Laminate flooring offers the following benefits:
- Durable and resistant to wear
- Exceptionally resistant to impacts and staining
- Easy to care for and maintain.
- Affordable when compared to other hard flooring types
- Available in a wide variety of colors and styles
Laminate flooring is installed using the "floating floor" system; planks or tiles are glued together and installed over a padding which increases sound absorption and provides some flexibility or "give" to the floor. Laminate flooring is not nailed or glued to the sub-floor; a small gap is left at the walls to allow for expansion and contraction without damage to the floor. Laminate floors can be installed over most existing floors, making it ideal for remodeling or retrofit applications. Reduced installation prep time (i.e., tear-out is often Unnecessary) and the simple installation process make laminate both a time and a cost saver.
Laminate flooring is comprised of three layers:
The decorative surface layer is a high-pressure decorative laminate with a high abrasion-resistant surface. It provides increased wear, stain, fade and impact resistance. Construction consists of:
- Melamine paper (also called film or low-pressure laminate) consists of a layer of resin-treated decorative paper;
- High pressure decorative laminate-also called HPDL, consists of a layer of resin-treated decorative paper bonded under intense heat and pressure to several layers of treated core paper.
The core board layer provides stability and impact resistance. It is usually some form of fiberboard, generally high-density or medium density (HDF or MDF). Construction consists of:
- Medium density fiberboard, 55#. It provides impact resistance and strength when combined with HPDL.
The balancing backer layer prevents warpage and seals the hoard. This is non-decorative, high-density laminate. Like the decorative surface, the balancing backer can be melamine or high-pressure laminate and is generally of the same composition as the top layer.
Laminate flooring is made from printed paper, providing a practically unlimited selection of color and design. Naturally, some designs are better suited for flooring than other surfaces, however, there is a laminate floor to complement almost every design application.