Stone look laminate is a luxury flooring style that uses laminate planks or tile to mimic actual stone.
There are many styles and color options to choose from, when you can find them.
Stone look laminate is not as popular as it once was.
With consumer focus shifting to wood look tiles, stone and travertine laminate is becoming difficult to find. There are still a few brands that offer high-quality stone-look laminate and this article will find them.
Best Stone-Look Laminate Brands
- 1 Best Stone-Look Laminate Brands
- 2 What is Stone-Look Laminate?
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Laminate for Your Home
- 4 Best Stone Look Laminate Brands Reviewed
- 5 Laminate Advantages and Disadvantages
- 6 How to Identify High-Quality Laminate from Bargain Laminate
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions about Stone Look Laminate Floors
- 8 Conclusion
Of the brands still making stone look laminate, there are many that are not worth your time or investment. If we remove these bargain brands, you are left with the best of the best.
- Pergo Marengo Stone. A high-quality laminate flooring with multiple color options.
- LifeProof Stone Look Laminate. A fan favorite for style, color and selection options.
- AquaSeal by Lumber Liquidators. A smaller brand with some of the highest quality laminate available.
- Armstrong Rigid Core Laminate. Another premium brand still making stone look laminate.
What is Stone-Look Laminate?
Similar to wood-look tile, stone-look laminate is exactly what it sounds like, laminate planks and tiles that have an appearance of stone.
Stone look isn’t a new thing, but it is a style this is going out of fashion for some.
With styles and colors now leaning towards warm woods and rustic farmhouse, the stone look is getting passed over. However, there are still a lot of reasons to use stone look laminate in your home.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Laminate for Your Home
The size of the room you want to floor is going to be a big factor. All flooring items, including the laminate, underlayments, and extra essentials are sold by the square foot. You need to know the square foot measurement of your room or home, so you know how much material to purchase.
The larger the space, obviously the more material you need. While that may not sound like a huge factor, imagine the difference in just 100 square feet between buying a flooring that cost $1 per square foot and one that costs $3.
Plank or Tile
Laminate comes in two basic styles, planks and tiles. Traditionally, the styles follow that of luxury vinyl in that wood grains are reserved for planks and stone is reserved for tiles.
However, this isn’t always the case, and if you want stone look laminate planks, they are out there. You just have to first decide if you want a tiled floor or a plank floor.
Installation costs are also important. If you are opting for a professional install you will pay for materials, labor, clean up and other fees. For a DIY install, usually cheaper, but you still have to pay for all the materials and do the clean up yourself.
This factor alone, along with the square foot measurement will be the biggest factor affecting your overall cost. Plan your budget accordingly.
Underlayment and Padding
Cork, for example, is a common underlayment as it provides a softer feel underfoot. However, if your chosen brand or style doesn’t have an underlayment, you will need to purchase one.
Since laminate can be installed as a floating floor or glued down, your underlayment and padding choices will vary. Knowing how you plan to install the flooring and what it will cover (plywood, concrete, etc.) will be a major factor in choosing the right underlayment.
Laminate is notorious for not being able to install in wet areas such as basements, bathrooms or laundry areas. However, that is changing. There are some brands that are marketing as waterproof (though they truly aren’t) and others that are becoming more and more water resistant by the batch.
The trick is to make sure you fully understand what you are getting with the laminate. Even though it may look like stone, it is still a wood core that will absorb moisture and swell, crack or split.
You also want to account for the amount of foot traffic in the area where the laminate will lay. High traffic areas will need thicker laminates with a higher quality wear layer.
Price and Warranty
The price will always be one of the biggest decision factors. Laminate itself is fairly affordable, even in premium brands. With an average cost of about $2.50 per square foot, you can easily cover most sized areas with ease.
The problem comes in with the added costs, such as underlayments, glues and tools or labor for professional installation. Make sure you account for everything before you go over budget.
You also want to read through the warranty. Most appear to be long (25 years to Lifetime options) but this only covers the wear layer after install. Generally your purchase will be protected from defects, dings, broken tiles or other manufacturing issues for 90 days or until it is installed.
If you install the laminate and a few years later find a cracked or broken plank, don’t expect your warranty to cover it.
