With our knowledge and know-how you can easily understand laminate flooring. A&H Flooring, LLC has experience with laminate flooring. We’re familiar with all of its characteristics and capabilities.
We want to build your appreciation of laminate flooring; increase your knowledge about it and lessen any concerns you may have about it. We want you to know all about the world of laminate flooring. As mentioned before it doesn’t matter if you come to our store or visit our website, we want you to understand, learn and experience -- know -- as much about laminate products as you need to.
So if laminate flooring is something your family is considering, you’ve come to the right place and the right floor store. You’re certainly in good company. Laminate flooring is the choice for many homeowners. There are countless good reasons why laminate flooring is accepted in today’s households. But if it’s going to be a choice for your home, then you need to first understand what laminate is.
Laminate is a manufactured floor that mimics the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and so many other types of flooring. Now, in the past, laminate floors have been easy to spot due to the cheapness of their look, but today’s technology allows manufacturers to create realistic visuals and textures for a quality floor.
We think you’ll be amazed – maybe surprised -- at how beautifully laminate flooring resembles other premium flooring available today. In fact, many laminate styles consist of extremely authentic wood or natural stone visuals to accommodate any room in your home. Laminate is well suited to those home owners who want the look of real hardwood or stone but without the cost or maintenance that can be associated with natural products.
It’s a fact most laminate flooring costs significantly less than hardwood floors or natural stone tile. So, laminate seems to be popular among shoppers who are looking for a beautiful, durable, scratch resistant yet cost-effective flooring solution for their home.
And laminate floors function well in any space with their many different styles and colors. You can choose from natural colors and dark wood grains as well as warm or cool color tones to compliment any room décor in your home.
And if the “plank” look interests you, many hardwood plank designs are offered in laminate, including some rare, and even exotic wood species.
Laminate stone and tile patterns will give you the elegant look of tile, but without the concerns of grout cleaning or cracking tile.
If you live in a busy household or a home with children, a durable, low maintenance product like laminate is a great choice for your active lifestyle.
Because laminate flooring is stain resistant, it doesn’t need to be varnished or waxed. Laminate floors are also less likely to fade in direct sunlight, unlike aging hardwood floors. Laminate floors have been used in Europe for more than 25 years, but are fairly new in the United States.
Laminate floors can be installed over almost any type of existing floors, which is why it is very useful in the old buildings with uneven sub-floors. American families have become more and more familiar with laminate flooring because of laminate countertops. By using the countertop technology and adding considerably more resin to the wear layer, some laminate floor manufacturers boast that their laminate floors are now 10 to 20 times harder than laminate countertops.
Since this resin-filled wear layer is so dense, it becomes extremely difficult to stain or scratch.Laminate floors are considered a floating floor because they are never secured directly to the subfloor. Laminate flooring to be used over almost any subfloor, including concrete, an existing floor or wooden subfloor.
For this reason, laminates have become one of the best selling floors in the United States.
To summarize, you should know that laminate flooring offer many benefits to you and your home, including:
Everything your family will ever need to know about laminate construction. Knowledge how laminate is manufactured is easy and simple. We’ve outlined the basics below and ask that you and your family read through them to better understand how this unique product is created.
Understanding how laminate is made provides you with knowledge of laminate right from its beginning. That’s important information because these are the materials you’ll be living with and walking on for years to come should you and your family choose this flooring product.
Understanding laminate construction also helps you better understand and evaluate its performance aspects.
So read on, and we’ll do our best to help you and your family understand how laminate is made, the various steps involved, and the reasons why certain processes are performed.
In the section “Introduction to Laminate,” we told you laminate is a manufactured product that is a true look-a-like of hardwood flooring, natural stone and many other types of flooring.
Now, you may be wondering, how can laminate flooring resemble these other products so closely?
The answer lies in the process of how laminate is made.
It’s a combination of the precision of today’s manufacturing techniques and the expertise of the people behind the materials, machines and methods that create laminate.
