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About Laminate



Construction Laminate flooring has four layers: a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer and a backing layer.
Wear layer – clear top layer that protects the floor from stains and fading
Design layer – a photographic image of wood, stone, brick or ceramic
Inner core – plastic resin that keeps the laminate stable and flat
Backing – creates a moisture barrier that protects the floor from warping This layered construction makes laminate floors remarkably durable.


Embossing in Register (EIR) Embossing in register is a manufacturing technique we use to create a grain consistent with the photographic image on the laminate board. Benefits of EIR • Intensifies depth, texture and natural look of the floor • Accentuates the design; especially when light is reflected off the surface • Allows for micro-grout lines and precise detailing


 Look It’s all there: the subtle color variations, the distinctive grain, the authentic texture. Laminate flooring captures the beauty and design of the finest natural hardwood, ceramic, and stone at a fraction of the price.


 Color Available in an exciting palette of colors, you are guaranteed to find a laminate floor in the color you’re looking for.


 Width Laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of sizes, depending on the look you choose. Most wood look planks are 4 inches or wider while ceramic tile looks range between 12 and 15 inches. Keep in mind that the width of individual boards can have a dramatic influence on the look of a floor. Wide widths can complement a large room, but can sometimes overwhelm a small area. Select the look that harmonizes with the style and architecture of your home.


 Gloss Do you prefer a fine finish (high gloss) or matte (low-gloss) look? Choose whatever look fits your décor or personal taste best. Either way, the gloss level of laminate flooring has very little effect on durability or performance. Low-gloss floors may hide the appearance of minor surface scratches slightly better than higher gloss floors.


 Room There are absolutely no restrictions to where laminate can be installed. From basements and bathrooms to dens and kitchens, laminate flooring works superbly in any area of your home. Whatever room(s) you choose, you can feel confident about Armstrong laminate performance. It will retain its beauty even in high-traffic areas and through normal changes in temperature, light and humidity levels.


 Kids, Pets and DurabilityIts multilayer construction makes Armstrong Laminate unsurpassed for wear and stain resistance, able to handle the heavy traffic of active children and pets. Armstrong laminate is available in a range of performance levels, including some that are rated for commercial use.




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Moisture and Temperature

A laminate floor is perfect for just about any indoor space. Laminate cores react less to extremes in humidity than solid wood does. Having said that, laminate is not an appropriate choice for spaces where high moisture or humidity levels are continuously present. It’s generally not a good idea to install laminate in bathrooms, laundry rooms, indoor/outdoor spaces or anywhere else water or encounters with wet objects are likely to occur.

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More About Laminate


Warranty Laminate warranties range from 10 years to lifetime depending on the product you choose. Rest assured laminate is extremely durable and resists scratches, stains, and indentations better than most flooring types available.



 Product Costs Laminate flooring ranges in cost from $0.99 to $7.00 per square foot. The quality of the design and embossing figure prominently in the price. Trust your eyes to choose a laminate that looks and feels realistic. Cost is also dependent on the thickness and durability of the product as measured in the warranty it offers. Some laminate floors also have underlayment attached to them adding $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot to their costs.


 Underlayment To install most Laminate you need to install Underlayment first. Underlayment provides a valuable barrier from any moisture in the sub-floor, plus it dampens sound and helps the flooring sound more like the real thing when you walk on it. Underlayment typically costs between $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot.


 Floor Removal Don’t forget to factor-in the cost of getting rid of your old floor. Depending upon where you live, the floor you are removing and your installer, budget around $2.00 per square foot to have it removed and hauled away.


 Installation Options The installation options available to you will vary depending on the laminate floor you choose. Many laminate products feature patented Lock & Fold® Installation technology- the industry’s fastest and easiest installation system. Perfect for DIY installations, it requires no glue or nails - simply lock and fold. Some laminate products we offer do require glue.
Laminate can install over almost any existing floor type, provided it is smooth, flat and dry. If you are thinking about a DIY laminate flooring  installation, read the installation instructions carefully before beginning.


 Acclimation With acclimation, the laminate planks are brought into the room where they will be installed and left to “acclimate” to the room temperature and humidity for 24-48 hours. Many manufacturers require acclimation for their laminate floors. Not all laminate floors needs to be acclimated, which means you can get started on the installation as soon as you bring the laminate boards into your home!



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Sunlight

One of the great features of laminate floors is that they tend not to react to sunlight and aging the way wood species do. For instance, cherry hardwood will change drastically over the years whereas cherry laminate will stay the same color as the day you bought it. Having said that, the better the warranty on your laminate, the better it will resist fade and discoloration. Let the AC ratings be your guide in establishing quality.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Laminate.


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Does laminate flooring stand up to heavy traffic?

Yes. Space age technology and finishes are used in the manufacturing of our laminate floors. Laminates consist of a plastic surface that has been adhered to a dense wood core and a synthetic backing material. The construction is designed to stand up to the daily wear and tear of your busy home.

How complicated is maintaining a laminate floor?

No floor comes closer to true maintenance-free performance. Ordinary sweeping and vacuuming are the best ways of maintaining your new laminate floor. Wipe up spills immediately, and mop occasionally with a manufacturer's recommended flooring product.

