Laminated board is one of the best flooring for the apartment, using which you can beautifully and neatly decorate the floor without extra costs. It is the combination of excellent quality and affordable cost that has made this finishing material so popular. We will tell you how to choose the right laminate flooring for your home.
Determining the class of laminate flooring
Class of laminate determines its main characteristics: abrasion, resistance to moisture, impact resistance and soundproofing. On sale there are categories 21, 22 and 23, 31, 32 and 33. Unscrupulous companies assign their products a class 34, but rest assured, it does not exist.
Conclusion: Despite this classification, we do not recommend buying laminate flooring below class 31 for your home and apartment. The higher the rating, the longer the coating will last for you. This is especially true for large families with children. In addition, manufacturers often neglect the established standards, due to which the characteristics of the laminate flooring may not actually match the declared class.
What kind of surface protection gives a laminate flooring high durability?
One of the key criteria that are important to consider when choosing a laminate flooring is the type of top protective layer. It depends on the technology used in the manufacture of the finishing material. Types:
Laminate made by this technology is available with an already finished top layer. It is cheap and is usually used for domestic purposes: it is used for laying in the hallway, kitchen, bathroom, living rooms of the house, etc.
High Pressure Laminate (HPL).
The top layer of laminate made by this technology consists of Kraft board and a special protective coating. Its advantages are high strength, resistance to abrasion and the ability to withstand even strong mechanical stress.
Please note! Only two companies offer laminate flooring made with HPL technology – Alloc and Pergo.
Conclusion: For home use, the laminate flooring produced by direct pressing is suitable. However, keep in mind that its service life is 5-7 years, and resistance to mechanical damage and other stress is minimal. If you have young children and pets, then opt for panels made under high pressure, they will last you about 10-12 years.
How to decide on the design of the laminated board?
Despite the demand for laminate flooring, manufacturers offer a limited selection of panels by design. You can easily find coverage that imitates natural wood or parquet, but with the choice of color will be difficult. Beige and brown laminate found in Chinese manufacturers, other shades are difficult to find.
We recommend to pay special attention not only to the color, but also the external embossing of the material. Panels with an embossed pattern look stylish in any interior, in addition, they are very practical, since they do not have stains after washing. Smooth surface occurs only with cheap and not quite high quality brands of laminate.
Conclusion: the choice of design and color is determined only by your preferences and the range offered by manufacturers.
What thickness indicator is suitable for the house?
To choose the right laminate, you need to pay attention to its thickness. On sale there are panels, the thickness of which varies from 5 to 12 mm. The thicker the chosen laminate, the higher its strength, sound absorption and, accordingly, the cost.
Panels with a thickness of 8 to 12 mm are the best choice for your apartment if there are base defects (e.g. unevenness). If you have a heated floor, choose a thin laminate. Unlike thicker panels, it warms up instantly and retains heat longer.
Note: A thin floor can break if you put a large wooden hutch, a metal shelf, or other heavy furniture on it.
Conclusion: Ideally, the thickness of the laminate board should be 8 mm, the compromise solution is 7 mm, less is not recommended. However, it is much easier, cheaper and faster to prepare a quality substrate for laminate rather than overpay for its thickness.
What is the best subfloor for laminate flooring?
The subfloor chosen under the laminate determines the performance of the thermal and sound insulation of your future floor. The main types:
Perfectly retains heat, does not deform over time and does not staple. When choosing a cork underlayment, pay attention to the material from which it is made. To prevent condensation from forming under the laminate, we recommend buying substrates made of rubberized cork or treated with bitumen.
Resistant to high humidity, easy to lay and use, has an affordable price. However, the substrate of polyethylene foam poorly holds shape and begins to sag over time. Another disadvantage is its low thermal insulation, but this problem can easily be solved by laying over a special foil or film.