All work in harmony to produce a beautiful, functional flooring that closely emulates other beautiful, functional floorings.
To understand laminate, think baking and a four-layer cake. Today’s laminate floors are available in a multitude of designs, patterns, and textures, yet they all consist of four main components that are bonded together.
The bottom level, or backing, is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks and also helps guard against moisture from the sub-floor. (Moisture in regards to any flooring is the enemy.)
The next layer is a core board, generally made from high-density fiberboard or particle board which may also contain melamine plastic resins that help improve the moisture resistance of the core.
Then a decorative layer or print film is adhered on top of the core board giving the floor its hardwood or tile look.
This decorative layer is a printed high-resolution photo-reproduction of wood grain, natural stone or ceramic tile pattern. (Now you know how the look-a-like is born.)
On the top is a tough wear layer, providing protection and stain resistance.
Now many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, and that creates exceptional durability. The kind that will stand up to the most active household – even yours.
All four layers of our “cake” are then combined in a high-pressure process.
Now we’ll take you and your family through the manufacturing process of laminate floors one step at a time.
Step 1: stacking with electronic precision. The process begins with the assembly of the 4 layers of raw materials in large sheets.
This typically takes place on a production line, where modern technology enables each layer to be stacked on top of another with incredible accuracy and precision.
How precise may you ask? Most manufacturers use sophisticated electronic calibrating equipment and digital camera systems to keep the sheets in perfect alignment.
The backing layer is first on the line, with the core board placed directly on top of that.
Next, the printed decorative layer is stacked on top of the core board. The final layer to be stacked on is the wear layer.
Step 2: now the pressure is on. Once the 4 layers have been stacked, they are ready for pressing.
The presses used to create laminate flooring have hydraulic rams that apply tremendous pressure to the stacks.
The stacks of layers are pressed at high temperatures reaching 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with up to 600 pounds per square inch of pressure for 20 to 30 seconds.
Manufacturers carefully monitor the time and temperature when pressing the layers to successfully cure and bond the stacks into a single sheet of finished decorative laminate.
If the laminate that is being manufactured is designed to have a textured surface, the press has specialized plates that imprint the textured pattern onto the sheets, creating more natural looking planks or tiles.
Step 3: a timeout to cool off.After the sheets are pressed they are left to cool to ensure that they fully cure and to prevent any surface imperfections.
Then the sheets are stacked and stored for a time so that they can continue to acclimate, thereby enhancing the stability of the boards.
Step 4: planks, profiling, and precision.Once the boards are fully acclimated, they are milled, or cut into planks.
The freshly cut planks then move on to be profiled. Multiple profiling saws create the tongue and groove edges on the sides of the planks that enable the floor to lock together with ease.
The blades on the profiling saws use electronic and laser systems that produce incredibly accurate edges for a perfect fit. Further assurance of the precision of your floor.
The finished planks then go through a quality inspection and are checked for color, texture, finish, size and correct interlocking capabilities.
Once approved, the planks are then stacked, packaged and loaded onto trucks for distribution.
Now that you and your family understand how laminate flooring is made you can understand why it’s a beautiful, strong and cost-efficient flooring answer for many homes, and homeowners, in and around the metro-east area of St. Louis.
Laminate offers you a huge number of styles and the goal of our floor store is to help you understand the big picture on different installation methods when it comes to this great family of flooring products. This information will help you become a wiser shopper and compare with confidence.
For most families, when it comes to picking a style of any product, we usually “know it when we see it.” Perhaps that describes you, too.
Well, if laminate floors are of interest to you, it’s practically guaranteed you’ll find a style that’s right for your home.
This section explains laminate types of installation and offers you all the information you need to make informed choices.
Is it fake flooring or laminate?If the last time you checked, laminates looked fake, it’s time to check again!
The laminate flooring products of today are looking better and better, and often you can’t tell the difference.
