Today, laminate flooring is a practical flooring solution for almost any room in the house as well as your business. But what is laminate flooring made of? We get this question every single day.
Generally speaking, laminate flooring is a wood based product made by fusing together a few basic layers and sealing them together. Laminate flooring is made by fusing all the layers together using extremely high pressure, as well as very high temperatures – creating Direct-Pressure Laminate (DPL) or High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) flooring. Pre-attached underlayment is sometimes attached to the planks after they are produced.
The Layers that Make Up Laminate Flooring
A. Wear Layer: The top decorative layer is coated with a wear layer, an aluminum oxide coating, which protects the floor and gives it shine, scratch and UV protection.
B. Decorative Layer: A melamine impregnated decorative sheet is placed on top of the core layer with a detailed photo image of a natural wood, stone, or tile look. Each laminate has a custom photo finish, therefore creating endless style and design possibilities when it comes to recreating natural flooring characteristics.
C. Core Layer: The core lies on top of the balancing layer and is the central part of the laminate board. It provides stability to the planks by supporting the weight and stress of daily use. The core layer is usually made out of high-density fiberboard (HDF), however you may find laminates on the market made out of medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
New generation manufacturers like Quick-Step and Alloc produce the majority of their laminates out of consumer recycled wood fibers and chips from sustainable sources – waste that would otherwise be burned or dumped in a landfill. The wood fibers, in the form of pulp, are pressurized during the production process creating fiberboard – the core element of the laminate flooring.
Moisture resistant HDF boards are made by pressing together wood fibers and synthetic resins creating a superior core providing users with increased moisture and impact resistance. However, keep in mind this does not make the laminate waterproof. It only makes it more resistant to the effects of moisture.
D. Balancing Layer: The bottom layer is a balancing layer, sometimes called stabilizing layer that provides steadiness and support to laminate flooring board. This layer is embedded with a melamine resin which creates a moisture resistant under layer.
E. Build-In Underlayment (optional) – Premium underlayment foam is sometimes pre-attached to the balancing layer. The manufacturer decides which is the best underlayment for the laminate flooring they produced and pairs the two together. Having underlayment already attached eliminates the need to purchase extra underlayment and makes installation that much quicker. While you shouldn’t use extra foam or felt underlayment, if you are installing on a concrete subfloor you should consider purchasing a vapor barrier, such as Visqueen Vapor Barrier, to protect your floor against excess moisture.
To see a demonstration, watch how Kronoswiss makes their laminate flooring in the video below: