Flooring 101: Advanced Manufacturing for a More Beautiful Laminate Floor
Wide plank laminate flooring has been in the industry since 1977, but it was not introduced in the United States until around 1984. Since that time, it has become a mass produced staple resting on the shelves of your local big box store, where price is king, and consumers may be choosing the least expensive floor without realizing the aesthetic and long term risks of a low cost, low quality floor. So what should you look for in a laminate floor to establish some measure of quality, the following information will give you some guidelines.
The aesthetics of your laminate floor is going to depend on two things, the laminate layer on top and the dimensions of the boards. So lets talk about what each of those items actually means.
Despite the fact that laminate flooring is made to look like solid wood flooring, it is anything but solid. Wide plank laminate is made from an underlayment, core, and the thin top layer which provides the aesthetics of the floor. This top layer is actually made from a photo of flooring, rather than flooring itself.
As you might imagine, when you make a floor using this type of top layer, it can look very one dimensional and lack authenticity. But one of the ways that you can create a very authentic look is with a process called “embossed in register”.
This is a very advanced manufacturing process so that when the flooring is manufactured, the top layer is impressed with a texture which aligns with the underlying visual of the wood grain. This gives the flooring a three dimensional appearance, and a deeply rich texture.
This is extremely rare in the world of laminate flooring due to the extra time, manufacturing processes, and costs associated with this look.
Given the fact that laminate flooring is essentially a photograph, you must be concerned with the quality of the material, and finish used on the flooring. As with photography, it can fade and discover. Consumers should verify the specifications for the laminate floor to make sure it is manufactured and finished in such a way to make it fade resistant. And, since photography can stain and scratch very easily, make sure the flooring is stain and scratch resistant so you can enjoy the beautiful appearance for many days to come.
In addition to the beauty of the flooring itself, consumers should pay careful attention to the dimensions of the plank. Laminate flooring is mass produced, and the dimensions of the boards are often very narrow and short. Although the boards you install may be several inches wide, you will notice the top of the board is actually several boards.
The alternative to this is actual wide plank laminate flooring where every piece you install actually resembles a flooring board. You can find wide plank laminate flooring lkike this in the Torlys Largo collection flooring is 8 1/16″ wide and 80″ 11/16 long.