Laminates have truly come a long way. Why? Because of the growing reputation of laminates, manufacturers are creating an increasing collection of exotic wood grains, rustic designs, and traditional looks.
In fact, the machines have improved to the point where the texture looks and feels more real than ever, even with distressed wood or natural stone designs.
Want to guess what’s new under the laminate horizon? As with vinyl floors, some of the new laminate floors really have the look of natural materials, particularly the textured products that give the floor depth. The most common, laminate designs have a wood grain appearance.
Some of the trendiest laminates have rustic or historic wood grain patterns.
The natural stone looks are still the best sellers, in particular, the slate and travertine styles.
The quality is in the picture.The quality of today’s laminate in part has to do with the camera work and the number of photographs per style, which is known as "screens".
Here’s an example for you. When manufacturers copy a natural stone tile, they try to reconstruct the texture, pattern, variation in color, a natural product.
The more screens a product has, the more variation it can offer. And the more “authentic” the laminate looks.
Understanding color.Like any floor product, you should select the laminate to flatter the size of your room and the activities taking place in it.
Remember that lighter colors will make a smaller room appear larger, while darker colors will absorb the light and create a more intimate setting.
Choose a color that either coordinates or contrasts with your cabinets and other furniture. Avoid matching everything to the same color and style.
Let your creativity guide you! And remember, contrasts can make your room more interesting.
Laminate flooring types – yours will be installed in one of these 4 forms. Glueless laminate flooring. No mess, glueless installation makes these floors quick and easy-to-install.
They come in a variety of ceramic and wood designs and colorations, as well as some manufacturers, offer a real, hardwood veneer instead of a printed layer. It looks amazingly hardwood-like.
These floors come in both planks and squares. A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture from below. (Remember, moisture is the enemy of your flooring.)
In fact, most laminate floors require a plastic underlay sheet (4 mil poly) be installed directly underneath the laminate planks or tiles.
This helps the floor float freely over the subfloor. Another option is to add a vapor barrier or noise reduction underlay before installing the laminate flooring.
Laminate flooring with attached underlay. These floors come with several different types of tongue and grooved locking systems and an attached underlayment to reduce noise levels. That’s good to know.
Glued laminate flooring. These are the original laminate floors that do require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas for each plank.
Once the glue is dried the planks are almost impossible to pull apart. These floors are offered in both planks and squares.
Pre-glued laminate flooring. No mess, because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves which makes these floors quick and easy-to-install.
A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture and prevent the glue from sticking to the substrate.
Moldings are the finishing touch.
Laminate moldings also affect the overall style and give your room a beautiful finished look.
Moldings are important because they cover the space that is allowed for the flooring to expand and move naturally on top of the subfloor, and they help with the transition to an adjacent floor.
Most manufacturers offer coordinating moldings for all styles and colors for any laminate flooring you choose.
However, be aware that moldings for laminates are slightly larger than their wood or ceramic tile counterparts.
Here, to familiarize you with various standard moldings, are some styles and definitions.
The Step Down Stairnose is a coordinating piece providing the proper transition for all the steps in your home.
A Reducer Strip is the transitional piece the installers use to connect the laminate with another type of floor covering such as vinyl, thin ceramic tile, or low-pile carpeting.
An End Molding or Carpet Reducer is used as a transition from laminate floors to different flooring surfaces when the reducer does not allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick ceramic tile.
T-Molding is commonly used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms. It's also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that is approximately the same height.
Finally, a Quarter Round may be installed wherever the laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.
We recommend that you work closely with A & H Floors to become familiar with the moldings and transition pieces.
Ask to see samples if possible, so there are no surprises come installation time.
With a lot of knowledge, hopefully from the above, and a little imagination (that’s your department), you will find a laminate flooring that is just right for you and your home.
Before you purchase any laminate floor, you need knowledge. Whatever your flooring budget, you need to be assured that once you make your purchase you know all the basic facts about your laminate flooring choice.
