What is Laminate Flooring made up of?

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Posted by admin | Posted in Tips & Advice | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Laminate flooring provides the look of solid hardwood flooring along with benefits such as below-grade installation and ease of installation. It is often made from recycled or reclaimed materials, too. Different materials make up the laminated layers of the flooring’s planks and tiles.

Laminate Layers
The planks and tiles of laminate flooring consist of different layers of material laminated together. Each layer serves a specific purpose, and most laminate flooring has four or five basic layers.

Wear Layer
The top layer is made of a hard, scratch-resistant product that protects the underlying surface from scratches, dents and chips. Aluminum oxide makes up this transparent wear layer on many brands of laminate flooring.

Pattern Layer
Less expensive laminate flooring may include photosensitive paper for the pattern. Better flooring has a thin sheet of real wood. Manufacturers may stamp a “grain” into the pattern layer to enhance the appearance or to improve traction.

Substrate
The bulk of the plank or tile, the substrate has the pattern layer glued to its top and a stabilizer layer glued to its bottom. Substrates are essentially particle board made from fine particles of wood and resin.

Stabilizer Layer
The stabilizer layer keeps the product from warping and twisting. It is a moisture-resistant or moisture-proof layer that resists absorbing water from the atmosphere. A plastic called melamine is frequently used as the stabilizer layer.

Underlayment
Some laminated flooring has foam underlayment already installed, saving time during the installation process. The underlayment is glued to the stabilizer layer and may be made of Styrofoam, neoprene or other padding.

Why does Laminate Flooring Warp?

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Posted by admin | Posted in Tips & Advice | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Laminate flooring is generally designed for use in such areas as the den, living room, dining room and bedroom. If it’s a lower-grade type floor, it’s usually best not to install it in areas that are subject to moisture such as the bathroom or kitchen, as the subsequent outcome can be warping or buckling. Moisture damage or warping can result due to the grade of the flooring, how it was installed, the humidity level in the home and how the floor’s been maintained.

Grades of Flooring
Laminate flooring is graded by a system with AC1 being considered the lowest grade and AC5 regarded as the premium grade. Flooring with an AC5 designation is manufactured for commercial use and used in areas with a great deal of foot traffic. AC1, on the other hand, is used in areas with very light foot traffic. Ratings of AC2 or AC3 are the standard grades for flooring used in residential settings. Therefore, flooring which hasn’t been rated or has a lower rating is more susceptible to water damage and warping.

Warranties
Although warranties for laminate floors usually guarantee against stains and UV damage, they normally don’t cover damage from moisture.

Installation
Most kinds of laminate flooring use a floating construction method; in other words, the floor is installed to lie on top of the subfloor without the use of glue or staples. Warping can result when there is too much moisture underneath the flooring as a result of ice makers, refrigerators or leaking pipes. This can also happen when the floor has been glued down. So it’s important that the area where the flooring is installed is free from the assault of moisture.

Humidity
Too much humidity can cause a laminate floor to warp as well. The use of a dehumidifier can eliminate the problem.

Maintenance
The laminate floor can also buckle if it’s improperly maintained. Laminate floors only need minimal cleaning. Solvents and brushes specifically made for the floors should be used. For instance, drenching the floor while mopping it can cause the floor to expand and buckle.

How to Make your Laminate Floors Shine

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Laminate floor that lacks of shine and looking dull will definitely makes your home look less attractive no matter how marvelous your furniture is. Actually is not that hard if you just want to keep your laminate floor shiny and looking forever new, there is some simple and easy way to achieve that floor shiny. You can learn how to make your laminate floors shine by these steps;

You will need:

  • Mop-on floor wax
  • Vinegar
  • Cloth strip mop

Steps:

