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Types of Laminate Flooring

There are many types of laminate flooring which vary depending on the way in which it is processed, or the intended method of installation. Lamination is actually the procedure the flooring material undergoes and does not refer to a type of flooring material.

What is lamination?

Lamination is a process by which hard plastic or fiberglass is applied to a core material. This is done under intense heat and pressure. There are two types of lamination: high pressure lamination and direct pressure lamination.

High pressure lamination involves subjecting the entire core material to heated laminate. As the core material passes through the laminating machine, laminate is applied to it using more than 1,000 pounds per square inch of pressure at over 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This results in a flooring material that is scratch- and dent-resistant. Laminate flooring that uses high pressure lamination is thinner and more expensive than a direct pressure lamination.

Direct pressure laminates are created a section at a time under significantly lower pressures and temperatures. Both the core and the laminate are subjected to about 300 pounds per square inch of pressure at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Laminate flooring that uses direct pressure lamination is cheaper, but it is less resistant to scratches and dents. Its laminate shells also tend to peel away sooner.

Core materials

The core material is the part that undergoes the lamination process. Almost any kind of flat surface can be laminated for flooring material. Wood is a popular core material for lamination. It is organic, porous, and valued for its sheen and warm tone. However, it is vulnerable to mold and mildew infestation. Maintaining wood flooring can be difficult, but laminating the wood slats can keep them intact and make them easier to maintain.

The fiberboard is also a popular core material. It is synthetic and less prone to rotting than wood. However, the fiberboard is still porous, so attempting to scrub or mop it can only ruin it. Applying a laminate layer over it can protect it, give it added durability, and make it easier to maintain.

Installation procedures

There are two types of laminate flooring according to how they are installed: glued laminate flooring and floating glue-free laminate flooring. Glued laminate flooring is made up of slats glued together side by side and laid onto the concrete floor. This installation process adheres the slats to each other but not directly to the floor. Once all the slats have been laid on the floor, a rubberized sealant is applied along the seams of the flooring to prevent moisture from seeping into it.



Floating laminate flooring is installed like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each piece is fitted and locked against each other. Once they are installed, the laminate slats can be very difficult to take apart.

 

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