Laminate flooring is a heavy version of plastic counter surfaces (i.e., Formica counter tops). Laminate flooring is solid and strong. Oftentimes, laminate flooring can be installed over existing flooring. Laminate flooring is scratch- and impact-resistant. It cannot be refinished; damaged areas must be repaired or replaced.
Laminate flooring is a tongue-and-groove flooring which is attached at the tongue only. It is installed over a thin foam underlagment. The product is made to expand and contract and is not fastened to the underlagment. The flooring virtually floats.
Laminate flooring can be installed over wood subfloors, concrete subfloor, and over existing flooring. It can be installed in virtually every room of the house, including stairs, bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. An excellent choice for high-traffic, low maintenance considerations. Laminate flooring is also considered a good selection for allergy sufferers.
Laminate flooring differs in more than just color and size. There are two distinct construction methods. With high-pressure lamination, the bottom and top layers are each heated and pressurized into laminate structures. These layers are then fused to the core with glue under heat and pressure. With direct-pressure construction, the layers are assembled all at once, then filled with hardening melamine resins using heat and pressure. High-pressure types are more impact- and dent-resistant. Direct-pressure laminates are more economical and offer very good quality overall.
All laminate flooring is made essentially the same way. The top wear layer is cellulose paper impregnated with clear melamine resins. Just below it is the design layer – a photo or pattern printed on paper and strengthened with resins. The core is usually a durable fiberboard. The bottom stabilizing layer is made of paper or melamine. Individual laminate pieces can look like real wood or stone. There will be pattern repeats in the floor, though; something you won’t find in a flooring made from natural wood or stone.