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    Laminate Construction

     

    There are four basic layers in the construction of laminate flooring:

     

    BACKING LAYER – The backing layer is usually made of melamine, which stabilizes the floor and helps to resist moisture.

     

    THE CORE – The Core is made of highly compressed wood fibers. It is very hard and very dense. This layer is the most significant in determining the laminate’s durability.

     

    THE PATTERN LAYER – The Pattern layer is basically a high-quality photograph of the wood or tile the laminate is intended to replicate. Recent improvements in photographic technology have given the images used to make laminate a more and more realistic appearance. This allows you to have a wood look that would otherwise be extremely expensive or not suitable for flooring use at a very reasonable cost. However, because the same photograph is used for many planks, it is possible to have some planks of laminate with repeating patterns.

     

    THE WEAR LAYER - The Wear Layer usually consists of a melamine wearsurface with aluminum oxide. Aluminum Oxide is second only to diamonds in hardness so it provides unsurpassed wear and stain resistance. Obviously, the thickness of this wear layer contributes greatly to the performance of the laminate floor.

     

    These layers are sandwiched together and fused using high heat and intense pressure. The core of the product is typically measured in millimeters and is dependant on the grade of the product and the manufacturer. Laminate floors range in thickness from 6 millimeters to 12 millimeters. Generally, the thicker the laminate, the better the quality and durability, but also the higher the cost. In addition to being more durable, the better quality laminates are also the more realistic looking ones. Basically with laminate flooring (as with all types of flooring), you get what you pay for.

     

    The Locking System

    One of the most important things to consider when choosing a laminate floor is the locking system. There is a variety of locking systems used and some are definitely better than others.

     

    The cheapest laminate floors basically have a tongue-and-groove construction with not much of a locking system. The planks can easily separate making the floor not only aesthetically undesirable but also much more susceptible to water and other types of damage.

     

    The better laminate floors have a locking system which keeps the planks from separating. This is very important to consider when determining the durability and longevity of your laminate floor.