Laminate Flooring F.A.Q’s
- What is the difference between laminate & hardwood flooring?
- Where can I install laminate wood flooring?
- What do I need to know before I start installing my laminate floor?
- Will there be any cutting waste?
- What is the reason for the necessary 10mm gap left around the perimeter?
- What is HDF and what is it made of?
- Can laminate flooring be installed in my screened in porch or patio?
- Can we install laminate over carpet?
- What is the difference between a brown core and a green core in laminate flooring?
- What is a laminate flooring AC rating?
What is the difference between laminate & hardwood flooring?
Easy to Clean Both laminated floors and hardwood floors can beautify a home. While hardwood is often thought to be a superior choice, there are several advantages to laminate flooring.
Distinct differences between the two types of flooring often make laminate a more attractive alternative. Solid hardwood of any thickness (most is 3/8″ to 3/4″) should be installed only above grade. Laminate flooring can be installed above or below grade, and over virtually any other flooring surface. Some hardwood flooring is engineered, meaning that instead of solid hardwood, it is made of several wood layers with a hardwood veneer. Laminate flooring, usually 7mm to 8mm (5/16″ to 3/8″), is also made of several layers. These are laminated together which makes for stability and strength. The top surface of laminate flooring is a photograph of hardwood.
High quality photographs faithfully reproduce the grain and colour of natural hardwood, and the surfaces on quality laminate flooring closely resemble real wood. Although many people insist on hardwood flooring, laminates are a long-lasting, durable, affordable option that are quickly becoming one of the most popular types of flooring.
Where can I install laminate wood flooring?
Laminate flooring is an extremely versatile flooring product. It can be installed in virtually any room of your home, above or below ground, over wood or concrete. There are several locations that are not recommended for laminate flooring.
Because laminate flooring is a wood flooring product it is not recommended that laminates be installed in wet locations such as bathrooms, washrooms, saunas, enclosed porches or verandas, or anywhere that may require wet-mopping. Extended exposure to moisture of this type may cause the core of your laminate flooring to warp or swell. In some instances, with special installation procedures, it is possible to install laminate floors in bathrooms where water will not stand on the floor for any length of time.
For bathroom installations, it is recommended you apply a light bead of glue to the tongue on the planks to be used in the areas subject to spills. Also, ensure that all spills are mopped up and dried promptly.
What do I need to know before I start installing my laminate floor?
There are several things to consider before you begin to install a laminate floor. Careful preparation before beginning will make installing your laminate floor a quick and easy process.
A few points to consider:
- Ensure that your subfloor is flat, dry, and smooth.
- Always use underlay under your laminate floor for soundproofing.
- Laminate flooring and underlay/vapor barrier can be installed over concrete, wood flooring, vinyl tile, linoleum, tile, or virtually any other hard, flat surface.
- Take extra care when installing laminate flooring over under floor heating. Ensure that you read both the laminate flooring and under floor heating system instructions carefully before beginning.
Will there be any cutting waste?
In an average installation, approximately 7% to 10% of the total area to be covered will be wasted for several reasons, typically cuts, planks damaged during installation, or errors.
What is the reason for the necessary 10mm gap left around the perimeter?
Because laminate flooring is derived from wood, it is subject to expansion caused by room temperatures and humidity levels. An expansion gap is a necessary part of any successful installation because it allows space for the expansion of the floor as it responds to these external influences of temperature and humidity. When it is exposed to warmer temperatures, or to increased humidity, laminate flooring planks expand outward. Leaving out the essential element of an outside gap can cause the buckling of the individual laminate flooring planks as the planks push outward against walls or other obstacles.
What is HDF and what is it made of?
High density fiberboard, HDF, is basically a high-density, moisture-resistant fiber panel. It is made of wood residues (sawdust, shavings and wood chips) from wood processing factories. This ligneous material is ground into a pulp to which a melamine-urea-formaldehyde resin is added. This pulp is then dried and pressed into panels.
Can laminate flooring be installed in my screened in porch or patio?
No, laminate flooring must be installed in a climate-controlled area. Moisture will damage laminated floors.
Can we install laminate over carpet?
No, all carpet and padding should be removed completely prior to installation.
What is the difference between a brown core and a green core in laminate flooring?
The cores are the same. The green product is a result of a coloring agent added to the adhesive in the manufacturing of the High Density Fiberboard (HDF) core in response to general market preference.
What is a laminate flooring AC rating?
AC hardness ratings are a standardized measure adopted by The Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (ELPF) . The AC measure rates abrasion resistance, impact resistance, resistance to staining and cigarette burns, and thickness swelling along edges. If a laminate flooring cannot meet the requirements for each of these ratings, approval for a given AC rating will be denied.
All laminate flooring distributed by Mat Floors has a minimum punishment class of 23 for residential use (heavy) and 31 for commercial use (moderate), or an AC3 rating. AC ratings 4 and 5 are equally suitable for residential use as AC3 but somewhat more suitable for high traffic commercial applications. AC ratings below 3 are recommended for low traffic residential use only. Here is a more detailed guide:
- AC1 is suitable for lighter, more infrequent traffic, e.g. a bedroom.
- AC2 is suitable for general residential use in living rooms and dining rooms.
- AC3 can be applied to more varied locations, such as small offices and other light commercial location
- AC4 can be installed in higher traffic commercial areas such as boutiques, busier offices, and restaurant
- AC5 is more durable still and can withstand the traffic of heavier commercial areas such as department stores and public buildings.