The Brothers Behind Laminate Flooring
The early origins of laminate can be traced to Sweden, where it was invented by a pair of enterprising brothers named Robin and Darko Pervan. In 1979, IKEA released the first laminate floors to the public. These products were made by the Swedish company Perstorp under the trade name Pergo and featured a sturdy particleboard core and an interlocking tongue-and-groove system. Darko Pervan later founded his own company, secured patents for locking systems and invented glueless laminate floors.
How Laminate is Made Today
Laminate manufacturing today is much like it was in the past. Of course, today’s flooring manufacturers used the latest techniques and materials to make flooring that is practically unmatched when it comes to durability and versatility. They accomplish this by constructing four-layer planks and tiles from a variety of natural and recycled materials.
Manufacturers that know how to strike the perfect balance with these four layers are able to create flooring that offers high use and aesthetic value. As you shop, look for information from the manufacturer about what they do at each layer of flooring to make their products superior. Remember that laminate is composed of balancing, core, pattern and wear layers.
The balancing layer is the part of the flooring that will come into contact with your subfloor and provides a stable, water-resistant base for the floor as a whole. Thickest of the four, the core layer is comprised of fiberboard or other compressed materials that offer cushion and stability. The pattern layer consists of a paper printed to look like wood, stone, tile or another design. Topping it all off is the wear layer, which protects the flooring from wear and tear.
Manufacturers aim to create the best stability at every level so their floors can earn high AC ratings. These ratings describe the type of traffic for which different products are suitable. Floors rated AC1are ideal for light residential use. AC2 floors are good for standard residential use. AC3 floors are ideal for heavy residential and moderate commercial traffic while AC4 floors can withstand general commercial traffic demands. The most durable floors are rated AC5 and are appropriate for high-traffic commercial applications.
Manufacturers are constantly working to improve laminate’s durability, flexibility and beauty. One of the most exciting laminate brands out there is COREtec. This amazing line from US Floors features cork balancing layers, completely stable and waterproof cores, gorgeous decorative layers and the most durable wear layers available.