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Choosing Laminate Flooring

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By Author: Rayford Marks
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Choosing laminate flooring will be easier with a little bit of knowledge about key features. The appearance of laminate comes from a photograph and can therefore be made to look like almost anything. With laminate flooring you can select from an almost endless variety of types, colors, plank sizes and surface styles, while accommodating your need for a durable floor. Laminate is a very versatile product that can be easily installed on nearly any dry sub floor, above or below ground. It is typically installed over concrete or plywood sub floors, radiant heat concrete slabs or directly on top of ceramic tile, vinyl, linoleum or parquet.

How laminate flooring is made

Laminate consists of 4 layers, each constructed with a specific purpose:

1. The backing layer
The backing layer is designed to provide structural integrity to the product and to provide a barrier against moisture.

2. The core
The core can be made of a variety of materials depending on the manufacturer. Most commonly, you will find a core of HDF (high density fiberboard) or MDF (medium density fiberboard). Both are durable, ...
... engineered wood products treated with resins to make them very hard.

3. The photographic layer
Beneath the surface layer on top of the core, you will find a high-resolution photographic image of a real hardwood board. This layer is sometimes referred to as the décor layer and is what gives laminate it’s wood-like appearance.

4. The wear layer
The wear layer is the surface of the board. It carries the texture of the product, seals the photographic design and provides an extremely hard surface to resist foot traffic and other wear and tear.

Rating System

Laminates are rated using an AC (abrasion class) rating system to measure resistance to wear, moisture, burns, abrasions, impact and stains. The AC determines whether the product is suitable for a particular residential or commercial application.

AC1 refers to moderate residential which is suitable for light traffic areas such as bedrooms and closets. AC2 refers to general residential which is suitable for medium traffic areas such as living rooms and dining rooms. AC3 refers to heavy residential/moderate commercial which is suitable for all rooms in a house and light traffic commercial spaces. AC4 refers to general commercial which is suitable for all rooms in a house and medium traffic commercial spaces. And finally AC5 refers to heavy commercial which is suitable for high traffic commercial spaces such as department stores.

Most residential or small office applications will need no more than an AC3 rating. All laminates available at X-Pression Hardwood Floors are rated at least AC3.

Unlike real wood, laminate flooring will not fade. Even direct sunlight over a long period of time will not dull the images. As a rule, laminate is considered to be more durable than carpet. In areas with high foot traffic, especially by children or pets or in commercial locations, laminate floors can be extremely impact, scratch and stain resistant.

Laminate flooring is more affordable than real hardwood, and usually less expensive than other floor types it is designed to reproduce. This is partly because the recycled materials used to manufacture it cost less than natural floor materials, which means you can more easily find quality, affordable laminate flooring that will give your room the look you want to achieve.


Laminate flooring is a good hypoallergenic choice. The design and finish on laminate floors leave no way for the planks to catch dust, pollen, pet dander or other allergens. Also, the underlayment required for all laminate floors creates a barrier keeping moisture from damaging your floor, and preventing the growth of molds, spores and fungus.

Installation and maintenance

Laminate flooring can be installed at any level of the house, even below ground level (or “below grade”), which is not an option for some other types of floors. The click and lock installation systems make installation so easy that many people save the cost of hiring an installer and just do it themselves. The planks simply lock together. Also, floating floors need less pre-installation preparation than other floors, because they can go right over some existing floors. They also take less time to install because nail guns or staplers are not needed, nor must one wait for glue to dry.
The same surface which makes laminate flooring so scratch and stain resistant also makes it very easy to clean. No special cleaning chemicals are required. Generally, just daily sweeping will do the trick; and spills can be wiped up with a damp cloth.

Advantages and disadvantages of laminate flooring

Some of the advantages of laminate flooring include:
• Laminates are generally more affordable than their hardwood look-a-likes
• Laminates are durable, low-maintenance and long-wearing, suitable for busy family homes
• Laminates are available in a wide variety of colours and styles to suit the personality of any room
• Laminates are easy to install and hypoallergenic

Some of the disadvantages of laminate flooring

• Laminate may not increase the resale value of a home as much as engineered or solid hardwood floors
• Because they are not real wood laminate cannot be refinished

laminate flooring Montreal
Xpression floors

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