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What is Wear Layer for Flooring?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I’m shopping for new laminate floors and I’m confused! What is wear layer for flooring? Is that something I need to be concerned with? Thanks!
– Veronica M.

Dear Veronica,

Congratulations on your new flooring project!

Laminate flooring is one of the strongest, most durable types of flooring on the market. That has a lot to do with the way it is manufactured and the wear layer.

Laminate floors are made up of four different sections. When they are manufactured, each of these four sections is pressed firmly together using pressure and heat. The end result is a type of flooring that is hard to damage and abuse.

Layer 1: The Wear Layer

The wear layer is the top layer. This is the protective layer that seals in the rest of the layers. Other types of flooring, such as hardwood floors, can be easily scratched from shoes and pet claws. The wear layer on laminate protects against this type of every day abuse making it look like new for years to come.

Layer 2: The Decorative Layer

The wear layer is clear to show the second layer underneath – the decorative layer. This layer is where the high-definition print of the type of flooring you want appears. If you want a floor that looks like a natural wood floor, the decorative print layer is where that is displayed. Because it is created with a high-definition printer, you can see all of the wood grains and natural knotting making it look like authentic hardwood.

Layer 3: The Fiberboard

The third layer is the largest layer. It is the fiberboard that includes the unique locking devices used for installation. This layer is made using wood fibers, waxes, and resins. The end result is a strong floor that is easy to install and easy to live with.

Layer 4: The Backing and/or Preattached Underlayment

The final layer is the backing paper. This is similar to the wear layer for the top, except it protects the floors underneath. Some laminate flooring planks have underlayment attached to this backing paper making it so that you do not have to install your own underlayment. Some do not. It is important to check before you buy your laminate so that you can be properly prepared for installation.

Knowing how your laminate flooring is made will help you during the decision making process. If you need any extra help, our flooring experts are always on hand to assist you. Feel free to reach out to one of us day or night using the chat form on this page!

About Bob and Betsy

Bob and Betsy
Bob and Betsy are the dynamic duo that have all the answers for your flooring related questions! Don't hesitate to submit a question to them at!

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