Laminate flooring.

Laminate flooring is one of the most resilient and durable floor surfaces available. A relatively recent invention, it has gained in popularity due to its ease of installation, low maintenance requirements, and long life. This material can also be printed to simulate a wide variety of natural flooring materials include hardwood planks, and slate and ceramic tiles.

What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate is a type of synthetic flooring that is made by fusing several layers of different material together using heat, pressure, and adhesive, in a process known as lamination. While laminates are often manufactured to replicate the look of a variety of hardwood surfaces, they actually contain no wood materials. Rather, they are constructed from resins and fiberboard particles.

Structure Of a Laminate Floor.
Top Wear Layer: The top layer of a laminate floor is known as the wear layer, an invisible surface that rests over the material, protecting it from scratches and other damage. This is generally made from an aluminum oxide chemical treatment.

Photograph Layer or Decorative Layer: This is the surface that gives the laminate its actual appearance. It is created when an image or pattern is printed on paper like materials that are embedded in resin.

The actual image can be almost anything, but typically laminate floors are manufactured to simulate the look of hardwood, cork, bamboo, natural stone, ceramic, or even brick pavers.

Fiberboard Core: This is the heart of the material and it provides the depth, structure, and stability of the actual surface covering.


It is generally comprised of wood chips or sawdust ground into a very fine powder, then coated with resin, and pressed into flat sheets.

Back Layer: Many laminates will have a moisture barrier back layer. This works with the water resistant wear layer on top to sandwich the fiberboard and picture layers of the laminate, creating a water tight seal around the core material. The back layer also provides additional stability for the installation.

Underlayment: Laminate flooring must be installed over underlayment. This is most often cork or foam rolls. An appropriate underlayment can also reduce the hollow noise that occurs when walking on some laminate floors.

 

Underlayment For Laminate Floors.

The underlayment is the thin, flexible sheet of resilient material that is installed on top of a subfloor in order to act as a base for the laminate sheets or tiles that you are installing. While the subfloor provides the foundational support for the room, the underlayment is the foundation for the floor and is intended to enhance and protect the flooring itself. It has several functions: it slightly levels the flooring; it cushions the laminate planks; it reduces sound transmission; it slightly improves the R-value of the floor. 

Proper selection and installation of underlayment is important because it can affect how your laminate flooring feels and how it wears over time. The type of underlayment chosen should be based on the environment that it is being installed in, the type of floor that has been purchased, and your own personal needs for space.

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© Luis Eduardo Zuniga-Duran