Technology for the manufacture of laminate was developed the by specialists of one of the Swedish company in the late seventies of last century. In the future, this process has undergone significant changes. The most significant change in the manufacturing process was able to bring the German specialists who developed the technology of formation of the panel, which is applied in our day. Also, a significant contribution to the production of the laminate was able to make the Belgian specialists – they came up with adhesive-free lock connection. It was with the invention of the lock as a connecting element for laminate tiles brought this type of flooring in general availability, both for commercial and residential buildings. Modern interior design laminate use is universal all around the globe so we have gathered some piece of advice about how to choose, which type to buy and how to apply this trimming material with maximum efficiency.
Currently, the store chains offer a wide range of laminate of different quality, color palette, textural solutions for areas with different characteristics. Depending on the manufacturer and the quality of flooring execution. Price dispersion is also in a wide range of options for the homeowner with a different size of the budget.
The composition and structure of the laminate
Laminate is an artificial multilayer coating whose structure consists of four layers:
- the upper protective layer consists of high-strength or acrylic melamine resin. Complex composite materials provide a high level of protection of the decorative layer from abrasion, mechanical damage, moisture, UV rays and other types of impact. Often, to enhance the strength characteristics of the layer, manufacturers use electron beams. Layer thickness less than 0.6 mm;
- decorative layer of paper or furniture foil usually simulating wood (sometimes leather, stone) structure. The range of options for a decorative layer is growing, producers are constantly looking for original design decisions;
- a base layer of high-density boards – particleboard or fiberboard, MDF. These are characteristic of the layer are mainly determined the quality of laminate – its strength, moisture resistance, resistance to abrasion, high loads and mechanical damage. The layer is responsible for sound insulation, thermal insulation and the quality of the lock joint. The thickness of this layer ranges from 5 to 12 mm;
- waterproof layer is usually made of paper impregnated with water-repellent substances.
As a result of compression under high pressure and at high temperature, all the layers are incorporated into one laminated panel. Depending on the materials used in the manufacture of a laminate plate, forms its quality, and hence the cost. Each layer is responsible for specific functional duties and characteristics of the finished product.
The types and classes of laminate. Scope of application
Any home has rooms with different loads on the floor. Obviously, in such areas as the living room, hallway or dining room floor load is much bigger than in the bedroom, for example. Based on the level of these loads, the entire laminate is divided into classes – the number of labeling, where the first digit “two” refers to living quarters, and “three” to commercial ones. The second digit indicates the recommended intensity of the room passage where this floor will be used:
- low passage is generally intrinsic to the bedrooms, guest rooms, hotel rooms in hotels;
- average traffic is inherent to the living room, dining room and, if we speak about commercial premises, – for small shops
- high crossing in residential buildings is typical to the hallway and some livings combined with a dining room and kitchen; waiting rooms in commercial spaces;
- increased passage is related more to commercial buildings (supermarkets, halls of hotels, office buildings).
Let`s consider the most common commercially available classes of laminate:
- Class 21. The service life of about 4 years. The demand for laminate flooring with this class is low, it can only be used in rooms with very low movement;
- Class 22. For bedrooms, children’s rooms, some lounges (service life is not more than 4 years);
- Class 23. The same length of operational life, suitable for areas with high traffic, heavy furniture;
- Class 31. Laminate for commercial premises, which is used in residential spaces, extending its service life up to 8 years;
- Class 32. Has even greater strength characteristics when used for lining floors of living rooms. Is able to serve up to 12 years;
- Class 33. The highest level of wear resistance, is used for walk-through rooms, the service life can be up to 15 years.
Recently classes from 21 to 23, almost completely disappeared from the shops. The most widely used classes of 32 and 33 as the most wear-resistant and durable. If you meet the marking laminate over 33, you will know that it is nothing more than a PR stunt from some vendors. In any case, it is always better to require consultants for a certificate of quality in the store.
In addition to durability and strength of the laminate also its thickness is an important indicator. Recommended size varies from 8 to 12 mm. The thicker the laminate, the easier it is laid. Its sound insulation properties increasing with its thickness too.
Also, the laminate varies according to the method of panels assembling:
- with adhesive connection. With conjunction of parts we obtain sealed almost imperceptible seam without gaps. This type of laminate is cheaper. But to assemble it by your own is extremely difficult. And if you need to replace one panel, you have to change all the coverage. Because of these features, laminate with adhesive bonding is not the most popular choice of flooring our days;
- a locking connection. Without glue, laminate fixing with special locks.
Modern interior design laminate use. Features of the flooring panels
In the manufacture of the first collections of laminate manufacturers have tried to create an imitation of parquet floor. Gradually, the idea of laying a laminate as a parquet imitation become outdated and now the appearance of the flooring can simulate different types of wood, ceramic, stone tiles. In its operational quality laminate is not similar to the parquet or other popular type of decoration of floors – linoleum.
Despite the fact that the thickest layer in the laminate panel contains recycled wood, we can`t state it is 100% a natural material. The fact is that artificial layers provide the decoration and maintenance properties of the material. They allow to give the product not only different technological qualities, but also a varied appearance. Currently, the general sale can introduce a large number of collections from various manufacturers, material, endowed with different properties. One focuses on moisture, while others are trying to maximize the similarity of the appearance to the natural wood.
