Laminate has become one of the most used flooring materials in the world. When we choose it to decorate the walls, floors and even ceilings of our apartment or country house, we rarely think about the history of its origin. And she is very interesting at least because it proves once again a simple truth: everything ingenious is simple.
What it is?
To understand what a laminate is and why it is so in demand in the modern market, you need to know the history of its origin, which is made up of interesting facts about the discovery, creation and improvement of this material..
There is a legend that the predecessor of laminate, a model of laminated parquet flooring, was accidentally subjected to unintended exploitation when an employee of the Swedish company Pergo placed a hot kettle on its film surface. He did not cause any damage to the film. Further, the new surface was tested for mechanical strength, trying to damage it with various improvised means – with a knife, a hammer. The results pleasantly surprised the management of the company, and they began to develop a new material for the floor..
It happened in 1977, since then the market for flooring and finishing materials has changed a lot thanks to the fact that it was firmly occupied by laminate, on the development of which several companies worked. The one we know was born Hornitex Werke Beeskow in 1987.
And the same Swedish company Pergo invented the first version of the laminate floor by squeezing the product under pressure. Faus, Alloc and Unilin (now Quick Step) were working at the same time to create improved versions of laminate flooring.
The main milestones of its production:
- He invented himself and his first technology from the Swedish specialists Pergo in 1977 – squeezing fiberboard under high pressure – HPL. Although the same coatings for kitchen countertops were invented even earlier – somewhere in the fifties, and already on their basis – the first laminate, after the famous story with a teapot on a laminated parquet board.
- The engineers of the German company Hornitex in 1987 finalized the Swedish model of the laminated board, almost as it has come down to us. At the same time, Pergo, not wanting to lag behind the Germans, replaced fiberboard with particleboard, improving the water-repellent properties of the material and its density. Particleboard of a higher density than fiberboard is excellent at absorbing resins and adhesives. Competition is the engine of progress.
- In 1989, the technology of direct pressing (or pressure) appeared – DPL (Direct Pressure Laminate), now it is the most popular, 90 percent of all laminate is made by this method.
- The 90s are characterized by the appearance of all kinds of decor options, for the first time a stone pattern appears.
- 1996 – the year of the breakthrough invention of the locking system for laying, which became the best for laying laminate flooring, invented at the moment, and since that time it has only been improved..
- Soundproofing was invented in 2000.
- 2001 went down in the history of laminate flooring thanks to the appearance of wood textures and imitation of tiles in the decor.
- 2006 changed the usual form of panels – square and elongated boards appeared.
- Since 2008, more and more new designs have appeared in different styles..
It remains to mention the latest production methods for this material – DPR – direct printing, CPL – continuous pressure method, HPL – high pressure and DPL – direct pressure, which has become a classic method. Particleboard, MDF and HDF are taken as a basis. Melamine-formaldehyde resins protect the decorative layer.
Such a number of technologies is explained by the great demand for this material, whose decorative and practical qualities have become the key to its widespread use in rooms of various types – from residential spaces to any objects with intensive traffic..
Fun fact: laminate flooring came to the United States in 1994 and has been used in Europe since 1984.. Since then, the whole world has been actively developing both its production and its application. Let’s go directly to the definition of what a laminate is, what are its properties, consider what it consists of and find out what it is.
Laminate can be called laminate flooring, which replaces expensive solid wood flooring and repeats the shape and decor of ceramic tiles, natural stone. It consists of a base – a high density of thin fibreboard or chipboard. Different layers of paper are gradually applied to them, and resins soak them. Further, the layers are glued together in one of the following ways, pressed under strong pressure with the participation of high temperature.
The layers that make up the laminated material:
- Overlay (the topmost layer) is a film of acrylic or melamine resin that protects the pattern from abrasion, loss of color, and the board itself from wear. The strength class and, accordingly, the area of application of the floor covering are determined by the quality of the overlay. The matt or glossy appearance of the panel depends on the additives added to the top layer.
- The layer of paper following the overlay is responsible for the decor of the panel – it can be any color, texture and relief, from wood to tiles, from an original bright colored board to a complex artistic pattern..
- A layer of fiberboard or chipboard. Its task is to provide rigidity to the product. The durability of the panel depends on the thickness of this layer (8-12 mm). The thicker it is, the more reliable the panel is..
