What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring can look like wood or ceramic tile, but it is actually a core made of fiberboard with a surface of paper photographs of actual wood grains or tile that is bonded to the core by different degrees of pressure. It is made to withstand everyday use better than wood floors, but some laminate flooring will not hold up under the weight of heavy furniture. In this case, you need to look for laminate with an aluminum locking system. Laminate flooring is becoming the flooring of choice for many hospitals and restaurants, not only because of its durability, but also because it is much more cost effective than wood.
Types of Laminate Flooring
Direct-pressure laminate has three layers, and it is the one sold most in the United States, even though it is not the strongest because it performs well under normal traffic. High-pressure laminate has five layers, making it stronger and much more able to stand up to rough traffic. It will last longer and still look like new. Direct-pressure laminate may become scratched or dented at some time, but the dents and scratches can easily be fixed with repair kits especially made for laminate.
Features to Look For
One way to determine the strength of laminate flooring is to look at the material the core is made of. It is more important than the thickness. High-pressure laminate actually has a thinner core than direct-pressure laminate, yet it is stronger. Look for laminate that has high density fiberboard as a core. Additionally, make sure the laminate is water repellent, not just water resistant. One thing to note is that even if it is water resistant, laminate is not a good choice for kitchens or bathrooms.
Another good way to determine how the laminate would stand up to normal everyday wear is to take a close look at the guarantee. Does it cover all of the things that could happen, including water damage, and how long does the guarantee last? Also make sure the brand has a seal of approval from the North American Laminate Flooring Association.