Laminate flooring is constructed with several different layers of various materials that are thermofused together to form either planks or square tiles. The wearlayer is the transparent top surface that protects the laminate from scratching, staining and scuffing and also protects the printed design below.
The wear layer is a combination of melamine with aluminum oxide particles that make it extremely durable. Some laminates have an embossing in the surface which is called In-register embossing that makes the designs printed look more realistic in appearance. The top layer’s Durability is determined by the AC rating. The AC rating is the Abrasion Coeffeint with AC 5 being the most durable.
The consumer can determine the durability needed for a particular situation depending on the rating of the laminate. For heavy traffic areas a rating of AC3 is recommended. The design layer is the photographic image layer of the desired design such as hardwood, stone Or ceramic look.
Some laminate images are actually photographic images of old historical floors To make it more realistic in appearance. The inner core is made of a high density fiberboard used to form the tongue and groove edges for locking the laminated planks. The core is the base for The photographic layer and the top wear layer.
The inner core is generally saturated with melamine resins or sealers to protect the inner core from moisture. The backing layer is fused to the inner Core to add stability and create a barrier that helps protect the planks from moisture and warping. It also treated with a sealer for moisture resistance.
The backing layer and the inner core make up most of the thickness of the laminate. Planks range from 8 mm to 12 mm in thickness. Thicker Planks are more rigid and help deal with minor irregularities in the sub floor. Look for the North American Laminate Flooring Association logo as they certify the quality, performance and strength of the particular laminates.
The patented locking system of the laminates eliminates the need for glue. The planks are simply snapped together. A laminate underlayment is laid under the laminate to guard against moisture and reduces sound.