Laminate flooring is on lower side of costing for maintenance but provides the look of hardwood or stone flooring. It is made from high-density fiber or wood particles that are designed to look like wood or stone. There are many manufacturers like Pergo, Dupont, Mannington, Armstrong. You can say Laminate flooring is a hybrid. It has the looks of hardwood but it's not. Neither its vinyl tiling and nor engineered flooring. But it is a mixture of all those. It is durable as it has clear, hard layer on top. You can select from glue down laminate flooring or snap on interlocking plank system. The "snap-together" type is easier to install but not as structurally sound as the "glue-together" type. And the reason to select "glue-together" type is that it resists moisture better. Laminate flooring can be placed on top of any existing flooring. Many people are using laminate flooring as they are durable like many manufacturer offers at least 10 years warranty. Unlike wood, which can dent, laminate flooring is almost impervious to dents and scratches. Laminate flooring has what's called in the industry a "wear layer" that protects the photographic layer underneath. Other reasons to use laminate flooring are that it is less costly, easy to install than hardwood flooring, scratch resistant, easy to clean. You can just use a dust mop or mop dampened with water to clean it up. No floor waxing is needed. It also resists Stains and if you do get a stain, it's easy to clean off. The way real hardwood, which may have many imperfect pieces that need to be thrown out or re-engineered, there are no defects in laminate flooring. Laminate flooring gives wood look for less and it is also environment friendly as it uses less wood in construction. It has its own disadvantage as well like laminate flooring does not absorb sound well and can have a hollow sound when you walk on it, particularly in high heels. This can be reduced up to some extent by using an acoustic underlay. There is less design options for laminate flooring as the look of the flooring is set by the manufacturer. And laminate also lacks the visual warmth like hardwood. The materials in laminate flooring are moisture resistant, but the floors can warp in high-moisture areas. Though you can install kitchens and bathrooms or other rooms that are exposed topical moisture, you cannot use them where there is heavy water or steam. The biggest disadvantage is that if it is heavily worn, deep scratched, or grooved, it cannot be sanded or refinished like solid hardwood: it must be replaced. It really feels hard under foot. Foam underlayment helps dampen this feeling, but it's still there. It also has slippery feeling, low resale value as compared to good hardwood or engineered wood gives better value when selling your house. We have various plans with virtual tours on www.houseplancentral.com to choose from where you can view kitchen with laminate flooring to get an idea.