Laminate flooring has gained in popularity due to its ease of installation, low maintenance requirements, and long life. This material can also be printed to simulate a wide variety of natural flooring materials include hardwood planks, and slate and ceramic tiles.
Laminate is a type of synthetic flooring that is made by fusing several layers of different material together using heat, pressure, and adhesive, in a process known as lamination. While laminates are often manufactured to replicate the look of a variety of hardwood surfaces, they actually contain no wood materials. Rather, they are constructed from resins and fiberboard particles.
Laminate flooring is constructed in layers. The bottom layer is the "backing". It's designed to resist moisture that could cause boards to warp.
Above the backing is the inner core. The core is made from high-density fiberboard that is reinforced with a special resin to further enhance moisture resistance and increase durability.
Next is the image design layer. This is where the high-resolution image of wood, stone, metal, or other material appears.
The top layer is the wear layer. This layer protects the design from fading, scratches, and damage from everyday wear and tear.
There are many 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.
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.