- The last layer consists of resin-impregnated paper or plastic that protects the substrate. The purpose of this layer is to protect the slab from moisture and help preserve its shape at temperature extremes..
- Additionally, the manufacturer can add corundum to the top layer, which increases the strength of the panel, and an antistatic agent to repel dust..
As you can see, there is nothing complicated in the composition of the laminate, this figure shows it in section:
There are classes of durability and strength of the laminate floor. Classes 21, 22, 23 have been discontinued in Russia, but they can be imported from other countries if necessary. 31, 32, 33, 34 – belong to classes with high strength and reliability of floor coverings.
The higher the class, the better the material in all respects, the thickness of the slab also testifies to this.
The quality indicators of the laminate are as follows:
- Resistance to abrasion and surface discoloration (depends on the overlay, its composition and additives);
- The strength of the base, the readiness to keep the given shape (provides the composition of the base, chipboard – keeps its shape well and is not very permeable to moisture, HDF – has the highest density);
- Sound absorption level;
- Moisture and water resistance (determined by the class and depends on the type of lock, the quality of its impregnation, on the composition of the base and the stabilizing bottom layer);
- Refractory properties are equally high in all classes due to the composition of the overlay – melamine-based resins;
- The type of lock connections – Click or Lock – also refers to the quality indicators of the floor covering;
- Safety – the level of formaldehyde in the composition or the class of emission. It must be indicated on the package. Its E1 marking indicates a normal, safe content in the material (emission of toxic substances into the air – maximum 0.12 mg / 1m3), the European quality system is especially credible. Laminate with such markings can be safely chosen even in the nursery. E0 marking indicates the almost complete absence of formaldehyde in the composition of the panels, but such a floor is included in the highest price category..
Ask your dealer if the plant that makes the laminate they recommend to you belongs to the European Association of Manufacturers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF). This can guarantee the safety of its products and its compliance with the declared quality standards..
- 21, 22 and 23 – panels of these classes are intended for domestic use. They were produced with glue and lock type of fastening, but their thickness was small (6-7 mm) and the quality of the overlay was low, which led to a short, and therefore unprofitable, operation time of such a floor. Now, when this material began to be used not only for its intended purpose, but also as a finishing material – for walls and ceilings, along with flooring, the repairmen expressed regret that we did not have these classes on sale (they were light in weight). They could be glued to walls and ceilings (they do not walk on them), then the coating of these classes would serve for a long time, without being subjected to mechanical stress and strength test with water. Perhaps demand will give birth to supply again.
- Class 31 designed for public places with low traffic, as in the office of the head, for example. The service life for them is 3 years. In an apartment or house, it is suitable for a bedroom, a study, where it will serve for about 12 years..
- Class 32 intended for public places with average traffic, in such places the service life is 5 years. In a living room with a normal level of humidity (bathroom and kitchen are excluded) there will be a high-quality floor covering up to 15 years.
- Grade 33 fits into rooms with high traffic, there it will last 6-12 years, in an apartment – up to 20 years.
- Class 34 implies the maximum load and permeability, as in a gym, where it will stand for 10-15 years, for housing the indicator will be 25-30 years.
Classes currently have the following features:
- Class 32 has 7-12 mm thickness, embossed surface, various colors, good noise insulation properties, high mechanical and heat resistance.
- Class 33 has a thickness of 8-12 mm, the locks are reinforced and prevent moisture from entering, they are high-quality impregnated, the decor imitates any surface. Laminate of this class has high strength and moisture resistance. It can be applied in the bathroom.
- The 34th grade coating is the most durable, it has more protective layers. Equipped with sound-absorbing backing. Passage for this class – 1000 people / day.
There is also a so-called vinyl (flexible) laminate on the market – PVC tiles, its composition has nothing to do with a laminate based on fiberboard or chipboard. If we compare them, then the main criterion for comparison will be their composition: the laminate is based on wood, and the PVC tile is polyvinyl chloride. These are two different categories of flooring – both with a multi-layer, but completely different composition. Of course, if we assume that the laminate is a film-type coating, then the PVC tile is a laminate. They are united, but at the same time does not make them similar (because these are two different compositions and two different materials in the base) the locking system of fastenings, the need for leveling the floor and a decorative layer.
