Laminate flooring has come on in leaps and bounds since the days when it was just thought of as a cheap alternative to natural materials. It is still cheaper than solid wood, for instance, but it has a lot more to offer the householder than just an economical way to cover your floor. Nowadays, laminate flooring can be a highly desirable, high-performance kitchen flooring option. Indeed, there are lots of great choices out there when you’re looking for the best laminate flooring for kitchens.
It has a multi-layer structure consisting of, from the top, a wear layer, a design layer, an HDF or MDF core, and a back panel. This multi-layer construction gives strength and practicality that makes laminate flooring suited for use all over the house, especially in the kitchen. We’ll examine some of the best brands available before running through what you should consider when it comes to laminate.
- What Makes A Laminate Floor Good for Kitchens?
- Best Laminate Flooring For Kitchens
- 1. Mohawk RevWood (Best Overall)
- 2. Shaw Repel (Runner-Up)
- 3. Newton Laminate (Most Stylish)
- 4. Mannington SpillShield Laminate (Premium Pick)
- 5. Pergo Outlast+ (Most Popular)
- 6. Armstrong Audacity (Worth A Mention)
- Compare Our Picks
- What to Consider When Choosing Laminate Flooring For A Kitchen
- The Pros & Cons of Laminate Flooring for a Kitchen
- Alternative Flooring Options
- Final Thoughts
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What Makes A Laminate Floor Good for Kitchens?
Laminate flooring is tough. The higher up the scale you go, the tougher it gets. The best kitchen laminate flooring will have an AC4 or even AC5 rating – this means you’ve got a surface that will stand up to any household (and some commercial) stresses and strains. A kitchen can see some punishing action, from pans being dropped to breakfast bar stools being dragged into action. This is why you need a material in there that can stand up to all that wear and tear.
Due to its construction (usually using a pressure sealing technique), laminate flooring will repel water long enough for you to press your mop and bucket into action. To say that it can fight off the water all day long is a little misleading, as laminate will fall prey to ingress when water is left standing on it. But it’s certainly more water resistant than a number of other flooring alternatives, such as solid wood.
Another plus that laminate delivers is its easy-to-clean nature. Again, spillages are what every kitchen’s all about from time to time, so a kitchen floor needs to be able to stand up to splashes of tea, gravy, wine, and who knows what else without getting permanently stained. Even better if you can use the odd chemical on there for stubborn marks. Laminate will deal well with all this and more. This is why it’s one of the kings of the kitchen.
Best Laminate Flooring For Kitchens
- Mohawk RevWood – Best Overall
- Shaw Repel – Runner-Up
- Newton Laminate – Most Stylish
- Mannington SpillShield – Premium Pick
- Pergo Outlast+ – Most Popular
- Armstrong Audacity – Worth a Mention
Six good options here, each with something distinct to offer. We’ll now take a close look at all of them in turn.
1. Mohawk RevWood (Best Overall)
Taking its cue from the beauty of hardwood, RevWood seeks to emulate it through a good color palette and deep embossing. As with all synthetic options, you’re never going to get a 100% identical copy of the natural material it’s trying to emulate, but it has to be said that Mohawk does a pretty good job here. An up-close inspection will, of course, betray the synthetic nature of the flooring, but a first or even second glance will not be enough to give the game away.
The standard RevWood Essentials range contains eight different varieties, each of which is available in a number of color options, including an aged bark oak (Addington) and an amber walnut (Valmont). Add in the RevWood Select, Plus, and Premier, and you’ve got a total of 27 choices, with color options available for each one.
Size-wise, RevWood Essentials comes in 5.25” x 47.25” planks. RevWood Select planks are 7.5” x 54.5”, while RevWood Plus planks are as big as 9.5” x 80.5”. Finally, RevWood Premier comes in 8.5” x 54.5” planks.
So much for the appearance. In terms of construction, all RevWood is made from a pressed high-density fiber core with a laminate top layer. It is AC4 rated, so it is suited to all residential use as well as light commercial. All of the RevWood varieties give a lifetime residential (and five-year commercial) wear warranty, and the different varieties offer differing amounts of waterproofing warranty too.
Mohawk claims that RevWood has four times the scratch resistance of other laminates thanks to its superior Crystal Shield aluminum oxide wear layer. Reviews tend to back this up. For instance, this thread in Houzz is enormously praising of RevWood Plus’s ability to shrug off the perils of domestic dramas.
RevWood costs in the region of $3.50 to just over $4 SFT. With performance this good, this represents good value for money.
2. Shaw Repel (Runner-Up)
The Repel range of laminate flooring is not as extensive as RevWood, there being just three style groupings: Intrigue, Gold Coast, and Anthem. Each group features a range of colors, though, so, in all, the Repel portfolio offers 18 different options. The plank size is 7.5” x 48”, up to 7.5” x 50”.
