How to choose a laminate?


  1. What is a laminate?
  2. What does laminate consist of?
  • Layered structure of laminate flooring
  • Additional layers and other features
  • Classes of laminate
    • Household laminate
    • Commercial laminate
    • Premium laminate flooring, for production premises
  • Advantages of laminate
  • Lacks of laminate
  • Water resistance of laminated floor panels
  • What laminate to buy: advice on choosing in view of operating conditions?
  • What is a laminate?


    Of the many types of flooring, laminate is one of the most popular decorative flooring in the market. This is due to the fact that the material has practicality in use, attractive appearance and a variety of colors and textures, attractive value, which is several times lower than parquet sexes. In addition, laminated floors can be laid with their own hands, as the simplicity of the connection design makes it easy to mount panels on the floor surface.

    The modern laminate surpasses at times the parquet board for durability, since some of its samples with high strength are practically inferior in properties to more expensive parquet coatings. Previously, the laminate was called - "laminated parquet". Of course, the parquet board has a large

    service life, but the high cost, the complexity of laying and the inability to do it yourself can not be attributed to the budgetary floor covering. Laminate flooring also allows you to get a finely finished floor with a minimal budget.

    The pioneer in the implementation of laminated panels is the Swedish company PERSTORF, which undertook to promote products in the construction market. The specialists of the enterprise decided to use laminated panels for kitchen sets, as a floor covering and did not lose out. The new material was a great success, and quite quickly the company entered the international level. This happened in 1977, and after almost thirty years the laminate has become more perfect and diverse. Modern production technologies and the use of the newest materials give an excellent finishing floor covering.

    The name laminate comes from the English word "laminate which means "material from layers". This is because the panels areseveral layers, which provide adequate strength and attractiveness. This finishing material is a panel thickness of 7-12 mm, a width of about 20-25 cm and a length of 1 to 2.5 meters. Laminated panels are not made from a single piece of wood and consist of more of artificial materials. This does not mean that the ecological safety of a laminate floor is worse than that of a natural parquet board.


    To better understand the properties and capabilities of this flooring, let's look at the design of its panels.

    What does laminate consist of?

    Layered structure of laminate flooring

    • The first layer- the most important layer, which is called "overlay" in another way and provides stability of the laminate to abrasion surface, chemical agents, protection from moisture, resists pollution and direct sunlight rays. This barrier of protection provides a special film of acrylic or melamine resin. The protective film can have several layers, which gives greater strength and stability of the surface to external influences.
    • Second layer- the next layer is decorative, that is, it is a picture or texture simulating a natural tree or other similar material. This layer is also important, because it determines the choice of colors and design of a laminate of different manufacturers. As a rule, this layer of special paper, imitating a tree of different breeds and textures, but it is not necessary. The surface can be made under a tile or a stone surface, also there are other colors, for example a monophonic white or any other color.
    • Third layer- this layer is the main, that is, the carrier, which determines the durability of the laminated panels, the resistance to bending and resistance to impacts. The main layer is a wood plate made of fiberboard or chipboard, which have an increased density to effectively resist not only physical impacts, but also penetration of moisture. In addition, this layer determines the thickness of the panel, which oscillates about 7-12 mm.
    • Fourth layer- and finally, the last layer of laminate flooring is an interlayer of resin impregnated with special resin. It protects the inner surface of the wood "third" layer from penetration of moisture and deformation of the geometry of the entire plate, which can occur when the humidity level and temperature fluctuation change.

    Additional layers and other features

    In addition to these layers, producers can use additional layers toimprove propertieslaminate flooring. To increase strength, a layer of aluminum dioxide or corundum microparticles can be added. Antistatic is added to repel dust from the floor surface, which is very useful for people who do not often wet the room. Also, the panels can be pressed in such a way as to adopt an appropriate structure of the decorative surface.

    All layers are connected by one of two technologies. This technology is high (HDL) and low (DLP) pressure. In the case of HDL, the first several layers of films and the decorative layer are combined under the influence of high temperature and pressure of the press, then pressing occurs with the main and back part of the panel. With DLP, the first two layers and the base layer with the back coating are pressed into one stage.


    The most commontype of connection of laminate panelsamong themselves islock system, which allows them to be reliably attached to each other. There is also an adhesive type of connection, but it is no longer used in modern locking systems. Each manufacturer tries to use its own panel connection system, but the idea of ​​implementation is common, so the choice will fall on the manufacturer that is more like it.

    Classes of laminate

    Each brand of laminate has a certain set of characteristics of resistance to external influences, according to which the class of use is assigned. This class is assigned after 18 tests. There are the following classes of laminate flooring according to EN13329 (EN13329 - European standard, which began to operate from 1.02.1999. Previously, another rule was usedEN 438.) and they are denoted by two-digit numbers: these are: 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43.

    1. First digitEach class indicates the type of room for which this flooring is intended.
    2. The second figureindicates the possible level of intensity of operation.
    • The first group with the initial number 2is intendedfor premises of residential character, where the intensity of physical impact on the surface is not so high.
    • The second group with the number 3means that this type of floor covering is intendedfor office and commercial premises, where the intensity of loads on the floor surface is much higher, so this class shows a more durable and durable floor covering.
    • Third group with number 4means that this type of floor covering is intendedfor industrial premises.

