Facts About Laminate Flooring

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The benefits of laminate flooring are widely known to interior decorators, contractors, homeowners, and anyone with access to Google. It gives consumers the aesthetically pleasing look of natural hardwood floors without the high price tag or maintenance headaches, and the ease of installation makes it especially appealing to those who enjoy DIY projects.

But what exactly is this stuff and how does it work? Learning a few facts about the history of laminate flooring, as well as about the structure, composition, manufacturing process, types available, and the difference between styles such as matte and high gloss laminate might help you make smarter choices when it comes time to buy.

History

Laminate flooring was originally developed and marketed in Sweden in 1974 by the company now known as Pergo. It took about a decade for the product's popularity to spread throughout Europe, and then another decade for the trend to take off in the United States, where it is now one of the bestselling floor options around.

Structure

Examining a cross-section of a typical laminate flooring plank would reveal that it is made up of distinct layers. At the bottom is the base layer, which is the part that comes into contact with the underlayment or subfloor and therefore must be moisture resistant in order to prevent warping, buckling, and similar damage. Above the base layer is the core. This layer is made up of strong materials that allow the plank to withstand the impact caused by footsteps and support heavy objects such as furniture. On top of that is the decorative layer, which is simply a high resolution image of natural wood. Finally, the wear layer features a coating of aluminum oxide to protect against wear, fading, and staining.

Composition

The various layers are made up of a combination of natural and synthetic materials including fiberglass, wood pulp, recycled plastics, and different kinds of resins. These materials are bound together during the manufacturing process to create the high gloss laminate planks that end up in stores.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process basically consists of running the layers through a laminating machine at extremely high heat and pressure in order to permanently fuse them together.

Types

Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL) and High Pressure Laminate (HPL) are the two types that dominate the marketplace today. HPL is a premium product that incorporates more layers into each plank and uses more steps in the manufacturing process, resulting in high gloss laminate that is very strong and durable. The superior quality of HPL is reflected in its higher prices.

Finishes

Choosing a finish comes down to both personal preference and your existing decor. Some people like the understated, natural look of matte, while others enjoy the luster and shine of high gloss laminate.

Modern laminate flooring is truly a marvel of technology. This product provides the perfect balance between form and function, and gives you a way to enjoy the beauty of hardwood floors without having to forfeit your life savings. Now that you are armed with a few basic facts, you are in a better position to choose the right type of synthetic floor for your home.
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Stephanie Elman has 1 articles online


Stephanie Elman enjoys transforming her home with laminate flooring from Best Laminate, where she finds beautiful, durable, and affordable high gloss laminate planks that are easy to install at the best price.

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Facts About Laminate Flooring

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This article was published on 2011/04/07