What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate floors were initially conceived about 50 years ago as a budget-friendly and functional option to real wood floors. However, their quality has risen over the past years, and they have increased in popularity also in higher-end homes as they are so easy to install and maintain. you have undoubtedly come across laminate floors when researching options for your house,. So what exactly are they?
In brief, laminate flooring is a hybrid floor covering made from composite material in multiple layers fused together by a lamination process. To laminate something simply means to stick several sheets of material together. Most often, laminate floors are designed to resemble different kinds of woods, although this is not always the case.
With laminate flooring being so prevalent today, you’d think it had been around forever. However, the type was not invented until 1977 by a Swedish company called Perstorp, which had been making floor surfaces since 1923. Perstorp used heat, pressure and binding chemicals to laminate chipped wood particle leftovers. Today, the core layer of laminate flooring is primarily made up of melamine resin and fiber board material.
Meanwhile, the second-to-top layer has a well-rendered textured image to make it look like real wood. The very top layer is also known as the wear layer. It is a hard transparent type of plastic sheet that is resistant to the wear-and-tear of every day life, such as dog paws, teenage sneakers, rollerblades, high heels and general chair-scraping, although repeated stress over time will show.
Easier to install than real wood floors
One of the reasons for the growing popularity of laminate flooring is that it is relatively easy for a DIY decorator to install. It is almost always installed as floating floors, meaning that the boards connect to each other but not the surface underneath. First, an underlayment of inexpensive foam or felt is rolled out and taped together.
Then the pieces of laminate flooring are joined together over that, forming a very solid unit. This is done either by snapping or glueing the planks together, depending on the manufacturer. Because it is a relatively easy flooring to install, professional installation is also not very expensive.
Glueless laminate flooring was invented by another Swedish company called Välinge Aluminium in 1996., although a Belgian company released a version in 1997 and the two have had a number of legal conflicts.
Laminate floor maintenance
High quality laminate floors are very resistant to moisture damage (although they do not tolerate pools of standing water), staining, and fading. They are also easy to maintain and several manufacturers give their products extensive guarantees. For instance, the Albany Oak comes with a 15-year warranty, and the Dartmoor Oak with 20 years.
Finally, laminated floors are incredibly easy to clean with a vacuum cleaner or a broom. Mops should be slightly damp, or you could use a laminate floor cleaner, but avoid excess water. There is no floor waxing necessary with laminate flooring. Slate impressions, herringbone, or textured oak – with laminate floors you are definitely spoilt for choice.