Until recently, the adhesive type of fastening was widespread, but it was supplanted by more progressive and perfect types of joints – locking, thanks to which now the entire coating can be disassembled without damaging, and reassembled in a different way or in a new place, which was impossible with the adhesive method of joints. The outdated method made it impossible for the owner to replace one panel or a small section without destroying the entire structure. The glue dried out over time and cracks formed, the type of coating deteriorated, its operational properties were violated.
For high-quality installation, convenient locking systems are now used, which turn it, if not into a pleasure, then at least into a business faster than the glue method in the recent past..
Locking systems Click (“Double locks”, or a snap-on type) and Lock (like a tongue-and-groove, or tongue-and-groove type) are two fundamentally different types of connections. The first system – Click – is considered the best, so large stores sell 85% of the laminate floor with this type of lock. But the priority of this system, according to installation experts, is greatly exaggerated. Click-system of collapsible type, it provides reliable fastening.
Lock system has its advantages: the floor covering with it is cheaper while maintaining the same level of quality of adhesion of the planks and their laying. Another advantage of the Lock system compared to the Click system is that it will stretch little over time and will facilitate re-assembly if required. The Click-adhesion will remain rigid if the density of the board is at least 750 kg / m3, while the chipboard base, which can be used in panels with Click-lock, has a lower density. In addition to this factor, there is another one that speaks not in favor of the expensive Click-connection – plastic inserts in improved systems of 33-34 classes of laminate interfere, and if you need to reassemble the floor, they have to be removed during the next assembly, resorting to gel sealing.
Professionals note: in order to efficiently assemble the floor, the height difference cannot be more than 2 mm for any version of the lock. Do not trust those who promise that the Click-system will cope with a drop of 4 mm, the surface must still be perfectly leveled..
On the basis of these locks, improved fastening options have been created:
- Loc-Tec System – Witex company (high load on the coating with such a lock, long service life of the floor);
- T-Lock – Tarkett company (convenient tilt angle for fast and comfortable styling);
- Uniclic – Quick-Step corporation (for a complex perimeter, locks on four sides and a minimum angle of inclination simplify the work process as much as possible, you can either snap or knock the planks);
- PressXpress – Balterio company (a plastic “tongue” has been added to the click-system with aluminum joints. The entire PressXpress system makes the joints extremely durable and refers to 3G, 4G or 5G locks);
- Aluminum Locking System – Berry Alloc company (4G and 5G-S locking system, an amazing model that combines the excellent qualities of the two main types of Click and Lock locks – the “tongue-and-groove” is made of metal, there is an aluminum profile and a stiffener on both sides, the system is light by weight, but very durable, the manufacturer claims that three-fold assembly of the coating is possible).
The following can be said about modern types of laminate fasteners: each of the systems is good in its own way, and how smoothly, without creaks and gaps the floor will be laid, depends to a greater extent not on the type of lock, but on the professionalism of the installers, their exact adherence to the instructions for laying and from the conformity of the board to its characteristics.
Modern innovations and design
Laminate, used as a finishing material for walls and ceilings, has ceased to be a curiosity for several years. Consumers liked this versatile material so much that they are already finishing them everything that they have enough imagination and courage for: laminate flooring will surprise no one, but laminate finishing of the balcony and walls in the bedroom and bathroom in our country is only gaining momentum.
Laminate is combined with different surfaces and interior details – stone, brick, plastic. Here you can see its interesting combination with stone, antique furniture, wood and modern artistic creation..
It is selected for the appropriate style of the room – classic, provence, vintage, art deco, for furniture – old, extravagant, eco-friendly or modern. The texture, shades, patterns and decor of this material are so diverse that you can choose them for everything you need, right down to accessories. Arrange for an antique clock a decent background – a worn patinated board on the wall, and vice versa, with a modern design of the panel, set off antiques. Country music is suitable for a country house, there is a lot of natural wood in it. The effect of the aged board will emphasize the modest grace of Provence.
Decorating the loggia with laminate is very relevant, especially if the owner spends a lot of time there, arranging a study or a personal rest area there. It is not necessary to resort to expensive natural materials like solid wood or stone for this (wood will also require additional fire safety measures). These and other natural materials have been perfectly imitating laminate flooring for a long time, and its properties exclude their disadvantages..
When choosing a laminate floor, it is worth considering such additional characteristics as noise-absorbing properties, thermal conductivity (the lower, the better the coating will conduct heat), moisture-resistant qualities, the possibility of laying on a “warm floor”, antistatic properties, and indicators of the material’s allergenicity. All this is marked on the packaging by the manufacturing firms. It is also necessary to know the weight of the purchased floor, which is especially important for houses with old floors..
