Here at Floor Coverings International of Jupiter and West Palm Beach, we realize that there is a vast variety of material and style options to choose from when you’re picking new flooring, and that sometimes that dazzling array of choices can be overwhelming. We’re here to help you learn as much as possible, so you can make the choice that’s best for your needs. As such, we’ve written this post to help you get a more in depth look at one of our many flooring options: Laminate Flooring.

What is Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a floor covering made from synthetic materials such as fiber board and melamine resin, as well as recycled wood byproducts, that are combined and fused through a high pressure lamination process. Laminate mimics the look of other flooring products (typically hardwood, but also stone) through the use of a photographic print applique, patterned with the desired finish and pressed under the wear layer. As it was only introduced in the United States in the 90’s, Laminate has surged in popularity in recent years, due to its cost effectiveness and easy installation. Laminate originally was glued down to the subfloor, but now is commonly installed as a floating floor. This means that the boards are held in place via a tongue and groove method, making for a much easier installation process. Laminate has tons of other advantages as well. It is comparatively durable to hardwood and contains antimicrobial resin, so it’s great for people with allergies. It is also a green flooring option, with laminate flooring qualifying for LEED certification.

The History of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring originated in Sweden and was invented by a company called Perstorp in 1977. It was branded as ‘Pergo’ and was introduced across Europe in 1984. It was finally marketed to the United States a decade later in 1994, where it quickly gained popularity. In 1996 and 1997 two companies developed a system for glueless laminate flooring, Välinge Aluminium (now Välinge Innovation) in Sweden and Unilin in Belgium. The two companies have since faced lengthy legal battles as they duke it out for the rights to the tongue and groove installation. Today the vast majority of glueless flooring is made with a license from one or both of these companies.

The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA)

One of the great things about laminate is that there are consumer advocates who monitor the quality of laminate products. In North America these people formed the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) in 1997 to set and regulate industry standards. NALFA is an ANSI accredited trade association, made up of laminate flooring manufacturers and suppliers across North America. The NALFA Certification Seal is applied to laminate products that meet 10 rigorous standards, including resistance to light, water, pressure, and abrasion, amongst other things. This ensures that any laminate flooring installed by Floor Coverings International of Jupiter is third-party verified to be of the highest quality.

Care of Laminate Flooring

In general the care of laminate flooring is the same as the care of hardwood flooring, and following the same rules as if they were hardwood will get you the best results. This means frequent cleaning to ensure that dust, dirt, and grit don’t build up and scratch the surface like sandpaper. Also like hardwood, laminate is not meant to tolerate standing water, so while a small spill won’t hurt if you clean it up right away, submersion will warp laminate. Make sure to use pads and gliders on your furniture to prevent scratches and scrapes and consider runners and area rugs in high traffic areas, just like hardwood. Unlike hardwood flooring though, laminate cannot be refinished, so if the floor gets damaged, the whole damaged plank must be replaced. Luckily, with the glueless installation process, this is a much simpler task than it used to be. Whether or not you choose to go with laminate, we hope you choose Floor Coverings International of Jupiter and Palm Beach for your next flooring journey!