The North American Laminate Flooring Association is an association of manufacturers and suppliers of laminate flooring. The association is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The NALFA develops voluntary consensus standards for laminate flooring materials. These standards include criteria for the thickness and resistance to static load of laminate flooring. Also, the NALFA has established tests for laminate flooring that are based on scientific evidence.
A typical laminate floor consists of two layers, the photographic layer and the pattern layer. The photographic layer is composed of multiple sheets of paper bonded together with a melamine resin. This layer features realistic colors and pearl-sheen ink to create a more authentic look. The pattern layer begins with a large photograph of wood grain, segmented into the dimensions of the desired laminate plank. Alternatively, a single photograph may be used for many planks. Finally, a protective top layer is applied, usually an aluminum oxide clear coat, to prevent moisture penetration.
Today, most laminate is nontoxic, but there are still a few things to keep in mind. If you’re concerned about the environment, you may want to choose laminate that is certified as low-VOC. This is a good idea for kitchens and other high-moisture rooms, but it is not the best choice for bathrooms.
Another benefit of laminate flooring is that it’s waterproof, a great feature for homes with young children and pets. However, it’s important to note that laminate is not suitable for aging dogs or young children learning to walk. If you are worried about your children or pets walking on it, you may want to consider another option, such as cork flooring.
Another advantage of laminate flooring is that it’s easy to maintain. Its wear layer resists stains and is very difficult to gouge. Unlike most other types of flooring, laminate is scratch resistant. You can even polish it by rubbing a small sandpaper on it to remove any stains or fingerprints.
When installing laminate flooring, you’ll need to take some time to let the new material acclimate to your room. This requires at least 48 hours or more in the home to allow it to expand properly. Make sure to set your room’s temperature to normal for the material to be safe. This can make the entire installation process easier and less costly.
A proper installation of laminate flooring will minimize the risk of gaps and peaking. This is caused when two boards are too far apart from each other. To avoid this problem, you should also make sure to prepare the subfloor with a solid surface. Then, you can install a felt or foam underlayment to prevent the laminate from damaging the subfloor.
Another advantage of laminate flooring is its environmental benefits. The materials used in the core of the product are made from mainly organic materials, with a small percentage of synthetic material in the wear layer. As such, laminate flooring is recyclable.