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Comparing Different Types of Laminate Flooring.

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013

Types of LaminateAlthough it’s widely believed that laminate floor is just one type of flooring, the truth is that there are different aspects that make up this type of flooring. Lamination simply describes a process – where two or more types of materials are fused together and sealed. Within this overarching process are many types of flooring. Choosing your style – wood, tile or even stone – is just one step. Name your color and choice of grain and you can likely find it in laminate. With this wide range of variety, it’s no wonder that choosing the right laminate flooring can become a bit overwhelming. It helps to break down your flooring into smaller features, so that you can come to an educated decision on which type of flooring best suits your needs. By narrowing down your choices to plank thickness, surface type construction and installation, you can considerably cut down on the many choices available, thus making it easier to come to a final decision.

Laminate flooring thickness

The thickness of laminate flooring is measured in millimeters, and encompasses the entire plank thickness, not just the core. Thus, if a plank has an attached pad/underlayment, that underlayment is factored into the measurement of thickness.

There are various thickness levels to laminate flooring, but the most common (standard) measurements are:

  • 7 millimeter
  • 8 millimeter
  • 10 millimeter
  • 12 millimeter

How can you determine which thickness is right for you? Most installers will say they prefer a thicker plank, because these planks are more forgiving. They can span minor deviations in a subfloor without incurring problems down the road. Also, thicker planks generally offer better acoustics.

One area where people tend to misjudge thicker planks is in durability. While it’s true that a thicker plank can generally withstand damage caused by a dropped object, thickness is not the sole determining factor. The quality of the material in which the plank is made also plays a significant role.

Because thicker planks tend to be more resistant, they also tend to be more expensive. You may want to buy the highest quality flooring available, but economically speaking, there’s no reason to buy “more floor” than you need. Consulting with a floor professional can help you target the right thickness in laminate flooring.

Click Here to view our entire line of Laminate Flooring.

Surface Types of Laminate Flooring

As flooring technology advances, so does your choice in laminate flooring. Nowadays, you have as many options in the surface types of laminate flooring as you do with any other flooring type.

  • Distressed/Hand Scraped – This is one of the newest surface types available in laminate flooring. The distressed/hand scraped look used to be reserved for hardwood. But you can now capture an antique or rustic ambiance with laminate as well.
  • Embossed/Textured – The embossed/textured look helps to add realism to your laminate flooring by infusing grains and marks to each plank. A high-quality embossed surface will look nearly authentic to actual hardwood.
  • Smooth – Similar to the layer of varnish you’d add to hardwood. You can often choose between high, medium, and low gloss finishes. This type of surface often exudes a clean and elegant look.

Construction of Laminate Flooring - Direct Pressure Laminate vs. High Pressure Laminate

As we mentioned before, laminate flooring involves the fusing of various materials. However, not all types of laminate flooring are fused together in the same way. There are two different types of laminate flooring, based on the pressure construction process – direct pressure laminate and high-pressure laminate.

Direct Pressure Laminate is the most widely used process for manufacturers, including Armstrong and Mannington. The laminate is generally manufactured with 300 to 500 PSI. These types of laminates typically have more flexible melamine impregnated decorative sheets, which give manufacturers more freedom in creating realistic patterns and designs.

High Pressure Laminate uses more than 1300 PSI. This results in a thicker decorative layer, superior impact and heat resistance, and better sound reduction. These types of laminates are best used for heavy-traffic commercial uses; however, many homeowners choose high pressure because of its reputation as extremely durable laminate flooring.

The types of laminate flooring installation

There is one more aspect you should consider before choosing your laminate flooring. Laminate can be installed in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Glueless – This is the most widely used method today. Glueless installation come in ceramic and wood designs, in planks and tiles
  • Underlay – Some floors come with an attached underlay (which helps reduce noise levels). These will feature different types of tongue-and-groove locking systems.
  • Pre-glued – This is a no-mess, easy-to-install method, where glue has already been applied to the tongue and grooves.
  • Glued – This style of laminate requires a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas of each plank.

Knowing a bit about the components that make up laminate flooring can help minimize the stress of finding the right product for your project. Before you make your final decision, be sure to factor in all of these components, to ensure you get the right kind of flooring for your space.

Click Here to view our entire line of Laminate Flooring.