There’s a misconception that laminate flooring is made of mostly plastic, but that’s not exactly true. One of the main differences between plastic-based flooring like vinyl plank vs. laminate: while they’re both typically composed of three main layers, laminate is actually mostly wood!
For laminate, those layers are (from the bottom up):
A core layer made of high-density fiberboard that gives the product strength and durability. This is the same material used in some of the best engineered wood flooring products.
A realistic image layer that typically mimics hardwood floor patterns, but you’ll sometimes find laminate impersonating different types of tile or metal.
A protective wear layer that provides protection to the image layer. This helps laminate flooring stand up to wear better than even the most durable wood flooring.
Select Surfaces laminate flooring also includes a foam backing under the core layer, but we’ll get to that later.
What’s a Good Thickness for Laminate Flooring?
One of the bigger differences between laminate and other hardwood floor alternatives: it’s significantly thicker than options like vinyl.
Laminate flooring is typically between 6–12mm thick, and the best laminate flooring will usually be closer to 10 or 12mm. Some brands, like Select Surfaces laminate flooring, are advertised as thicker than 12mm, but that extra thickness is accounting for an attached foam padding.
What’s the Best Grade of Laminate Flooring?
First off, what are we talking about when we talk about grades of laminate flooring? We’re not discussing critical reading skills here. Rather, the grade refers to a laminate floor’s durability—specifically, the durability of that laminate’s wear layer.
All laminate flooring has what’s called an AC rating. This is a scale from 1 to 5, with AC1 being recommended for light foot traffic (like a bedroom), and AC5 being durable enough for heavy commercial use (like department stores or schools).
This means that the best grade of laminate flooring is AC4 or AC5. If you’re purchasing laminate flooring for your home, you don’t need anything higher than AC3 or AC4 (unless you have a 101 Dalmations situation going on).
Laminate vs. Engineered Wood
Laminate and engineered wood are more similar than you might think—for example, they both have core layers composed of HDF or plywood.
The main difference when comparing engineered hardwood vs. laminate: while laminate has a image and wear layers on top of its core, engineered wood only has one additional layer—a thin piece of real wood called a veneer.
That real wood will cost you a little extra though—engineered wood runs a few more dollars per square foot than laminate. The cost to install engineered hardwood floors, though, is roughly the same as it is for laminate.
While it might be the more authentic option, it’s not perfect—there are still some engineered wood disadvantages to be aware of. For instance, the lack of a real wear layer means it’s less scratch-resistant than laminate, and low-quality products engineered wood products can wear down rather quickly.
But engineered wood products are constantly improving. For example, engineered wood still can’t be refinished as many times as solid hardwood. But these days, finishes on the best engineered wood flooring brands have gotten so durable that they don’t generally need refinishing at all—just a quick resurfacing.
Now let’s look at the differences (and similarities) between vinyl plank and laminate flooring. The main difference is their construction—while both vinyl plank and laminate have core, design, and wear layers, vinyl plank flooring is made entirely of plastic.
Select Surfaces also offers a line of vinyl plank flooring, but we’ll talk about that a little further down.
Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring Overview
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at what makes Sam’s Club’s Select Surfaces laminate flooring unique.
Who Sells Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring?
While Sam’s Club is the main distributor, you can find also Select Surfaces laminate flooring at Amazon or Walmart. Of course, Sam’s Club requires a membership to purchase there, so keep that in mind while you’re looking at where to shop.
Many online Select Surfaces laminate flooring reviews say that Walmart actually purchases their inventory from Sam’s Club and then resells it as a Walmart product. So (like anything else) Walmart might not be the best option in terms of quality.
Sam’s Club is also the least expensive place to buy Select Surfaces. And on the topic of cost…
How Much Does Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring Cost?
Off the bat, we should mention that Sam’s Club members save around $.50 per square foot on Select Surfaces products.
For their 12mm products, you can expect to pay $2.49–$2.60 per square foot online, or $1.79 in-store for Sam’s Club members. Their 8mm flooring is a bit cheaper (and only available in-store) at $1.49 per square foot.
