The next layer is a core board made from fiberboard or particle board with melamine plastic resin that improves the moisture resistance of the core. Then a thin, decorative layer is used which clings on to the top of the core board, and this helps in giving that tile look.
Then comes a decorative layer, a high printed resolution photo-reproduction of wood grain and natural stone. Now comes the topmost layer, also known as the frosting, that prevents the surface from corroded and bleached. This lets the laminate floors go a long way. Some wear layers also contain aluminum oxide and melamine resin which provides durability to the laminates. All these four layers are now passed through a high-pressure process.
The four-step process includes stacking all the layers with electronic precision. The next step is to apply pressure where the stacked layer is pressed with the help of hydraulic rams. The manufacturers pay great attention to the time and temperature required for packing. The third step is to let the stacked material cool off. Lastly, the stacked materials are assembled and profiled. Later, they are even cut into quality inspection plans for size, shape, and color; next are sent for distribution.
Today’s laminate floors are available in a multitude of designs, patterns, and textures, yet they all consist of four main components that are bonded together.
The bottom layer, or backing, is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks and also helps guard against moisture from the sub-floor. (Moisture infiltrating any flooring is the enemy.)
The next layer is a core board, generally made from high-density fiberboard or particle board which may also contain melamine plastic resins that help improve the moisture resistance of the core.
Then a decorative layer or print film has adhered on top of the core board giving the floor its hardwood or tile look.
This decorative layer is a printed high-resolution photo-reproduction of wood grain, natural stone, or ceramic tile pattern. (Now you know how the look-a-like is born.)
And the frosting? On the top of our “cake” is a durable wear layer, providing protection and stain resistance.
Now many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, and that creates exceptional durability. The kind that will stand up to the most active household – even yours.
All four layers of our “cake” are then combined in a high-pressure process.
Now we’ll take you through the manufacturing process of laminate one step at a time.
The process begins with the assembly of the 4 layers of raw materials in large sheets.
This typically takes place on a production line, where modern technology enables each layer to be stacked on top of another with incredible accuracy and precision.
How precise you may ask? Most manufacturers use sophisticated electronic calibrating equipment and digital camera systems to keep the sheets in perfect alignment.
The backing layer is first on the line, with the core board placed directly on top of that.
Next, the printed decorative layer is stacked on top of the scoreboard. The final layer to be stacked on is the wear layer.
once the 4 layers have been stacked, they are ready for pressing.
The presses used to create laminate flooring have hydraulic rams that apply tremendous pressure to the stacks.
The stacks of layers are pressed at high temperatures reaching 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with up to 600 pounds per square inch of pressure for 20 to 30 seconds.
Manufacturers carefully monitor the time and temperature when pressing the layers to successfully cure and bond the stacks into a single sheet of the finished decorative laminate.
If the laminate that is being manufactured is designed to have a textured surface, the press has specialized plates that imprint the textured pattern onto the sheets, creating more natural-looking planks or tiles.
After the sheets are pressed they are left to cool to ensure that they fully cure and to prevent any surface imperfections.
Then the sheets are stacked and stored for a time so that they can continue to acclimate, thereby enhancing the stability of the boards.
Once the boards are fully acclimated, they are milled, or cut into planks.
The freshly cut planks then move on to be profiled. Multiple profiling saws create the tongue and groove edges on the sides of the planks that enable the floor to lock together with ease.
The blades on the profiling saws use electronic and laser systems that produce incredibly accurate edges for a perfect fit. Further assurance of the precision of your floor.
The finished planks then go through a quality inspection and are checked for color, texture, finish size, and correct interlocking capabilities.
Once approved, the planks are then stacked, packaged, and loaded onto trucks for distribution.
Now that you know how laminate flooring is made you can understand why it’s a beautiful, durable, and cost-efficient flooring answer for many homes, and homeowners, across the county.