    Household laminate

    Classes of laminate coating 21, 22, 23They are designed for rooms with low load intensity on the floor surface. The life of this coating is about 3-5 years. The primary classes are perfect for a bedroom or a basement. The cost of such laminate ranges from 10 cu. Most manufacturing companies have already withdrawn from the production of this class.

    Commercial laminate

    Nextclass group 31, 32, 33, 34, 35has greater wear resistance and is used in rooms with intensive physical impact on the floor in office and other crowded places. Also, he gained great popularity in the household sphere, which is why most companies stopped producing laminated panels of 21, 22 and 23 classes. Of course, the cost of such a floor will cost twice as much, about 20 cu. The period of use of the latter is also two times higher.

    Premium laminate flooring, for production premises

    Laminate premium class 41, 42 and 43 is not so widely distributed and is produced by special order. An example of its use can be seen at Sheremetyevo airport, there are 42 classes laid.

    Advantages of laminate

    Choosing this floor covering user is guided by its main advantages, the most important of which are its practicality. You will need a minimum of effort to look after him. On a laminated coating of high strength classthere are no scratches and dents, which can be formed from the wheels of furniture, women's shoes with pins or other similar method. And even if a heavy object falls to the surface, then there will be no traces.

    Another positive feature that will incline the hour of the scale in favor of the laminate is its waterproof coating, which does not harm the environment environmentally. This is very important for people alergikov, sensitive to non-natural materials. The material is perfectsafe and environmentally friendly. In addition, the coating is resistant to high temperatures, so even the ash from the stub or the outgoing heat from the heater, falling on the laminate floor, will not harm it.

    Another useful property isresistance to chemicals, which can be accidentally spilled onto the surface of the laminate flooring. It can be paint or nail polish. It is enough to remove the formed dirt or stain with acetone without harm to the external and decorative layer, stains or abrasions from the corrosive solvent will not remain. This coating does not require special care, as it is necessary for the use of parquet. And probablymain advantageThis is the availability of laminate in terms of cost and ease of laying, which can be done independently.

    Lacks of laminate

    Particular attention when buying laminated panels for your floor should be given to the edges, that is, the locking systems that connect the panels together. Some little-known manufacturers do not approach responsibly to this issue. As a result of violations of the technology of production of laminate panels for flooring,The elements of the joints can be brittle, which will lead to disconnection of the panels during the operation phase. The best way to protect yourself from such moments is to purchase products of well-known manufacturers that have positively proven themselves in the market of building and finishing materials. For example,Perstort Flooring (Sweden), KAINDL (Austria) or Witex (Germany)have excellent quality and will not let down their users.

    The next negative point isfragility of the laminate. As you already know the low class of panels, has a service life of about 7 years, and the class above can have 20 years. This is not a long time for flooring, as high-quality parquet will last two to three times longer. It should be understood that if the flooring is used more intensively, the durability period will significantly decrease and will be 3-10 years depending on the class. It is impossible to recite the laminate floor, as it happens with a parquet board, so if one of the panels is damaged, it will be completely replaced. Consider this and get a floor covering with a margin for such cases.

    Another negative feature of the laminate is itsresonant property, makes a loud sound when an object falls on it. This is due to the use of fiberboard and chipboard as the basis of the panels. They amplify the sound by falling or hitting the surface. In addition, the laminated floor consists of more of artificial materials, so for connoisseurs of natural interior decoration of wood, this option does not work.

    Water resistance of laminated floor panels

    Although, as mentioned above, the laminate has good resistance to water, thanks to the protective first layer, yetwhen moisture gets under the paneleven the most resistant laminated surfacecan deform. The basis of the panels of fiberboard and chipboard is a particle board that absorbs moisture well, despite special water-repellent additives. Therefore, prolonged exposure to moisture leads to deformation of products from these materials.

    The protective layer allows wet cleaning using chemical detergents. Long stay laminate under the influence of moisture can adversely affect it. There will be deformation and damage to the floor covering. It is allowed not for a long time to find panels in water - this is about 4 hours. If the floor was wet during this time or even less, it should be well wiped it, and it is better to remove and completely dry it.

    What laminate to buy: advice on choosing in view of operating conditions?

    At first, determine for which room the cover will be used. To do this, understand the purpose of the classes that were described above.Consider the load, which will be applied to the flooring - it can be furniture, the intensity of walking, that is, if this office, it will naturally require more resistant to abrasion from intense walking on it shoes. Pay attention to the thickness of the panels, the larger it is, the stronger and more stable will be the surface of the floor, but the cost is naturally higher.

    At purchase specify at the sellerthe value of the "Taber Test", which indicates the level of abrasion of the laminate. This test shows the number of revolutions when grinding its surface, which is required for the appearance of an abrasion defect.

    • For class 21, 22, 23this figure is about 11 thousand. revolutions,
    • and for 31, 32, 33 classes the value reaches 20 thousand. revolutions.

    From this you can judge how durable and durable your floor covering will be. The type of panel connection is also very important, although the lock design is present in any modern laminate, You should choose well-known manufacturers with a good reputation, if you want the floor to be used long.

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