What is Laminate Flooring?

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Laminate flooring is a synthetic product – that is to say, man-made – and is composed of multi-layered materials, typically consisting of melamine resin, and fine-fibered boards. With great advancements in modern manufacturing, it can now be difficult to distinguish laminate flooring from real wood flooring at times, particularly with many real wood (or hardwood flooring) solutions now becoming available with lacquered finishes that resemble the laminated aesthetic of laminate flooring.

 

Laminate flooring achieves its close resemblance to hardwood/real wood flooring through the use of a fine ‘applique' layer of a  photographic image of real wood. This image sits underneath the lamination, which protects it from damage and distortion. As previously mentioned, laminate flooring is a composite material, and beneath the top layer of lamination and the second layer of the photographic wood grain, it is typically composed of chipboard (also known as wood-chip composite). This, technically speaking, does make it a wood product, but not fundamentally a natural wood product.

 

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to laminate flooring that it's worth bearing in mind when thinking about purchasing this kind of flooring. Firstly, due to the actual aesthetic of the product being generated digitally (and be aware that the quality of these artificial wood grain effects are dazzling!), it makes laminate flooring one of the most visually versatile flooring solution on the market. You can quite simply make it resemble all sorts of materials from dark hardwoods, to light maples and oak, to even priceless marbles and so forth. This makes the amount of choice exceptional.

 

Another real plus of laminate flooring is that it is both very flexible in terms of its range of application, its ease of installation, and also it's durability and resistance to damage. The protective laminated layer on the top of the boards creates a very durable barrier between potential scratches, spills and knocks, and the fabric of the boards themselves. Equally, laminate flooring, unlike most kinds of hardwood and real wood flooring are suitable for use with underfloor heating systems, which are becoming increasingly popular in the UK due to being highly economic and better at radiating energy than traditional wall radiators. Again, this type of flooring is very simple to install, being typically sold either in a ‘click-system' (where the boards literally just click together with one another), or in and ‘click and glue' system, where the boards are both locked in place and glued for extra strength.

 

One drawback of laminate flooring is that it does need to be kept dry, as extensive or prolonged exposure to moisture may cause the boards to warp. Additionally, the systems that don't involve a glue join in addition to the tongue and groove system have been know to come apart at times, creating visible gaps between the planks.

 

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Fernando Frambuesa has 1 articles online

For a fantastic range of laminate flooring, check out Topps Tiles – Britain's biggest tile and wood flooring specialist.

 

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This article was published on 2010/12/06