Buying laminate is no exception. It pays, today and tomorrow, to know not only the basics but also some of the particulars.
That’s why A & H Floors offers this section. It’s a synopsis of many of the things you should understand about laminate floors before you buy.
That way your final decision will not only create warm and inviting environment but also deliver what laminate floors are known for: tremendous durability and easy maintenance.
This flooring is unique and stands out. Laminate flooring is stain resistant, does not need to be waxed and remarkably durable surface, so it’s very easy to maintain.
These are floors for homes with kids and pets, especially important for busy households.
Today’s laminate styles consist of genuine wood visuals, rich natural stone looks or ceramic designs with textures that are completely different to accommodate almost every room in your home.
You must know this about your laminate floor investment. When considering laminates, you will notice that there is not much price variation in styles.
This is due to the relatively uniform manufacturing process for all laminates: no matter what the style, color or type, it is still a photograph that provides the decorative surface.
The more expensive laminates include those with a textured and more natural looking surface with a greater number of screens.
Laminate floors that simulate the more exotic varieties of hardwood flooring quickly rise in price. So keep that in mind.
However, higher-end laminates are more durable and have extended warranties.
What you should know about “floating”. Laminate floors are installed using a “floating floor system” in which a padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the laminate planks.
The planks sit directly on the underlayment and are not anchored to the subfloor on the bottom but rather anchored by the edges.
When walked upon this type of installation can produce a hollow sound and have a slight give.
Slight ridging or peaking where planks are joined together may also occur. This is considered normal and nothing for you to be concerned about.
Some laminate floors lock together without the use of adhesive on the sides of the planks. These are glueless installations.
Glueless laminate floors have planks that simply interlock together. These floors make for easy repair if that is ever necessary for you down the road.
Get on top of the bottom line. Know the entire cost of ownership. The “cost per square foot” of your laminate floor is just one component of the entire project cost. To ensure there are no surprises, and the laminate you select fits within your overall project budget, be sure to ask us to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project.
Here’s a list of potential additional expenses you may incur:
Demolition/disposal of old floor covering. Depending on the existing floor covering, this can be an expensive item; also, be sure to include the cost to dispose of the old floor covering.
Subfloor preparation. Depending on the condition of the subfloor, it may require additional work.
Laminate installation. Determine the cost per square foot to install it.
Materials required to complete the installation. Your new laminate floor may require additional materials to install it properly.
Be sure to also consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently the floor should be cleaned and the cost to clean it.
There’s a lot to know and keep in mind before buying a laminate floor, but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re a smart and knowledgeable shopper it will show where it counts – in a beautiful, durable and easy to care for floor.
Before InstallationThings worth knowing prior to installation day.You’ve learned all you need to (Hopefully by visiting our store and this website), shopped smart and made your best purchase decision.
Now we offer two words of advice: be prepared. Get ready for the day your new laminate flooring will arrive for installation.
Being prepared and involved will help insure that the process is done smoothly and efficiently, and, hopefully, eliminate expressions of “I wish I’d remembered to…”.
Knowing what to expect will also be a lot less stressful on you, your family and your home.
Let the pros do the job is our first advice.Installing this type of floor yourself is difficult work, labor intensive and extremely exacting.
We recommend you call upon a reliable professional to install your laminate floor. That way you can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and correct installation.
However, while installing laminate flooring is a skill that is developed through years of experience, your understanding of the basics of installation will increase your knowledge of the process and enhance your confidence in the professionals working in your home.
We strongly recommend you call upon a reliable, seasoned, dedicated professional to install your laminate floor.
That way you can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and correct installation.
Which is precisely what our goal is for you.
However, while installing laminate flooring is a skill that is developed through training and experience, your understanding of the basics of installation will increase your knowledge of the process and enhance your confidence in the professionals working in your home.
So please allow us to cover some of the basics with you.
Numerous creators, yet a single process.Today there are many manufacturers producing laminate flooring products.
