When was Laminate Flooring first introduced?
Laminate flooring was created by the Swedish company Perstop in the late 1970’s, and branded as Pergo. It was a much cheaper alternative to Hardwood flooring and easier to install, as Hardwood flooring at the time was usually installed on batons, while laminate had only to be laid on top of the screed floor and the tongue and grooves glued together.
Laminate became an increasingly popular choice of flooring over the next few decades and in the 1990’s with the invention of the Click and Locking systems by Unilin and Valinge, Laminate flooring was even more appealing and easier to install.
Laminate still continues to evolve today with sound reduction technology, structure, surface protection and creative patterns such as Plank, Tile and Stone.
Pictured below is a typical laminate floor from the 1980’s.
How Laminate Flooring is made?
Laminates of today are much more durable than their predecessors. Let me explain a bit more...
Laminate boards are a multi-layer synthetic product fused together in a high pressure/heat press. It consists of 4 main parts – (a) The Wear-Layer, (b) Photographic/Decorative Layer, (c) The Core and (d) The Backing Layer.
The Core makes up most of the board. It is made of chipboard/Recycled wood and paper compressed together to form High density fibreboard (HDF) or Medium density Fibreboard (MDF).
The backing of the Board is a Melamine plastic layer that helps to guard against moisture.
The Decorative Layer is a high resolution image of wood, stone or tile printed on Kraft paper and then adhered to The Core Layer.
The Wear Layer on top is a mix of Aluminum Oxide and Melamine resins. This mixture creates an exceptional durability that can withstand the most active of households.
The Grading system.
The EPLF (European Producers of Laminate Flooring) introduced the AC rating system as a means to help consumers make an informed choice when purchasing flooring. It is a guide process by which Laminate flooring is graded. It has to pass rigorous testing based on the ability to withstand heat, scratches, moisture, impact, staining and scuffs. How well the board performs during each test will determine its Abrasion Class (AC). Below is a rough guide of the different AC grades.
AC1 - Light/moderate use – eg; Residential use, light traffic (bedrooms)
AC2 - Light/moderate use – eg; Residential use, light traffic ( Living area)
AC3 - Moderate use – eg; Residential use, moderate traffic
AC4 - Moderate/heavy use – eg; Residential use, heavy traffic
AC5 - Heavy use – eg; Residential use, commercial use, heavy traffic
AC6 - Heavy use – eg; Commercial use, heavy traffic
Any Laminate flooring you buy should have this AC grade and it is important to know what it means.
In today’s society where people change their decor relatively often, Laminate is a cheaper alternative to Solid and Engineered Wood and to be honest, most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between Real wood and a good Laminate floor. They are very easy to maintain, making then an easy choice for today’s busy families.
Here at FloorIT we recommend sweeping/vacuuming dust from the surface and using a flat head mop with as little water as possible 2/3 times weekly.
Laminate flooring supplied and installed by FloorIT.
Picture below is a 12mm Golden Oak Laminate floor recently supplied and installed by us here at FloorIT.