Amongst a large number of flooring products on the market, laminate holds a well deserved top spot. Laminate board is a reasonably new flooring material, but it is quickly gaining popularity among users and flooring experts. The first laminate floor was laid in Sweden in the mid 80s, and today it firmly holds 10% of the flooring market.
Thanks to it’s ease of use, along with consistent technological developments in its manufacturing processes, the decision to use laminate as the flooring product of choice is becoming a no-brainer. The ease of laminate installation comes from it’s click-in technology and the fact that the the boards don’t need to be connected to the subfloor. Because of that, there is no need for specialized tools or skills. The floorboards are assembled on the surface which ensures a tight connection and an even floor.
On average, laminate boards are 7 — 14mm thick, 190mm wide and 1820mm in length.
These dimensions may vary depending on the manufacturer and product type. The boards locking systems can also vary depending on the board design and installation method.
One of the biggest benefits of using laminate flooring is the wide variety of colours
and textures they offer. You can find a laminate board to suit any style or interior. Laminate boards can imitate almost any type of wood and can look and feel just like real parquetry. If you decided to use laminate flooring for your next renovation, here are a few tips to help you chose the right laminate for you.
The main variation between different laminates is their durability or resistance to daily wear. If you’re choosing laminate for a space with a large volume of foot traffic, for example an office, you need to choose laminate class 31-33. This laminate will guarantee the longevity of your flooring for a long period of time. On the contrary, when choosing laminate for a space like your bedroom, a lesser class laminate can be chosen for a cheaper cost. In any case, if a repair is ever required, the ease of installation and uninstallation of the laminate boards allows you to repair any damaged pieces with ease, any time.
Another thing worth considering is water resistance. The laminate boards themselves are water resistant, the only area which may let the water through are the connections between the boards where the joints are. If water happens to get through the joints, the flooring can suffer significant damage. It’s worth mentioning that if the connections are glued, this will provide an additional protection from water. Waterproof panels are significantly more expensive.
A common complaint about laminate flooring is the noise levels it can create. If you are after a quieter floor you need to think about installing a polyethylene underlay. This will prevent your floorboards from coming into contact with the concrete foundation, helping to eliminate any excessive noise.
Another thing worth paying attention to is the way the laminate boards are connected to one another.
There are two methods to connect laminate floor boards. The first being the locking system and the second is adhesive bonding. Where a locking system is used, the boards have locks and latches. The boards are connected on an angle by inserting the lock into the special groove and are assembled horizontally. Once the boards with this connection have been laid the only way to disconnect them is by disconnecting at the same angle that they were laid in. It is impossible to disconnect the boards when they are lying flat. The lock and groove connection can withstand heavy loads of up to 1200kg/m. sq.
Prior to the lock and groove method being developed, the boards were connected with a special glue. The benefit of using a glue is its ability to better protect the vulnerable ends of the board in wet environments, however this method has a few downsides. Over time, the glue could loose its adhesive properties, or become worn through daily use, creating cracks and holes. Due to it’s downsides, this method is rarely used and and thanks to new technology there are now many manufacturers who offer completely waterproof laminate with a locking system.
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