mm vs mil: What’s the difference?

The units of measurement used for laminate and vinyl thickness have similar sounding names. This has been a source of much confusion. The millimeter (mm=1/1000 of a meter) is used for measuring the thickness of laminate flooring. Laminate is typically somewhere between 7mm to 12mm thick. 12mm laminate is just short of a 1/2 inch thick.

The confusion arises from the term “mil.” It is used to measure the thickness of sheet vinyl flooring. This term does not mean millimeter. It is 1/1000 of an inch, and outside the USA it is commonly referred to as a “thou.” However, engineers in the US have started using “thou” due to the confusion with millimeter. It’s origin comes from the days of industrial revolution. It is a unit invented to streamline the tedious work of engineers. Instead of using fractions like 1/8’s and 1/16’s, engineers were able to speak in tenths. Today mils are used to measure everything from aluminum foil to your credit card (and vinyl of course). To give you some reference, a dime is about a millimeter thick, and just over 39mils. See the graphic below for a visual. Vinyl usually runs between 50 to 125 mils thick.

Please remember that the thickness of vinyl and laminate flooring does not necessarily correlate with its quality. Density, construction, and thickness are all details to consider when comparing products.

millimeters vs mils

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How to Fix that Hollow Clicking Sound….

Laminate Underlayment

Laminate flooring is a wonderful product that can give you the look of natural oak or exotic wood at a much more affordable price. But one complaint about laminate flooring is the clicking or hollow sound it makes when you walk on it with hard sole shoes. This sound can be annoying, but there is a solution – use a good underlayment. Laminate underlayment is an important moisture barrier, but it is also a very important ingredient in producing a floor with a quality sound.

You have lots of choices in laminate underlayments. They range in price from about $.20 per square foot to about $.50 per square foot. They are usually 6 feet wide and 100 square feet per roll. Laminate pad is easy to install with an adhesive edge on one side that overlaps.

Choosing the correct pad is fairly easy. There is an obvious difference between the cheap pads and the best pads. Pads range from very light weight and flimsy, to a much heavier and sturdy construction. In most cases, a good pad underlayment is well worth a little extra expense. Our premium sound barrier, our most popular pad, is an excellent choice at $.40 per square foot.

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TV Commercials

but-wait-theres-moreHeeeeerrrrre’ssssss Mike! – Besides a 35 year career in all phases of the floor covering industry, Mike is also an accomplished writer, producer, and actor. The TV commercials on the following page were filmed by Charter Communications, and aired over the last 6 years. A few of the commercials were controversial, most were humerous, but all were intended to promote the excellent prices, products, and service at Carpet Express. In no way did Mike or Carpet Express intend to offend anyone in producing these 30 second ads. I hope you will enjoy the show.

Carpet Express’ TV commercials >>

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Armstrong Grand Illusions’ Newest Colors

If you haven’t visited our Grand Illusions page lately, you may want to take a look. Armstrong recently added five new colors to the line. The color names are American Apple, Canadian Maple, Eastern oak, Heartwood Walnut, and Southern Hickory. These colors bring additional choices to an already stunning line of premium laminate flooring. With its piano finish and 12 mil thickness, you can’t go wrong with Armstrong Grand Illusions.

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Ask the Experts: Below Freezing – Ceramic or Laminate?

Question: Which product, ceramic tile or laminate flooring, will survive in a house in Wisconsin without heat in the winter months? We go south in the winter.

Fennimore, Wisconsin

Answer: Without heat in a home in Wisconsin, I really could not suggest ceramic or laminate. Any moisture that gets into these products could freeze and cause the tile to break or the laminate to buckle. A porcelain tile would be the best product to use, since it should not crack in freezing weather.

Thanks for the question!
Jim Young, Jr.
Carpet Express, Inc.

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What makes Armstrong Laminate Flooring your #1 laminate Choice?

There are many reasons to choose Armstrong. Here’s a few:

Breadth of Selection: Armstrong/Bruce has over 17 exotic species and colors to choose from, with 5 more on the way in November!

Superior Durability: Only Armstrong Grand Illusions and Bruce Park Avenue provide 8 times more abrasion resistance than engineered wood.

HydraCore Plus: Armstrong’s HydraCore Construction uses only the highest quality high-density fiber core available, providing superior indentation resistance and un-paralleled moisture resistance – less than 2% swell rate.

Lock n Fold: Armstrong’s Lock n Fold locking system was first to market and provides unparalleled speed and ease of installation.

Brand Awareness: Armstrong is the #1 brand in flooring.