Most manufacturers have their own specific installation guidelines, however the overall process is the same.
Laminate floors use what is known as a “floating floor” installation. This means the planks or tiles simply lay on top of the floor without being adhered to the subfloor and are only adhered to each other on the edges.
Side seams are either glued together or joined using a “glueless” installation where the planks or tiles tightly interlock together. Both installations are considered floating floors.
First, your floor goes under the glass.The first step an installer takes when installing a laminate floor is to closely inspect your subfloor for any imperfections.
While no floor is perfectly level, the subfloor should be checked for any noticeable gaps or ridges that could cause problems.
Your floor is then cleaned. The installers will also make sure that the laminate planks or tiles have had sufficient time to acclimate to their new surroundings. Probably by delivering them days ahead of installation.
Understand underlayment, for it’s the next step.The installers now put down an underlayment directly over your subfloor.
This underlayment allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in temperature and also acts as a sound and moisture barrier. Both good ideas.
In some installations, there are two underlayment layers.
The first layer is installed to specifically act as a moisture barrier while the second layer provides a sound barrier and enhances your flooring’s performance.
The underlayment is typically rolled out and taped together at the seams.
Installers will cut the pieces of underlayment where needed with a precision utility knife to make a perfect fit.
Now your laminate planks or tiles are laid.Installers will typically begin in the left corner of the area and leave a minimum 1/4" space between the flooring and the perimeter walls.
This is done because the laminate requires space around the edges of the room to expand or contract.
Without that “breathing room” your floor will express its discontent. If the floor is touching or too close to a wall, it can buckle in the middle.
Along the wall, the installers use spacers as they work, to ensure the accuracy of this perimeter space.
They use one spacer for each square foot. Once your floor is fully installed they remove the spacers and cover the perimeter gap with quarter round trim or a wall base.
As the installers lay the planks or tiles in the desired pattern, they will carefully measure and precisely cut them to fit.
Clueless about glueless? Here’s what to know.As mentioned earlier, many laminates today don’t require glue for the installation.
These glueless products have significantly impacted the laminate flooring industry and there are several reasons why the glueless laminates are so popular.
Most importantly, they are easy to install. The installer simply puts down an underlayment and the laminate interlock to each other one at a time.
If something goes wrong during installation, your floor can be dismantled plank by plank, or tile by tile, and re-built.
If one of the planks gets damaged after installation, your entire floor can be removed, the damaged plank replaced, and the floor can be put back together again.
Understand that some floors need glue.For floors that require glue on the sides of the planks or tiles, the installers begin by gluing the first two panels in the first row together.
Again, they start in the left-hand corner and glue the first row together at the ends.
As they glue each plank or tile they apply clamps or use straps to hold the pieces together.
Although planks or tiles usually fit together easily, installers will sometimes use a tapping block while fitting the boards together.
For installations that use glue, once the floor is completed and the glue is dry, installers then remove the spacers.
To finish your floor, the installers add molding to cover the perimeter gap and install any additional transition trim pieces needed in doorways or where the laminate meets a different type of flooring.
Custom finished moldings and trim will give your laminate flooring a beautiful, finished look. They are all coordinated to match or accentuate the design of your floor. It’s all part of a professional installation.
For your knowledge, here are some finishing terms and definitions.
Reducer Strip is used to create a smooth transition between two floors of different heights, as well as protect the plank or tile exposed edges from damage caused by foot traffic.
Overlapping Stair Nosing is similar to a flush stair nosing except the nosing overlaps the exposed edge of your floor.
The overlapping stair nosing is secured to the subfloor and not to the laminate floor so the floor is free to move. Recall the “floating floor” idea we mentioned earlier in this section.
T-Molding is used to bridge two areas of flooring that are the exact same height.
The T-Molding overlaps the exposed edges of the floor and is secured only to the subfloor, never to the flooring itself.
Generally this trim is used as the transition piece between rooms, or as the expansion piece for areas that exceed 30 feet in length.
