The Comeback of Laminate Flooring
Over the last few years, the comeback of laminate flooring has made laminate one of the most popular flooring options available on the market. At Atmosphere Flooring, we know that laminate floors are a great option for any room in the house. That is why we carry a wide selection of laminate flooring options to choose from.
In comparison to other flooring types, laminate is still relatively new to the market. It was invented in 1977 by a Swedish Company called Perstorp and sold under the brand name ‘Pergo’. It swept across Europe in 1984 and made its debut in North America in 1994. In 1997, the click system was invented and glue-less laminate flooring became all the rage. As the years advanced, so has laminate flooring. The last few years, especially, have seen huge strides with the invention of waterproof and water resistant laminate flooring.
Misconceptions About Laminate Flooring
Some common misconceptions about laminate flooring are that it isn’t durable, it looks cheap, it’s hard to take care of, and it’s expensive. While that might be true about some of the older, lower quality products we have seen over the years, it is generally not the case with most of today’s laminates.
How is Laminate Made?
To understand the integrity of laminate, its best to break it down into layers and see what it is made up of.
Backer Paper—This is the layer that keeps the board straight. It protects the core from moisture underneath and a lot of the newest products will have a foam pad attached to it.
Core—Made up of either MDF (medium-density fibreboard) or HDF (high-density fibreboard). Both of these are made from softwood fibres that are broken down, combined with wax and resin, and formed into panels using heat and pressure.
Decorative Paper—A layer of high-quality print paper. Usually in a wood pattern, but can also be stone or other artistic patterns.
Wear Layer—This seals and protects the floor from wear, scuffs, scrapes, and scratches. It also shields the decorative paper from UV lights that can fade the colour.
The laminates we see today are made of these quality layers fused together at high temperatures. There are two methods for fusing laminates:
Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL)
The most common method is Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL). DPL uses 300-500 PSI and creates a durability rating of AC 1 – 4 and a more realistic looking product.
High Pressure Laminate (HPL)
High Pressure Laminate (HPL) uses 1300+ PSI and creates a laminate with a durability of AC 5 – 6; however, the product will look a little less realistic and feel really hard.
What is an AC Rating?
The AC rating on your laminate lets you know how it will perform in your home. AC 5-6 are considered commercial grade products, whereas AC 3 or 4 are recommended as a good product for a retail house. Always be careful and ask the right questions when you are out shopping, some of the less reputable flooring manufacturers that don’t own their own factories overseas will sometimes sell an AC 1 or 2 and illegally call it an AC 3 or 4. The best way to make sure you are getting a quality product is to talk to a local flooring expert.
How Does Laminate Perform in Wet Areas?
Another big misconception about laminate flooring is that it doesn’t perform well in wet areas. In the past, this has been true, which is why we have seen such a boom in the market with vinyl plank. Given the particle board core that makes up laminate flooring, it will swell when exposed to water. This is why the last few years of advancements have been huge for the industry.
Today’s standard laminates will have a waxed edge. This prevents water from instantly reaching the core and causing swelling. Most laminates are now capable of being put in a kitchen with no negative side effects, as long as spills are cleaned up right away. There are also now waterproof and water-resistant laminates. These products are either made to have a seal along the locking system or are injected with a waterproof resin into the core upon production. A lot of these products come with a 72 hour standing water warranty, as well as other excellent pet accident warranties. These new products can go into bathrooms, laundry rooms, and entrance ways with ease, giving vinyl plank flooring a run for its money.
Laminate flooring has always looked and felt more like real hardwood than vinyl plank flooring. It is also incredibly more scratch resistant. Now that it is waterproof at a price point that is comparable or less than vinyl plank, laminate flooring is making a comeback! Come and speak with an Atmosphere Flooring expert today if you want to learn more about the different waterproof and water resistant laminates we have to offer.