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Laminate Flooring FAQ

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate Flooring is a rigid floor covering with a surface layer consisting of one or thin sheets of a fibrous material as paper which is usually the case , and are also impregnated with amino plastic thermosetting resins (usually Melamine), and are usually either pressed as such (HPL, CPL, Compact), and in the case of HPL or CPL are bonded on a substrate. The product is normally has a backing that is used as balancing material. The performance values are set by the NALFA standard that can be found at their site.

What is an underlayment?

It is any sheet product or roll that are to be installed over the sub-floor surface and under the laminate flooring material.

How does Laminate Flooring compare to other flooring surfaces?

Laminate flooring is typically more durable, and less likely to indent, also has better stain resistance, and is resistant to shrinkage and swelling due to change of seasons, and is considered to be easier to install then most of the other flooring surfaces.

How do I know the laminate flooring is a quality product?

The laminate flooring companies that have the best reputations put their products through tests that fit the NALFA (North American Flooring Association) requirements of certification and thus the quality products will come with a seal of approval showing quality flooring.

I want to install a laminate floor but with kids and pets I am afraid that it might be noisy. How does laminate flooring perform in such environments and is there anything I can do to muffle the noise?

Laminate flooring is not any noisier then other hard flooring and is fits an environment that includes children and pets very well. Whichever choice of underlayment you use will have the biggest impact on reducing noise from people moving about. The retailer or flooring specialist you use will be able to help you find the underlayment that fits the needs of your situation.

Can laminate flooring be installed on walls?

Right now Laminate flooring is only recommended for flooring applications so for any other use look into appropriate building codes and talk to the manufacturer of your product or its website.

Can I install laminate flooring in an unheated space (e.g., garage, cabin, porch)?

The Flooring have to be installed in climatically stable environments so to avoid any temperature swings that are seen in extreme of excessive humidity.

Can laminate floor be installed in a basement?

Laminate flooring generally could be installed in a basement with what is acceptable to the companies recommendations. The retailer you use can provide you more details on how to stay within those recommendations.

Can laminate flooring be installed over a radiant heated floor?

Yes but there are special installation procedures that are needed to be done for radiant heated sub-floors. The installation recommendations of the company providing the product are to be followed strictly to ensure that you have a successful installation.

Can Laminate flooring be installed in a bathroom?

Most companies do offer laminate product to be used in bathrooms but since they are in a high moisture areas there may be special installation procedures that may need to be followed. Please check with the company of the product to get specific information.

What are the standard performance tests utilized by NALFA for laminate floors?

The requirements are but not restricted to: static load, thickness swell, impact resistance, light resistance, cleanability/stain resistance, wear resistance, dimensional tolerances, and castor chair resistance.

Will laminate flooring fade?

Not usually but it is possible that as time passes you may find just a little difference in the flooring. For product specific warranty information, you should refer to the company.

Should I be concerned about heavy furniture or appliances being placed on laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring does provide better indentation and scratch resistance then many of the other types of flooring particularly heavy loads. However, if you use care and common sense should be used when moving heavy objects placed upon flooring.

Why do I need an underlayment?

The reasons they are used are: (1) improve acoustical properties, (2) to smooth out minor sub-floor imperfections, (3) improve insulation properties, (4) reduce walking fatigue, and (5) helping to protect the laminate flooring material from sub-floor moisture.

After taking up old flooring, I wanted to put down laminate. The sub-floor is fairly clean but it still has some of the adhesive that is hard to get up. What can I do to smooth out the surface so the laminate material lies flat?

Using a quality underlayment will help smooth out minor imperfections in the sub floor . Ask your laminate flooring dealer about getting a quality underlayment.

Are all laminate floors installed in basically the same manner?

There can be major differences in the way the floor is installed. Follow the companies specific installation instructions.

Can I install a laminate floor by myself?

There are several laminate products that will be a"do it yourself" installation however a trained professional should install the other laminate products.

Why is an expansion zone needed around the perimeter of a room?

An expansion zone is needed to have the normal movement of the flooring system due to the changes in climate that occur.

Why must a the laminate product be in the room it will be installed in 48 hours prior to installation?

The laminate, underlayment, and glue need to be be used to the conditions of the room in which it will be installed in. Allowing usually 48 for the product to be used to its conditions in the room you are allowing the product to stabilize to its installation environments and minimize dimensional changes.

Can we install laminate over old carpet?

No any old carpets must be removed before installation.

What special considerations may be required for large installations or adjoining rooms?

It depends on room size and layout and what the recommendations are of the manufacturer. transition accessory pieces may also be needed to allow for proper construction of the laminate floor and proper expansion. Please refer to your specific manufacturer or installer for their recommendations.

How will the laminate floor attach or transition to, adjacent areas which have different floor coverings which carpet or vinyl?

To create transitions that are functional and attractive from your laminate floor to adjacent floor coverings that are carpet or vinyl, accessory pieces that are designed for the specific transition are available in matching or coordinating decors and are usually required to complete a more professional-looking installation. Please do refer to your specific manufacturer of your flooring or the recommendations of the installer.

What should I do about an uneven sub-floor?

Using underlayment should help take care of any minor imperfections. Any larger sub-floor irregularities may require patching, filling or other measures that fit the guidelines of your manufacturers instructions that you should read.

Can I glue the laminate to the sub-floor?

Most laminate flooring is installed as a "floating floor". To the extent that any glue that may be used, please refer to your manufacturers instructions.

What are the warranties on laminate product?

The manufacturers of the specific product will provide information on specific warranty details.