Construction features the usual multi-layer approach, but Repel stands out from the crowd due to its unique OptiCore. The Shaw Floor OptiCore is not just a gift to rappers. It’s a fundamental departure from the usual laminate materials because it features either wood that’s a by-product from other processes (that would be discarded otherwise) or wood from certifiably sustainable sources. Nothing goes to landfill, and the manufacturing process satisfies strict CARB requirements.
So, a very impressive ecological performer. Does it deliver as far as wear and tear go though? It certainly has a good thickness (up to 14mm inc base), so you’d be expecting a sturdy performance. Thirty years of residential cover isn’t bad (plus five years of light commercial), but in truth, we were hoping for a lifetime warranty.
Do shop around with this one. Some merchants list prices upwards of $6.29 SFT, Shame, really, as Shaw has made a GreenGuard-certified environmentally sound winner, but it’s ended up costing the earth. As an aside, Shaw’s website has a feature aimed at assisting you when you make your floor choice. Nothing wrong with that. It’s simply the name it’s gone for. Floorvana. The kind of inadequate wordplay that would have made Kurt Cobain groan.
3. Newton Laminate (Most Stylish)
Newton approaches its flooring mission with a triad of priorities. It wants to make flooring the customer will love (with very impressive looks throughout the range), can afford it, and derive many years of happy use from.
The Newton Laminate range really does catch the eye, with a wide variety of wood and stone looks that are admirably close to the real thing in appearance and range in plank width from 6” to 13”. There are a total of 11 different collections, ranging from the stylish wood look of Mendocino to the modern and classical interior-inspired Coronado range.
Other options include the great-looking chevron wood pattern of Helena and the earth-tone wood palette of Trek Haven. Another collection worth a mention is Holly Springs, featuring a nice pale range of woods that will complement most decor types.
Price for most of the collections ranges from just over $4 SFT to $6 SFT, which falls into the bracket of affordable to most. For those wanting to spoil themselves, the rich hues of Eldorado will set you back $6.78 SFT. But you will get a terrific-looking product for your money.
Finally, when it comes to wear, Newton Laminate gives a good account of itself, being waterproof and at least AC4-rated (some of its collections boast an AC5 rating). A limited lifetime residential warranty is offered, so you know it’s got the goods.
The final point to include here is that, environmentally, Newton’s no slouch. All of its flooring is made in the US or in Europe and conforms to the tough GreenGuard Gold, and FloorScore standards, so low VOC is guaranteed.
4. Mannington SpillShield Laminate (Premium Pick)
For over a hundred years, Mannington has been a shorthand for US quality, producing carpets from its factory in Salem, NJ. Its laminate range, called Restoration, features looks and durability that are highly impressive, as we’ll now see. It’s also pretty good environmentally, too.
No fewer than 66 different options await you on the Mannington website, which is pretty impressive in anyone’s book. They range from the dark charms of Woodland Maple (Mist) to the pale beauty of Palace Plank (Armor), as well as featuring multi-hued varieties such as Whiskey Mill, which gives the impression of being made from Bourbon barrels (just looks-wise; any liquor smell is down to you and what you pour on it!).
The planks are 7.5” x 50.5” and are 12mm thick. Some of the ranges feature micro beveling around the edges, and there are 12 unique planks so that you can avoid pattern repetition when laying.
Mannington Restoration features SpillShield Plus, which keeps your kitchen floor from harm caused by spillages and wet paws, as well as displaying good scratch resistance. Given all this, we were a little disappointed by the warranty: 25-year residential and 5-year commercial. Not exactly the top of the tree. But Restoration does come with a good reputation for lasting quality. On top of this, it is US-made and FloorScore certified and features 70% recycled materials in its construction, so some genuine green credentials are there.
How much can you expect to pay for a Mannington SpillShield floor? Well, it’s not actually the pocket-emptier we were anticipating. You can buy it at prices starting at $4.89 SFT, so reasonably competitively priced.
5. Pergo Outlast+ (Most Popular)
Since inventing laminate flooring, Pergo has been a favorite for many years. They’ve been brought into the Mohawk family, so they can now provide ever greater numbers of people with hardworking, effective flooring solutions.
There’s a colossal 50 different wood looks for you to pick from, so there is no shortage of wonderful shades, from the delicate delights of Arden Blonde Hickory to the rich depths of Somerton Auburn HIckory. Just about the entire output of the world’s forests, some in satin, some in matte, is included here, so top marks to the design team for doing such a comprehensive job of work.
The planks are 47” x 7.5” and feature pressed bevel edging. The total thickness is 12mm, which includes an attached 2mm underlayment, which cuts installation time as no extra underlayment is required.
