image029Laminate flooring (also called floating wood tile) is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials.

Laminate flooring has grown significantly in popularity, perhaps because it may be easier to install and maintain than more traditional surfaces such as hardwood flooring.  It also has the advantages of costing less and requiring less skill to install than alternative flooring materials. It is reasonably durable, hygienic, and relatively easy to maintain.

Installation

Laminate floors are reasonably easy to install. Laminate flooring is packaged as a number of tongue and groove planks, which can be clicked into one another.  Installed laminate floors typically “float” over the sub-floor on top of a foam/film underlayment, which provides moisture- and sound-reducing properties. A small (1–10 millimetres (0.039–0.394 in)) gap is required between the flooring and any immovable object such as walls, this allows the flooring to expand without being obstructed. Baseboards (skirting boards) can be removed and then reinstalled after laying of the flooring is complete for a neater finish, or the baseboard can be left in place with the flooring butted into it, then trims such as quarter-round moulding can be fitted to the bottoms of the baseboards. Saw cuts on the planks are usually required at edges and around cupboard and door entrances, but professional installers typically use door jamb undercut saws to cut out a space to a height that allows the flooring to go under the door jamb & casing for a cleaner look.

Potential health effects

Laminate flooring is often made of melamine resin, a compound made with formaldehyde. The formaldehyde is more tightly bound in MF than it is in Urea-Formaldehyde, reducing emissions and potential health effects.

HomeCraft Remodel Supply only stocks Low Emission MF in all of its laminate products.

Benefits

There are many benefits to choosing a laminate floor over other types of flooring. Laminate flooring is quite versatile and durable. Due to laminate flooring being a printed strip of vinyl over a composite board many textures and styles of flooring can be replicated. Recently laminate floors have seen success in simulating stone and tile patterns as well as wood.

Cleaning laminate floors is easy and comparable to cleaning other hard surfaces such as hardwood floors. It is generally not recommended to mop laminate floors as this has been shown to cause damage by soaking into the composite portion which allows warping over time. Most manufacturers suggest using dry methods such as brooms to clean with occasional wet cleaning with more specialized mop-type products that do not leave excessive water on the flooring.

Installation is a large benefit of choosing laminate flooring. A generally handy person is well equipped to install laminate flooring as the locking and floating aspects of laminate floor are mostly self-explanatory. Also, due to the ease of installation, having professional flooring contractors install this type of floor is less expensive than other types of flooring such as tile or hardwood.