- System Sound Absorb System will tell you that we have a “quiet floor” – 50% dispersion of noise from the sound of footsteps.
- System Antistatic will protect from dust accumulation, attraction, this option becomes possible due to the presence of graphite in the overlay. But antistatic laminate surface treatments will be a less costly solution..
- Aqua Stop protects from moisture, but not from leaks, if the water on the floor is more than 3-4 hours.
If you have a cold floor in your house and you plan to install a heating system, make sure that the laminate you are going to purchase can be mounted on this system (there are different systems – “warm water floor”, “infrared floor”, electric).
The shape and size of the panels, the class of the laminate (thickness and level of wear resistance) affect its weight. The manufacturer indicates the indicator for 1 m2 of coverage on the package. So you can calculate how many packages you need, based on the area of the room for which the material is purchased, and how much, therefore, they will weigh.
If you need to cover 20 square meters with a laminated floor, and one package weighs 15 kg and contains 2 m2, then you only need 10 packages and your floor will weigh 150 kg. Of course, you need to take with a margin of 10-15 percent for rejection, because then you may not find this particular laminate or spend it looking for time and energy, which are already lacking due to repairs. After the final calculations, you will determine the exact weight of your flooring.
This will calculate the weight of the selected material and the load on your floors. And in this example, we will figure out how to calculate the number of packages you need from a specific manufacturer for the area prepared for covering (let’s take the same 20 m2 for absolutely nothing). To do this, we present the dimensions of the boards and their number in the packaging of two well-known companies: Bode from the Lamini collection and BerryAlloc from the Grandioso collection. The length and width of the board in cm of the first company – 80.8 * 13.0, the number of boards in the package – 15 pcs. The same for the second company – 203.3 * 20.9 cm, boards in a package – 5 pcs..
Simple arithmetic: 80.8 * 13.0 cm = 1050.4 cm2 / 10000 cm2 (to get S of one board in m2) = 0.10504 m2 * 15 (number of boards in a package) = 1.5756 m2 – S of laminate in one package. Finally, our 20 m2 / 1.5756 = 12.69 packs and * 1.15% allowance (15% stock for rejection) = 13.84 packs we need to cover 20 meters. That is, we will need 14 packs of the Bode collection of the Lamini collection..
Now let’s do the same with the dimensions and number of boards from the second company – BerryAlloc from the Grandioso collection:
203.3 * 20.9 = 4248.97 / 10000 = 0.424897 * 5 = 2.124485.
20 m2 / 2.124485 = 9.414 * 1.15% = 10.82, that is, in this case we need 11 packages.
The listed additional properties of the laminate do not affect its wear resistance, in contrast to the density of the panel base and the quality of the overlay, but provide a high level of comfort of its use..
The sizes of this flooring can be common and non-standard. The parameters are determined by the manufacturer.
An example of common plank sizes:
- With a minimum thickness of 6 mm, length – 30 cm, width – 9 cm;
- The most common with a thickness of 8 mm, length – 126-138 cm, width – 18.5-19.5 cm;
- Maximum with a thickness of 12 mm, length – 184.5 cm, width – 33 cm.
The weight and dimensions of the package depend on the dimensions of the laminated panel. Thick laminate flooring is more convenient to assemble, so choose a thickness of 8 mm or more. A board of 32 class with a thickness of 8 mm has low thermal conductivity, the floor will be warmer with it. There are long two-meter boards, you should not lay them yourself, only professionals can handle this. Short narrow boards can be laid in a small room, and for a large area it is better to choose wide and long ones..
The width of the plank creates the desired decorative effect. Boards from 18 to 20 cm wide convey the texture of wood more naturally, and to depict a tile, you need a board 33 cm wide.
These products provide protection and maintenance for your flooring. It is difficult to lay laminate flooring all over the house. It is easier to mount it in each room separately, connecting all parts of the laid covering with sills, which are a kind of accessories for flooring.
Tasks performed by the nut:
- Protects the joints of laminated panels from moisture and debris;
- Can hide irregularities in their installation;
- Binds two different types of material (tiles and carpet, for example), hiding their joints;
- Aesthetically completes the installation so that the decorative transition is smooth, consistent;
- Decorates the inner corner of the steps from the laminate – the riser and the outer corner of the step;
- Combines multi-level coating surfaces and flat arched surfaces from different materials (tiles, laminate).