But Who Actually Manufactures It?
Now that is a great question. Select Surfaces laminate flooring is manufactured in Germany, but any information beyond that… it’s unclear, to say the least. There’s a surprising lack of detail online when it comes to who is actually making these products.
At the very least, we know that it’s not under the umbrella of another flooring company like Mohawk or Shaw laminate flooring.
The majority of Select Surfaces laminate products fall in the Spill Defense collection. These products are marketed as “waterproof for 24 hours” that will have “no problem withstanding everyday spills.
So waterproof might be a little strong. Select Surfaces Spill Defense floors seem to be more in the family of water-resistant wood flooring—not amazing with standing water, but more than enough for 99% of floor buyers.
Speaking of those collections…
The Product Comes in Two Collections
Select Surfaces classifies its laminate flooring products as one of two different product collections: the Elite Collection and the Spill Defense Collection.
What makes them different? Let’s take a look.
Select Surfaces Elite Collection
Let’s start off with theElite Collection. This won’t take too long because, as of the publication of this article… there’s only one product available in this collection. We’re not sure we have the same definition of “collection”, Select Surfaces.
Anyway, this is the cheaper, non-waterproof option that Select Surfaces offers, and it’s unclear whether they plan on adding more to the collection in the future. If you’re looking for a less expensive laminate product from Select Surfaces, your options are, to put it lightly, limited.
It’s a solid enough product based on the specs and limited reviews out there, but it doesn’t exactly seem like they’re eager to sell it—the only place you can find the Elite Collection product online is Walmart’s website.
Select Surfaces Spill Defense Collection
Now this is a proper collection—there are 20 different style options here. The Spill Defense Collection is exactly what it sounds like: a more waterproof option to protect against everyday spills.
We say more waterproof because while it’s better than the Elite Collection at protecting against moisture, it’s not exactly 100% waterproof. Like we mentioned before, products in this collection are advertised as “waterproof for 24 hours”.
Why that distinction is so specific, we couldn’t tell you. But we will say that this puts the Spill Defense Collection closer to the water-resistant category rather than truly waterproof.
And It Boasts a Couple of Special Features
All of Select Surfaces’ laminate lines share a handful of characteristics that you don’t always find in laminate flooring brands. Let’s look at some of the unique features these products offer.
Many laminate flooring brands have their own proprietary installation system, like the UniClic installation system that Mohawk laminate flooring offers. And Select Surfaces is no different—all of their laminate flooring products use the SpeedLoc installation system.
The SpeedLoc system makes installation quick and painless, with a series of easily-interlocking grooves creating a click-together system that anyone who’s played with LEGOs will understand. This seals up any gaps between planks and makes these floors as moisture-resistant as possible.
GreenGuard Gold Certification
Every one of Select Surfaces’ laminate flooring options also has a GreenGuard Gold Certification.
So while every laminate floor emits some amount of chemicals, GreenGuard Gold certified brands like Select Surfaces emit a low enough amount that you and your family can (literally) breathe easy.
Attached Foam Backing
Each of these products also comes with an extra bottom layer—a 2mm layer of foam.
But what’s the exact purpose of this foam backing? Well, it prevents the laminate planks from moving and shifting over time, reinforces your flooring, and even acts as a sound barrier. Perhaps most notably, this means that you don’t necessarily need an underlayment between your laminate flooring and subfloor.
We know, we know—we just threw a lot of new terms at you. Check out our what is an underlayment article if you want a deep dive, but you should at least know that this attached foam backing makes for one less step on installation.
How Do You Install Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring?
This click-together system is pretty common—it’s a lot like snap-together tile flooring you might have seen, where each piece locks neatly into the next one. The flooring is then held in place by those locks and its own weight through some magic called “physics”.
Select Surfaces Also Makes a Vinyl Plank Collection
Like we mentioned above, Select Surfaces offers a variety of vinyl plank flooring—10 product lines, to be exact. We won’t dive too deep into the specifics, but let’s run through a quick overview.
First things first: this is a solid waterproof vinyl flooring option—Select Surfaces calls it “100% waterproof”, which is much more reassuring than the “waterproof for 24 hours” label that the laminate flooring gets.