Best Stone Look Laminate Brands Reviewed
Pergo offers the Marengo Stone laminate. This is a single style that is available in multiple colors, though the slate gray is the most realistic of the bunch.
Pergo is a premium flooring company that prides itself on high-quality flooring solutions, thick laminates and a durable design.
You will find that the Marengo Stone comes with the Pergo Uniclic install system that takes all the guesswork out of fitting your planks.
You also get the ScratchGuard Advance superior scratch resistance on the wear layer. If that isn’t enough, they also provide you with WetProtect technology (a trademarked name) that, once installed, provides a waterproof barrier against spills and splashes.
You can even wet mop the floor and still be covered by the lifetime warranty.
However, you must ensure proper installation and care. You will also pay more for this flooring than with any other brand, but the investment is worth it.
|Premium laminate construction||More expensive than other options|
|Great warranty||One style in multiple colors only|
|Superior scratch resistance|
|Near 100% waterproof after install|
LifeProof is Home Depot’s flooring brand and sold exclusively though them. This is an affordable laminate that features mid to high-range qualities. Not only can you order the flooring inn person at any Home Depot store, but you can also shop online through their website.
The tiles are 8mm thick but heavily textured. The look is great from a distance but close inspection will make the tiles look less than realistic.
You can choose from sand or bronze in the style that is available by the pallet or square foot. The problem with these tiles, though, is that the wear layer seems to vary from tile to tile. In most cases it is 8 mil thick, but there are tiles that show up to 10 mil and others that appear to be about 6 or 7 mil.
While this isn’t going to affect how the tiles lay or are installed, it will affect how they look years down the line.
Home Depot reports they know about the variations and are making amends to previous purchases and fixing the issue for future buyers. It is still something to be aware of, though.
The install is a complete DIY and everything you need (except the tools) is included. You can easily transform your room with a new décor and look with the inexpensive and stunning stone look laminate form LifeProof.
|Readily available||Not the most realistic looking|
|Most options to choose from||Wear layer thickness varies|
|Simple DIY install process|
|In-store or online ordering|
AquaSeal has three stone look options for stone look laminate that will surprise even the harshest critics.
These options are so realistic you can easily mistake them for the real thing. And images do not do them justice. You can find patchwork tile, terrace stone or Burgess brick (gray) to choose from and each one will add style and elegance to your new floor.
Two of the options (patchwork and terrace stone) come with the underlayment pad attached. If you want to choose a different padding or underlayment, you will need to choose the Burgess brick style.
Each box comes with an easy to follow DIY install instructions that can be followed by anyone. But the best part is the waterproof capabilities of this flooring.
AquaSeal is one of the first true “waterproof” laminate flooring available. While the individual tiles and planks are not waterproof, once you have them installed and they have expanded (about 15 hours) the wear layers and beveled edges form a watertight seal.
You can wet mop, install in bathrooms and never have to worry about water damage. Of course, this won’t hold up to broken pipes or flooding, but not much does.
The 8 mil wear layer and 8mm total thickness mean they aren’t as durable as some laminate options, but for medium and light foot traffic areas or damp room installation, you couldn’t do much better.
|Ultra-realistic image layers||Only 3 options to choose from|
|Simple step by step install instructions||8 mil wear layer|
|Underlayment attached optional|
|As waterproof as laminate can get so far|
Armstrong, like Pergo, is a premium and high-quality flooring company. They used to manufacture a lot of stone-look laminate, including over 20 options just a few short years ago.
Because demand has dwindled, and more buyers are looking at stone look vinyl and wood look tiles, the need for the huge supply is gone.
Today you will find 9 options (which may not be reproduced) and all of them are worth snagging today.
The 12 mil wear layer is one of the thickest on the market and the photo layer underneath is done with high resolution computer aided graphics. Each tile and plank look as real as you can expect and the light texture added gives it a more authentic feel.
For the DIYer, the lock-tight install means you don’t have to guess if the planks are installed properly, and they form a formidable layer of protection against dirt, dust, grime and cleaning.
Since it is Armstrong, you are backed by one of the best warranties for laminate planks and they stand behind their work. While the choices are getting slimmer, this is one purchase you won’t regret.
|High-quality laminate||Production is slow|
|12 mil wear layer||Few options to choose from|
|High resolution photos|
|Lock-tight DIY install|
Laminate Advantages and Disadvantages
Pros of Laminate
Laminate has quite a few reasons to love it.