  1. Firstly, you have to make sure that the laminate floors are free from any dust and dirt. Scratches will easily form by the small bits of rocks, dirt and hard debris which will dull the surface. Sweep or vacuum your floor to prevent your floor shine from becoming dull.
  2. Then, remove any residue from your floor. Laminate floor that has been coated with residue is caused by improper cleaning techniques hence making your laminate flooring looking dull. Conventional floor cleaning in the market mostly leave residue even after cleaning which builds up and result a dull finish. Try wiping the floor with vinegar in a small area to remove the residue from your laminate safely. Repeat this step until you are able to find the shine that hides under the dull residue.
  3. Do not mop your floor frequently, mop as little as possible. It is not necessary to use any kind of cleaning product, so you just only have to use water on your laminate flooring. A cloth strip mop is the suitable mop for cleaning the floor as you can squeeze most of the water out and this will helps the floor dry quickly. Hard water is the result if your floor has water spots after mopping. To prevent this hard water spots occurring when mopping, make a solution of a gallon of water and a quarter cup of vinegar.
  4. You may not able to revive the shine of laminate floors by cleaning if your laminate floors are old. If you have already tried to remove cleaning product residue and your floor can still remain dull then it may already had its surface worn away. You can use a mop on floor shiner to add some shine back on your laminate flooring. You may need to apply a couple of coats of floor polish that you can purchase in hardware store or home improvement store. Make sure to apply the polish evenly. Frequent application or according to the polish’s instruction will make your laminate floors shiny.

Laminate Flooring Construction Layers & Abrasion Rating

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Posted by admin | Posted in Tips & Advice | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Laminate flooring comes in both planks and square tiles. Laminate flooring is constructed with several different layers of various materials that are thermofused together to form the laminated flooring planks and tiles.

The Four Basic Laminate Flooring Construction Layers

  • Wear Layer – This is the transparent top surface that protects the floor from scratching, staining, scuffing and also protects the printed design layer below. The wear layer is a combination of melamine with aluminum oxide particles which makes it extremely durable.
  • Photographic Image Layer- This is the photographic image layer of either a real hardwood plank, ceramic tile, stone or some other material. The photographic images are extremely clear, vibrant and realistic. Combined with texturizing the top layer this creates a true, authentic looking, natural floor appearance. For example, some laminate designs are actually photographic images of old historical floors.
  • Inner Core Layer – The inner core is generally made from high-density fiberboard and also used to form the tongue and groove edges for locking laminated planks together. The core is also the base for the photographic image and wear layer.Most manufacturers also saturate the inner core with melamine resins or a water-resistant sealer to help protect the inner core from moisture.
  • Backing Layer – is fused to the Inner Core to add stability and create a barrier that helps protect the planks from moisture and warping. Like the Inner Core the backing is also treated with some sort of water-resistant sealer.

Note: The Inner Core combined with the Backing layer are what really make up the overall thickness of each plank. Planks generally range from 8 mm to 12 mm in thickness. The thicker planks are more rigid and help overcome minor irregularaties in the sub-flooring..

Abrasion Co-efficient (DAMAGE/ SCRATCH) Rating (AC Ratings)

Laminate flooring manufacturers have also adopted a method of scoring the durability of the top layer to help consumers with choosing the right laminate floor for their situation. This is called the AC Ratings. The AC stands for Abrasion Coefficient. The AC Ratings go from AC1 to AC5, with AC5 being the best. Both the in-store samples and laminate flooring cartons should have their AC Rating marked for consumers to see. For very active areas and kid’s play rooms it’s best to choose a laminate floor with an AC Rating of AC3 or greater.

AC Ratings Overview
AC1 – floors with this rating are suitable for low traffic areas, such as bedrooms.
AC2 – floors suitable to low to medium traffic, such as living rooms or dining rooms
AC3 – floors suitable for most areas in homes, including hallways and light commercial
AC4 – any where in the home as well as commercial buildings. For example: an office or store
AC5 – can be used in heavy traffic commercial areas.

Laminate Flooring Installation Systems

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The planks have tongue and grooved edges on all 4 sides to secure the planks together. Today, most laminate floors use some sort of glueless locking system, often referred to as “clic” floors.  Glueless laminate floors can go almost anywhere in the home and are ideal for do-it-yourself projects.

The two main glueless locking systems either involve a tongue and groove that is reinforced from underneath by an aluminum, mechanical locking system or a tongue-and-groove glueless locking system built right into the middle core that allows the planks to snap or clic together during installation.

Some other laminate floors have a tongue that was pre-glued at the factory with a specially formulated, water-resistant glue. Once the tongue is moistened with a wet sponge it activates the glue and locks the planks together. Laminate floors are also offered that require specially formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and groove at the time of the installation to secure the planks to one another.

