What is Laminate Flooring?

what is laminate flooringIf you’re trying to what out what laminate flooring is, chances are you’re interested in using it in a building project.  In this article we’ll explain answer the question “what is laminate flooring” and talk more about the pros and cons of it as well.

Laminate flooring is a relatively recent addition to the flooring market.  Hardwood planks have been used for flooring since there have been floors to walk on.  Hardwood has a lot of advantages, but it does still have some disadvantages.  It is those disadvantages as well as advances in manufacturing that lead a Swedish company to first start producing laminate floor boards in 1977.  This product wasn’t marketed in the United States until the 1990s but has now become a major competitor to all types of flooring, especially hardwoods.

Laminate flooring is made from multiple layers of materials laminated together to form a layered floor board.  The first layer is an underlayment or backing to the board.  This layer is a moisture resistant layer that will also act as a sound deadener and cushion for the floor board.  This layer is extremely important to the construction of a laminate floor board because it is what holds the board together.  The inner core is the second layer above the backing.  The inner core of laminate flooring is what gives it its thickness and structural properties.  This core is often made of fiberboard or compressed wood particles, like sawdust, that are coated with resin and pressed into sheets.  The inner core, while structurally sound, is not very resistant to moisture or wear which is why the backing layer is so important.

On top of the core is the decorative layer.  This layer is extremely thin and its only purpose is to provide the board with a specific appearance.  Much like a long skinny photograph, the decorative layer can resemble a particular species of wood, different stains, or even stone or tile.  Lastly, to make sure the decorative layer maintains its appearance, the top of every laminate floor board is coated with a protective layer to keep out moisture and help maintain the appearance of the board.

What is Laminate FlooringThis top protective layer is one of the things that gives laminate flooring a distinct advantage over other flooring options.  If a high quality protective layer is used, your new laminate flooring can be almost indestructible and hold up very well to scratches, scuffs, stains and other abuse that would leave other flooring marked or discolored.  The other part of laminate flooring that gives it such an advantage is the laminate core.  This core layer can be produced extremely easily and inexpensively to help make laminate flooring an extremely attractive choice for any home owner wanted to beautiful look of real wood without the high price tag.

After laminate flooring gained popularity in Europe and the US, it was improved in the late 90s by the additional option of interlocking boards that could be installed without glue or nails.  The ease of installation kept the cost even lower and help solidify laminate flooring as a great flooring option that will be around for a long time.

One of the only drawbacks to laminate flooring when compared to hardwood is that hardwoods can be sanded down and refinished multiple times returning your floors to looking new without the process of removal and replacement.  In the end, the time and money required to refinish hardwood may not be worth it when compared to the durability and low cost of laminate flooring.  To help you make the decision between hardwood and laminate floors, check out this great article on everything you need to know before buying laminate flooring.

When you’re ready to start your laminate flooring project in Charleston, stop by Carolina Flooring Services in North Charleston at 3830 Dorchester Rd. and visit our showroom where you can experience all the different colors and patterns available in laminate flooring.  We can help you by starting off your project with our free in-home measurements to estimate the amount of material you will need and can install your new floors, or simply provide you with the materials so you can do it yourself!  For more information, visit our website to learn more about laminate flooring.

Pictures provided by:

laminate_flooring.jpg – By Wiher – Licensed by Creative Commons via Wikimedia – Original Link
laminate_wood_flooring.jpg – By Lee Haywood – Licensed by Creative Commons via Flickr – Original Link

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