Universal Edge is also called a Square Nosing and is used where the laminate flooring butts up to carpeting, or various vertical surfaces where the edge will be exposed, such as along a fireplace.
Quarter Round gives the floor a finished look and protects the edges of your laminate flooring.
The result is a beautiful, professionally installed laminate floor.
What to know and do before installation dayFurniture is the first step.Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there may be an additional charge for doing so.
Before moving, you’ll also need to empty the contents of china cabinets, closets and the like.
Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.
What about your old floor covering?Please consider how your old floor covering will be taken up and disposed of. This can be a time consuming task. We recommend that you check with us about the cost and the method of disposal.
If you prefer to remove your present floor covering, do it at least one day prior to arrival of your laminate product to allow for cleanup and floor preparation. If removing old carpet, please leave tack strips in place and pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad.
Know what to do with your trim.In many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for laminate installation. Your installer may do this but at an additional charge and they will probably not be responsible for damage or breakage due to dry or brittle wood.
Painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching after the installation is complete. If necessary, this is your responsibility.
Subflooring is next.Your existing subfloor may need to be prepared to receive the laminate, or a new subfloor may be required. We suggest you discuss this with us and, if subfloor work is necessary, that it be done by qualified professionals. It is important that the subfloor be as clean and level as possible.
Doors need your attention.When laminate is installed, there’s always the possibility that the doors, especially closet doors, basement and bedroom doors, may not clear the new laminate and swing free.
Some installers will remove doors in order to install the laminate and re-hang them if possible. They probably won’t shave or cut down doors to insure clearance. You should check with us as to their policy and the cost. You may need to arrange for a qualified carpenter to provide this service after the installation of your new laminate floor.
Follow-up on the clean-up.Installing new laminate will produce waste.
Usually these materials are collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Check with us before the day of installation so you’re clear about the clean up, if there are added costs to do so, and ask about the plan for laminate remnants.
What to know and do during installation dayInstallation day is a stay at home day.Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct laminate is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We will keep you updated on the installer’s schedule.
Your safety is top priority.Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.
The walk-thru is a key step.We recommend that, prior to the completion of the installation, you walk thru the job with the chief installer. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and be clear on any final details.
What to know and do after installation dayAir on the healthy side.If you are sensitive to dust and odors, good ventilation should be established for 48 to 72 hours after installation.
Be in the know by having a plan.Being prepared for installation day through careful planning and smart preparing will make your life and the installers a lot easier. It will also make your laminate flooring experience enjoyable right from day one.
Knowledge about laminate upkeep. There’s no getting around it, life and living are hard on any flooring and even durable laminate will eventually start to show the effects of stains and spills, time and traffic.
You need to know the best practices for taking care of it so you’ll be better able to keep your laminate flooring in its beautiful, inviting and valuable original condition.
Plus, knowing what’s expected of you regarding upkeep can be a determining factor in your purchase choice.
So read on and get to know exactly how to take care of your investment.
Use these tools to take on dirt.Laminate floors are beautiful and very durable but not indestructible. Floors can dull when unattended dirt acts as an abrasive on its surface.
This can be avoided by sweeping, dust mopping or vacuuming regularly to remove loose dirt and grit.
You can use a broom or, to make the job faster, a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar is also recommended.
Vacuum cleaner attachments are useful to pick up dirt from between planks, tiles or along edges.
An occasional damp mopping is also suggested. However, your laminate flooring can expand if excessive water is used while cleaning.
After damp mopping, a clean dry cloth should be used to wipe your floor thoroughly.
Placing doormats or walk-off mats at each entryway will collect excessive moisture and dirt before they enter your home.
Do’s and don’ts you should know about.Glides or floor protectors on the bottom of your furniture will prevent possible scratching or abrasion.
It’s important to lift heavy furniture instead of dragging or pulling them.
Use pieces of carpet face down under heavy objects when moving them across your floor.