And like its laminate flooring cousin, Select Surfaces vinyl flooring also has an attached foam backing, so you don’t need to worry about installing underlayment for vinyl flooring with these products. It’s also a floating vinyl plank flooring product, using a similar-but-somehow-different click-lock installation system.
A quick word to the wise: these products are not meant to be used as outdoor vinyl flooring. But don’t get discouraged—there’s a dedicated line of Select Surfaces outdoor flooring if you’re looking to spruce up your outdoor space!
How Does it Look? Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring Reviews Say Really Good
The short answer: yes! These laminate products all mimic wood flooring—specifically, wide plank wood flooring—really well. There are a handful of complaints in Select Surfaces laminate flooring reviews (which we’ll get to in a bit), but appearance isn’t one of them.
There’s a nice variety of wood floor colors to choose from, too. So whether you want the look of light wood floors, dark, or somewhere in between, there’s probably something for you here.
Advantages of Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring
So: are these products worth buying? We’ve compiled these pros and cons from hundreds of Select Surfaces laminate flooring reviews—let’s take a look at some of the biggest advantages they offer.
Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring Reviews Say It Looks Fantastic…
We just mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating—Select Surfaces laminate is a really good-looking product! The realistic image layer mimics a lot of the best hardwood species. So if you want, for example, the hickory flooring look without the disadvantages of hickory flooring, Select Surfaces has a product for you!
…And It’s Super Durable
If you’re installing laminate in your home, you should look for at least an AC3 rating of durability. And Select Surfaces is even better than that—all of their laminate products have an AC4 rating.
But it isn’t just about scratch resistance. Select Surfaces products won’t fade in the sun, either, so they’re a good option if you’re looking for new sunroom flooring.
There’s a Decent Variety in Styles
All-in-all, there are 21 styles between the two collections of Select Surfaces laminate flooring. That’s not as many as some brands like TrafficMaster laminate flooring, but it’s still a solid enough variety that you’ll almost certainly find a product that you like.
Most (aka all but one) of these products are in the Spill Defense collection, so you’re options on the extremely budget side are limited, but it’s probably worth it to go with a more waterproof option anyway.
All of their laminate flooring products are GreenGuard Gold certified, emit low levels of VOCs, and are quoted as being “responsibly sourced from certified forests”. Combine these three things, and you’ve got a pretty eco-friendly floor.
The Residential Warranty is Very Solid
A good warranty will give you peace of mind as a floor buyer, and the warranties on Select Surfaces laminate flooring are more than good (they’re grrr–you know what, nevermind).
There’s a bit of a range on these warranties, but even the bottom end of that range is pretty solid. All of the laminate products have a minimum residential warranty of 35 years, with many of the products offering a limited lifetime warranty.
The Commercial Warranty is Good, Too
Since these products are rated for residential and commercial use, there’s a commercial warranty, too. Every laminate product Select Surfaces offers has a limited 10-year light commercial warranty.
The Attached Foam Backing Makes for One Less Step
We mentioned this before, but the attached foam backing makes your installation process a bit easier. Since this removes the need to install underlayment between your floor and subfloor, your installation time (and cost) will be lower.
Disadvantages of Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring
We’ve been singing these products’ praises, but Select Surfaces laminate flooring reviews do point out some disadvantages, too. Let’s run through some of the ways these floors come up a bit short.
The Spill Defense Collection Isn’t Exactly Waterproof
Like we said before, the Spill Defense collection is weirdly specific about being “Waterproof for 24 hours”. The Select Surfaces website also calls it “great for everyday spills”, which is a big plus… but that’s not the same as waterproof.
What are the chances that you’ll have standing water for more than 24 hours? Pretty slim. Even still, it’s a little fishy to put a limit on how waterproof your “waterproof flooring” is.
And The Elite Collection… Isn’t Much of a Collection
If you want to save a bit on your laminate flooring, you might look to the Elite Collection, which promises a lower-cost option (at the price of not being waterproof). But let’s just say you won’t have many options to choose from.
