Laminate Flooring mimics the look of traditional woods while offering easy installation and lasting durability. At first glance, it can be difficult to spot the difference between hardwoods and laminate flooring. What appears to be a natural wood grain pattern is really a thin layer of decor paper, a photographic image, under a tough as nails protective film that is glued and pressed to a high-density backing board. Laminate Flooring comes in an array of wood effects as well as stone and ceramic effects.
Laminate floorings main advantages are that it is easy to install, is very hardwearing and relatively inexpensive compared to real hardwood flooring and that it is a floating floor, which means it does not fasten directly to the sub-floor. Instead the planks are clicked together. This enables the floor to be fitted fast and with no real mess.
Most laminate floors today fit together with a click system. You simply place the tongue of one plank into the groove of another at an angle and press down. The sophisticated and very accurate milled shape makes it possible to create a very tight connection during the installation. The floor can be walked on straight away.
If you are laying laminate flooring over a concrete sub-floor then you will fist need to lay down a combi underlay which has a built in damp proof membrane. This underlay also helps with sound absorption
What are Laminate Floors made from?
Laminate flooring is usually made up from four different layers.
- Wear Layer - The top wear layer is provided by the melamine resin, a highly wear resistant material that makes laminate flooring so hard wearing. This top layer is very similar to the top layer on counter or kitchen work tops but is usually around 40% stronger. This makes the laminate flooring highly resistant to scratches, burns, dent’s, stains, etc.
- DPL (Decorative Paper) or HPL (Decorative Paper + Add High Strength Paper)
It is the decorative paper which gives the laminate flooring its individual appearance, ranging from highly authentic wood reproduction, ceramic or stone designs. An important thing to look out for when purchasing laminate flooring is to understand the difference between DPL and HPL. We will talk about this latter
- Core Layer
This is made up of either high density fibreboard (H.D.F.). or medium density fibreboard (M.D.F.) This is saturated in resins to make it extremely hard. Most manufactures also add a moisture resistant resin to the core. This is important as it helps keep the flooring protected against moisture penetrating the boards.
- Stabilising layer
The bottom layer is the stabilising layer; this is what gives the laminate floor its stability. It is made up of moisture resistant resins