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What Laminated Flooring Consists of
Laminated flooring is usually and imitation of wood but some producers also imitate tiles, the imitation is simply a photo of the real product, so anything can be put on the decorative surface of laminates.
- Wear Layer: This layer consist of a transparent aluminium oxide foil which will determine the grade or AC rating of the floor in relation to abrasion resistance.
- Decorative Layer: This is the imitation photo in the form of a foil or could also be printed directly onto the board, this layer or print can differ in quality and one of the most important properties is that it should be fade resistant.
- Core Board: The core board usually differs in thickness from 6mm to 12mm and should be made from Hi Density Fibre Board (HDF), the board gets embossed with the texture required for the floor. The thickness of the board does not necessarily determine the quality of the floor so you could get a 6mm thick board that has a better rating than a 12mm laminated floor.
- Backing: The backing provides stability to the board and also prevents excessive moisture being absorbed by the core board
Decorative Foil Options
Anything is possible, your face, a logo or design, imitation, anything can be put on a laminate board and obviously manufacturers put designs or photo's on that they think will sell, below are a few common and popular options available in laminated floors.
- Full Plank Wood: This is an imitation of wood covering the full width and length of the plank without any lines or brakes in the design.
- 2 Strip Wood: This imitation of wood usually has a line down the middle/length of the plank with random cross lines creating a big parquet effect.
- 3 Strip Wood: This is a parquet effect with 3 rows or sections over the width of the plank running liniar with the length of the plank with random breaks in the length of the individual strips.
- Tiles or Stone: Imitating real stone, ceramic or porcelain tiles.
- Designs: Some manufacturers have different designs available, like pebbles, flower designs, designs for kids rooms etc.
Surface Finishes or Textures
There are many different surface finishes available, the surface finish is embossed into the core of the laminate plank to give a real life look and textured feel to the laminate floor, below are the most popular finishes.
- Smooth: This is a smooth finish which is texture free.
- Wood Pores: Small indents in a linear form which resemble certain wood species.
- Embossed: Either an deep wood grain or a protruding pattern resembling some ceramic tiles.
- Wood Grain: Resembling the natural grain of certain wood types.
- Hand Scraped: This gives an uneven surface
Square Edge or V-Joint / Bevelled Edge
Laminate is available in a square edge which gives an even surface between 2 planks or a bevelled/V-joint finish which cause each individual plank or row to stand out, as below:
- Square Edge: This is the most common board where the planks joins together 100% even giving a smoother look where it can sometimes be difficult to see where one planks starts or finish.
- Sides V-Joint: Also called a 2V this plank has a bevelled edge only on the 2 long sides which creates a linear effect through the room and also the illusion that it is one long plank laid down on the floor. There are 2 type of V-Joint finishes, the bevelle can be painted which also seals the plank, this is usually a very small or micro bevelle and done in a darker colour to great more definition. On the other finish the V-Joint is covered with the same decor and finish as the surface of the plank, this is usually a bigger joint also called a U shaped joint.
- 4 V-Joint: These planks has a bevelled edge on all 4 sides, imitating most of the older solid wooden floors which normally had small caps between the planks. The 4 V-Joint allows each individual plank to be noticeable, normally giving more definition and charactar to the floor surface. There are 2 type of V-Joint finishes, the bevelle can be painted which also seals the plank, this is usually a very small or micro bevelle and done in a darker colour to great more definition. On the other finish the V-Joint is covered with the same décor and finish as the surface of the plank, this is usually a bigger joint also called a U shaped joint
Some boards are usually available with a sound reduction backing of about 1mm which is glued to the back of the board. This backing differs between manufacturers and is usually a foam, rubber or fibre based backing. Because this backing is glued to the back of the board it gives better results than what you would get by using the normal board with a thicker underlay. Ask your retailer which boards are available with a sound reduction backing.