Laminate Flooring Definitions for some Commonly Used Terms

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  • Backing – is usually a melamine plastic layer used to give additional structural stability and added moisture protection to the planks.
  • Core - generally made from high-density fiber board (HDF), particle board, or plastic, the core adds impact resistance, and forms the tongue and groove locking system. Melamine plastic resins are also impregnated in the core by some of the manufacturers to improve the moisture resistance of the core.
  • Melamine – is a plastic-type resin used throughout the construction process to add durability, and stability to the laminated planks.
  • Print Film – which is also called the decorative layer gives the floor the appearance of a real hardwood or tile. Some manufacturers, have been able to replicate the old wood floors found only in some old historical buildings.
  • Wearlayer – is a tough clear melamine layer with aluminum oxide particles. Using heat and pressure the wearlayer becomes an incredibly hard and durable finish. The resin-filled wearlayer is so dense it becomes extremely difficult to stain, scratch, or burn.
  • Underlayment – is a clear thin plastic sheet that is installed over the substrate before the laminate floor is floated. The plastic sheet helps the laminate floor to float freely above the substrate.



Tips on – Spot Cleaning Laminate Floors

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Posted by admin | Posted in Tips & Advice | Posted on 13-09-2010

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To remove oil, paint, permanent marker, tar, rubber heel marks, use a neutral cleaner on a clean light colored cloth. If needed, use alcohol or a nail polish remover containing acetone. To remove blood, fruit juice, wine, beer, soda pop, pasta sauce, use warm water.

If needed use a neutral cleaner on a light colored cloth. To remove candle wax or chewing gum, first harden with ice and then scrape very gently. Wipe the rest with warm water on a clean light colored cloth.

If your laminate is scratched, see if you can buy a touch up stick from your manufacturer. The area you repair will look, hold up to traffic and wear just like the rest of the laminate floor.

In case of more severe damage, which is unlikely to take place in most of the homes, a trained professional can be called to replace a plank. The new plank should be almost indistinguishable from the rest, if done properly.

How to Clean & Maintain Laminate Flooring

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Posted by admin | Posted in How to | Posted on 13-09-2010

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One of the biggest advantages of laminate floors is that they are made to look good for many years with a minimum of effort. Most laminates come with a 10 to 25 years residential warranty against staining, wearing and fading, depending on the brand. All you really need for cleaning are a vacuum cleaner, a dry mop and a damp towel for more difficult stains. Laminates are built to stand up to wear, but to keep them looking like new, here are a few recommendations.

Be aware that large pieces of sand or rock can cause visible scratching. These are usually easy to catch by having floor mats and foot brushes at outside doorway entrances. Dirt which gets pass the mats and brushes can cause invisible scratching that eventually leads to dullness. So, vacuum and mop regularly to keep grit off the floor. For dry cleaning, vacuuming is usually sufficient. Microfiber pads are also quite effective and, if available, lets you avoid involving fluids. Never clean with abrasives, scouring powder or steel wool.

Damp clean laminate flooring using a vinegar or ammonia-based solution. For example, you can pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into a 30 to 32 ounce empty spray bottle filled with plain water for a quick solution. Then, dampen a terry mop or a Swiffer with water and mop, spraying the floor as you go along. When damp mopping, avoiding standing fluids so you do not saturate the floor. Wipe immediately! Other possible cleaning fluids that have been suggested include:

- vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water (equal parts)
- 1/3 white vinegar, 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 1/3 water, and 3 drops dishwashing liquid (1 quart total)
- Swiffer WetJet wood floor cleaner
- Windex

Is Pergo Laminate Flooring made of Wood?

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Eighty percent of Pergo laminate flooring is composed of wood chips. Pergo uses by-products from spruce and pine trees, and does not use any wood obtained from rain forests or exotic wood.

Tips On – Is Laminate Wood Flooring Toxic?

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Laminate wood flooring is not toxic!!!

The low formaldehyde content of floor releases an insignificant amount of emissions, from .0005 and .0003 parts per million (ppm). Research published in “Building and Environment” in 2002 suggests floor heating may increase the emissions from laminate wood floors. A coat of sealant reduces potential exposure.

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