Which laminate is better to choose for an apartment

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Try to imagine how many hours in total it takes a developer to choose the type of flooring? The irony is that most often this choice stops at the laminate, but its varieties are usually not thought of. Today we will tell you how to choose the perfect laminate for your apartment.

Which laminate is better to choose for an apartment

The basis of the foundations: selection for wear resistance

The fundamental criterion for a laminate is its wear class or load class. For this kind of flooring, it is determined by the quality and thickness of the melamine layer (sometimes acrylic or polyester resin), which protects the material from abrasion, shock, moisture and corrosive chemicals. Since the technical subtleties of polymer chemistry are known to few, the laminate is marked according to a more convenient scheme, including a two-digit index, which determines the field of application..

Moisture resistant laminate

The first digit defines the purpose of the laminate: 2 – for household, 3 – for office and industrial premises. Of course, the hardness and thickness in the latter case is higher, but for each of the options an additional variety of classes is provided.

The second digit of the index is the wear resistance class from 1 to 3; for each type of laminate, its own gradation is provided. The higher this figure, the thicker and stronger the coating has a laminate, respectively, and such a coating costs more..

The choice of laminate for wear resistance

The division of the laminate into household and industrial classes is not used by most manufacturers, and therefore, for many modern materials, the designation of wear resistance begins with the number 3. But this does not mean that the presence of a two on the budget version of the laminate indicates its low quality, it is just that the manufacturer uses an outdated system designations.

Locks and base composition

The durability and performance of the laminate is influenced not only by the reliability of the protective layer, but also by the quality factor of its base substrate. In the classic case, the laminate is made from high density MDF, but the quality of the raw materials and the manufacturability of the production process differ from collection to collection..

The main sign of a poor-quality base is its heterogeneity. Defects can be determined both by the seamy surface, which should be ideally flat and smooth, and by the cleanliness and uniformity of the locks’ profile.

Laminate structureLaminate structure: 1 – waterproof layer; 2 – MDF base; 3 – decorative coating; 4 – protective coating

Although the laminate is not subjected to significant bending and twisting loads during operation, poor quality MDF can provoke delamination of the coating and its low resistance to high humidity and even the slightest wet. The highest quality laminate samples can safely survive even prolonged wetting and flooding, partially or completely restoring the original geometry after drying.

Separately, it is worth talking about the type of locks. The so-called drive-in laminate is gradually going out of fashion due to the complexity of the installation process and the inability to disassemble and reposition the coating again. In addition, high tensile loads are created in the adhesion nodes of the boards during walking, which often leads to divergence of joints and the formation of vulnerabilities in the flooring..


In the most modern version, only short joints are supplied with drive locks, while long ones have a special form of a docking profile, called Click-Lock. During installation, each new board is slightly lifted to insert into the set, therefore, due to constant pressing and beveled shape of the edges, a tight joint is ensured, at the same time, the laminate can be relatively easily dismantled and transported to another object.

Laminate with Click-Lock

Textured surface options

In modern collections, the lamination layer performs not only a protective, but also a decorative function. Moreover, there are really a lot of texture options, and buyers, as you know, are greedy for delights of this kind. However, the relief of the protective coating often does not bode well..

Textured laminate

If the relief simply repeats the texture of the simulated material, such as fine wood pores, then no problems are foreseen. The abrasive effect of such a laminate is perceived evenly and its service life is practically not inferior to a completely smooth.

Laminate under the skin

The situation is worse with laminate, the surface of which imitates leather or other highly corrugated materials. The problem is that the protective layer has the same thickness over the entire surface. On protruding points, the coating will wear off very quickly and the laminate will generally lose any moisture resistance. The pronounced texture of the front surface may be appropriate only for a laminate with a high class of wear resistance, which is obviously higher than the actual throughput load. It is also possible to safely use a laminate, in which the relief is set by a layer of laminate, and not by an embossed substrate under it..

Beveled laminate

Usually, the laminate at the joints forms one continuous plane and it is difficult to determine the border between the planks even by touch. However, there is a separate type of coating, which, when joined, does not become flush, but forms a small groove.

What can I say: such a coating looks quite impressive and solid. The joints remain the same tight, the presence of grooves on them is nothing more than a visual effect. However, the use of such a laminate is justified only if certain laying rules are followed for it..

Beveled laminate

First, the dressing step should be the same for all areas of the floor. While the cut from the last plank of smooth laminate can be used without any problems at the beginning of the next row, for bevelled coating you have to adjust the length of each new addition. This translates into an increase in trim consumption by an average of 5%.

Secondly, beveled laminate flooring requires the offset of short joints to follow a specific layout pattern. Usually the joints are shifted either by a third of the length, or by 2.5–3 times the width of the board, depending on the specific format.

Beveled laminate

All these disadvantages are more than covered by the main advantage of a beveled laminate: it masks the discrepancies in the joints, which inevitably appear after 3-5 years of operation, even of very high-quality flooring. At the same time, the size and shape of the chamfer does not allow dust and dirt to accumulate.

Tiled laminate

For people who are used to presenting laminate with elongated narrow planks, the square tile form factor may not be entirely familiar. However, this coating has its advantages..

Tiled laminate

First of all, you can highlight the decorative value. The appearance of a parquet board is achieved at half the cost, however, there is no possibility of restoration. Options for finishing under tiles or porcelain stoneware are also possible, but the floor will be much warmer than the tile.

Laminate for tiles

Laminate for tiles is not always square: it can be a rectangle with an aspect ratio of up to 5: 1. Such coatings look very aesthetically pleasing in almost any layout scheme, and due to the small size of the floor elements, a minimum of waste for trimming is generated..

Surface design and decoration

The range of design solutions for laminate flooring can be safely called the widest among other floor coverings. A modern texture map is able to satisfy even the most sophisticated taste. And yet, when choosing the appearance of the laminate, a number of rules should be followed:

  1. In the interior, the floor and interior doors with platbands should always be combined, but choosing a laminate and plinth for the type of doors you like is much easier than vice versa.
  2. The color of the flooring should be chosen in contrast to the decoration of the walls, skirting boards and platbands. It is also much easier: it is still not possible to achieve complete identity of texture and color, especially taking into account changing lighting conditions..
  3. Laminate can be matched in contrast to both the dark / light system and the general style composition. However, high contrast should be avoided for saturated colors..
  4. All kinds of photo prints look good only in small spaces
  5. If the laminate imitates wood, you should avoid multi-row patterns on the same board, and especially colorful diagonal patterns..

Antique laminate

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