Laminate flooring is constructed by laminating an image of wood onto a board backing. Good quality laminate is an excellent way to get the look of wood at an affordable price and can be very convincing. It is relatively low maintenance flooring due to its scratch resistant, chip roof and durable nature. Installation can be very easy, especially if the laminate comes in interlocking planks which do not require any glue.
The main thing to look out for when comparing laminate flooring is the material, thickness and locking mechanism. The materials and thickness will have an effect on the durability and lifespan of the flooring. How the laminate boards lock together will impact on how easy to install the laminate is.
Laminate flooring has a high performance, moisture resistant backing layer which forms a stable base for the flooring. It also has a high density core that is designed to withstand dents and other wear. This is commonly made of High Density Fibreboard (HDF). There is also a photographic layer that replicates the look of natural floor types. On top is a protective and scratch resistant layer for durability.
There are generally 3 types of laminate flooring:
- Wood effect
- Wood effect strips
- Tile effect
Whether in the home or in the office, laminate is ideal. Its moisture and scratch resistance make it suitable for virtually any room in your home or office, including a kitchen or bathroom. Due to the tough melamine top layer applied to it, laminate floors are resistant to scratches. Hence everyday wear and tear should not be as apparent on your new laminate flooring.
Important points to consider when choosing laminate flooring are the different construction methods and grades available. It is available in a number of different thickness and widths:
- Standard thicknesses for laminate flooring boards are: 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 10mm and 12mm
Width generally comes down to your individual preference, so choose a board that best matches your interior design scheme. The thickness is a lot more relevant. The thicker the laminate, the more durable, comfortable, insulation performance and lifespan it will have. Laminate should never be laid directly on top of a subfloor. It is vital that a layer of insulation is put down first.