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About Laminate

There are many good reasons why laminate flooring is a popular choice in today's homes. Laminate is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring. In the past, laminate floors have been easy to spot, but today's technology allows manufacturers to create realistic visuals and textures for an elegant and quality floor.

  • patterns mimic wood and natural stone
  • good choice for the look without the maintenance or cost
  • offers significant value
  • range of colors and styles, including exotic
  • durable for active lifestyles
  • stain resistant, no wax or varnish
  • less likely to fade in sunlight
  • sold in Europe for 25 years
  • 10-20 times harder than laminate countertops
  • floated rather than secured directly
  • installed over a variety of subfloors
  • one of the best selling floors in the US
  • great impact and indentation resistance
  • easy to replace, if desired

Laminate | How It's Made



A home consists of what's under your roof and what's under your feet. Floor coverings have a huge influence on your home and home life. They impact interior beauty, design, comfort, livability and upkeep, thus floor coverings can make or break a home. Being familiar with laminate construction helps you understand and evaluate its performance aspects: why certain laminate floors wear better and longer.

  • multitude of designs, patterns, and textures
  • four main components bonded together
    • melamine plastic backing- stability and moisture from the subfloor
    • core board for moisture resistance
    • decorative layer on top of core board
    • durable wear layer for protection, containing aluminum oxide
    • layers are combined with high/direct pressure

Manufacturing

Step 1: stacking raw materials in large sheets

Step 2: stacks are pressed

Step 3: pressed sheets left to cool and cure, then stacked to acclimate

Step 4: cut, profile and inspect

Laminate | Styles

It goes without saying that you should use that unique sense when choosing something as critical as laminate flooring. Critical? Yes! Because any floor covering in your home impacts interior beauty, design, comfort, livability and upkeep. It’s a fact, floor coverings can make or break a home. Knowing the basic types of laminate and laminate installation can provide you with a firm foundation upon which to begin your laminate shopping journey.

  • no more fake looks
  • looks are traditional, rustic, distressed and exotic
  • grains and texture more realistic than ever
  • number of photographs or screens determine quality
  • lighter colors make small rooms look larger
  • dark colors create intimate settings
  • choose coordinating or contrasts with cabinets or furniture
  • no matching colors and styles, be creative

 
4 forms of installation

  • Glueless laminate flooring
    • quick and easy
    • thin underlayment seals out moisture
    • floors float over subfloors
    • vapor barrier can be added for noise
  • Laminate flooring with attached underlay
    • several different types of tongue and grooved locking systems
    • attached underlayment to reduce noise levels
  • Glued laminate flooring
    • the original laminate floors
    • require a special formulated glue
    • offered in planks and tiles
  • Pre-glued laminate flooring
    • no mess, glue already applied to the tongue and grooves
    • quick and easy-to-install
    • thin, plastic underlayment needed to seal out moisture and prevent glue from sticking

Moldings

  • important because they cover the space allowed for flooring to expand and move naturally
  • helps with the transition to an adjacent floor
  • manufacturers offer coordinating moldings for all styles and colors
  • moldings are designed to coordinate, not  be an exact match
  • moldings for laminates are slightly larger than wood or tile counterparts

Styles and definitions

Step Down Stairnose

  • coordinating piece for proper transition for all steps

Reducer Strip

  • transitional piece to connect with another type of flooring

End Molding or Carpet Reducer

  • used as a transition to different flooring when the reducer does not allow enough height

T-Molding

  • used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms
  • recommended when making transitions from floors of the same height

Quarter Round

  • installed where the floor meets the wall or baseboard

Laminate | Before You Buy

Knowledge about laminate specifics and characteristics, about its traits and subtle differences, can be invaluable. Choosing the best laminate flooring for your home is really about knowing the right combination of characteristics, aesthetics, performance and budget to best meet the needs of your lifestyle.

Pricing

Laminate | Installation

Understanding the basics of installation will increase your knowledge of the process, and enhance your confidence in the installers.

 Potential additional expenses:

Process

Before installation day

Trim

Sub flooring

Door plan

Clean-up

Installation day

Safety

After installation day

Laminate | Maintenance

Glossary of Laminate Terms

For definitions of other terms not listed here, please go to these sections: How It’s Made, Styles, Before You Buy and Installation.

Acclimation
The adaptation of the laminate floor to its installation environment.

Backing
In laminate flooring, the bottom layer, or backing, is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks and also helps guard against moisture from the sub-floor.

Decorative Layer
In laminate flooring, a decorative layer or print film is adhered on top of the core board giving the floor its hardwood or tile look. This decorative layer is a printed, high-resolution photo-reproduction of wood grain, natural stone or ceramic tile pattern.

End Molding/Carpet Reducer
Used as a transition from laminate floors to different flooring surfaces when the reducer does not allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick ceramic tile.

Floating Floor System
Laminate floors are installed using a “floating floor system” in which a padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the laminate planks. The planks sit directly on the underlayment and are not anchored to the sublfoor on the bottom but rather are anchored on the edges.

Glued Laminate Flooring
These are the original laminate floors that do require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas for each plank. Once the glue is dried the planks are almost impossible to pull apart. These floors are offered in both planks and squares.

Glueless Laminate Flooring
A no mess installation method where the planks or squares simply interlock together.

Laminate
Is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.

Melamine Resin
Used to help improve the moisture resistance and durability of the core board of laminate flooring.

Moldings
Trim pieces that cover the space that is allowed for the flooring to expand and move naturally on top of the subfloor. They also help with the transition to an adjacent floor. Moldings for laminate floors are slightly larger than their wood or ceramic tile counterparts.

Overlapping Stair Nosing
Similar to a flush stair nosing except the nosing overlaps the exposed edge of your floor. The overlapping stair nosing is secured to the sub floor and not to the laminate floor so the floor is free to move

Peaking
Seams that have raised where the laminate planks or tiles join.

Plank
A laminate floor panel that is typically 5 or 6 inches longer than wide.

Pre-Glued Laminate Flooring
A no mess method of installation because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves. A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture and prevent the glue from sticking to the substrate.

Quarter Round Trim
Installed wherever the laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.

Reducer Strip
The transitional piece installers use to connect the laminate with another type of floor covering such as vinyl, thin ceramic tile, or low-pile carpeting.

Screens
The quality of the laminate partially has to do with the photography and the number of photographs per style, which is known as "screens". The more screens a product has, the more variation it can offer. And the more “authentic” the laminate looks.

Seams
The junction where the panels connect together.

Square Nosing / Universal Edge
Used where the laminate flooring butts up to carpeting, or various vertical surfaces where the edge will be exposed, such as along a fireplace.

Step Down Stair Nose
A coordinating molding piece providing the proper transition for all the steps in a home.

Tile
A laminate panel in a geometric shape – square.

T-Molding
Commonly used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms. It's also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that is approximately the same height.

Underlayment
A material used between the laminate flooring and the subfloor that acts as a sound and moisture barrier and also allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in the temperature.

Wear Layer
The durable, top layer of laminate flooring. It provides protection and stain resistance. Many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, and that creates exceptional durability.