Laminate flooring is type of
flooringmade of a laminatematerial. Laminate flooring is made to look like natural products such as wood flooringor natural stone, yet is made up of either synthetic materials (usually melamine resin) or of synthetic materials combined with natural and recycled ingredients and covered with an attached decorative appliqueincluding an aluminum oxide finish.
Laminate flooring has a dense inner core and a glued-on layer or fused layers of outer material. Many types of laminate flooring simulate wood, but some look like marble or granite. A popular alternative to other hard surface products, high-quality laminate flooring resists staining, wear, and fading much better than wood and natural stone while providing unique looks and appeal. It is durable (about 20 times stronger than a kitchen countertop [cite news | title=History of Laminate Flooring | publisher=
NALFA| url=http://www.nalfa.com/laminateHistory.php] ) and is water-resistant, offering use in bathrooms and kitchens in addition to high traffic areas. Unlike most hardwoods, laminates are quite dent-resistant.
Cost and installation
Laminate floors are usually much less expensive than wood or natural stone flooring material, and are a reasonable solution for a do-it-yourself homeowner to install. Laminate flooring possesses a monolithic function once each plank or tile is clicked into one another, without the use of glue, staples, nails, or cementitious compounds. Installed laminate floors typically "float" over the sub-floor on top of a foam/film underlayment, which is meant to provide moisture and sound-reducing properties.
Laminate floors are considered to be very low-maintenance when compared to wood floors. Unlike natural wood, laminate floors do not require waxing, oiling or staining. It is important to keep laminate clean, as dust, dirt and sand particles may scratch the decorative surface over time in high-traffic areas. It is also important to keep laminate relatively dry, since sitting water/moisture can cause the planks to swell, warp, etc. (though some brands are equipped with water-resistant coatings); water spills aren't a problem if they're wiped up quickly (and not allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time) [http://interiordec.about.com/od/laminatebasic1/a/laminatefloorsF.htm]
Adhesive felt pads are often placed on the feet of furniture on laminate floors to prevent scratching.
Glueless laminate floors may gradually become separated, creating visible gaps between planks. It is important to "tap" the planks back together using the appropriate tool as you notice the gaps, otherwise dirt will fill the gaps making it difficult to close them later.
Potential health effects
Laminate flooring is often made of
melamine resin, a compound made with formaldehyde. There has been increasing concern about indoor air qualityfrom releases of volatile organic compoundsfrom building materials made with formaldehyde. However, resin materials are believed to have significantly lower emissions than particle boardand other materials where formaldehyde is used as a binder. [ [http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/ab1173/rpt0705-c-es.pdf Indoor Air Pollution in California] , California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, July 2005]
Laminate flooring was invented in 1977 by the Swedish company "
Pergo". The company first marketed its product to Europe in 1984, and later to the United States in 1994. Pergo is the most widely known laminate flooring manufacturer, but the trademark PERGO is not synonymous for all laminate floors.
* [http://laminateflooring.gig8.com/ Laminate Flooring Forum]
* [http://www.nalfa.com/ Laminate Flooring Association]
* [http://howtoinstalllaminateflooring.net How to Install Laminate Flooring]
* [http://www.nalfa.com/laminateHistory.php History of Laminate Flooring]
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