- DIY install. Either planks or tiles, laminate is a simple DIY install that virtually anyone that can use a saw and hammer can install.
- Affordable. Compared to a lot of other flooring, such as natural stone or even carpeting, laminate is an affordable option.
- Low maintenance. Sweeping and vacuuming laminate with a damp mop now and again is really all you need to keep the floor looking shiny and new.
- Multiple styles. From stone-look to wood grain and everything in between, you have plenty of style, size, color and look options available that not many flooring options can offer.
- Can be highly durable. With special coatings and treatments, laminate can be scratch, dent, fade and damage resistant.
Cons of Laminate
There are, however, other concerns to be aware of.
- No wet area installation. Even though water resistance laminate is popular and waterproof laminate is making huge advances, it is still not wise to install in wet areas of your home.
- Cannot repair. If a plank is damaged, you cannot repair it, instead the plank must be replaced.
- Not pet friendly. Even with the scratch and dent protective layers, some laminate is highly susceptible to gouging and damage from pet claws.
- Loud. Unless you properly install the laminate with a sound absorbing underlayment, it can echo and sound hollow when walked on.
How to Identify High-Quality Laminate from Bargain Laminate
When you first start looking at laminate flooring you can easily be overwhelmed by the various brands, styles and options available. However, not all brands make high-quality laminate planks. How can you tell so you don’t regret your purchase?
The first clue will be the price. In most cases a bargain laminate will have a highly reduced price compared to the competition. While this isn’t always a bad thing, if the floor will get any kind of use other than being looked at, you should be willing to pay more.
The other tell-tale signs of low quality are the images on the laminate. Don’t settle for an online photo or even the picture of the laminate on the box. Look at the planks and tiles themselves.
The biggest tell, though, is also the hardest to see. You want to look for the thickness of the entire plank, sure, but more importantly, look for the thickness of the wear layer.
Layer thickness is measured in mil. Mil is a production term that means “one thousandths of an inch (0.001 inches). Many products, particularly plastics, like garbage bags, etc are measured in mil. A bargain laminate will have a mil between 1 and 3 (sometimes as much as 4).
This is a pretty thin wear layer and normal foot traffic and cleaning will erode through that in a year or two. High-quality laminate is made with a wear layer of 8 to 12 mil on average, with more brands using at least 12 mil.
If the mil isn’t listed on the packaging, check with the company’s website. If you cannot find a product listing that has the mil of the wear layer, assume it is a bargain laminate with a mil of 4 or less.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stone Look Laminate Floors
Below we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about stone look laminate. If you have other questions, please feel free to use the comment section below.
Q. Is laminate flooring harmful to my health?
- Not so much anymore. About 20 years ago laminate was produced with formaldehyde as an adhesive. Formaldehyde fumes can be dangerous and take over 10 years to fully off-gas.
However, today, less adhesives are used in exchange for high heat and pressure. Since there are no harmful chemicals used, laminate is just as safe as other flooring options.
Q. Is stone look better on laminate or vinyl?
- If the quality of the laminate and vinyl are high, the image layer that displays the stone look image will also be high quality. This makes the appearance the same and not better on one or the other. The actual composition of the material and type of install will determine which is a better option.
For example, if you plan to install in a laundry room or bathroom, vinyl is a safer option as it is waterproof. Likewise, high traffic areas hold up better with laminate without needing constant cleaning to stay looking new.
Q. Will stone look laminate add value to my home?
- No. laminate, vinyl, bamboo and even engineered hardwood don’t add resale value to a home in most cases. Currently the only flooring option that does is natural hardwood.
Q. How long does laminate flooring last?
- With proper care, maintenance and regular cleaning, a properly installed laminate floor can easily last 25 years or more. Many high-quality brands will warranty the floors for at least that long, some even for life.
Finding the best stone look laminate flooring can be difficult. There are a lot of laminate brands out there and not all of them make stone look laminate. Of the ones that do, options are getting slim and quality may not be the best.
Hopefully this article has given you enough information to understand what you are looking for and where to go to find the best value, highest quality laminate for your next flooring project.