|This article needs references that appear in reliable third-party publications. Primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject are generally not sufficient for a descriptive article. Please add more appropriate citations from reliable sources. (February 2007)|
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product, fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or stone, in some cases) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials. There is sometimes a glue backing for ease of installation. It has the advantages that it is durable, as compared with carpet, and attractive, at a lower cost as compared to natural floor materials.
Laminate floors are reasonably easy for a do-it-yourself homeowner to install. Laminate flooring are packaged as a number of tongue and groove planks - these can be clicked into one another. Installed laminate floors typically "float" over the sub-floor on top of a foam/film underlayment, which provides moisture and sound-reducing properties. Baseboards need to be removed and then reinstalled before and after laying of the flooring is complete. Saw cuts on the planks are usually required at edges, and around closet and door entrances.
It is important to keep laminate clean, as dust, dirt and sand particles may scratch the decorative surface over time in high-traffic areas. It is also important to keep laminate relatively dry, since sitting water/moisture can cause the planks to swell, warp, etc, though some brands are equipped with water-resistant coatings. Water spills aren't a problem if they're wiped up quickly, and not allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time.
Adhesive felt pads are often placed on the feet of furniture on laminate floors to prevent scratching.
Glueless laminate floors may gradually become separated, creating visible gaps between planks. It is important to "tap" the planks back together using the appropriate tool as you notice the gaps, otherwise dirt will fill the gaps making it difficult to close them later.
Potential health effectsEdit
Laminate flooring is often made of melamine resin, a compound made with formaldehyde. There has been increasing concern about indoor air quality from releases of volatile organic compounds from building materials made with formaldehyde. However, resin materials are believed to have significantly lower emissions than particle board and other materials where formaldehyde is used as a binder.
Laminate flooring was invented in 1977 by the Swedish company Pergo. The company first marketed its product to Europe in 1984, and later to the United States in 1994. Pergo is the most widely known laminate flooring manufacturer, but the trademark PERGO is not synonymous for all laminate floors.
- ↑ Indoor Air Pollution in California, California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, July 2005