The striking visuals and gorgeous textures of laminate flooring have never been more popular! Our shoppers love how easy laminate is to maintain, the valuable price point this durable surface offers, and the many options available inside the showroom at The Carpet Stop in Austin, TX. The number one question that we receive when it comes to laminate flooring: How is it made?

Laminate flooring is a manufactured flooring product designed to mimic authentic hardwood flooring as well as stunning natural stone and ceramic tile. Although each manufacturer will have varying production methods, today’s laminate flooring is usually engineered using sustainable and eco-friendly methods! There are four essential layers in laminate flooring.

Backing layer

The backing layer balances or stabilizes the flooring, resists moisture, and is usually made of plastic, paper, or melamine.

Substrate layer

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or high-density fiberboard (HDF) makes up the sturdy core layer of laminate flooring. Wood chip fiberboard is mixed with resin and adhesives and compressed to create both MDF and HDF. Usually, these are recycled products. The substrate is sometimes called the core layer.

Pattern layer

A photographic or decorative image or pattern (of realistic wood grain, for example) is overlaid on top of the substrate and glued down to create a realistic appearance on the fiberboard. Many of today’s laminate products have such advanced printing technology that when the flooring is laid out and installed properly, the finished floor will have no repeating visuals throughout the entire surface!

Wear layer

This extremely important layer protects the image and substrate from moisture and other potential damage. The wear layer is usually made from an aluminum oxide clear coat and can range from low to high gloss, according to your preference. Built for activity and foot traffic, the wear layer withstands the tough impact of day-to-day life including children, pets, unexpected spills, and scratches. The thickness of the wear layer ranges from 6, 12, to 20 mils, and the thicker the layer, the stronger the wear layer.

These four layers are compressed and fused at high heat. Available in 7-millimeter to 12-millimeter thicknesses, the thicker the planks, the sturdier the laminate flooring. Take note that some manufacturers include all the plank layers, not just the substrate, in the thickness measurement. Plank width will usually run from less than 5 inches to 7 inches or more.

Laminate flooring carries an Abrasion Criteria (AC) rating, which measures wear resistance on a scale from 1 to 5. The lowest, AC 1, is designed for rooms in the home receiving little foot traffic. The highest rating, AC 5, is designed to withstand even heavy commercial traffic. Most residential laminate products will fall within the AC 3 and AC 4 range.

Versatile, reliable, and stylish, laminate flooring is a terrific product for any home, especially for an active household or a quick design remodel. If you have questions about whether it’s the right choice for you, come visit The Carpet Stop in Austin, TX! Our laminate experts are ready to help you explore the perfect options for your inspired interiors.