Laminate is an extremely versatile type of flooring and offers a cost effective alternative to wooden floors, which is why it has become such a popular choice amongst homeowners. If you’re considering fitting laminate in your home then it can be good to know exactly how it’s manufactured.
When you have a basic knowledge of how laminate flooring has been made, it enables you to look after it better and assess its performance over the long term. Laminate is manufactured to resemble other flooring types such as hardwood and natural stone, and this is achieved through the different manufacturing processes.
All the Same Underneath
Laminate floors all consist of the same four elements, even if they’re produced in different patterns, textures and designs.
These are a melamine plastic bottom layer that creates stability and protects from moisture. A core board layer is next, which is usually produced using particle board or high-density fibreboard. This enhances the resistance to moisture.
The next stage is the decorative layer that creates the look of the flooring, which is created using a high-resolution photo-reproduction of the natural stone, ceramic tile or wood grain.
This is covered with a durable protective layer that forms a stain resistant surface, providing low maintenance flooring. These layers are bonded together using high-pressurisation to create the laminate flooring that is available.
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The Manufacturing Process
The raw materials are assembled in large sheets and each separate layer can be put on top of each other with extreme precision and accuracy using the latest technology. Digital camera systems and electronic calibrating equipment enable the sheets to be aligned perfectly.
Hydraulic rams are used to generate an enormous pressure onto the layers and temperatures can reach as high as 400oF. Specialist plates are used to produce textured surfaces that give the laminate a more natural finish.
The pressed sheets are then cooled and stored to allow them to acclimatise, which improves their stability. After this they are cut into individual planks and profiled to produce the tongue and grooves that lock them together easily. Laser and electronic cutting systems allow extremely accurate edges to be produced, so that they fit perfectly.
The final step before distribution is the quality check to ensure that the finish, colour, texture, size and interlocking elements are correct.