Laminate flooring has always been a popular option with homeowners due to its wide range of styles, durability and high resistance to moisture. One of the most interesting things about laminate flooring is that it looks and feels similar to real hardwood. High-quality laminate flooring offers a comfortable surface without having to compromise on appearance. And all that at an affordable price! However, unlike parquetry, laminate flooring is not made entirely from real wood. Instead, an engineered wood core layer is wrapped with a decorative layer.
Nonetheless, the availability of different colours and textures makes laminate a preferred choice among homeowners.
Different Types of Laminate Flooring
There are many types of laminate flooring. Each differs in terms of their characteristics, systems, installation processes, and AC rating, which refers to its wear rating.
Unlike hardwood flooring, which is differentiated based on the species from which it came, laminate is categorized based on many factors, including its construction process, thickness and texture. All this information can overwhelm the regular buyer, which is why we are going to break down all the different styles and types of laminate flooring for you.
When you choose laminate flooring, the first thing you need to decide is how you plan to lay it. To do this, you need to properly understand its construction and production process. Laminates are produced based on three main layers. We already mentioned the core layer and the decorative layer; the third is the backing layer.
The core is developed by compressing wood pulp or wood fibres under high pressure. This compression is the reason why laminates are so shock resistant. In fact, the higher the pressure, the greater the durability.
Depending on the pressure applied, laminate can be of two types;
1. High-Pressure Laminate (HPL)
HPL is made under 1000 pounds of pressure, which makes it the perfect choice for areas with a high amount of foot traffic.
2. Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL)
DPL is manufactured under 300-500 pounds of pressure. Even though still highly durable, it is more suited to less-trafficked areas, such as small offices and houses.
Its thickness is one of the primary characteristics that differentiate laminate flooring types. Laminate flooring is measured in millimetres (mm), and a few popular choices include 7 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm and 12 mm.
Wondering how that impacts your choice? Stable subfloors require thinner laminate flooring, while thicker flooring is more suited to a wood subfloor or areas that are slightly uneven. Laminate floors with a thickness between 12 mm and 15 mm seem more like hardwood flooring compared to thinner laminates.
In general, there are six main types depending on the thickness: 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm and 14 mm.
Another reason the thickness is so important is that it helps to determine the amount of space required between the subfloor and the object, such as walls. This is to prevent any obstruction while closing the door and to give the flooring a chance to expand. Also, you need to make sure that your laminate flooring comes with padding. Generally, the thickness mentioned consists of the plank and the padding, unless you get the underlayment separately.
Thanks to advances in technology, laminate flooring is more aesthetically pleasing than ever. It can even be made to resemble real hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring’s various types depend on its texture.
1. Satin/Smooth Finish
This type of texture provides a shiny yet subtle finish to your laminate. The reflective power is there but is not overwhelming.
2. Matte Finish
This is one of the most popular textures. If you want a laminate that resembles hardwood floors, this is the way to go.
3. Hand-Scraped Finish
This is not actually hand-scraped but is made to look like a hand-scraped hardwood floor.
4. Natural Wood Finish
This is another texture that makes the laminate feel a lot like natural wood. This authentic texturing has made it very popular.
5. Soft-Scraped Finish
In order to produce this particular texture, a subtle, timeworn finish is added to it. This type of laminate flooring has a subdued look.
6. Oiled Wood Finish
A rather traditional style of laminate flooring, this type of textured laminate resembles untreated natural wooden floors, making them look like they have been treated with natural oils.
7. High Gloss/Piano Finish
This type of finish is suitable for upscale modern interiors due to their shiny and elegant appearance.
8. Oxide Surface Finish
This metallic finish gives a small amount of shine and is used mostly for modern and chic interiors.
9. Slate/Stone Finish
Yes, this texture resembles a slate or stone-made floor.
Thanks to the edge type, you can understand how each plank of the laminate flooring is cut. Edge type significantly impacts the overall appearance of all planks. Whether they will float seamlessly together or have a defined edge depends a lot on this factor.
The primary types of laminate edges consist of:
1. Square Edge
In a traditional square-edge type, floors are finished with 90° edges, giving it a sleek look with a seamless transition between planks.
In this case, laminate flooring planks have a very subtle rounded corner, or a micro-bevel. These are popular in modern homes.
3. Deep Bevel or V-Groove
Here, each plank is uniquely grooved, with defined edges in the shape of the letter “V.” This type of laminate flooring makes it look like there is only one solid wood plank throughout the entire room.
4. Rolled Bevel
The design and colour of the floor “roll over,” or go beyond the edges, giving each plank a realistic appearance without adding sharp edges.
5. Painted Bevel
The plank edges are painted for a more pronounced appearance.
One of the biggest advantages of laminate flooring is that no hammer or nails are required to install them. They are locked using a glueless method and just need to be placed firmly to make a floating floor. The pattern of this locking system varies between manufacturers but are generally divided into two categories:
1. Tongue and Groove
Laminate flooring with the tongue and groove locking system is the most popular type. In this method, the pieces are interlocked. This is extremely secure, as the placement will not change once installed.
Sometimes laminates with a mechanical locking system are also used. In this method, aluminum-made mechanical locking systems are incorporated from underneath the planks to keep the pieces sticking together.
If you are fond of the solid wood look and are looking for a cost-effective alternative to hardwood flooring, laminate is your best choice. This flooring type is made using raw and recycled wood materials and can last a long time if you choose the right type.