What Is Laminate Flooring Made Of: Flooring Expert Explains

Laminate flooring offers a modern flooring solution to your home or office. It is versatile, durable, and affordable. But what is it made of?

Laminate flooring is a surface layer composed of organic and synthetic materials. The flooring can take the appearance of tile and stone.

What is laminate flooring made of? Laminate is a multi-layer fabricated flooring product that has a core that is made from high density fiberboard. High density fiberboard is made from wood waste and wood chips that are glued and compressed together.

According to James Green, a flooring expert and author, laminate flooring is hygienic. The flooring contains antimicrobial resin giving it antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Laminate vs Vinyl flooring

Both laminate and vinyl flooring have a layer of realistic, three-dimensional embossing. The design mimics the appearance of natural hardwood floors.

Here is a video that compares laminate flooring to vinyl flooring:

Vinyl flooring may appear like a hard, regular material, but it is also a layered product.

It is moisture-resistant, though it is a bit sturdier. The vinyl flooring has interlocking edges like laminate.

Here is a table that highlights the top brands of laminate flooring according to my analysis of the data within online forums on DIY topics:

Best Brand of Laminate Flooring Percentage of total results
Prego (dogs with nails do not seem to scratch it)17%
Quickstep (great interlocking system)67%
Parklex (used in commercial locations)16%

Is Laminate Wood Or Plastic?

Laminate flooring contains elements of both wood and plastic. But it is neither pure wood nor plastic in nature.

Laminate floors contain an inner core of wood byproducts sealed with resin. The base top is a printed design layer coated in hard, translucent plastic.

The printed design layer helps to simulate the appearance of natural hardwood.

Is Laminate Wood Flooring Real Wood?

Laminate flooring mimics the appearance of wood on the surface, but it’s not real wood. Real wood makes hardwood flooring.

Some people see slight difference between laminate and natural wood. But the products are quite diverse.

Laminate flooring has a substantial material developed to look like natural wood. Laminate is the best cost-effective choice for individuals on a budget.

What Is the Top Layer of Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring comprises four layers. They include the backing layer, substrate layer, pattern layer, and wear layer.

The top shielding layer, known as the wear layer, is built from an Aluminum Oxide clear cover.

The cover can differ from low to high gloss, depending on the consumer’s preference. This layer prevents moisture diffusion.

This layer is the most essential for a laminate floor. The thicker the wear layer, the better for the quality and durability of the new floors.

The top layer of your laminate flooring is the part that will last usage every day.

Through the laminating process, the construction of the wear layer should be:

  • Be in such a way that makes the floor will not fade, and scratches will be rare.
  • It protects against any other type of damage that can result from typical use.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

Laying laminate flooring is fast and easy to fit into most areas of any home, except for wet rooms.

It is vital to examine your laminate flooring before laying. DO NOT INSTALL THE FLOOR if you find any defects at all. I recommend the PREXBETI laminate flooring installation kit. Click to read the reviews on Amazon.

Warning! Scrutinize all materials before installation. Manufacturers should use FDA standards and regulations before installation.

Several manufacturers will not certify a warranty if installed to faulty flooring.

Here are a reader’s guidelines to follow before installing laminate flooring.

Site Conditions for Laying Laminate Flooring

  • The number one reason for a laminate floor to fail is poor site condition. A constant temperature should be sustained before, during, and three days after installation.

Acclimatize a Laminate Floor

  • Laminate flooring will acclimatize only under the right conditions.
  • Note: Your laminated floor will not acclimatize correctly if the room is cold or wet.
  • Store your laminate floor sealed in the packaging. Ensure that each pack of flooring is resting flat on the ground on its own. Do not stack the boxes.
  • Confirm the company’s instructions for any requirements relating to under-floor-heating acclimatization. Some producers may insist on a more extended acclimatizing period.
  • Confirm whether the subfloor is in good condition. Use a floor leveler to check all areas of the subfloor.