Spot cleaning and occasional complete cleaning of your laminate floor can be done using the manufacturer’s recommended products.
Never use abrasive cleaners, steel wool or scouring powder.
Do not use soap-based detergents or “mop-and-shine” products.
Never flood your floor with water or cleaner.
Do not wax or polish your laminate floor.
Never try to refinish or sand your laminate floor.
Durable but not indestructible, your laminate floor can be damaged by stiletto heels.
But the good news is that the finish on your laminate floor can help protect the floor from sunlight and the typical fading you find with aging hardwood floors.Keep in mind that if a repair is necessary in the future, the replacement product may be a slightly different dye lot and/or texture than the initial installation.
However, with time and usage, the repair will blend in with your original product.
For additional care procedures please refer to the manufacturer's care and maintenance instructions and recommendations.
Knowledge assures longevity .By understanding and following these basic care guidelines you can be confident that your laminate flooring will provide you with many years of beauty and lasting performance.
For definitions of other terms not listed here, please go to these sections: How It’s Made, Styles, Before You Buy and Installation. The adaptation of the laminate floor to its installation environment.
Backing In laminate flooring, the bottom layer, or backing, is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks and also helps guard against moisture from the sub-floor.
Decorative Layer In laminate flooring, a decorative layer or print film is adhered on top of the core board giving the floor its hardwood or tile look. This decorative layer is a printed, high-resolution photo-reproduction of wood grain, natural stone or ceramic tile pattern.
End Molding/Carpet Reducer Used as a transition from laminate floors to different flooring surfaces when the reducer does not allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick ceramic tile.
Floating Floor System Laminate floors are installed using a “floating floor system” in which a padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the laminate planks. The planks sit directly on the underlayment and are not anchored to the sublfoor on the bottom but rather are anchored on the edges.
Glued Laminate Flooring These are the original laminate floors that do require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas for each plank. Once the glue is dried the planks are almost impossible to pull apart. These floors are offered in both planks and squares.
Glueless Laminate Flooring A no mess installation method where the planks or squares simply interlock together.
Laminate Is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.
Melamine Resin Used to help improve the moisture resistance and durability of the core board of laminate flooring.
Moldings Trim pieces that cover the space that is allowed for the flooring to expand and move naturally on top of the subfloor. They also help with the transition to an adjacent floor. Moldings for laminate floors are slightly larger than their wood or ceramic tile counterparts.
Overlapping Stair Nosing Similar to a flush stair nosing except the nosing overlaps the exposed edge of your floor. The overlapping stair nosing is secured to the sub floor and not to the laminate floor so the floor is free to move
Peaking Seams that have raised where the laminate planks or tiles join.
Plank A laminate floor panel that is typically 5 or 6 inches longer than wide.
Pre-Glued Laminate Flooring A no mess method of installation because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves. A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture and prevent the glue from sticking to the substrate.
Quarter Round Trim Installed wherever the laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.
Reducer Strip The transitional piece installers use to connect the laminate with another type of floor covering such as vinyl, thin ceramic tile, or low-pile carpeting.
Screens The quality of the laminate partially has to do with the photography and the number of photographs per style, which is known as "screens". The more screens a product has, the more variation it can offer. And the more “authentic” the laminate looks.
Seams The junction where the panels connect together.
Square Nosing / Universal Edge Used where the laminate flooring butts up to carpeting, or various vertical surfaces where the edge will be exposed, such as along a fireplace.
Step Down Stair Nose A coordinating molding piece providing the proper transition for all the steps in a home.
Tile A laminate panel in a geometric shape – square.
T-Molding Commonly used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms. It's also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that is approximately the same height.
Underlayment A material used between the laminate flooring and the subfloor that acts as a sound and moisture barrier and also allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in the temperature.
Wear Layer The durable, top layer of laminate flooring. It provides protection and stain resistance. Many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, and that creates exceptional durability.