Laminate flooring is known for combining the beauty and variation of hardwood or tile and the easy maintenance of a vinyl at a lower cost. It is a man made, faux wood and tile product that is a very popular choice for people with children, pets, and high traffic households. Laminate is generally resistant to wear, stains, burns, fading, and pet markings, and has better durability than any natural floorings, or even vinyl- without the maintenance!
There are three main types of laminate available. Wood inspired laminate includes realistic or stylized wood images in plank, finger block, butcher block, parquet, or herringbone patterns. Another form it comes in is stone and ceramic patterns, as well as a textured type of laminate. This includes patterns that are either wood or tile but it also has realistic texture and depth to it. Manufactures like Mohawk ® and Quick Step ® have created amazing laminates in every style and color you can think of to match your needs while still providing stylish flooring you would get from any natural material!
Laminate is made up of four main components that are bonded together. On the bottom, the core is a moisture resistant wood composition base. Attached to that is the wear resistant decorative surface which is made of melamine and aluminum oxide, and a balancing backing is bonded to that core. The top layer is a clear layer of aluminum oxide which is what provides the stain and scratch resistance. The wear layer of the laminate is also very dense which gives it the durability.
Installation is one of the factors that contribute to the popularity of laminate flooring. It uses a tongue and groove interlocking system, which can be installed over the top of an existing substrate. Plywood, concrete slab, sheet vinyl flooring, or hardwood flooring all work as a base for laminate. Since laminate is an interlocking floating floor system, it performs the best when installed with moisture and sound barrier padding. Because installation is so simple, and because you can walk on your new floor immediately, laminate can be installed and ready to use in a timely, efficient fashion.