You’re shopping for laminate and have to choose: How thick should laminate flooring be? Which thickness is best?
You see options of 7mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, and maybe more.
But it’s hard to imagine how big a millimeter even is, and can a few millimeters make a difference?
The price suggests it can. With each increase in millimeters, the price of materials also goes up. However, installation labor cost will be about the same, regardless if it is 7mm or 12mm laminate floor.
This article will take you 5 minutes to read, but you’ll get all your laminate flooring thickness questions answered:
- does the thickness of laminate flooring matter?
- how thick of flooring do I need?
- comparison of different laminate thicknesses
But before I answer those questions, let’s make sure we’re on the same page…
What is laminate flooring thickness?
Laminate thickness is defined by the base of the board to the top of the board. This thickness is measured in millimeters. The confusing part is some laminate boards come with the pad attached. This should not be included in laminate thickness.
Captain’s warning! When talking about laminate thickness, the padding is not included because it’s not part of the construction of the board. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for salespeople or materials to try to mislead customers by telling you the thickness including the pad. If your laminate has pad attached, make sure they specify that the thickness is without the pad.
Does thickness of laminate matter?
Laminate floor thickness is more important to the aesthetics–look and feel–than it is the durability of the laminate. But it does still affect the durability, it’s just not the most important factor. Here are the advantages of thicker laminate flooring:
- feels more like hardwood underfoot
- more detailed designs can be etched in
- quieter with less echoing
- greater thickness = more impact resistant
- installation is more forgiving because thicker laminate can hide subfloor imperfections
Notice that durability isn’t directly an advantage of a thicker laminate. I say directly because impact resistant and more forgiving in installation can have some impact on how durable your floor is.
The last point is important because one of the biggest issues with laminate is how level is the floor beneath it. If there are imperfections, the laminate installation can come apart over time.
How thick should laminate flooring be?
Laminate flooring should be between 6-12mm thick. If you find thicker than 12mm, it’s an inaccurate measurement–possibly including attached padding. If you want the highest-quality, hardwood feel, you’ll want 10 or 12mm. If cost is a concern and you have a smooth subfloor, you can get by with 7 or 8mm.
So are there any advantages to thinner laminate?
Well… cost. And cost shouldn’t be downplayed. Just like you wouldn’t buy the most expensive t-bone steak to chop up and throw into fajitas, there are also many cases where you don’t have to buy the thickest laminate.
So when is it worth paying? You need to know the value you get in one thickness vs the others.
Captain’s silence! You’ll notice that I included 6mm in the range of thickness, but that’s the only time you’ll hear about it in this article. There’s good reason: 6mm isn’t worth mentioning. It’s not available often, and when it is, there’s no point in purchasing it unless you’re wanting to put down the cheapest laminate possible without any care about quality.
Comparison of different thicknesses of laminate
Comparing different thicknesses of laminate will guide you to what you need in your home. Let’s start with the thinnest and work our way up.
Is 7mm laminate flooring any good?
7mm is the “bottom of the barrel” laminate flooring, but let’s say you find an excellent price on it. Is it worth buying? I wouldn’t.
I discussed earlier that thickness isn’t the biggest factor in durability. It’s possible that a manufacturer could make a highly-durable 7mm laminate. The problem is they won’t.
And I can’t blame them. We talked earlier about thin laminate looking and sounding cheap. If manufacturers made 7mm durable, they’d create a floor that isn’t cheap (because it’s well-made) but looks cheap. There’s not too much of a market for that.
Is 8mm laminate good enough?
So if 7mm laminates are poor quality, what about 8mm? I like 8mm in some cases because it’s the starting point where manufacturers start to take thing seriously. In other words, you can find high-quality laminate in 8mm. But remember the drawbacks we talked about with thinner laminate earlier? You’ll still have those with 8mm.
8mm vs 10mm
The 2mm different between 8mm vs 10mm doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a 25% increase in material. So what performance differences will you notice?
The 8mm can be just as durable as the 10mm. But if you installed both, you might notice the 8mm is louder and feels more like plastic instead of wood underfoot. If the subfloor isn’t perfectly level, the 8mm laminate installation will split easier and more quickly.
In other words, remember all the advantages we talked about with thicker laminate earlier? They are usually noticeable with an 8mm vs 10mm laminate floor.
10mm vs 12mm
What about 10mm vs 12mm?
