Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fibre board materials. Laminate flooring has grown significantly in popularity, perhaps because it is easier to install and maintain than more traditional surfaces such as hardwood flooring. It also has the advantages of costing less and requiring less skill to install than alternative flooring materials. It is reasonably durable, hygienic (several brands contain an antimicrobial resin), and relatively easy to maintain.
It is important to keep laminate clean, as dust, dirt, and sand particles may scratch the surface over time in high-traffic areas. It is also important to keep laminate relatively dry, since sitting water/moisture can cause the planks to swell, warp, etc., though some brands are equipped with water-resistant coatings. Water spills aren’t a problem if they’re wiped up quickly, and not allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time.
Adhesive felt pads are often placed on the feet of furniture on laminate floors to prevent scratching.
It is important to “tap” the planks back together using the appropriate tool as gaps are noticed in order to prevent dirt filling the gaps, thus making it more difficult to put into place.
Quality glue-less laminate floors use joining mechanisms which hold the planks together under constant tension which prevent dirt entering the joints and do not need “tapping” back together periodically.