When you start to do some research and browsing through the different types of flooring materials available, you might start to see some very popular reviews or trends on laminate. But, what is laminate exactly? How is it made? Does it have any chemicals added to it like vinyl? These, and many other questions, are going to be answered below.
What Is Laminate Flooring Made From?
Laminate flooring is essentially comprised of layers. These layers are what make it look, feel and act the way it does. These layers include:
A Wear Layer: This is the top most layer of the flooring and it’s the one that you visually see when you look at the flooring. This clear top layer is the layer that provides the durability of the flooring and it’s the layer that helps keep stains and fading away.
A Design Layer: Really, this is the layer you can also see since the top layer is clear. This layer is where the photographic images go. You can choose from wood, tile, stone and more. Since it’s a photographic image, anything can be photographed really, have it be granules of sand, a leather couch, a wooden desk, etc. and it can be “printed” onto the wood. This is perfect for people who want a customized option or they want it to specifically “match” with other objects in the room. The image is a high resolution and very detailed image. This is also one of the reasons why it looks like real wood, because real wood was photographed to imitate it.
The Inner Core Layer: This is the layer that has the high density fiberboard aka HDF, which is made from wood fibers that have been fused with a resin. This is what makes this material so strong, so durable, and quite moisture resistant.
The Backing Layer: This is the last layer in the flooring and it’s placed at the very bottom. This has a moisture barrier shield that will keep the flooring from warping.
Is Laminate Flooring New?
The quick answer, no. Laminate flooring has actually been around since the 1970s, but of course with technology these days, the floors you have available to you now versus the flooring that was available back then is much more beautiful, stable, durable, and longer lasting. Back then in the 70s, this laminate flooring sold like hot cakes, just like it does today, because it was an alternative (and cheaper) option for people that really loved the hardwood look, but simply didn’t have enough money to get it in their homes. Back then though, compared to the product available to you today, the laminate looked a little more plastic-y. Today, you can fool almost anyone into believing that you spent thousands of dollars on a hardwood floor, when really it’s just a more affordable version. Today, you don’t have to sacrifice look for affordability – instead you can have both.
Laminate Flooring Ac Ratings
According to tilemarkets.com, each laminate flooring will have its own set of ac rating or classification guidelines. Whenever you wish to install laminate in your home, I really suggest that you follow these guidelines closely. Not only to make sure that you have the right rating in the right rooms, but also because you might be spending more on your flooring than you need to. Here is a little ratings image for you so you can get a better handle on how the ratings where and for which rooms.
As you can see from the image above, there are 6 classifications. 1 for example, is good for guest rooms and bedrooms. AC1 is also the cheapest. On the other hand, AC5 is for commercial use strictly, not only because it’s stronger and longer lasting, but also because it’s more expensive – highly expensive. These are guidelines you will want to follow in terms of durability for each specific room, but as mentioned, because you also want to make sure you aren’t spending more than you have to. Remember, these laminate floors allow you to have beauty and appeal as well as affordability.
Designs and Styles of Flooring
Laminate flooring not only comes in any photographic image you can print the flooring from, and it also comes in all sorts of textures, patterns, stains/colors, from gray to walnut to cherry, oak, black, white and everything else in between. You can also choose from different types of woods, such as handscraped, specialty wood and traditional wood. Glosses are also available; high, medium and low. If that wasn’t enough choices, you can also choose from the flooring plank sizes and thicknesses as well you also should visit North American Laminate Flooring Association at nalfa.com for buyers guide. Which is really nice because it allows you to match it up not only to your decorating style, but the style of your home. Thicker planks (wider) look better in a modern home, while thinner planks go really well in a traditional home.