It’s still a 2mm gap (just like 8 vs 10), but I don’t think the performance gap is as big here. The reason is diminishing returns: 10mm laminate is where you start to eliminate many of the performance problems with thin laminate. You can make arguments that 12mm is more impact resistant and forgiving on installation. But I think in most cases where you have problems with a 10mm laminate installation, you’ll also have the same problem with a 12mm laminate.
But there are still advantages to going a step thicker:
The biggest difference between 10mm and 12mm is aesthetic. 12mm laminates sport some of the coolest designs and are the closest looking and feeling to hardwood.
On the other hand, if you compare8mm vs 12mm laminate,you’ll likely see a significant difference in all of the features that make thicker laminate better (discussed at the beginning of this article).
Captain’s tips on what to do next:
I think the sweet spot for most people is 10mm, but there are exceptions. 12mm laminate is the go-to for people who want the closest thing to hardwood. And for the bargain hunters, you can find some high-quality 8mm laminate floors.
So now that you’ve decided on your laminate thickness, here’s what I would consider doing next:
- If you want to learn about a feature that is more important than thickness for laminate durability, check out my guide to laminate AC ratings.
- If you want step-by-step instructions on how to buy the best laminate for your home, check out my unbiased guide on how to buy laminate
- If you want to find a good installer for your laminate flooring, get 3 free quotes by clicking here
- Buy a rug to go over your laminate? One of our most popular pages is how to choose the best rug pad for laminate.
Any questions on laminate flooring thickness? Let me know in the comments below.
48 thoughts on “Laminate Flooring Thickness: The 2023 Simple & Easy Guide”
I plan to use 12mm laminate flooring upstairs in the bedrooms and 8mm laminate flooring downstairs in the living room and kitchen. Is this okay? What are your thoughts? Thank you.
We purchased 12mm laminate flooring and ran out for the space underneath the stove and refrigerator. When I contacted the supplier, they have discontinued the 12mm I bought previously and suggested I use 8mm in the same color. Will this work?
It may work if locks on 12mm and 8mm planks will line up. You will most likely need to put a layer or two of cardboard underneath 8mm planks to level them out.
Ask them for a sample of the 8mm and see how the locks line up.
can i buy an 8mm flooring in 10 or 12 mm
I have 8mm laminate in my living room and other areas. I am planning to replace the carpet in my bedrooms with 12mm laminate boards as 8mm is not available. Will there be a visible height difference? Is it too risky if ppl might trip over?
The best and simplest solution, if you ask me, is to install a T transition. This creates kind of a “step” in between the two different floor lengths, thereby minimizing the tripping hazard.
Hope this helps! Thank you for reading.
I am putting down a laminate floor on top of a pre existing red deal floor. I am putting the cover in between. Will this work with a 10mm
Hi, you should be able to install any laminate if your flooring is level and smooth and you use the right kind of underlay.
I am looking at tuffcore and it sYs 13.5 mm. Is this a good product and accurate measurement. The issue i have is I put tile in my bathroom 12 years ago and it’s beside carpet now looking at it laminate flooring is going to not be as thick. How can this be fixed if at all
I plan with a 14 mm waterproof laminate floor in the living room as well as the kitchen, but i have underfloor heating.
Does thickness affect the heating output?
I would imagine the thicker the laminate floor the less the heat comes through.
I need to make a decision until saturday can you please help me?
Sorry probably didn’t get back to this in time. But if it still matters, it would have some impact on how much heat comes through.
I found 4 mm thickness used brick pattern and it’s waterproof at Lumber Liquidators– I can’t find another used brick pattern that I like. It’s going in a greenhouse (temperature controlled). IF I lay down fairly thick waterproof under-layment – do you think I can get by with the 4mm? https://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/c/Salem-Cellar-Brick-Engineered-Vinyl-Plank-Flooring-CoreLuxe-RVP4SCB/10046626?gclsrc=aw.ds&msclkid=201e745b946a1c32a2322bd733438252&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=(ROI)%20Shopping_Flooring%20-%20Vinyl%20Plank&utm_term=4582077278289525&utm_content=Vinyl%20Plank&gclid=COv5-JH_vuwCFaQlfgodO_QHJA&gclsrc=ds
This wouldn’t be good for laminate, but the floor your listed is a luxury vinyl… it can be thinner. Check out my page on luxury vinyl thickness
Great article. Is it worth paying the extra for water resistant laminate if being used in a kitchen or as long as it is AC4 rated, should that suffice? Thank you
Paying extra for water-resistant laminate is worth it in your kitchen. Laminate’s biggest drawback is it’s easily damaged with moisture, and the AC rating won’t help with this.
