Laminate flooring is constructed of three main components, as follows:
- The surface of the floor is a high pressure laminate material similar to many countertops but at least ten times more durable. The flooring’s protective, top wear layer contains aluminum oxide particles which form an extremely hard, durable surface.
- The carrier or core layer to which the surface is bonded is made of 50-55 pound high density fiberboard. This wood-based material is precision machined into a tongue-and-groove design which allows the flooring to be tightly bonded together with flooring glue.
- The backer or bottom layer of the floor is also made of laminate to help balance the flooring and add strength.
Product testing has found laminate flooring to have the following characteristics:
- Structural integrity
- Dent resistance
- Impact resistance
- Water resistance
- Scuff and scratch resistance – chemical and stain resistance
- Flame resistance (ASTM-E-84, E662)
- Seam strength
- Slip resistance
Many laminate floors are designed to be a floating floor which means it is not nailed or glued to the sub-floor. This allows laminate flooring to be installed over most existing flooring materials (sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, wood, ceramic, etc.) which saves time, labor and money. A floating floor is also more forgiving of sub-floor imperfections.