Attractively designed, extremely hard-wearing, excellent value for money – these are the qualities for which laminate flooring is generally well-known. But this imaginative floor covering is much more than that. Today’s laminate flooring is a high-tech product, occupying a secure place in the market and available at a price. A good, barand quality laminate flooring is hard to find for less than € 20 per square meter and provides customers with a host of practical features to enhance their living space.
A look at the websites of manufacturers affiliated to the EPLF reveals – as well as features now required as standard, such as glueless fitting systems and footstep sound-proofing – a wealth of technical refinements for potential users which is simply staggering. There are for example laminate floorings with built-in underfloor heating; fast-fit systems, which just click together by means of longitudinal slots, and anti-static finishes, which disperse the body voltage generated when walking over the floor.
By beveling off the edges, joints can be protected against impact and abrasion, while a special glue helps in sealing edges and isolating the interior from moisture ingress. Brand new on the market is a coating which neutralizes pollutants in the atmosphere and absorbs unpleasant odors. And last but not least is moisture-resistant laminate flooring for the bathroom.
Design and technology go hand in hand to great effect with the installation of LED lighting systems into laminate floors – or for cable routing systems which provide an elegant solution to eliminate trailing cables in your space. Interior design of the finest quality.
The traditional method of producing laminate flooring is by coating a core layer in decorative paper and an overlay of melamine resin. Laminate floorings are now also produced using the direct print process, where the decor is printed directly onto the core layer and is then lacquered, thus creating new design options for the look and feel of a floor.
Spotlight on surfaces
The surfaces on offer today for laminate floorings truly defy the bounds of imagination. “Embossed-In-Register” is the byword for a printing process which lends structure and depth to laminate floorings, and the authenticity achieved among wood and stone decors is stunning. The very latest look is “handscraped”, giving the appearance of a floor where each individual floorboard is handcrafted. Floors of exotic woods such as palisander, teak, kambala, makassar, zebra wood and many more can become a reality without a single hardwood tree being felled. Very much in vogue at the moment is tiger wood, a decor with yellow and brown stripes, which looks deceptively similar to tiger skin.
Herringbone and mosaic decors in traditional parquet style create works of art for the floor and yet are easily reproduced with modern printing technology. And there’s only room to make a quick mention here in passing of the broad palette of individual imaginative decors for the retro and industry look. Whether lacquered or traditionally coated with melamine resin, laminate floorings – in a matt or gloss finish – provide any and every type of floor style to blend in with any and every interior design style.
With the formats and patterns available, there's something for everyone. Particularly popular is the farmhouse floorboard look with V-joints throughout, providing a natural floor style of classic beauty, while ship's deck and 2-strip patterns also continue to hold their place in the market. Setting the trend are the new, elegant narrow floorboard styles in approx. 130 mm widths and long plank floorboard styles starting at 1.8 m in length, which are particularly suitable for the commercial property sector. The list of innovations in laminate floorings is bound to get longer still. But for the moment, it’s enough to be going on with. Story to be continued...