Laminate flooring is becoming more and more popular today in North America and all over the world, although it started as a European innovation. For households and offices which require a low maintenance flooring solution, laminate flooring has been known to be an effective choice for its attractiveness, durability, ease of installation, as well as for its reasonable price when compared to many other flooring options. However, despite the fact that laminate flooring is popular, there are a great many misconceptions and mysteries surrounding it in terms of how laminate flooring is made and how it differs from solid hardwood.
One of the first mistakes people make is to confuse laminate flooring with solid hardwood flooring. The two should never be thought of as similar, despite the obvious visual similarities that makes quality laminate flooring such an attractive choice. Laminate flooring is not comprised of any real hardwood species at all. In fact, the surface of a laminate floor is actually a highly rendered photograph, often of a hardwood species. This top layer, or decorative layer, is sealed by a resin-based coating which gives the laminate flooring board its resistance to many forms of abrasion. The two remaining layers of laminate flooring are the core layer and the backing layer. The core layer is most often made of high-density or medium density fiber board, which serves as a means to absorb the stress of footfalls and other forms of impact. The backing layer, otherwise known as the stabilizing layer, is the layer of the laminate flooring which binds all of the others together.
One of the key characteristics of laminate flooring, and one that is kept in mind when it is manufactured, is how easy it is to install when compared to other types of flooring. Of the many designs, some of the more efficient and mess-free laminate flooring lines are the “glueless” variety. With this variety, the laminate flooring is generally fitted together by means of what is called a “tongue and groove” design, with interlocking elements that slide into place and are made secure as each row is laid down. Unlike hardwood, no nails are required. Some types of laminate feature more sophisticated locking systems, designed to be put down and taken up again where necessary.