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How is Laminate Flooring Made?

Laminate flooring is made of engineered materials made to look like wood. It has a surface made of plastic that makes it resistant to stains, scratches, and water. The construction of laminate flooring makes it durable and easy to maintain. So how is laminate flooring made?

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is made up of three separate layers of materials melded together to form a single, contiguous flooring and surfacing material. The outermost layer is called the shell, which is made of high impact plastic or fiberglass. The shell covers the inner layer and gives laminate flooring its durable and hygienic qualities. The inner layer is called the core, and it is made of hard fiberboard or a similar stiff material. This layer holds the flooring’s design and coloration. The last layer is called the backing, which can be made of paper or another coating of plastic or fiberglass laminate. This is the layer that makes contact with the concrete foundation of the floor.

Making laminates

The process of making laminate flooring begins with the synthesis of the laminating material. Old plastic products such as shampoo and drink bottles are used when the laminating material of choice is made of hard plastic. These plastic containers are melted down and recycled into laminating material. The melted laminating material should be allowed to cool first before being applied to the core layer. Individual plastic fibers are used when the laminating material of choice is fiberglass. The fibers are melted together to form a single sheet of material.

Making The core material

The core material is usually made of fiber or high impact hardboard. The hardboard is a paper derivative made from wood pulp. The wood pulp is macerated, pressed dry, and dyed. Once the dye has set, the sheets of wood pulp are pressed again and baked. The result is a stiff and naturally porous core material made of cellulose fibers.

Combining the laminate and the core

The laminate material is ready to be applied to the core material once it has become slightly stiff. Laminating the core involves running the core and the laminating material through a laminating machine. A laminating machine is made up of two heated metal rollers with a very small space in between them. It can apply a pressure of over 1,000 pounds per square inch and a temperature of over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the combination of laminate and core is passed through the rollers, the laminate melts slightly and melds to the core, resulting in a contiguous sheet of laminate material.

Cutting and finishing

Laminate flooring is precut and custom-sized to the floor area before it can be installed. The cutting of laminate material cannot be done manually. Computer-controlled saws are used to cut it into precise planks. These special machines make sure that very little of the laminate flooring material goes to waste. Once it has been cut into pieces, the laminate flooring is buffed and polished, ready to be installed.

 

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