Choose the Best Underlayment for Laminate Flooring

This stage varies depending on which type of subfloor you have:

  • Concrete floors: The main concern while installing over a concrete subfloor is moisture.

A concrete subfloor requires an underlayment that acts as a vapor barrier. This is to prevent water from penetrating through to your laminate installation.

  • Plywood subfloors: When installing laminates on a standard plywood subfloor, do not use a vapor-barrier-type underlayment. This is because wood is a natural material that needs to breathe.

According to Forbes, diverse floors will click in varying ways. Ensure you are familiar with how the floor connects before beginning.

Suitable selection and underlayment installation are essential. They can mark how your laminate flooring senses and wears over time.

Ensure the underlayment and the subfloor is level and smooth. This will help you get an even finish on the laminate flooring.

Floating using an underlay is the most common method as it can fit over any sub-floor. It is very DIY-friendly and will not need any training or experience.

You can opt to remove your existing skirting boards, install your new floor, and then reinstall the skirting.

There is an expansion gap needed around the outside of any laminate floor. Alternatively, use a beading to hide the expansion gap after installation.

Note that these are only recommendations. You should constantly follow manufacturers’ guidelines when choosing an underlay.

Installing the Laminate Floor After Underlayment

  • After installing the underlay, start by clicking the floor together. Most laminate floors are click-system forms. I recommend the underlay by First Step, click here to view the current pricing on Amazon.
  • The pieces will fit together like puzzle pieces. The secret is not to add too much glue, as this will form barriers between the edges.
  • On a straight wall, lay your first row joining all the edge boards. Lay your laminate boards starting from the perimeter of the area.
  • Make sure the first board on the first row is complete, and the second row should begin with a 2/3 board.
  • Start the next row with an entire board to ensure you have spaced-out joints. You can use offcuts to start future rows, provided the joints are more than 300mm apart.
  • When the intersections are too close, they can often look weak. They may affect the strength of the installation.
  • Use bars to ensure you maintain a 10mm gap against the wall. If you do not have bars, some cut-offs from your laminate floor will work.
  • You can hide the perimeter gap using skirting that needs to be at least 12mm thick. Do this after the floor installation to allow for any shrinkage that may happen.

Waterproof Laminate Flooring

Since introducing the first “click-and-lock” laminate flooring products in the 1990s, many people have been looking for types of laminates appropriate for wet locations, such as cellars and bathrooms.

DIYers now prefer laminate floors due to their attractive look, low cost, and easy installation.

A waterproof cover is an advanced version of the wood-look synthetic floor. It can resist water damage.

Laminate offers realistic appearances, easily seen as natural hardwood.

Different waterproof features are proving to be a notable change in laminate flooring.

We know laminate absorbs water and swells quickly. But innovative technology has reformed all that. Read on to find out!

How is Waterproof Laminate Flooring Made?

  • Waterproof cover: The surface repels water which keeps moisture and even liquid spills away from the interior of the laminate.
  • Watertight joints: Water is not able to enter between the planks because they lock together so well. Sometimes the planks have bevels that go around the top edges of surrounding planks that make them super watertight.
  • Water-resistant core: The core of waterproof laminate has been compressed and it contains glues that prevent swelling due to moisture and enhance its resistance to water.

Even so, if you have humidity problems with your subfloor, you will still require a vapor barrier for waterproof laminate floors.

Waterproof laminate sometimes depends on proper installation. This helps to ensure water does not penetrate the core and cause swelling.

It is good to develop your laminate floor’s water resistance during installation. Several companies include instructions to polish the laminate floor fitting with silicone sealant.

Polish the laminate flooring around the edges and under the baseboard for more water resistance.

Laminate Flooring Pros and Cons

Here is a guide on the pros and cons of laminate flooring.

Pros Of Laminate Flooring

Laminate Flooring Is Durable.

Laminate floors are long lasting. This makes them both family-friendly and pet-friendly.

