Read more about Laminate Flooring:
- Selecting quality floors
- Cleaning Instructions
- Bamboo Flooring
- Cork Floating Floor
Selecting quality laminate wood flooring
by Imraan Thomas of Floordom
Type Laminate flooring into Google and you will find over 2.4
million search results for Laminate flooring, this makes the
selection of product extremely difficult for anyone wanting to
install a new floor.
According to Peter Geyer the head of Floorworx Laminate division
who are suppliers of the Belgian “Quick Step” range of flooring
he says a good size factory will produce around 30 000 square
metres in a 24 hour day shift or about 1200 square metres an hour.
This computes to a world wide capacity of approximately 100 000
square metres of flooring an hour. This is enough flooring to
cover the area of the entire Gateway shopping mall including
South Africa uses approximately 750 squares a day and our
laminate usage when compared to other floor types such as
carpet/ tiles / other is around 30% lower than the world norm.
This means there is still huge growth potential for laminates
in South Africa.
Chris Holden from Finfloor blames inferior product manufacture
and poorly executed installation for substantial local public
misconceptions about laminates. Around 30% of the global
production is now made in China and this is growing daily but
do beware Flooring made in Sweden and flooring made in China
although extremely similar to look at are vastly different in
Andy Kirkwood from Traviata due to market pressure was forced
to go himself to China and source a manufacturer. The first
few containers of product he received were manufactured in
strict accordance with his stringent instructions and were
installed with few problems. Suddenly however some 6 months
down the line they started having installation complaints.
Andy found out to his horror and disgust that the manufacturers
had downgraded his product core and specifications to save costs.
The core of a floor acts similarly to the chassis of a motor car
in the way it holds everything together. Core is made from wood
fibre like when you find an old log of wood and you pull it apart
you get hairs, those hairs are wood fibres they are separated
chopped impregnated with melamine and then compressed to make HDF
High density fibre board. Take two hand fulls of fibre and compress
them into an 8mm floor board it could hardly be classified in the same
quality level had had you taken 10 hands full. Don’t be impressed by
thickness of product it is a combination of core density and top
surface hardness that determines the durability of a floor.
The most important part of any new floor is the installation.
Take a cheap floor and install it well and it will work,
perhaps not for 5 years but it will work. Install that
same floor badly and you will have endless problems.
The main criteria are really quite simple, firstly the
flatness of the subfloor. Using a straight edge lie it
down on the floor, stand back and look for light.
If that light is more than 2mm over a length of 2m then
the floor should be leveled. On a cement sub floor
leveling is done with a substance called pavelite.
This cement based product is mixed with water and is quite
simply poured at the point where the floor is uneven and
the straight edge is then used to smooth out the pavelite
When the floor is level and dry the underlay is installed there
is a large variety of underlay product available but we prefer
to use a silent system underlay. This reduces bounce on the
floor and gives the floor a flatter firmer walk. Denser higher
quality foams also considerably reduce the walk noise of the floor.
Laminates are laid as floating floors which means they do not touch
perimeter walls or door frames or other solid objects. Expansion
gaps are cut as the floor is laid and these gaps are then covered
later with skirtings or quadrants.
Profiles are used at all doorways leading off the floor where floor
meets floor / tile carpet or a continuation of the same floor.
These profiles also allow for expansion of the laminate.
The bottom line for Mr & Mrs Public when selecting a new floor is :
Choose a product name that has been around for 5 years or more.
Get one or two references of previous installations and phone
(or go and see them). If you are buying a floor for less than R200
per square you are more than likely buying a cheap floor.
How to clean laminate floors
Laminate flooring maintenance
Clean with a damp cloth, never a soaking wet mop Mop up spills
immediately Do not use abrasive cleaners or chemicals other than a
laminate cleaner Never sand or polish to try to improve the surface
or sheen as this will just destroy the protective wear layer.
More about Bamboo flooring
Bamboo has a natural mottled appearance with a honey colour. Bamboo
is a warm fibre like wood, so feels naturally warm and cushioned
underfoot. Bamboo can be harvested prolifically so it is generally much
cheaper than hardwood. The bamboo grain is not as harsh as hardwood
which can sometimes be overbearing. Bamboo is as hard as maple and more
stable than oak It offers less expansion and contraction than most other
hardwoods Easy to wipe clean and lends itself to extreme wear and tear
areas Bamboo may dent when something sharp or heavy is dropped on it.
Cork floating floor
A cork floating floor is an engineered product consisting of panels made
up of a compact high density fibreboard layer, a bonded surface layer of
hard-wearing agglomerated cork floor covering and a built-in underlay of
soft agglomerated cork. See Africork