High heat and sound insulation, ease of laying, resistance to moisture. In modern composite substrates built in a membrane that accumulates water trapped under the laminate. Over time, they do not deform, so they can be installed in rooms with high traffic. The only disadvantage of composite substrates – high cost, but be sure that it pays off in full.
Conclusion: The choice depends only on your financial possibilities. We recommend choosing composite substrates because their performance characteristics are much higher than other substrates. Keep in mind that some manufacturers offer laminate flooring with an already integrated subfloor. A great choice to save money and your time for installation.
Type of connection
Click or Lock?
The type of connection determines the ease and speed with which the laminate flooring can be installed. On sale, you can find panels that are connected by glue or lock method. The first option involves the use of glue, so it is rarely used. We recommend leaving the choice on the laminated board with locking joint (quick step), a huge advantage of which is the possibility of self-laying.
The locking connection is divided into two more types:
Collapsible locks located at an angle of 45°. Their advantage is their extreme simplicity. Firstly, they do not need to be mounted on perfectly flat bases: curvature and misalignment are possible. Secondly, their installation does not require special skills and can be performed independently.
Latch-locks, the advantage of which is their low cost in comparison with the collapsible type. Take into account that the laying of laminate with lock-connection is not possible on a curved base, so the floor must first be carefully leveled.
Conclusion: If you want to save money on installation of laminate flooring and are planning to install it yourself, then choose panels with collapsible locks. In cases where the installation will be carried out by a professional, and the floor in the apartment is perfectly flat, it is better to take an inexpensive laminate with lock-connection.
Labeling that is important to consider
Almost every manufacturer claims that its laminate flooring is an environmentally friendly material. In reality it is not 100% environmentally friendly. Laminate, especially cheap laminate, almost always contains formaldehyde which is dangerous to human health.
The other components used in the manufacture of this material are fairly innocuous. Chipboard (chipboard) consists of waste wood processing, and therefore the “naturalness” of laminate is about 90%.
Conclusion: If it is important to you to choose a material that does not have a negative impact, then look for products marked E1 and E0. It has a high cost, but its formaldehyde content is 3 and 6 times less than E2 and E3 products.
How do you choose laminate flooring for a child’s room, bedroom or kitchen?
In order to choose the right laminate board, be guided by the purpose of the rooms. In some rooms, moisture resistance is important, in others – durability, in others – soundproofing.
We recommend choosing moisture-resistant laminated boards, and you can also seal the seams with sealing mastic during installation. Suitable class of material – 33, since the load on the floor in the kitchen is quite high. Buy laminate with embossing to avoid slipping.
Only water-resistant material, in the manufacture of which PVC boards are used, will be suitable. They do not absorb moisture, since they are made of pressed chips. Some companies offer laminated board with a rubber strip that provides 100% water resistance.
Living room, bedroom and children’s room
Choosing laminated board for living rooms, we recommend taking into account not only the class of use, but also the parameter of noise absorption. On sale you can find panels with an additional soundproofing layer, which would be an excellent choice for children’s rooms.
Because of the constant accumulation of dust and dirt here, the floor needs to be wiped down very often. This is why we recommend choosing laminate flooring with high resistance to moisture. The recommended wear-resistance class is 33.
Conclusion: When buying laminate always be guided by the type of room in which it will be used.
Length and width of laminate boards
The size of the laminate panels determines the appearance of the flooring and the difficulty of the upcoming installation. The smaller the dimensions, the more time it will take to install. There are no standard (typical) sizes, so let’s consider each parameter separately.
Boards of various configurations are available for sale. The width of the laminate varies from 9 to 33 cm, but the most common is the figure of 19 cm. Such panels are easily and quickly mounted on any substrate.
It should be taken into account to ensure optimal material consumption. The less waste, the more economical and better. Manufacturers offer panels, the length of which varies from 30 to 185 cm. The most common figures are from 126 to 138 cm.
Conclusion: It is recommended to choose laminate in running sizes. It is easy to transport, install and, if necessary, cut.