There’s not much else we can say about this, because, again, there’s only one product in this “collection”. Oh Select Surfaces, I don’t know if that word means what you think it means.
Unless you love the Smoked Hickory products (which, we don’t blame you!), we recommend shelling out a few extra pennies for the Spill Defense lines. Otherwise, you’re looking elsewhere if you want a more inexpensive option.
Many of the products in the Spill Defense line boast about their 14mm thick planks. But that’s not entirely accurate—the 14mm option is actually 12mm of laminate flooring plus a 2mm attached foam underlayment.
That’s not necessarily bad (like we said earlier, laminate doesn’t really need to be any thicker than 12mm), but it is something to be aware of when you’re accounting for measurements.
Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring Reviews on Installation Are Mixed…
If you plan on hiring a professional installer (which we always recommend), you don’t have anything to worry about here.
For those who are DIYers, you should know that Select Surfaces reviews on self-installation are pretty mixed. Most say it’s easy, but some reviews mention that the planks chip or crack pretty easily while installing.
How much of that is down to operator error? It’s hard to say, really. But to us, this is just another reason to hire a professional.
…And So Are Reviews for Honoring Warranties
Speaking of Select Surfaces laminate flooring reviews, some of them point out that the company isn’t always consistent in honoring their warranties. On the other hand, many customers also report that their warranty was handled really professionally, so it’s another mixed bag here.
Honestly, this isn’t unique to Select Surfaces. Many companies pull out all the stops to try to avoid honoring customer warranties, so we aren’t exactly shocked. But still, you should know that the jury is out on whether they’ll hold up their end of the bargain.
One of the Biggest Select Surfaces Laminate Problems: Real Reviews are Relatively Scarce
Reviews for these products are hard to come by when compared to similar big-box brands like Costco laminate flooring. There are enough out there that you can get a good understanding of the product, but the lack of reviews suggests that this is maybe not the most popular laminate flooring on the market.
If You Want Samples, You’ll Need to Order Online
Select Surfaces laminate flooring reviews say that there are no in-store sample options for their products. Which is a little annoying if you ask us—Sam’s Club sells products like Cheerios by the crate, but can’t find space for a few samples?
Either way, you can still order samples online through the Select Surfaces website. But if you’re looking for instant gratification, you’ll have to be a little more patient.
Phew! After all that, you might still have a few uncertainties about Select Surfaces laminate. Let’s answer a few of the most frequently asked questions.
Does Select Surfaces Laminate Need an Underlayment?
Great question! No, it does not. The attached foam backing supplements the need for an underlayment on these products—you can install them directly on top of your subfloor, no problem.
Now can you use an underlayment? Of course! If you want some extra bounce and another layer of protection between the floor and subfloor, there’s nothing wrong with that. But the website and Select Surfaces reviews say that it’s not necessary.
Can You Install Select Surfaces Flooring on Stairs?
Just like installing vinyl plank flooring on stairs requires you to use a glue-down vinyl plank flooring product (rather than floating one), the same is true here. The glue-down method is necessary for safety—if you installed a floating floor on your staircase, let’s just say the planks wouldn’t stay in place for very long.
You’ll also need to purchase stair nose moldings from the Select Surfaces website to complete installation.
Conclusion: Is Select Surfaces Laminate Flooring Worth Buying? Reviews Say It’s Fine for a Big-Box Laminate Brand!
Deciding on the best flooring is often a matter of taste. We’re often wary of big box store flooring (look at our review on the cork flooring Lowes sells, for example). That being said, it’s a perfectly fine laminate flooring brand!
Still, we recommend contacting your local flooring store for the final word on whether it’s right for your home—every situation is different, after all. And if nothing else, they’ll probably be able to help you out with the installation.
Have something to say about this product? Let us know in the comments! And for more resources on all things floors, check out:
Associate Copywriter at FlooringStores (and its parent company, Broadlume), Bo is an avid traveler, former English teacher, and unashamed extrovert. When he’s not writing, you'll usually find him wherever a soccer game is on, or listening to deep-dives on the latest Marvel Studios production.
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