AC-4 rated, so good for all residential and some commercial usage, Pergo Outlast+ features SpillProtect technology, which, together with its UniClic installation technique, is claimed by the company to deliver very good water resistance. The warranty certainly adds a good deal of credibility – lifetime residential and 10-year light commercial cover gives you confidence that this product’s not just about the nice looks.
The reviews on Pergo’s website are overwhelmingly positive. However, to the company’s credit, bad reviews are included, and more than one of them berates the unconvincing saw marks that have been added to heighten authenticity. Worth taking a look at these, probably.
Pergo Outlast+ will cost you as little as $3.19 from Home Depot, so it has to rate as a bargain, considering its enormous range and great durability. No wonder it’s such a favorite.
6. Armstrong Audacity (Worth A Mention)
Finding truly waterproof laminate flooring for kitchens is an elusive quest. However, this is a flooring laminate that its manufacturer claims is made to be extremely waterproof. Indeed, the Audacity tagline is ‘floors fearless to water’. This claim is apparently made possible by the use of an extra-stable high-density core coupled with a multi-layer sealant that renders the whole structure all but impervious to water. The waterproofing is helped further by the click installation method, which in this case, offers five more contact points than is standard.
If this super-waterproofing is really all it’s cracked up to be, then this is a flooring option that has to be in the running when we’re considering kitchen floor coverings. Let’s take a look at what it’s got in the appearance locker.
The answer is some pretty tasty shades of wood, including beautiful rich Red Rock Canyon and restrained, classy Windsor. Indeed, the range goes around the world, taking in the ancient lines of Sherwood and the cool statement of the Antarctic. 31 shades in all, so enough for most to be able to find the look they’re after. The plank size is 7.5″ x 48″, and the overall thickness is 12mm (with a sound-absorbing 2mm bottom layer).
Durability is very impressive, with the Audacity website featuring some good short videos demonstrating its performance against various impacts. The flooring gets an AC-4 rating, but what’s particularly notable is its lifetime residential and 15-year light commercial. That’s pretty hefty.
Audacity scores very well on the environmental front, being FloorScore certified, as well as meeting CARB and EPA requirements, and all flooring is guaranteed free of phthalates and heavy metals.
Cost-wise, if you shop around, you should be able to find Audacity for around the $4 SFT mark at the time of writing. Given its great warranty, that’s a pretty good price.
Compare Our Picks
|Flooring Name||Price Per Square Foot||Overall Thickness||AC Rating|
|Mohawk RevWood||$3.49 – $4.19||12 mm||AC4|
|Shaw Repel||$4.99 – $5.49||12 mm||AC4|
|Newton Laminate||$3.99 – $5.99||12 mm||AC4 & AC5|
|Mannington SpillShield||$4.79 – $4.99||12 mm||AC4|
|Pergo Outlast +||$3.19 – $3.99||12 mm||AC4|
|Armstrong Audacity||$3.99 – $4.49||12 mm||AC4|
What to Consider When Choosing Laminate Flooring For A Kitchen
Laminate made its name as a durable flooring option that can outperform many natural materials in its resistance to scratches etc., so if you’ve got a laminate floor that doesn’t do this, then it’s just not up to scratch (sorry). You don’t want to have a permanent floor-based record of the many comings and goings in your kitchen, so a kitchen laminate has to be able to stand up to damage, or it has no business being laid in there.
Although laminate’s not as waterproof as luxury vinyl or ceramic tiles, it can still function very well as a water-resistant material that can keep the water at bay long enough for you to get the mop out. Given the high likelihood of spillages in even the most careful kitchens, you need to be sure that your laminate can cope with a bit of liquid from time to time (or every mealtime, as may be the case).
With the appearance of laminate getting better every day, there are so many great-looking collections out there that there’s really no need to settle for anything average. It may be the case that laminate will never completely match the magic of hardwood, for instance, but it can certainly come close.
Cleaning and Maintenance
This is an area that laminate can really deliver. It is usually simple to keep clean with just a vacuum cleaner and the occasional microfiber mop and water. Some laminate is able to withstand a steam mop, but always check your specs before you crack one of these out. They can wreak havoc on a floor that’s not expecting this kind of treatment.
Just as with most high-cost items, you want to be sure that the company behind your flooring has decent credentials, both in terms of general quality, but also perhaps in terms of green profile. You may also value a company that’s been around for a while over one without such reassuring history to point to.
How Easy Is It To Install?
Always a big deal, especially if you’re going to install the floor yourself. The good news about laminate is that it’s installed using the floating method, which is a bit of an easier operation than having to glue it down. There are some handy bits of help available online, including this YouTube video.
What Does It Cost?
