Did you know?

The term Laminated Flooring as known in South Africa refers to the European type of laminated floors. In America the same term usually refers to engineered wooden flooring, which consists of a number of plys, the topmost of which is usually 3mm thick and commonly made from oak, maple or cherry.

This type of wooden flooring is often used in place of solid hardwood flooring as it is more stable. Solid hardwood floors are more prone to surface scratching, and if necessary can have the surface sanded and re-polished. These floors can last for many years, and are often preferred simply because they are real wood.

If your main concern is heavy traffic such as children and pets, there is nothing to beat a laminated floor. Laminate flooring usually comes with a 10 to 15 year warranty, but will eventually need replacing. A solid wooden floor can last for centuries.

Laminated floor are rated according to standards developed by the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF).

This AC Rating is based on a series of tests that are carried out on various laminated floorings to see how well they cope with specific conditions.

These quality control checks take in area’s such as the flooring’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains and burns, the consequences of furniture marks, and swelling damage along the edges. The lowest possible rating is for a laminated floor is AC1 and the highest AC5. When a floor laminate is tested, if it even fails just one test, then it does not get rated.

AC1 rated laminated floors are suitable only for rooms where there is little or no “traffic”, such as spare bedrooms, AC2 for general residential use such as bedrooms and living rooms, AC3 for heavy home traffic such as hallways and home office, AC4 for offices and shops, and AC5 for heavier commercial use such as public buildings.

Most people have been into a room that has a badly installed floor – as you walk around the floor creaks and groans, and the sound of your footsteps reverberates around the room, bouncing off the walls and ceiling. If the room is empty of furniture such as a gymnasium, the sounds are amplified even more.

Any noise that is produced when you walk around on a laminate floor is amplified by the substrate. So how do we baffle this noise? The secret lies in the substrate, and in choosing a substrate that is made of a material designed to muffle the sounds that have originated in the flooring. The best materials to use are cork, foam rubber and rubber.

Expanded polystyrene would also be an excellent material were it not for the fact that it loses its shape easily when under pressure. In most cases the substrate is laid down before the laminated flooring, although some laminate floors actually have a thin layer of cork bonded to their lower surface.

It is easily possible for an average sized living room to have a laminated floor installed in just a single day when it is installed by a professional team.

The most difficult problem encountered when installing laminated flooring is usually the preparation of the floor above which the laminated boards are to be placed.

This is especially so when the previous floor was a fitted carpet. The old carpet and underlay have to pulled up, tack strips must be removed, and the substrate prepared. Only when it is clean and as level as possible can the new underlay be laid down and the laminate flooring installed. If you’re considering the installation of laminated flooring yourself as a DIY enthusiast, consider this. Laminated floors are the easiest type of flooring to install. They are easier than hardwood floors, parquet floors and tiles to install. Most laminated floors just click into place.

Do carry out some research beforehand and do read the instructions that come with the flooring.

Laminate flooring has become a popular choice for many homeowners due to its ability to closely emulate today's most popular hard surfaces, especially hardwood planks and tiles.Besides the great textures and designs, laminate flooring offers improved durability, easier maintenance andaffordability compared to other types of hard surfaces floors.

These floors are extremely resistant to wear, stains and sunlight fading. The beautifully rich textured finishes make these floors a great alternative for most areas in the home. Specially engineered with layered construction, laminate flooring can be installed almost anywhere in the home including over dry concrete slabs, wooden subfloors and many types of existing floor coverings.

Once installed, taking care of a laminated floor needs little effort and is quite easy. If you clean the laminate on a regular basis it can stay looking as though it has just been installed for years to come.

Brush over the surface with a soft broom or a slightly damp mop – never a wet mop! Special cleaning pads with replaceable heads that attract the dust are available in South Africa.

Once you have brushed, simply vacuum around the edges of the room to gather up the dust remaining there. Avoid soaps and detergents and don’t get the edges of the boards wet – moisture could get into the boards, causing them to swell. For removing stains, use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. Try using lemon juice or vinegar mixed with water.

Always try out a new cleaning product on a part of the laminate flooring that is out of sight, such as behind a door or under the fridge. Lastly, never ever use sandpaper, scouring powder or steel wool on the laminate floor, and never try to lacquer it.