Laminate floors can be a less expensive alternative to hardwood and the latest patterns are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Good quality laminate floors are essentially a counter top (laminate) in click together panels for your floor. Be careful of very cheap laminates that may only be a paper image on questionable core. Moisture is a concern for laminates and a vapour barrier should be used below grade installations. Laminate flooring does require and thin pad to be layed under the installation, to reduce sound and help “float” the floor.