What is laminate flooring and how is it made?
Laminate flooring gives the appearance of hardwood, ceramic tile, stone or even brick without using any of those products. Laminate floors are constructed of several layers of different materials that are pressed together under a very high pressure making it an extremely durable floor. These layers generally consist of a moisture barrier on the bottom, with a layer of high density fiberboard (HDF) laid on top of that. The next layer is what determines the appearance. It is a very high resolution image of the type of floor it is made to resemble topped by very durable, clear layer of resin-coated cellulose.
Where did laminate flooring originate?
Laminate floors originated in Europe in 1977. They weren't introduced to the US and Canada until 1994, but they have become very popular since then.
What are the advantages of laminate flooring?
Laminate floors offer the look of expensive flooring materials at a fraction of the cost. Laminate flooring is easy for the Do-It-Yourselfer to install. It can be installed below, above, or on grade. The construction method makes it extremely durable and resistant to scratching and fading.
What are the disadvantages of laminate flooring?
As with any floor, it is possible to scratch or damage a laminate floor. Laminate flooring may swell or warp under pooling liquids or in high levels of humidity. And unfortunately, damaged laminate floors cannot be sanded or re-finished, they can only be replaced.
Who is laminate flooring best for?
Laminate flooring is best for someone looking for a durable, versatile, and cost-effective floor. Laminate floors are a good choice for a self installer as most manufacturers use a snap together glue-less method.
How does laminate flooring differ from hardwood flooring?
Laminate floors are cheaper than most hardwood flooring and much easier to install. Laminate's construction makes it extremely durable and often more resistant to scratching and fading than hardwood, although it can't be refinished like hardwood can. Solid hardwood flooring should not be installed below grade due to fluctuations in moisture levels, while laminate floors can be installed below, above, or on grade. The benefits of laminate floors are making them an increasingly popular product.
What is the average lifetime of a laminate floor?
Most manufacturers estimate the lifetime of a laminate floor to be between 10-30 years, depending on factors such as traffic volume and proper care and maintenance.
Is there any difference between brown core and green core laminate flooring?
No, the green core is simply a result of a coloring agent added to the adhesive. In years past there was a perception that green core meant moisture resistant or moisture proof, but this is no longer the case.
Generally, how often do laminate flooring wood grain patterns repeat?
Most manufacturers will repeat their pattern every 8 to 20 planks. Planks with characteristics like knots might seem to repeat more often, but they do not.
Is laminate flooring considered a floating floor?
Laminate flooring is available in two different installation methods: glueless floating and glued floating. Both types are floated above the subfloor with a click and lock system; the difference is glued floating requires adhesive between the floor planks while glueless does not.
What does HDF stand for and what is it constructed of?
HDF stands for High Density Fiberboard. It is a very high-density fiber panel that is resistant to moisture. It is constructed of wood particles that are ground into a pulp with melamine-urea-formaldehyde resin added. This pulp is dried and pressed into panels under very high pressure.
What are laminate flooring AC ratings and what ratings are recommend for each environment?
AC ratings are a standardized measure used by The Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (ELPF). The rating is based on abrasion resistance, impact resistance, resistance to staining and cigarette burns, and thickness swelling along edges on a scale of 1-5.
- AC1 is the least durable and is suitable for residential areas that have low traffic, like bedrooms or basements.
- AC2 is slightly more durable and is suitable for residential areas that have low to moderate traffic, like living rooms and dining rooms.
- AC3 has moderate durability and is suitable for both residential and commercial areas. It can be used in a variety of areas such as small offices, lightly-trafficked commercial locations, residential kitchens, etc.
- AC4 has above average durability and is also suitable for both residential and commercial areas. It can be used in higher traffic commercial areas such as busier offices and restaurants.
- AC5 is the most durable, and is recommended for very high traffic commercial areas like department stores and public buildings.
Where can I install laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring can be installed in almost any type of room whether it is below, above, or on grade. Floating laminate floors be installed over wood flooring, concrete, linoleum, tile, or almost any hard, flat surface, but not on carpet and not over another floating surface. Laminate flooring is not recommended for wet areas such as bathrooms, saunas, and so on.
Can I install laminate flooring on stairs?
Laminate flooring can be installed on stairs but it is recommended that you glue it to the steps with strong flooring adhesive. Allow the glue to dry completely before walking on the steps. Any moldings or transitions should be nailed to the steps.
Can I install laminate flooring on a porch or patio?
No, these areas often experience extreme climate variations. Laminate flooring must be installed in an area that is climate-controlled.
Is it possible to install laminate flooring over carpet?
No, laminate flooring must be installed on a hard surface. Any carpet and padding should be removed before installation.
Is laminate flooring recommended for a self-installer?
Yes. Many laminate floors offer glue-less, click or snap edges that Do-It-Yourself types can easily install.
How are laminate floors installed?
Generally, most laminate flooring panels will snap "click" together without the use of glue. Some can be easily done by hand and others may require the use of a mallet and a tapping block to tap into place. With a glue installation method, the installer will need to apply glue to the tongue and groove of each plank. Pre-glued laminate flooring planks come with glue that is applied by the manufacturer and which must be moistened by the installer before the planks are clicked together.
What should I do before beginning laminate flooring installation?
• Inspect your laminate flooring panels carefully for any defects.
• Allow your laminate flooring to acclimate to the room where it will be installed for at least 48 hours.
• Ensure that the temperate of the room is at least 65°F (15°C) and that the floor surface temperature is at least 59°F before installation, while you install, and for at least three days after installation.
• Make sure your subfloor is even and dry.
• Stagger planks according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
• Consider where the main source of light enters your room and install the flooring parallel to the light.
• When installing laminate over a floor with radiant heating, review both manufacturers’ instructions for the laminate flooring and radiant heating system before beginning.
• You must leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room and around other obstacles within it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
• Always read the manufacturer’s installation instructions completely before beginning laminate flooring installation and make sure you understand them. If something doesn't make sense, contact the laminate flooring manufacturer to clarify.
How much laminate flooring do I need?
1. Divide the floor into rectangles.
2. Measure the length and width of each individual rectangle.
3. Multiply the length by the width of each individual rectangle.
4. Add your total for each rectangle together to get the total square footage.
5. Add an additional 5-10% (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations) of the total square footage to the order to cover the waste factor.