The components of laminate and engineered flooring are similar in a number of ways. Laminate flooring and engineered wood flooring also appear much alike to the untrained eye but are not the same product. In this article we discuss the components of laminate flooring.
Both laminate and engineered floors are available as floating floors. Most are tongue-and-groove planks that snap together. Both floors are made in a variety of widths, and an array of colors and wood-grain patterns.
The primary difference between the two is the wood grain and top surface. With laminate flooring the grain is printed paper and not hardwood. The usual top layer of laminate is melamine plastic. The resulting laminate flooring products are manufactured in thicknesses varying from approximately 6mm to 12mm. The thicker laminate floor products are more durable.
Components of Laminate Flooring the Anatomy
Melamine Wear Layer
The top layer is hard wearing thin film like layer which is specifically designed to resist
many forms of abrasion. It is typically made up of several coats of melamine with aluminum oxide giving it a durable and water resistant surface.
Decorative Paper Print Layer
The next layer from the top that gives the floor its appearance is a digital print layer. The design can range from that of a wood grain to the appearance of cork, stone, ceramic or whatever design the manufacturer chooses to print.
The thicker central layer is the core material. It is typically made with particle board, high-density fiberboard (HDF), or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). HDF is a step up from MDF and is much harder. The core is the structural element supporting the weight and stresses of foot traffic.
Backing Stabilizing Layer
The backing is the stabilizing layer as it provides stability and strength to the laminate board. The backing also helps to provide a moisture barrier from the bottom up. Laminate flooring is available in styles that have a cushion attached to the backing. Others are installed over a separate padding.
Tongue and Groove
For most laminate flooring that is manufactured today, the tongue an groove is designed to snap together.
During manufacturing the layered components of laminate flooring are pressed together by one of two methods”
DPL – Direct Pressure Laminate is the most typical fusing method used to manufacture residential laminate flooring. The surface, inner layers and backing layer are fused in a single press operation.
HPL – High Pressure Laminate the layers are glued together only after the decorative layer and wear layers are pressed onto an additional layer of high strength paper by means of high-pressure.
Once all the components of laminate flooring have been united you have an attractive product ready for installation.