You can fix the sills in an external and hidden way. The first method is easier to install and more reliable in operation. The second is more difficult, but the floor with such a threshold looks more harmonious, since the color and decor matched to the coating match the aesthetic parameters of your laminate, and the type of self-tapping screw can violate them.
The classic sills, which are designed for the design of steps from a laminated coating, its inner and outer corners, have a heavy load, so they should be made, at least, of aluminum – a lightweight and durable metal that is easy to install. Brass and steel rails are rare, straightforward and designed for maximum load. Features of brass – resistance to reagents, but not to mechanical damage to the surface of metal objects (heels).
A small height difference (up to 1 cm) involves the use of edging sills. It is a strip of aluminum, covered with the desired decor with a rubber interlayer inside. The rubber layer compensates for this slight difference in height.
The joints of the laminate, mounted in different rooms, are closed by another type of sill – lining on the plane. A curved sill is designed for a surface of the same level with different materials joined in an arc-like manner; it is made of cork or plastic. Its installation is very difficult, it is better to entrust it to a specialist. If the decorative top layer of the nut is worn out, you can replace this layer, and the nut will remain in place..
Wood and plastic are fragile materials for the nut, it is best to avoid them.
Aluminum laths are painted in several ways:
- Anodized (galvanic bath), getting the color of precious metals – gold, silver, bronze;
- They are painted with powder enamel – they get a variety of metallic shades;
- Decorated with wood and stone with a textured effect – cherry and cork, marble and granite – an incomplete list of surface decors obtained;
- Laminated – the film surface is available in the colors of maple, alder, oak and beech.
There is another type of flooring accessories – these are sealants and wax grouts..
Lack of proper care and improper use of a quality floor can lead to its loss of aesthetic and practical properties. These special care products will help you regain its former glory..
The seams of the laminate must be tightly closed, the planks are firmly adhered, but sometimes they diverge for various reasons: poor installation, careless use of the floor. In this case, a joint compound – a sealant – will come to the rescue. Of course, if the installation is done according to all the rules, you are unlikely to need it soon, but if the seams have already parted, they urgently need to be repaired.
Sealants are used even at the stage of laying, applied to the ends of the boards. They can be coated or purchased separately. Sealants protect panel locks and panels themselves from moisture, prevent dust and debris from entering joints and seams.
Silicone sealants have a number of properties for which the consumer appreciates them:
- Effectively protect from moisture;
- There are different colors (there are transparent ones) so that you can match the color of the coating;
- They have a large temperature range of application;
- They have strength and elasticity;
- They retain their physical and chemical qualities for a long time.
The sealant will extend the life of your floor, but it is not used to maintain your laminate flooring. For this, there is a wax that will help eliminate mechanical defects..
With wax grout, you can restore the coating and its small areas, you can close up the seams that have come apart. Wax grout solves problems similar to the sealant (but does not replace it, but only supplements or compensates for its absence): creaking of boards, care of the coating, strength of the lock, protection from moisture and increasing wear resistance.
Types and color
Types of laminate flooring are of great interest in terms of their choice for quality and aesthetic parameters. Previously, the laminate was of two types – glue and lock, but as already mentioned, now there is only one – the best of them, with a lock.
The laminate is also divided by thickness. A board with a thickness of 8-12 mm is more expensive, but this is a profitable investment: it is stronger, easier to install, the locks are stronger and more reliable. This one will last longer.
By the presence of additives in the overlay, the laminate floor is distinguished by the type of surface – it can be smooth, smooth with gloss, matte and textured. Beveled laminate flooring stands alone.
Smooth has a flat surface. Smooth with a gloss is very slippery, although the manufacturers promise that it can be used in rooms with high humidity, if anti-slip components are added to it (there is information on this on the packaging). In addition, it gets dirty quickly and is difficult to clean. But if you decorate a wall with them, all these troubles will pass you by.
Beveled laminate is an improved finish that has beveled edges or a fillet at the edge. Such a covering in the living room will look very presentable. The chamfer also has a practical function (besides improving the external properties of the floor): it can mask the places where water got into and managed to damage the panels if it was minor damage.
A beveled waterproof laminate is generally irreplaceable. The most important practical qualities are added to its unconditional external merits. It will not be destroyed by moisture, only many hours of contact with water (5-6 hours) is destructive, it looks luxurious and natural.