Perhaps the most important factor. As we’ve seen, it’s not necessary to take out a second mortgage when considering a new laminate floor. It’s historically been seen as a relatively inexpensive option, and this characteristic is now being augmented by an improvement in quality, making laminate a very cost-effective option.
Make no mistake; a good warranty spells peace of mind. You may have the best-looking floor in the neighborhood, but if it turns out to be about as durable as a wet tissue, you need to know that you’re covered. Warranties are where it’s at.
The Pros & Cons of Laminate Flooring for a Kitchen
- Good Water-Resistance – Kitchen mishaps can be extremely liquid in nature. A laminate floor will usually be able to resist most short-lived watery experiences.
- Hardwearing – It’s arguably the case that the kitchen sees more scrapes and friction than any other room in the house. OK, apart from the garage and shed. And some bedrooms. Just as you wouldn’t have kitchen surfaces made from carpet, you don’t want your floor to be anything less than uber-hardwearing
- Installing’s Not That Tricky – If you’ve got some ability with practical matters, you’ll probably be fine with installing laminate. The greatest difficulty with kitchens is that they often contain awkward corners and nooks, depending on the age and character of the property. For this reason, it pays to take your time when installing any kind of floor in a kitchen.
- Economical – Laminate continues to be very competitively priced, usually cheaper than other options, such as luxury vinyl and definitely solid wood.
- Extensive Range Of Looks – The improvement in range size is matched by the uptick in the appearance of each individual product. Happily, it’s not just the top dollar ranges that have the luxury looks nowadays. With a bit of shopping around, you can get yourself a gorgeous laminate floor for a rock-bottom price.
- Environmental Issues – As with a lot of synthetic options, laminate has been painted as an environmental also-ran for many years now. However, as we’ve seen with a number of the ranges here, manufacturers have really got their acts together in terms of VOC counts, as well as, in certain cases, making sure that the production process itself is observant of the strictest eco-standards. As things move on, this is likely to improve, with the ever-greater use of recycled materials, for instance. So, although laminate’s not as eco-friendly as, say, solid wood from a sustainably managed source, it’s getting better all the time.
- Acoustics – When laid incorrectly, laminate can have a hollow sound when walked upon.
- It’s Not the Real Deal – No, it’s not as beautiful as solid hardwood, ceramic tiles, or stone. But it’s getting close. And, stacked up against solid hardwood, for instance, laminate delivers so many other strengths that a kitchen needs; it’s definitely worth considering.
Alternative Flooring Options
For some people, only ceramic tiles will do when it comes to a kitchen floor. You can see why – they’re durable, impeccable waterproof, and pretty much impossible to stain. But they are a pain to lay and can feel cold and harsh underfoot. They can also be expensive.
Luxury Vinyl has got to be laminate’s biggest kitchen challenger. Similar in durability and superior in waterproofing, LVP and LVT are often the go-to kitchen floor choice. Mind that price though, as luxury vinyl does tend to be a little pricier than laminate. With this in mind, don’t discount the vinyl sheet – it’s cheaper and can look really good in the right setting.
Engineered Wood scores highly because it gives the look and feel of real wood while giving a decent amount of water resistance too. So, for a kitchen, this is an increasingly popular option.
Kitchen floors need to be downright durable, but they also need to look great. For so many householders nowadays, the kitchen is their main focus as the heart of the home. With so many activities taking place in there, it’s important that the room looks like the kind of place you’re going to want to spend lots of time in, and the right floor choice is, consequently, imperative.
So, in looking at laminate flooring for use in a kitchen, we considered all aspects of wear as well as how good that floor looks. The overall choice of best laminate wood flooring for kitchens, Mohawk RevWood, was felt by us to offer the best all-around looks and wear performance and, as a result, be the floor most people would be happiest with when installed in a kitchen.
We hope we’ve given you a useful list of contenders, with their varying strengths mapped out and discussed, and that you’ll find the ideal floor for your needs within. However, if not, there’s lots of information online, so keep researching, so you can be sure that your floor choice is the right one for your kitchen.
Is laminate flooring hardwearing?
Laminate is very hardwearing due to its rigid core and pressed and sealed, multi-layer construction incorporating a hard wear layer.
Is laminate flooring waterproof?
Not in the strictest sense, as standing water left for any prolonged period will seep in eventually. Water-resistant is more accurate.
Is laminate flooring bad for the environment?
Although laminate has had a bad reputation in the past, the emergence of recycled materials in its construction, together with more eco-friendly means of production, is changing laminate’s profile for the better.
Does laminate flooring look like natural materials?
The appearance of laminate flooring is getting better all the time, and the very best can pass for wood to the untrained eye. A closer inspection usually reveals the truth though, as, in actual fact, laminate is not identical in appearance to natural materials.