Laminate flooring, introduced to the U.S. market in 1994, has since become one of the most popular choices for floor covering and design. It costs less than other flooring materials, is durable and is fairly easy to install, inspiring several manufacturers to begin selling their own laminate lines. Unfortunately, no standard thickness exists for a laminate tile; each manufacturer engineers their tiles using proprietary measurements. The thickness, however, does help determine the cost of the tile.
A plank or tile of laminate flooring consists of four layers, including the wear layer, design layer, inner core layer and backing. The wear layer is usually a coating of clear resin which protects the tile or plank from wear and stains. Generally, thicker tile has a heavier layer of resin, which keeps the laminate looking new longer, and this extra resin raises the price of the laminate per foot or per piece.
Every manufacturer's laminate flooring will be a different, but overall, you can judge the quality of the laminate by the cost and the thickness. Middle-end laminate will be about a quarter-inch thick with a 1- to 2-millimeter layer of wear layer. Better laminates will range between a quarter and three-fourths inches thick, with 3- to 4-millimeter wear layer. Overall, experts at This Old House state that most laminate measures between five-sixteenths and a half-inch thick.
Some manufacturers vary the thickness of the core layers between higher and lower-end tile lines. Cores are usually constructed of a medium or high-density particle board, and usually range between one-third and a quarter-inch thick.
It is usually easier to mix and match laminate flooring within a single manufacturer, which will have different styles in brand-standard or complementary sizes. Most brands also include border pieces with each laminate design, intended to finish the perimeter of a room. These borders are usually sold in sizes and thicknesses appropriate with tiles and planks of the same or similar line.