Laminate flooring is high-tech Focus on digital printing and fold-down systems
17 June 2010
Attractive design, great durability and quick to lay are features that everyone now associates with laminate flooring. But this unique floor covering has a lot more to offer. Laminate flooring is a high-tech product that is increasingly winning over project planners and architects as well as the landlords and private home owners you would expect to use it.
The focus is now on innovative improvements to laying systems but also the flooring's surface. Thanks to modern digital and porous synchronous printing, virtually any fancy décor is possible. Moreover, new developments in overlay technology help to optimise both the look and durability of the flooring.
While it may still be a little unusual for you to find Mona Lisa, Picasso and Marc Aurel on laminate flooring, it's certainly no longer exceptional. Digital printing is on the upswing in the laminate flooring industry. The industry's trade fairs have featured a wealth of innovative décors that don't just look great in commercial buildings. Not all European manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon but the trend seems unstoppable.
Developments within porous synchronous printing are no less exciting. Wooden décors produced with this innovative printing technology deliver impressive authenticity. The knots and pores of the chosen wood can be traced perfectly and lend structure and depth to the surface. Real or fake V-bevels emphasize this impression. Cutting edge is the so-called “hand scraped look”, which makes the flooring look like it has been hand finished.
Overlay is the icing on the cake. Tiny changes in the composition of varnishes and resins are producing new looks and levels of gloss all the time. Never before has the range of overlay options been so vast. High-gloss or ultra-matt looks, which are not easy to produce, are all the rage amongst laminate floors at the moment.
Overlay is also crucial to the floor's production when it comes down to resistance to scratches and anti-static. But we do need to fully understand that these extra features come at a cost and not all consumers are prepared to pay this. But with this feature the European laminate flooring industry can further upgrade its product quality, which has been advanced already, and thus outdistance the competition.
Laminate flooring in the bathroom
Laminate flooring is a high-tech product with an answer to all technical questions. It's even now used in bathrooms. Cores made of glued wood or plastic which hardly swell at all and special edge machining have made these floors acceptable for such purposes. Some European manufacturers have a separate range of moisture-resistant laminate floorings for wet rooms.
Laminate flooring is quick and reliable to lay thanks to the modern fold-down systems which simply have to be laid against one another along the longitudinal groove. There is no need for any tools, ruling out potential damage to the floor's surface. A large number of manufacturers have also developed some great extras for laying which make the job of laying floor boards even faster and more reliable.
Everyone can find a format and pattern to their liking. The rustic board with its circular V-groove and classically attractive look is very popular. But plank and 2-strip designs still have a place on the market. New, elegant narrow boards (around 130 mm wide) and long boards (lengths from 1.80 m) are proving to be real trendsetters.
Design and technology go hand in hand when you see how effectively LED light systems are fitted in laminate flooring or how elegantly cable run systems can hide away all those cables lying round the room. Skirting boards coloured to match or contrast with the floor are the final element of the product range and make a powerful statement. This really is interior design at its best.
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