Very helpful article. All my questions were answered clearly. Thanks.
Glad it helped!
Very helpful article in the vernacular! Thank you from Ireland. Rachael
Glad it helped… cheers from the US!
I have 3/8 ceramic tile in my kitchen and found a 12mm laminate that I love. I am concerned that the transition will look bad. It is the main entry way from living room to kitchen/dining room. What advice or suggestions do you have? Thanks
If you remove the tile, the laminate will likely be similar height (12mm is close to 1/2″). It depends on if there is any subfloor or insulation beneath the tile as well. With floating laminate, you have the easier option of installing directly on top of the tile. The drawback here is you’ll definitely have a mismatched transition, but they make pieces called transition pieces that can be easily installed to smooth out these differences.
Can you tell me the easiest way to determine what laminate thickness I need when it butts up to existing tile flooring? Do I take the underlayment into consideration when looking at thickness of laminate. The metal piece that separates them is already installed but when putting a couple samples we picked out up against tile, one is too thick and one is too thin. I don’t know the thickness off the top of my head but should I look for one in between? Just keep trying others? I don’t think you would use the underlayment to add height to laminate since it will compress over time, I’d think. This is on a concrete floor. You expertise is greatly appreciated.
Sounds like between may work. When shopping for laminate, I ignore the underlayment for thickness, but in a case where you are trying to match it to another floor, I’d include it because it will add to the height of hte floor. You’re also right that it will settle some with time, so ideally the laminate might be just slightly higher than the tile (or at least not slightly lower) since the tile won’t settle.
Hi, I’m thinking about getting laminate and wandered what is best for dogs and cats, 10 or 12mm. And can you get anti scratch? Thanks in advance
The thickness won’t matter with the pets, but I would check out the laminate’s AC rating.
Julie, I would consider the vinyl laminate. Friend who has great dane inside & 4 kids loves it–no scratches, no water marks from dripping dog slobbers, etc.
I gave been looking at the Select Surfaces product at Sam’s Club. It’s 12 to 14mm. I am wondering if the pattern goes deeper. The idea of thicker is very appealing due to noise reduction as well as more cushioned. Most of their products are 12. Just happens that the color I like…it’s just 14.
I’m doing whole house except 2 bathrooms equating to about 1750 sf. . Made in Germany. Any advise? Joyce
You’ll definitely get a better feel with the thicker laminate. The ones you list are definitely thick. I’d double check that it’s just including the laminate and not the pad–sometimes they can trick you by listing the thickness with pad which isn’t an apples to apples comparison.
Excellent article…. thanks for the tips.
Glad it helped!
Ok. Once I’ve picked a flooring, what about the underlayment? What is a good thickness/brand that won’t break the budget?
Here’s a page on laminate underlayment.
Good day Captain!
I’ve been out shopping for vinyl plank flooring or wood plank laminate flooring. I really like one sample I brought home. The specs: 30-year limited warranty, AC3 wear layer, 8mm thick, no attached pad, interlocking. Carton weight 31.78 pounds. I don’t know the core density or the UV surface rating. Would be going in a home with two seniors . No pets or children except those that visit! What do you think? I am hoping it would last 15-20 years, about as long as I will! thank you!
Good day! I think that thickness and AC rating should last 15 years in your home. Sounds like a long warranty but doubt any laminate lasts 30 years in most conditions!
Hi just wanted to mention that you made no remarks in regards to grades of laminate. e.g Abrasion class AC1 to AC 5 from light traffic AC1 to commercial traffic AC5.
I have a whole page on abrasion class. And it’s mentioned in the laminate guide. This is page is just specifically related to the thickness of laminate, but maybe I’ll add a link to the abrasion class article.
Awesome article; thanks
Nice one mate. Nice concise and informative read.
Awesome article, really helped me understand the difference
Thank you so much for such a great piece of writing, it helped me a lot in deciding which way to go.
Thank you again.
Glad it helped!
Great article! Thanks so much for all of the information and experience. This has helped me tremendously as I have been looking at laminate flooring for about 2 months now and have never heard this in such a concise and straightforward manner. This information will absolutely influence my decision and hopefully guide me to my best option.
No problem–glad it helped you!