Choose the Best Laminate Flooring for Your Home
Monday November 03, 2008
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Laminate is a low-maintenance, economical solution for homeowners who want a floor that can endure extreme climates and temperatures. Its durability has made laminate a popular choice for department stores, hospitals and supermarkets.
The strength of laminate flooring depends on how it's produced. While some types of laminate are only suitable for light traffic residential areas (such as closet floors), others are designed for heavy commercial use. The strength of laminate floor and its level of use are indicated by its Abrasion Class (AC) Rating.
- AC1 - Moderate Residential
- AC2 - General Residential
- AC3 - Heavy Residential/Moderate Commercial
The more durable your laminate floor, the less likely you'll have moisture damage. Of course, stronger laminate comes with a higher price tag. It's up to you to decide whether or not the extra cost is worth having floors that can stand up to extremes for a longer period of time.
Direct Pressure Laminate and High Pressure Laminate
Laminate is made of wood fibers and prone to humidity damage just like bamboo and hardwood flooring. Laminate floors are constructed in one of two ways: direct pressure laminate (DPL) or high pressure laminate (HPL).
The most common form of laminate is direct pressure laminate (DPL). Direct pressure laminate is made by pressing together 4 layers: the overlay, decorative layer, core layer and backing layer. High pressure laminate (HPL) is made by treating the backing and overlay separately, then fusing all of the layers to the core.
While direct pressure laminate can hold up to extreme conditions better than other floor types, it doesn't match high pressure laminate. High pressure laminate is much stronger, and stronger laminate expands and contracts less.
If you live in a region that experiences extremely high levels of humidity, high pressure laminate flooring is recommended.
Beautiful Laminate Flooring
Laminate is available in a wide assortment of colors, designs, textures and patterns, some of which can imitate costlier types of flooring (such as wood, tile or bamboo). The visible part of laminate, commonly referred to as the decorative layer, is actually a high-resolution picture covered with a clear protective coating (resin). This gives laminate the ability to mimic almost any floor type.
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I installed imitation wood floors that are actually laminate in my home now that I have two kids with those plastic bikes they sit on and ride around on... in the house of course. I can't stop them. We one long big hallway that was bound to get ruined. We installed this type of laminate flooring (dont know AC rating) and now I don't worry if they dent and scratch it up no matter how durable it is kids can ruin anything! trust me! Plus it gives them more speed and tail flipping abilities on their little plastic bikes. Its a good investment for active kids