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Your Guide To Laminate Timber Flooring

Last Updated Oct 29, 2013 · Written by Rob Schneider

There was a time when it was easy to decide what type of timber flooring to use in your home. You had only two options: solid timber or timber parquet floors. Then some other options came on the scene and things weren't as simple any more. Terms like "engineered timber floors" and "laminate timber flooring" began making their appearance. What is laminate timber flooring and how is it different?

What is Laminate Timber Flooring?

A laminate is a thin layer of material laminated to a thicker material. In the case of laminate timber flooring,the laminate is a timber look-alike layer of paper. In all, laminate timber flooring consists of four layers:
  1. The base layer is a thin, water-proof film that stabilises the board and adds an extra layer of waterproofing.
  2. The core layer is made of either water-resistant medium density fibreboard (MDF) or high density fibreboard (HDF).
  3. The third layer is the paper image of the design. In laminate timber flooring, this is a highly realistic four colour photograph of actual timber.
  4. The top layer is composed of a mixture of melamine and aluminium oxide.
The four layers are heat sealed together under pressure. The melamine layer impregnates the paper and produces a solid bond with the core layer. At the same time, it gives the surface of the board its polished appearance. The microscopic particles of aluminium oxide within the melamine make the surface of the laminate timber flooring highly scratch and scuff resistant. The end result is a realistic looking "laminate timber" floor that is extremely durable.

Benefits of Laminate Timber Flooring

Why would you choose laminate timber flooring instead of traditional solid timber or engineered timber flooring? There are several good reasons why:
  • Laminate timber flooring is less expensive per square metre than solid or engineered timber. When installation costs are factored in, it is cheaper still and far less expensive than solid timber flooring, which has to be sanded and polished after it is laid.
  • Interlocking laminate timber flooring tiles never shrink, warp or crack.
  • Choose between timber replica or designer colours not available in solid timber or veneer.
  • Extremely durable, you never have to strip and re-polish laminate timber flooring.
  • No precious natural timber resources are used in manufacturing laminate timber flooring.
The quality and price of laminate timber flooring differs, depending the thickness of the core board, whether the core is MDF or HDF, the quality of the top layer and other factors. When you get your quote, ask these questions:
  • How thick is the core?
  • 'What type of core material is used?
  • How scratch and wear-resistant is your product?
  • How long does the product warranty last and what does it cover?
Even if you're a die-hard lover of natural timber, find a laminate flooring supplier in your area and take a look at what they have to offer before you make your final flooring decision. Economical, stylish and beautiful, you may discover that laminate timber flooring is just what you were looking for, but didn't know it.
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