Laminate has become such a frequently used floor covering that it topped the list, leaving behind expensive materials – parquet, natural stone, solid wood flooring. And this is absolutely deserved – its quality characteristics and all kinds of decor, combined with a price affordable for most consumers, made it the leader in flooring sales. It began to be used as a finishing material for walls and ceilings in apartments and houses, in commercial premises and public places (cinemas, television studios). This is not just a “piece of bread”, but a “black caviar sandwich” for designers whose boundless imagination creates new interiors with the participation of this material..
Its coating imitates not only wood – cherry, alder, beech, rosewood, birch, walnut, ash, maple, pine, chestnut, larch, bamboo, oak, teak. It can be a stone (marble), tile, metal (for high-tech style, in particular). The number of colors cannot be counted – from simple light and dark browns, beige and smoky, – natural, to colored – blue, red, green, yellow, multi-colored. You can’t remember the name of the colors – white pear, wenge, dark and bleached oak, Milanese walnut, wild cherry, white coconut – just a few examples..
In the living room and in the kitchen, in the nursery and in the bathroom, in the bedroom and in the study, this type of flooring and finishing material can be used everywhere. You can decorate and solve practical issues with it. To do this, he has everything – from the necessary qualities to a variety of colors, patterns, patterns, textures, colors.
Useful little things
For the laminate floor, there are such useful items for covering it as rugs: in the hallway at the very doorstep, large or small, even classic carpets are suitable for a slippery glossy surface. No one will forbid us to lay our favorite carpet on the most chic floor, no fashion for the absence of this interior detail.
But if this choice is a matter of taste, then the presence of a small rug for parquet and laminate at the entrance to the bedroom, its presence in the hallway, living room is practically important. It will play the role of a safety element on a slippery glossy surface or protect any type of coating from mechanical damage with heels, if, of course, their owner prefers to leave her shoes at the entrance.
Protect the coating and rubber wheels on tables or a computer chair. For scratches, there is such a handy thing as a repair pencil. Gasoline, alcohol and acetone will help remove stains.
Balterio laminate – one of the best, it is bought in Russia and Europe. The newest technologies, patented by this manufacturer, increase the wear-resistant qualities of the coating and increase its service life. There are models with a non-slip coating and increased moisture resistance. Little things like a large assortment, stain resistance and heat resistance can be forgotten. To its merits can be added a lower price, the presence of the necessary accessories, a serious quality check..
Customer reviews for such a floor are positive (its excellent qualities cannot cost little), they can be dissatisfied, mainly, with the price.
Egger manufactures floor coverings, furniture and building materials. Exceptionally positive reviews for the laminate of this company indicate how important experience is in any business – Egger has been producing its products for over fifty years..
Swiss Floor – a brand from Switzerland that guarantees quality.
Along with these companies, you need to put a few more:
- Tarkett / Sinteros;
Consumers around the world have their own quality rating, it varies in countries with different income levels. The higher this level, the more difficult it is to please the buyer, which affects the competitiveness of enterprises that provide high quality products in these countries..
Reviews of Belarusian, Russian and Chinese manufacturers are generally positive. Consumers note such shortcomings as an unreasonably high price, occasional boards with imprecise geometry and poor-quality locks in individual packages (quality control suffers). But the overwhelming majority notes the large selection of collections, decors and the consistency of the pricing policy of these manufacturers..
Oddly enough, Chinese companies are currently producing fairly high-quality products, the production of which is controlled by European brands..
How to choose the right one: advice from a professional
The experts gave us valuable advice on laminate flooring, its types, the choice of the laminate floor class, advice on caring for it. The diagonal laying method visually expands the room. Wall mounting with herringbone, horizontal or vertical stripes of bright or muted color panels creates the desired effect, depending on the task:
- emphasize the contrast of the laminate with the color of the walls;
- make bright laminate inserts;
- narrow a wall that is too wide and make the room more comfortable;
- widen a narrow opening with horizontal laying.
If you need to save on installation work, you can do it yourself. To do this, you need to accurately calculate the amount of material, make markings and strictly follow the installation instructions. The markings on the packaging will tell us about all the main important characteristics of the flooring..
