When it comes to laminate flooring – probably the most popular flooring option today – there are certain things that our clients would like to know. Below you will find a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about laminate.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic appliqué layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials. (source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminate_flooring).
Laminate flooring emulates most popular hard surfaces, especially hardwood planks and ceramic or stone tiles. Laminate flooring has a fiberboard core with a photographic layer on top, and is covered on top and bottom by a layer of plastic. Laminate wood construction is made of four layers of materials, that when fused together, create durable and attractive floors.
Wear layer – A clear, top layer that provides resistance to stains and fading
The photographic layer – A high resolution, highly-detailed photographic image that realistically captures the look of genuine wood
Inner core – high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium density fiberboard (MDF) made from wood fibers fused with resin. Fiberboard is an engineered wood product that’s strong, hard and dense, and keeps the laminate board stable, flat, and moisture resistant.
Backing – A moisture barrier backing that protects the floor from warping
Besides the natural gains and textures, laminate offers a wide selection of rich colors and designs, easy installation, affordability and durability, easier maintenance compared to other types of flooring.
These type of floors are extremely resistant to wear and sunlight fading Laminates are available in a wide variety of colours and styles. Appearance, durability, ease of maintenance, and cost are all very persuasive factors for homeowners considering a laminated floor installation.
Laminated floor surfaces are highly durable, resistant to scratches, stains, UV light and dents. It is best flooring material for easy do-it-yourself option. The installation of laminate flooring is 50% less expensive than the installation of hardwood flooring. It can be installed fairly quickly and inexpensively.
Excessive moisture may affect a laminate floor’s inner core and overall performance. Laminate flooring cannot be refinished and must be replaced when damaged. Because it has a fiberboard core, large spills can damage a laminate floor. They are susceptible to moisture damage, so they aren’t the best choice for kitchens or bathrooms.
Laminate floors can be fairly noisy when walked on. Special underlayment padding are made to help reduce the noise.
For many customers any laminate is just a cheap alternative to hardwood floors. It is really affordable flooring material comparing with real hardwood. Because of variable quality characteristic laminate floors price can vary from $1 to $3 per sq ft. Main purchase tip for your selection of laminate flooring should be the quality of planks that depend on its Ware Resistance (Abrasion Class).
The standards of our wear layers are as follows: AC1, AC2, AC3, AC4, AC5. High quality ware layer nicely protects the pattern underneath and is highly resistant even to cigarette burns and scratches from pets.
Ac3 (Abrasion Class 3) and more is enough durable for any residential and even commercial property flooring areas. The quality of laminate is determined also by its fiberboard quality.
High Density Fiberboard (HDF) will better choice than cheaper Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). Be aware of Formaldehyde Release(Emission) of your purchase. It has to meet to European E0 and E1 or USA CARB standards.
The Surface Finish of laminate flooring is different. Among most popular finishes you can be offered the following ones: Crystal (Plain), High Gloss (Piano), Embossed, Registered Embossed (EIR – designs in which the surface texture exactly matches the image texture for highly realistic look and feel of real hardwood, tile and stones styles), Distressed, Hand-Scraped, Wire Brushed and others. The cost of laminate will be more if it is hand-scraped or registered embossed.
Another important feature is Edge Types that you should pay attention on. Most of 6-8 mm laminate don’t have edges or bevels. 12 mm laminate are provided with No bevel, Micro-bevel edges, U-Groove or V-Groove edges.
The Size is an important feature of laminate flooring. The standard board sizes come in a variety of dimensions. The size of laminate planks vary from by length from 808 mm to 1400mm, by width from 130 mm to 197mm, by thickness from 6mm to 15mm. Larger planks are preferable for large places or rooms. Narrow or medium width planks are more suitable for condo.
Not necessarily. Formaldehyde is present in many consumer products, including composite wood products used in flooring, cabinets and furniture; wood floor and wall finishes; and is produced by combustion sources such as gas stoves and wood burning fireplaces. Laminate wood flooring is likely to contain some formaldehyde.
However, formaldehyde emissions from these products have been reduced 80-90% from levels in the 1980’s and earlier due to mandatory formaldehyde emission standards in California (the CARB standards) and national voluntary formaldehyde emission standards (criteria established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)).
In addition, formaldehyde emissions are highest when products are new and diminish over time so the longer a product has been in place, the lower the levels of formaldehyde likely to be emitted.
The thicker doesn’t mean always the better. A thicker laminate could be manufactured with lower-quality materials. The durability is provided by top layer of the aluminum-oxide wear.
The better top wear layer is able to stand up to foot traffic and minor abrasions, thus improving its durability. Impact resistance, or the ability of a laminate floor to withstand the impact of a falling object, is related to plank thickness.
In general, the thicker the plank, the more resistant the floor becomes to fracture from a dropped object. The quality of laminate depends also on the fiberboard density. High-density fiber (HDF) core as preferable than medium-density fiber(MDF).
Since a laminate floor is a floating floor, a subfloor unevenness variation shouldn’t exceed 1/8 of an inch within 40 inches. A thicker plank will better span minor subfloor unevenness. Most of these planks locks is drop lock and easier to install without hammering.
A thicker plank can provide superior acoustics. Because the plank is thicker, sound doesn’t travel as well. A thicker plank provides better impact resistance, as discussed above. 12 mm laminate is most popular thickness to select from.
Main advantage of laminate flooring is its affordability – laminate flooring is typically half, even sometimes less than half cost of engineered or solid hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring is designed to be easy to install.
The customers know hardwood flooring is more vulnerable for scratches and fading than laminate flooring. Solid hardwood is usually recommended to be installed only above grade. Laminate flooring can be installed above or below grade, and over concrete, plywood and any other subfloor surface.
Laminate is easy to clean using a damp cloth or vacuum and most household cleaning chemicals will not harm a laminate floor. Simply vacuum your floor with a soft brush. A damp cloth or mop can be used without damage to the laminate flooring planks, but do not use excessive water. Dry the floor thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth.
Remember, the excess of liquid can damage the floor. Don’t use any soap-based cleaning powders for cleaning. Dry out the water spills from wet feet right away with paper towel.