Laminate flooring was invented in 1977 by the Swedish company Perstorp, and sold under the brand name Pergo. They had been making floor surfaces since 1923. The company first marketed its product to Europe in 1984, and later to the United States in 1994. Perstorp spun off its flooring division as the separate company named Pergo, now a subsidiary of Mohawk Industries. Pergo is the most widely known laminate flooring manufacturer, but the trademark PERGO is not synonymous for all laminate floors.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials.
The First layer is either a medium density fiber board made with saw dust (usually found in the inexpensive marketed products) or made using a high-density fiber board made of white pine fiber which provides more stability as well as a lower propensity of swelling should moister make it to the core board. In addition, a unilin locking system (found in the better grade laminates) provides the industry’s best protection against tropical moisture making its way between the seams.
The higher-grade manufactured laminates are made in one operation which means they are more protective from water absorption at the seams and delamination issues, then impregnated with melamine resin with resin pockets which repel moisture and keep the boards from swelling as well as fight off extreme temperature change. It is also important that the top layer be exactly balanced to the backing layer, thus giving the board the ability to remain extremely flat through high and low humidity conditions. Another factor is reproduction of an authentic wood look, only achieved by using high-definition photos maximizing several different images.
The final step is a multiple step finish process. To protect the high-definition photo, each plank is covered with numerous top coats of a protective layering either armomax, or aluminum oxide depending on the manufacturer, then incased in polyurethane, flashed cured under UV lights. This process increases the hardness in the planks making it more scratch and dent resistant. Another feature is it minimizes color change when exposed to sunlight over time, so the photo will remain crystal clear and uniform.
Laminate flooring has grown significantly in popularity, perhaps because it may be easier to install and maintain than more traditional surfaces such as hardwood flooring. It may also have the advantages of costing less and requiring less skill to install than alternative flooring materials. It is reasonably durable, hygienic (several brands contain an antimicrobial resin), and relatively easy to maintain.
Laminate flooring uses the floating method and depending on the manufacturer several have patents which include waterproofing and locking) resembling a tongue and grove fit, in a glue-less manner and not nailed down to the subfloor. This method can be installed on top of a secure existing hardwood or tile floor without removing the existing floor usually a substantial savings.
How much care does it need? Simple & easy-The floor is low maintenance and easy to care for. Vacuum regularly use an approved laminate floor cleaner.