What is laminate flooring?
Today, laminate flooring is a practical flooring solution for almost any room in the house as well as your business. But what is laminate flooring made of? We get this question every single day.
Generally speaking, laminate flooring is a wood based product made by fusing together a few basic layers and sealing them together. Laminate flooring is made by fusing all the layers together using extremely high pressure, as well as very high temperatures – creating Direct-Pressure Laminate (DPL) or High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) flooring. Pre-attached underlayment is sometimes attached to the planks after they are produced.
The Layers that Make Up Laminate Flooring
Layers of laminate flooring
A. Wear Layer: The top decorative layer is coated with a wear layer, an aluminum oxide coating, which protects the floor and gives it shine, scratch and UV protection.
B. Decorative Layer: A melamine impregnated decorative sheet is placed on top of the core layer with a detailed photo image of a natural wood, stone, or tile look. Each laminate has a custom photo finish, therefore creating endless style and design possibilities when it comes to recreating natural flooring characteristics.
C. Core Layer: The core lies on top of the balancing layer and is the central part of the laminate board. It provides stability to the planks by supporting the weight and stress of daily use. The core layer is usually made out of high-density fiberboard (HDF), however you may find laminates on the market made out of medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
New generation manufacturers like INHAUS, SHAW and others produce the majority of their laminates out of consumer recycled wood fibers and chips from sustainable sources – waste that would otherwise be burned or dumped in a landfill. The wood fibers, in the form of pulp, are pressurized during the production process creating fiberboard – the core element of the laminate flooring.
Moisture resistant HDF boards are made by pressing together wood fibers and synthetic resins creating a superior core providing users with increased moisture and impact resistance. However, keep in mind this does not make the laminate waterproof. It only makes it more resistant to the effects of moisture.
D. Balancing Layer: The bottom layer is a balancing layer, sometimes called stabilizing layer that provides steadiness and support to laminate flooring board. This layer is embedded with a melamine resin which creates a moisture resistant under layer.
E. Build-In Underlayment (optional) – Premium underlayment foam is sometimes pre-attached to the balancing layer. The manufacturer decides which is the best underlayment for the laminate flooring they produced and pairs the two together. Having underlayment already attached eliminates the need to purchase extra underlayment and makes installation that much quicker. While you shouldn’t use extra foam or felt underlayment, if you are installing on a concrete sub-floor you should consider purchasing a vapor barrier, such as Visqueen Vapor Barrier, to protect your floor against excess moisture.
We have many style, patterns and laminate finish. Our 12mm thick planks (nearly 1/2 inch) that are made in long, narrow single strip patterns resembling real wood planks. Finishing touches such as wood grain texture and beveled edges complete the effect with a nice look. The 12mm is the idea laminate floor in most of the floors spaces, especially where heavy objects such as pianos, pool tables, or aquariums need sturdy support.
The 12mm laminate have different quality starting at economic deals, good quality and luxury laminate. Made with our Pressed Edged Clic System, laminate installs easily. Choose from our popular colors honey maple, Acacia Cognac, Santos Mahogany, white oak, wire-brushed, exotics and others.
LUXURY LAMINATE 12.3MM
As beautiful looking as French Connection! You'd almost have to turn it over to know it’s not the real thing. Beautiful colors, realistic "wire brush" face, seven inches wide, seven feet long! It is not authentic European wire brushed oak, but it just may be the closest thing to it, at a fraction of the price!
AC Rating for Laminate Floors
To better assist you in choosing which type of laminate flooring to install to which room, the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF), the association to which reputable manufacturers of laminate flooring adhere, has come up with a standard international grading system for laminate floors; the AC (abrasion class) rating. This grading system tells consumer how durable a particular laminate and how much traffic it can withstand.
Laminates go through a number of tests when being assessed for an AC rating. Each line of laminate flooring is tested for resistance to burns, scratches, stains, abrasion, and impact. Tests are also done to assess the effects of furniture legs on the flooring, swelling, etc. To be able to acquire an AC rating, all of the tests must be passed. Should a flooring fail one test, it wouldn't be able to get an AC rating.
The AC rating ranges from a score of 1 to 5, determined by a series of criteria that test the product's durability, and suggests its best application. The rating centers around usage, based on the kinds of traffic each floor is likely to endure in a given area, either residential or commercial, with associated levels of intensity.
AC ratings are explained here:
AC1:21 (Residential, moderate traffic) - Laminates rated AC1 are best suited for use in bedrooms where there isn't that much foot traffic.
AC2:22 (Residential, general traffic) - AC2-rated floors work best in areas like living rooms and dining rooms.
AC3:23 (Residential, heavy traffic) - Laminate flooring possessing this rating works well in all areas of the home.
AC3:31 (Commercial, moderate traffic) - Hotel rooms and small offices are the suitable applications for flooring rated AC3:31.
AC4:32 (Commercial, general traffic) - These flooring suited for use in boutiques, busier offices, restaurants, and cafes.
AC5:33 (Commercial, heavy traffic) - AC5 floors are suitable to be used in places such as public buildings and department stores.
It is important to note that while AC5 floors may be used in residential applications, an AC3 will serve most purposes as far as traffic goes. Laminates that have higher ratings, while very strong, also tend to be priced higher, suited as it is for commercial spaces. In view of this, most residential laminate flooring bear ratings up to AC3. AC4 and AC5 is generally considered to be what is called "commercial laminate flooring".
There should be no difficulty, however, in finding laminate flooring that is suitable for your home are business because of the vast selection available. One should be able to find the perfect match required for a laminate flooring project.