Each manufacturer in a highly competitive market, sales of laminate is trying to make its collection of unique properties that stand out in the mass of material. Nevertheless, you can identify a number of properties that are common to all types of laminate panels:
- high wear resistance;
- resistance to falling of a lit cigarette;
- resistant to scratches and dents produced by mechanical action;
- antistatic top layer in order to avoid the forming of a thick layer of dust;
- ease of installation;
- simple maintenance which does not require special cleaning agents;
- the ability to combine with underfloor heating systems;
- hypoallergenic composition of the topcoat;
- attractive appearance.
A few simple tips when choosing a laminate:
- Choose the laminate class in accordance with the traffic in the room;
- if heavy furniture will be located the room, it is important to choose the material with the greatest possible thickness of the panel;
- the color of the laminate should be combined with fully furnished rooms. If all surfaces are decorated in dark colors, the image of the premise will be depressing and on the contrary – absolutely bright space can cause unpleasant associations with hospital wards;
- laminate with V-shaped border is better not to lay in the rooms where the cleaning will be rare;
- diagonally laid laminate visually expands the space, but the expense of material in such an arrangement increases.
Laminate flooring in the interior rooms of various functional
The bedroom floor is not subjected to constant mechanical stress, but it must be large enough to withstand the weight of the central piece of furniture – bed. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a laminate with a large thickness of the panel, but the middle class abrasion for rooms with medium traffic.
The bedroom looks very organic, if the laminate mimics one of the wooden types, which was used for the manufacturing of the bed and extra furniture – bedside cabinets or tables-coasters.
The same applies to the use of blending of the flooring and the ceiling decorated with wooden beams, floors or other structures.
If the interior of the bedroom is composed of dark, almost black color for some design objects, the dark floor would be harmoniously integrated into the overall image of the room.
Bright natural shade for snow-white bedroom flooring may be the only color accent which brought the little natural heat to the interior.
The color combination of laminate and material used for the execution of the ceiling beams creates an incredibly harmonious appearance of the living room. It is obvious that such dark and bright color and texture solutions are suitable for rooms with large windows and plenty of natural light.
Light wood looks no less impressive as the headlining and similar simulation of natural material on the floor of the spacious room.
If the living room is a room with several functional areas, including the dining room, it is important to find the color and pattern of the laminate, which will bring together all the space effectively. Light floor is not only a good choice, but also the practical approach in terms of a regular cleaning. On the bright surface dust is virtually invisible.
Technological properties of the laminate allow to lay it even in areas with high humidity and temperature changes, such as a kitchen. If your living room combined with kitchen area, you can make the total flooring to create a single image of the room without having to worry about the impact of moisture and mechanical damage on the material.
Using a dark-colored flooring and light colors for the walls and ceiling make you able to achieve a visual extension of the space, which is very important for small rooms in apartment buildings.
Wenge color in flooring looks very impressive, especially in the interior with contrasting colors. Shade of the floor perfectly blends with window frames, ceiling beams and some furniture items. But it is important to understand that this color of floors will dispose you to more thoroughly and frequently cleaning – dust on dark surfaces can be seen very well.
Another spectacular example of the use of dark, almost black color of flooring in a contrasting interior. In rooms with dark design elements, it is so important not to overdo it and to ensure an adequate level of lighting, both natural and artificial.
Broad bands, imitating floor board, give a visual extension to the space. The floors seem bigger than they really are. And you can bring not only notes of natural warmth, but also a unique design solution to the interior of the room with the help of the original natural wood pattern.
For the interior of the living room, made mainly in the cold palette of colors or neutral colors such as shades of gray, the flooring with a bright pattern and warm colors can be a highlight of the interior.
For snow-white decorated spaces warm palette of wood imitation may also be a salutary element, allowing not only to diversify the colors of space, but also bring so much-needed comfort to create a natural warmth.
In the living room space with furnishings used as a color accent, finishes must only create a neutral backdrop for the focal elements, light laminate will be most welcome.
Laminate, which pattern contains a several color combinations will have extremely harmonious look in the interior, when these shades have already been applied. If sufficient natural light all the nuances of colors are clearly visible, and the interior will be hitting with its balance, combinations and originality.
Laminate is quite versatile flooring that will look perfectly in virtually any style of interior, it is important only to choose the appropriate pattern and color palette of the material. In the living room in loft-style laminate is also relevant, so as in the room decorated in a classical style.
Contemporary laminate is able to imitate any textures. For example, to create an interior in the style Shabby chic, Vintage, Provence, or Country you can use panel of as of aged laminate surface, where “wooden boards” have dents and chipped or cracked paint.
In contrasting interior of the kitchen, where the black and white combination is used very actively, light laminate will be the most important. This coating will not pull the attention and become a functional backdrop for a dynamic combination of light and dark elements of design.
The same goes for the kitchen facilities furnished very bright, where the flooring should act only as a neutral background.
In the kitchen area, where the cabinet fronts are presented with a bright pattern of natural wood for flooring, the best idea is to choose a neutral variant of colors – muted colors and subtle texture would be most appropriate.
If you decide to lay laminate diagonally, but have not had this experience of facing the floors, it is best to seek for professional help. Laying itself does not require special skills, but it is important to calculate the amount of coating material. Shades of one and the same laminate model may vary in different batches, so it’s important just to buy the right amount of panels.
One of the options of possible facing the floor in a kitchen space is a combination of ceramic and stone tiles with laminate panels. In the area of working surfaces with the highest level of humidity and temperature changes you lay tiles, the rest of the floor is covered with laminate. Large range of color and texture options of laminated panels will help you to find a harmonious combination with the ceramic material, natural or artificial stone.
Here we see some color and texture solutions of decorative laminate layer applied to different stylistic variations of kitchen space.