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Do It Yourself: Laminate Flooring

We found this article about installing your own Laminate Flooring on, and thought it would be quite useful to our readers. Let us know what you think in the comments box.


1. Measure the floor area you want to cover and add 10 percent for waste.

2. Installation kits for laminate flooring are available wherever laminate flooring is sold. They cost less than $20 and include specialized tools like a tapping block and a pry bar for working in close to walls plus some spacers to keep the laminate away from the wall. They’re well worth the price.

3. Laminate is usually installed running the length of a room; however, some people prefer to run it parallel to the light entering the room (see photo).

4. Be sure to bring your laminate flooring into the house at least 48 hours before you begin installation. This will allow it to acclimatize to the humidity level in your home and the boards won’t move after the floor is installed.


1. Take off baseboards and moldings all around the room and remove any doors in the room.

2. Fasten down any loose or squeaking floorboards and use leveling compound to get rid of any dips in the floor. If you have taken up carpet, make sure you remove any nails or tacks that might be left.

3. Install the underlay – it usually comes in 36″ or 42″ wide rolls – by rolling it out in rows butted against each other (not overlapping). Tape the seams with duct tape. If you are putting the laminate directly on top of a concrete floor, first put down a plastic sheet to act as a vapor barrier, before putting down the underlay.

4. The height of the new laminate flooring may mean your doorframes need to be modified. Check by laying a piece of the flooring on top of the underlay and see if it fits below the jamb. If not, mark the jamb and cut it so the flooring can slide under it.

5. Starting at the far side of the room, measure across the room to determine out if you need to rip the first plank. You want to end up with the pieces on both sides of the room approximately the same width.

6. Lay the first boards against your starting wall, groove side towards the wall. If you do need to rip the first row of boards to width, cut off the groove side. Use spacers (or a piece of flooring on edge) to ensure you leave a 1/4″ gap between the flooring and the wall. You need to leave this 1/4″ gap between the flooring and the wall all around the room to allow for minor seasonal variations in the boards themselves.

A specially designed pry bar helps lock tongue-and-groove laminate boards together.

7. Lay out the first three rows as follows: The first board in the first row needs to be a full board. The first board in the second row should be 2/3 of a board and the first board in the third row should be 1/3 of a board. Fill in the rows with full boards and boards cut to fit the remaining space. Repeat the pattern as you move across the room, ensuring that joints are always at least 8″ from each other.

8. Join the boards together by inserting the tongue into the groove at a high angle and then pushing down. The boards will click together. Tapping gently with a hammer and the tapping block may be necessary to make sure the boards lock together.

9. When you are working close to the wall, the pry bar specially designed to work with laminate flooring helps pull the boards into place end to end (see photo). Never use the hammer directly on the pieces of laminate – you could damage the edge of a piece so badly nothing will be able to fit with it.

10. Cut laminate flooring with a circular saw with a fine tooth blade or a jig saw. Using a power saw, cut laminate good side down, to reduce tear out on the cuts.

11. Once the floor is down, reinstall your baseboards and moldings, making sure you nail them to the wall and not the laminate flooring. This will cover that 1/4-inch gap you left around the perimeter of the room.

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2008 Spring Sale

It was a festive week at Carpet Express. Our annual “Spring Sale” was a grand success. We served over 900 of Randy’s Famous Hot Dogs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, along with Mike’s spicy chicken, and Murray’s grilled salmon. We all ate very well.

Sales were strong and our sales goals were met. This is a reflection of the value we offer to both retail and wholesale customers at Carpet Express. We know it’s not easy out there with a weak housing market and sky rocketing gas prices, but we know how to use our buying power to keep our prices extremely low, and we pass these savings on to you. Our employees understand just how important our customers are, and we do our best to earn your trust and treat you right.

Carpet, hardwood, vinyl, vinyl tile, laminate, ceramic, and installation make up our core business, but I’d like to talk about the continued popularity of laminate flooring. Our Venetian, at 89┬ó, is our entry level and “Basis II” from Witex, at $1.99 sf is a nice upgrade. These products are extremely popular and make a beautiful floor at a fantastic price. As carpet manufacturers continue to raise carpet prices, the entry level laminates will continue to gain in popularity. Our Witex Grandeur, Armstrong Grand Illusions, and Bruce Park Avenue are absolutely beautiful and very popular. The durable piano finish on exotic wood patterns offers customers a laminate floor that would be extremely difficult and expensive to reproduce with natural wood. These are the most exciting laminate products I’ve ever seen.

If you missed our Spring Sale, it’s not too late to enjoy great savings at Carpet Express. We’re America’s Floor Store, and we’ll treat you right.

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