Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring
product, fused together with a lamination process.
Laminate flooring simulates wood (or stone, in some
cases) with a photographic applique layer under a clear
protective layer. The inner core layer is usually
composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials.
There is sometimes a glue backing for ease of
installation. It has the advantages that it is durable,
as compared with carpet, and attractive, at a lower cost
as compared to natural floor materials.
Laminate floors are reasonably easy for a do-it-yourself
homeowner to install. Laminate flooring are packaged as
a number of tongue and groove planks - these can be
clicked into one another. Installed laminate floors
typically "float" over the sub-floor on top of a
foam/film underlayment, which provides moisture and
sound-reducing properties. Baseboards need to be removed
and then reinstalled before and after laying of the
flooring is complete. Saw cuts on the planks are usually
required at edges, and around closet and door entrances.
It is important to keep laminate clean, as dust, dirt
and sand particles may scratch the decorative 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. Glueless laminate floors may gradually
become separated, creating visible gaps between planks.
It is important to "tap" the planks back together using
the appropriate tool as you notice the gaps, otherwise
dirt will fill the gaps making it difficult to close