Modern laminates have shaken off their ‘cheap floor’ image, bringing fantastic levels of quality when it comes to both design and practicality. Offering an easy to install alternative to real wood or stone, households everywhere have taken to this ever-evolving flooring choice.
Maintenance benefits are there for all to see, these floors suitable for any area of the home except for those experiencing high moisture levels. But how is laminate flooring made? Homes have warmed to the concept of laminate, but few know the ins and outs of its production.
Let’s start with the basics. Laminate is generally made up of four layers, shown here from top to bottom:
• CLEAR TOP – scratch-resistant wear layer
• DECORATIVE – print layer providing aesthetic
• CORE BOARD – processed particle board adding resistance
• STABILISING – resin-reinforced backing layer
From here, there is a choice as to the flooring’s construction. The first option is to use the direct pressure method. Alternatively, there is a more recently developed (and expensive) method that uses extra pressure, offering increased impact and dent resistance for busier spaces.
Direct Pressure Method:
Direct pressure is the more common of the two methods, with all four layers fused together at the same time under heat and pressure. This is a simple yet mighty efficient way to produce laminate that not only looks the part, but also comes in at a terrific price!
High Pressure Method:
The alternative is the high pressure method, where special Phenolic treated sheets are incorporated to make for a stiffer, more durable end product. Apart from this, the materials used are the same as with DPL, however there are differences in the construction process.
The top and bottom (i.e. clear top and stabilising) layers are fused to the core board separately, rather than in a single fusion. As the name suggests, the pressure levels are also much more intense than with direct pressure construction, the result a thicker plank with extra levels of durability and sound reduction. It is these properties that make HPL ideal for settings subject to heavy walking traffic.
Click here to check out the fabulous range of laminate designs available at UK Flooring Direct.
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