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I'm shopping for laminate flooring and am looking at two different manufacturers, Pergo and Mowhawk. The Pergo we're interested in has pre-attached underlayment and is 10 mm thick with a lifetime warranty, and the Mowhawk doesn't have the underlayment attached, is 8mm thick, and also comes with a lifetime warranty.

The price difference between the two is more than 3x the cost of appropriate underlayment. Is the additional 2mm thickness worth that extra cost?

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High moisture levels and the increased risk of exposure to water, makes laminate flooring a bad choice for kitchens and bathrooms. –  Tester101 Nov 26 '11 at 16:04
    
That's true of course, but we're replacing an existing laminate that's covering asbestos tiles. We've had relatively good luck with what we've got - it's in its 10th year of a 5 year warranty. –  cori Nov 26 '11 at 19:51
    
I've removed the kitchen reference, because it's distracting from the real point of the question. –  cori Nov 28 '11 at 14:08
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A lot has been written about this subject. I am of the camp, like Tester 101, that laminate flooring is a poor choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Keep in mind that laminate flooring is a pressed paper/composite backing with a "picture" of the finish on top. Granted, laminate has come a long way and the surface durability of the better brands is quite good and guaranteed for life. however, read the warranty carefully. the warranty may cover replacement costs of a damaged piece of flooring, but never the labor cost to replace. Trust me, replacing a few pieces in the middle of a field is no easy task and the results are never as good as the original install. Also check that water damage is covered by the warranty. Most manufacturers only cover surface damage by scratching, not water damage. When water gets between the slabs, it can quickly be absorbed and the flooring will swell and buckle. This kind of damage is not reversible.

If you are sure you want to have a wood type floor in this area, I would encourage you to look at some real wood engineered flooring before making a final selection. Engineered flooring comes in the easy to install click-lock designs, pre-finished,and some with foam underlayment preinstalled. The key advantage to engineered flooring over laminate is that engineered flooring is all wood. The back is usually a plywood type base with 1/8 to 3/16 inch of real wood veneer on the top. This makes it sandable and re-finishable should it be necessary. Although it is not perfect for a wet area, it will hold up to a soaking much better than laminate and usually will dry ok and not delaminate from spills that are cleaned up quickly.

Until a laminate flooring is made to be 100% water proof, I will not use it in kitchens, baths or entryways. I have been burned, even with the more expensive brands. As a result, I will not offer laminates to my customers at all, especially since I can offer engineered products at the same cost with much better looks and results.

I should mention, there are now some fantastic floating vinyl flooring systems out there that look every bit as good as laminate, easy to install, very durable, and most of all, completely waterproof. They are also quite affordable, in the $2.50 to $4 per foot price range. In my opinion, a much better product than laminate for these applications.

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I lived in a house with the newer vinyl "tiles" and I was very impressed by their durability. Dog nails, dragged furniture, desk chairs, and high traffic - took it all without complaint. Easy to clean as well. –  Steve Jackson Nov 27 '11 at 12:54
    
I'm kinda impressed with the new floating plank vinyl. They come in 12"X 36" panels and only stick to the tab of the previous plank, thus the floor floats. Very easy to use over older vinyl, wood etc. Not completely sold on the idea yet, anyone else had any experience with them? I recently used self stick groutable vinyl tile in a bathroom, very impressed and so easy to install, especially if you trowel on a thin layer of vinyl adhesive to the underlayment before you stick the tiles down. Very solid and hold grout well. –  shirlock homes Nov 27 '11 at 13:32
    
As detailed and reasonable as this answer is, and as much as I appreciate that you won't use laminate in the kitchen, it has nothing to do with my actual question - I'm not asking whether it's a good idea to put laminate in the kitchen, but about how important the thickness of the laminate is to it's overall quality, all else being equal. FWIW, though, the Mohawk warranty covers water except under certain circumstances, including standing water or inadequate subfloor moisture handling and the like, which I am not concerned with. –  cori Nov 28 '11 at 14:12
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