Some people prefer to pick their laminate by measuring its durability and toughness. One way to do this is to understand how different laminates are made. The better you understand the way your laminate is built, the better bang you can get for your buck.
Direct Pressure Laminate Flooring
DPL is made of 4 layers:
Stabilizing Layer: sometimes called the Backing Layer, it is the bottom material that provides strength and stability to the laminate board.
Core Layer: sometimes called the core board, it is the central layer of a laminate floor board that is the structural element supporting the weight and stresses of foot traffic. It is typically made with high-density fiberboard (HDF), but sometimes is made from particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
Decorative Layer: the name given to the photo rendering of the design which is made to mimic the surface of a natural material, such as a hardwood species.
Wear Layer: a resin-based coating designed to resist abrasion and typically made up of several coats of melamine or aluminum oxide (2nd only to diamonds in hardness) which protects the floor from stains, fading and wear.
Sheets of laminate flooring are made by fusing these four layers together at over 600 pounds of pressure per inch at temperatures of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In the direct-pressure laminate process the decorative covering layer and stabilizing layer are pressed together onto the core layer.
Composition of a direct-pressure laminate floor (DPL)
- Overlay (wear layer)
- Decorative paper
- Core layer
- Stabilizing layer
High Pressure Laminate Flooring
HPL is made of 5 layers instead of 4 and creates a more durable laminate than direct pressure can because 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. It consists of the same four layers as in Direct Pressure Laminate, with the fifth layer being a special high-strength paper.
In the high-pressure laminate process, the decorative paper and overlay are pressed onto a special high-strength paper first. Only in a second stage is this so-called high-pressure laminate glued to the core layer.
Composition of a HPL Laminate floor
- HPL layer
- Core layer
- Stabilizing layer
The resulting laminate flooring products can come in thicknesses varying from approximately 6mm to 14mm, the thicker the laminate floors, the more durable. HPL flooring is generally more expensive than DPL flooring.
The Final Steps in the Process
Once the sheets of laminate flooring are made using either of these two methods, surface textures are then imprinted onto the sheets. The sheets are then cut into planks of varying lengths or into square tiles. Specialized machinery is then used to cut the tongue and groove locking system into the edges.
This Learning Center belongs to you. We invite you to contribute to it.
Have you got a question about what you've read here? Tell us about in the comments section.
If you're an expert in the field, and see something that is inaccurate, tell us, and we'll make the correction.
Also, if you think there is important information that is absent from any of these articles, please let us know!