Caring for the laminate is not difficult, you just need to follow the rules for its operation and take care of the coating with the help of suitable means: wipe it, do not flood it with water, resort to sealants and wax if necessary, remove stains immediately so that you do not have to wipe them off later acetone, do not scratch with heavy furniture, when moving it, use rubber or fabric pads.
Following these simple rules, you can admire the beautiful surface of your floor covering for a long time..
The underlayment under the laminate will increase its service life, protect it from the resonance of steps, thereby saving you and your neighbors’ nerves. Polyurethane varnish will also prolong the life of this floor. When choosing the class and thickness of the laminate floor for an apartment, house, one must take into account its wear resistance and durability. You cannot choose the 31st class in the living room, where a large number of people constantly gather, children and animals frolic, and expect that it will last as long as the wear-resistant 32nd or 33rd with special abrasion resistance. Or lay in the kitchen a laminate that does not have moisture-resistant characteristics and hope that it will “carry” and it will not swell up in the near future. Classes must match the premises.
Owners of country houses need to know that this coating will deteriorate in an unheated room. The owners of summer cottages standing without heating in winter should not choose it either. A warm balcony and loggia can be finished with laminate.
It is necessary to maintain the optimal air temperature in a room with a laminated floor and the level of humidity – this is useful not only for humans, but also for the flooring. The normal temperature is 16 to 30 degrees, and the humidity level is 50-80%. If your indicators do not reach, it is advisable to resort to humidifiers, air conditioners, not forgetting to clean the filters of the latter in time. But it is strictly forbidden to use steam cleaners for laminate flooring, since there is a possibility of its delamination..
The styling experts recommend: the laminate must stay at the installation site for at least two days to adapt to its temperature and humidity. It is necessary to take into account the level of complexity of the care of the laminate before choosing it. Light, glossy and lacquered – the most difficult to maintain, they show everything – from stains to streaks from washing. Weigh your strengths and capabilities before choosing such surfaces. If you opted for a lacquered laminate (for artistic parquet, for example), take class 33 with a high-quality protective varnish on the surface. A beautiful artistic laminate is better than natural parquet due to its affordability, richness of colors and patterns, ease of installation.
Floor maintenance involves the use of special products such as wax and sealants, but there is no need to use them all the time. You need to resort to them only when minor repairs are required or the seams disperse. The wax should be applied in a thin layer several times, always allowing the previous layer to dry. And when the wax dries after repairing the chip, it must be polished with a dry cloth..
If taking care of difficult surfaces (especially in the kitchen and dining area) is not for you, you can choose a cork laminate (there will be dents due to the soft surface, but it is warm), modular marmoleum (marmoleum laminate) or HDF parquet board … Varnish, wax or oil cover the natural veneer layer of these materials, which are waterproof and easy to maintain and restore..
Professionals advise more expensive (than board) square laminate in the form of tiles to discerning buyers looking for intricate patterns, but remind of the difficulties of repairing it.
Advantages and disadvantages
The following qualities will be the indisputable advantages of the laminate as a floor covering:
- A huge assortment of colors, decors and textures, unusual and classic – an alternative to “board-like”, bright and imitating natural materials;
- Possibility of laying special models on the “warm floor”;
- Multiple assembly;
- Water resistance of some classes, the ability to use in bathrooms and kitchens;
- Strength, wear resistance, impact resistance and long service life of especially high quality materials of famous European brands;
- Heat resistance;
- UV resistant;
- Long warranty period;
- Possibility of quick, uncomplicated installation, which even a technically unprepared person can handle;
- The uniqueness of the material as a type of finishing for all surfaces of the room anywhere – from a private designer dwelling to a public place.
The disadvantage is only a few properties:
- It’s tactilely cold stuff;
- Noisy without a special backing, which does not save on;
- High requirements for the surface on which it is to be mounted – it must be perfectly aligned;
- Fear of a flood and high humidity – not all classes even have moisture resistance, not to mention water resistance, but, on the other hand, panels in the worst case scenario will swell and can be replaced, but they will not acquire fungus or mold, like natural wood. because they contain polymer impregnations that prevent them from deteriorating;
- Laminate flooring is short-lived compared to natural wood. But a person who does not know what a solid wood floor is and does not understand how difficult it is to preserve its geometry and laboriously restore it will say so..
Let’s end on this wonderful note in honor of laminate flooring by wishing everyone who wants to replace their flooring to have the opportunity to purchase a quality laminate floor..
For information on how to choose the right laminate flooring, see the next video..