Can we install laminate flooring ourselves?

Yes, you can "do it yourself," but we recommend using our professionally trained installers. We pride ourselves on the quality of installation we provide our customers. Just look at our Limited Installation Warranty that protects your investment. If you have any questions or problems after your new laminate floor is in place, we are just a phone call away. Read the warranty information thoroughly for more information.

How durable are laminate floors?

Laminate flooring is long-lasting and highly durable. The surface is made with aluminum oxide which is one of the hardest substances on earth and provides a very robust and wear resistant surface relative to other types of flooring. The core is made out of high density fiberboard that makes laminate flooring highly dent resistant. However, they are not indestructible; care should be taken to help avoid scratching and damage. With a small amount of maintenance, laminate floors will last a very long time.

What are laminate floors and how are they made?

Laminate flooring is made by covering a High Density Fiberboard (HDF) with melamine impregnated paper. The HDF is sandwiched between the melamine papers and permanently bonded together under heat and pressure. The decor paper image is designed from a photograph of wood. The layers of a laminate are: Wear Layer; Decor Paper; HDF core board; backer paper.

What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?

Both laminate flooring and hardwood flooring are made of wood but are fundamentally different. Hardwood is wood in its natural form, cut and finished to be installed as a floor. Laminate is refined wood compressed together with a printed paper providing the visual. The advantages of laminate are that it has superior wear properties over hardwood and can be produced at a much lower cost. Laminate flooring’s durability is better as it is engineered to have excellent wear properties where wood flooring can be enhanced but is generally limited to the natural values of the wood. Wood dents and often changes color with sunlight, unlike laminate. This is part of the natural characteristic of wood and is part of the attraction of a natural product. Laminate, due to its engineered properties, can be installed below grade (in a basement). Laminate flooring has a great flexibility in design as any color or design can be printed. Laminate can provide exotic wood looks without the harvesting of rare or potentially endangered species of wood. The visual for hardwood is provided from nature.

How are laminate floors installed?

Laminate floors are installed as a floating floor, meaning that they are not actually connected to the subfloor. The laminates lay on top of the subfloor and are cut during installation to allow an expansion gap around the edge of the flooring installation. Note that it is essential that a 3/8” space be left around the perimeter of the floor. This allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature throughout the year.

Can laminate flooring be installed on stairs?

Yes, laminate flooring can be installed on stairs. The planks should be glued down with construction adhesive and a stair nose transition used. The stair nose should also be glued and nailed to the subfloor to ensure stability of the installation.

Can laminate be installed in damp areas?

It is not recommended to install laminate in any area of the home that will be consistently subjected to high levels of moisture. Installations in wet locations such as full bathrooms, rooms containing saunas, enclosed porches or verandas and rooms with floor drains, laminates should not be used. Extended exposure to moisture can cause the core of the laminate flooring to swell and or warp. When installing laminate in any area that could be subject to moisture, such as bathrooms, a mold resistant waterproof silicon seal should be used to completely fill all of the expansion joints around the perimeter of the floor. This will prevent water from getting below the floor which could cause the floor to fail.

How do I repair minor scratches?

Minor scratches or nicks can be masked with a color matched furniture pencil or similar. Deeper gouges or chips can be repaired with color matched wood filler.

Can a plank in the middle of the floor be replaced?

Yes, if a plank is damaged and needs replacement there are two options. The floor can be uninstalled and reinstalled. Alternatively the plank can be cut and removed.

What is a laminate flooring AC rating?

AC stands for Abrasion Class and is a wear rating that has been standardized by NALFA (North American Laminate Flooring Association). The AC rating measure the abrasion resistance of the floor which determines how well the floor will withstand day to day wear. The AC rating generally ranges from 1 to 5. AC 3 is the industry standard for everyday residential use. AC 4 and AC 5 are considered commercial for heavier traffic areas.

Are laminate floors suitable for wheelchair use?

Yes, laminate flooring is suitable for wheelchair use. Note that caution should be taken to remove any sharp debris that could be embedded in the rubber of the wheels as this could cause scratching of the floor.

What if I have allergies, is laminate flooring a good product?

Yes, laminate flooring is a hard surface floor and is considered hypoallergenic. Its closed cell surface means that there is limited ability to trap dust, dust mites and other allergy-causing organisms. This can be important for people suffering from asthma or dust allergies.

Can I change the gloss level of my laminate floor?

No, the appearance of the laminate floor is determined during manufacturing when the top melamine surface is cured under heat. From this point on it is a closed cell surface that is robust and resists any type of surface alterations. It cannot be waxed, oiled, polished, sanded or alternated in anyway.

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How Laminate is Made?

There are two types of laminates. One, known as DPL, or Direct Pressure Laminate, the other known as HPL, or High Pressure Laminate. With the HPL process, the backing and top wear layers are treated separately and then fused directly onto the core, creating a very strong floor suitable for very heavy traffic.

HPL laminates consist of the same four layers as in Direct Pressure Laminate, with the fifth layer being a special high-strength paper. HPL flooring is generally more expensive than DPL flooring but many residential applications won’t require this type of floor.

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