Laminate is a durable, easy to install, and cost-effective floor covering that looks like hardwood or stone on the surface, but is actually not made from either of these two materials. Many people assume that it’s made of plastic, due to its appearance and affordability, but this is another common misconception.
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Laminate flooring actually constitutes 4 layers:
The wear or top layer
This is a protective layer made of aluminum oxide, which helps to prevent surface burns, fading, and stains and adds the final, lustrous touch on every laminate plank. This layer ensures the durability of your floor by sealing and protecting the surface from normal wear and accidents such as scratches, scuffs, and scrapes, and shielding the design layer from harmful UV radiation that can cause the image to fade over time.
Just beneath the top layer is the decorative-paper layer, which has a high-resolution printed image that makes the distinctive appearance of the laminate floor. The quality of the design is what gives laminate floors their realistic wood, stone, or marble appearance. They can be designed in a myriad of colors and patterns to give your room a custom look.
The next layer is a high-density, durable board that protects the laminate floor from moisture and indentations. The layer is made from softwood fibers that have been broken down and mixed with a resin and wax binder, and then molded into panels using heat and pressure.
This is the bottom layer, which balances the board and keeps it straight. The back layer also seals the bottom of the laminate board and protects it from moisture penetration. In some cases, the back layer is fitted with foam padding, which eliminates the need for an underlayment, and improves the acoustical properties of the floor as you walk/run on it.
Laminate Flooring for High Traffic Areas
The combination of these materials give laminate floors their characteristic high-performance durability, which makes them the ideal flooring material for high traffic areas, like the play room for families with small children and pets, since the motion can be sufficiently absorbed.