It is the best option for high-traffic areas. It is sunlight resistant and has a solid wear layer that shields the floor from scratches or fading.

Laminate Flooring Is Affordable.

The laminate floor’s price is very reasonable and eco-friendly. Hence, impeccable for budget mindful individuals. We could all go for an option that will save us some money, right?

Laminate Flooring Is Easy to Install

A laminate floor is effortless to install as a DIY project. Laminate forms a floating foundation. No need for nails, staples, or glue.

Laminate Flooring Is Easy to clean and maintain.

Another reason to love laminate flooring is easy to clean! You can quickly eliminate dust and spills with a vacuum, broom, or slightly damp mop.

With this modest care, you will get many long years of stunning laminate flooring! Lower price and lower maintenance!

Laminate Flooring Has an Attractive Natural Wood Appearance.

Nowadays, it is hard to distinguish between hardwood and laminate with technological advances.

It is the best choice for anyone who wants the look or feel of hardwood without the hard and tedious work.

Cons Of Laminate Flooring

Laminate Flooring Is Prone to liquid damage.

Laminate floors are subtle to moisture. Overcapacity of any liquid can cause the planks to buckle, stain, and break down if left untreated.

Even with waterproof laminate floors, it’s important to exercise caution, especially if water gets underneath the surface.

It Is Impossible To refinish Laminate Flooring.

You can never refinish a laminate floor as it has a thin wood-look or stone-look layer and fiberboard core on top. Once it is damaged, you will have to replace the damaged portion.

Laminate Flooring Has an Artificial Appearance.

A laminate wood floor will be noisier than a hardwood floor. It differs in terms of pattern to repetition to how the floor sounds and feels underfoot.

Laminate Flooring Is Susceptible to Potential Moisture Damage.

Exposing the high-density fiberboard (HDF) directly to water breaks down and swells. It compromises a standard laminate floor. You may need a replacement when this happens.

How to Clean Laminate Flooring

Here is how to clean laminate floors like a pro.

Refer to the Manufacturer’s Instructions on How to Clean the Laminate Floor

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your floors before cleaning. The product may have specific recommendations based on the materials used.

Wipe Up Spills Instantly from the Laminate Floor

Prevent stains from sitting on the floor. Wipe up spills instantly. Fluids can spoil laminate floors, so it is precarious to reduce their exposure.

Avoid Using Rough Cleaning Gears on the Laminate Flooring

Do not use rough gears. Laminate floors can scratch, so avoid anything harsh. Constantly use a dust mop or soft- broom to sweep up remains.

Mop The Laminate Flooring Less Often

To retain your laminate floors new, mop them carefully every two months. Wet mops are gentle enough to use on laminate floors.

If using a regular mop, squeeze it out until it is entirely dry.

Use Less Water to Clean Laminate Flooring

Use less water. Old-style mopping is not encouraged for laminate floors. Water can leak into the layers and cause damage like floor bubbling.

Using too much water on the laminate flooring can cause stains or discoloration.

Only Use Laminate Products to Clean Laminate Floors

Use laminate products. Cleaning products containing oil can leave stripes. They may damage the shielding layer of the floors.

Apply the cleaner to the mop or cloth rather than directly to the floor. Avoid using polishes or wax on laminate floors.

You can use a DIY laminate floor cleaner. Combine a teaspoon of clear, unscented dish soap with hot water or vinegar and hot water.

Protect Your Laminate Flooring from Future Damage

Guard the floor against future damage. Add furniture mats under the legs of chairs and tables to evade scratches. Placing surface mats and rugs at entrances will also help avoid wear and tear.

Final Thoughts

Laminate floors mimic the appearance of natural wood. But they are sensitive to water. Avoid mopping regularly unless you have a waterproof bottom.

Oil-based, acidic, or abrasive products can damage the laminate flooring surface. Read the article for all you may need to know about laminate flooring.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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