Laminate flooring is the newest and hottest trend to hit the residential flooring industry.
Laminate is a durable product that looks like a real wood or stone floor, yet costs much less than the 'real thing'. Laminate is easy to install and also offers a variety of other benefits.
Laminate floors offer many benefits to you and your home
- Exceptional durability
- Easy to clean surface
- Superior stain resistance
- Superior fade resistance
- Install in/on all grade levels, even below grade
- Install over many different types of subfloors
- Great impact and indentation resistance
- Exceptional realism at affordable costs
- Easy to replace later on, if desired
LAMINATE OFFERS VERSATILITY
Laminate flooring gives you flexibility. Woodgrains and lightly colored stone patterns provide the opportunity to dramatically alter the overall look and feel of a room by changing some of the accents. Look at your flooring options from different angles: laminate flooring planks can be installed on the diagonal (instead of straight) -- and tiles can either be laid corner-to-corner or in a staggered manner to create a variety of different looks. You'll need to add an extra 15-20% more material for waste for these types of installations, but the results are worth it!
A laminate product has basically 3 primary components to its make-up. They are the surface wear layer (top), core material (middle) and the balancing layer (bottom). The various qualities of these above listed material will
dictate the price of your floor.
Laminate floors will resist high heel indentations, crayons, tar and shoe polish. It will never need refinishing. Almost all laminate floors come with a 15-year triple warranty against staining, wearing and fading.
Construction: There are two distinct manufacturing methods: high-pressure and direct pressure lamination. With High-pressure lamination, the bottom and top layers are separately heated and pressurized into a laminate structure. These layers are then fused to the core under heat and pressure. This is a much more expensive process and adds strength to the overall product.
Direct-pressure lamination is where the layers are assembled all at once then filled with hardening melamine resins using heat and pressure. High-pressure lamination, the original method, is more impact- and dent-resistant while direct-pressure laminates are more economical and offer very good quality overall.
Wear layer: The surface wear layer is typically made of aluminum oxide. The pattern of the flooring is a photograph applied to a melamine laminate. Since you can photograph literally anything, the patterns for laminate flooring are endless. The most common patterns are woods and stones. The aluminum oxide gives it incredible strength against most scratches. The melamine keeps the floor from staining and discoloring from direct sunlight.
Center core: The center core should always be made of a smooth high-density fiberboard, particleboard or plastic. The core adds impact resistance and forms the tongue and groove locking system. Some manufacturers, to improve moisture resistance of the core, also impregnate melamine plastic resins in the core. Melamine is a plastic-like resin used throughout the construction process
to add durability, and stability to laminated planks and tiles.
Backings: The backing board varies depending on the manufacturers discretion- but it ranges from a paper layer to a full plastic laminate layer. The backing is constructed of a heavy layer of melamine foil. The backing is primarily used as a balancing agent to stabilize the board in order to stop cupping and bowing. In addition, it also has water resistance qualities. Dimensional stability is much greater with a solid laminate backing than it could ever be with just paper. Those with laminate backing provide better protection against potential water damage than those with paper backings.
EASE OF MAINTENANCE
You need only to damp mop or lightly vacuum with an occasional application of the recommended floor cleaner. You never have to wax or strip a laminate floor.
Wear and stain resistance: The melamine surface gets its incredible durability from the aluminum oxide. Second only to diamonds in hardness, aluminum oxide provides unsurpassed wear and stain protection. Spills such as juice, wine, grease and chocolate are
easily wiped away. Cigarette burns; asphalt stains, shoe polish, paint, computer ink, crayon and nail polish come clean with alcohol or nail polish remover. Candle wax and glue can be easily scraped away with a plastic paint scraper.
Maybe the best feature is the ability to repair most damage quickly and affordably. If you scratch or damage a few boards a skilled mechanic can pop out those damaged boards and replace them with new boards that are guaranteed to match exactly to your original floor. It is important to have a minimum of 5-7 full boards left over after your installation in case the color is discontinued.