A foam underlayment is absolutely necessary when installing laminate flooring. If left out, the laminate will click against the subfloor every time you walk across it. This could get old in a hurry. The foam also makes the laminate feel a little softer underfoot.
When picking your own laminate, go for something that suits your lifestyle as much as your décor. Looks certainly aren’t everything, especially if you have children, pets or a lot of friends that stop by often. A quieter home is fine with the glossy grain pattern. However, busier homes would do better with a low gloss, hand-scraped look, which will last a lot longer and look a lot better doing it.
If your substrate is anything less than perfect, try to avoid using wide planks. Wide laminate is likely to be hard to lay; joints will not remain flush on the ends; and you will feel every gap between the laminate and subfloor as you walk on it. In situations like these, a narrower style of plank is the best option.
We have showrooms in Fort Myers, Naples and Punta Gorda, FL and would love the opportunity to have you visit. We can help you with all your laminate needs.