Affordable – Luxflor 12mm laminate flooring is especially price competitive and offers great value for money. If you are on a tighter budget, the Luxflor 12mm Gloss, Luxflor 12mm Embossed and Luxflor 8mm are quality laminate floors to consider.
Disadvantages of Luxflor 12mm Gloss Laminate Flooring
- Residential Use Only – The Luxflor laminates are designed for home living rather than high traffic commercial areas. The product warranties will be voided if the planks are installed in non-residential areas.
- Lower Water Resistance – With 24 hours of moisture protection, it is important to wipe spills and lightly wet mop when cleaning. We do not recommend the Luxflor 12mm Gloss range in kitchens and laundry areas that are prone to liquid spills.
- Shorter Planks – Luxflor 12mm Gloss laminate flooring planks are relatively short at 1.215 metres long. This is suitable for areas like bedrooms and smaller kitchens, dining etc. Most people prefer longboards in larger open areas.
You can view Luxflor Gloss Laminate colours here!
Bonus Runners Up: Villeroy & Boch Contemporary Reviews
Although we have already covered the top 5, here is a bonus that deserves to be on the list. The Villeroy & Boch Cosmopolitan laminate flooring is a renowned German brand manufactured by the Swiss Krono group. Rivalling the Aquastop range, Villeroy & Boch offers a vintage set of colours alongside commercial durability and water resistance. The thickness of Villeroy & Boch laminate floors come in 8mm and 12mm.
Benefits of Villeroy & Boch Laminate Flooring
- Extreme Durability – Villeroy & Boch Contemporary achieves AC5 heavy commercial abrasion resistance making it suitable for the highest traffic indoor areas.
- Water Resistance – The high-density core is tested to resist moisture ingress for up to 48 hours, making maintenance much easier.
- Phthalate Free – The Villeroy & Boch laminate floors are crafted to quality standards and emit no phthalate (DEHP), which is a volatile organic compound that can cause hormonal imbalances.
Drawbacks of Villeroy & Boch Laminate Flooring
- Colour Range – Like Luxflor Hugo, the Villeroy & Boch colours also tend to appeal to older generations and are less ‘contemporary’ and trendy despite what the name suggests. However, some people enjoy vintage designs, so maybe you will too!
- Shorter Planks – All Villeroy & Boch floors are shorter than the vast majority of laminate flooring at only 1.375m long. If you are looking for larger floorboards as recent popular trends have been pointing towards, this might not be your cup of tea.
You can view Villeroy & Boch Laminate colours here!
Conclusion – Which Laminate Floor is Best?
Truth be told, there is no ‘best’ laminate floor. It depends on a variety of factors – where you intend to lay the floors, your budget, your life style and many more. We recommend considering the following:
- Durability – Measured in Abrasion Class (AC) Ratings from AC1 to AC5
- Water Resistance – Measured in days, typically 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours.
- Thickness – Anywhere between 8mm to 14mm is a good thickness.
If you ever need advice from an expert, our flooring consultants at FloorVenue are always happy to help. Best of luck for your flooring project!