The Difference Between High and Low-Quality Laminates: What You Need to Know
The old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely rings true when it comes to floor coverings.
Investing in a quality product means you will get a floor that is more durable, looks better, and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can be detrimental to your health.
What makes a high-quality laminate?
Quality laminate flooring is made using a relatively time-consuming process, involving multiple layers of timber, wax and sealant to ensure the finished product is strong and attractive. When reputable manufacturers design laminates to mimic the unique characteristics of timber, they take time to ensure the patterns are natural and organic, and don’t look like they’ve come straight from a production line.
These subtle differences, features and colours of natural timber products are reflected in quality laminates, making it easy to mistake them for traditional floorboards.
On the other hand, low-quality laminate flooring often displays repeating patterns and fake-looking colours, cheapening the feel of your room. Low-quality flooring can also contain harmful substances used in the manufacturing process that can irritate asthma sufferers and lower indoor air quality.
What to look for to ensure you’re getting a good quality product
- Look at the flooring up close by requesting a sample. If there is an opportunity to see a large area of floor installed, such as in a showroom, you can check the alignment of the boards and look for gaps or uneven edges.
- Good-quality laminate floorboards should lock together seamlessly and create a flat surface – if the edges seem rough or uneven it may cause installation issues, so look for a precision-machined edge.
- Take a close look at how thick the laminate is. Thin laminates can cause joint issues if the substrate is imperfect, so look for sheets that are 8mm or more in thickness.
- Cheaper laminates have pattern repeats as low as 1 in 3 boards. This means that every 3rd board will have the same pattern which shows up once your floor is laid. Higher quality laminates have a pattern repeat as high as 1 in 20 boards to give the natural pattern effect of genuine timber.
- High quality laminate floor looks and feels just like the real thing. Up to 7 print colours are used in the manufacture process and the very best laminates actually use a digital printing technology to further enhance the realism.
- Inspect the bevel edges on your laminate. Quality laminates generally have smaller micro bevels, where the foil of the laminate is actually pressed all the way into the grove. This makes them more resistant to water, lots easier to keep clean and less likely to damage. Laminates with no bevel, or painted bevels are more susceptible to water entry.
- High quality laminates are less slippery than their cheaper counterparts. A slip resistance standard of EN 13893 and anti-static rating of EN14041 is achieved with good quality laminates.
- While laminates in general are the best performers in a high sun environment, a cheaper laminate will fade quicker over time.
- A good quality laminate floor will wear very well, wont be damaged by pet claws and is repairable if damaged. Check the AC rating and the availability of repair kits when making your purchasing decision.
- Low-quality laminates can be made using a less sustainable manufacturing processes or timber that has been harvested from sensitive areas. Harsh chemicals, epoxies and glues that contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds are sometimes used and these materials can emanate fumes or odours which can be particularly troublesome for asthma sufferers or those with allergies. Look for accreditation and approvals that show the materials are not damaging to your health or our environment.
Top 5 advantages of Woodland Lifestyle’s quality laminates
- Fast and easy installation – Uniclick joint boards fit together seamlessly without gaps giving a flush, smooth finish.
- Environmentally sound – Woodland Lifestyle’s range of floorings are endorsed by a range of organisations including Ecolabel (an EU environmental accreditation) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). This means our products are made from sustainably managed forests with a strong commitment to sustainable practices. Check the product information for individual accreditations.
- Lower emissions and VOC ratings – this equates to better indoor air quality for your home or business, and flooring that complies with international standards.
- Nature-identical patterns that don’t look fake – high-quality laminate flooring offers a subtle, beautiful warmth through a range of wood finishes that are reproduced to look and feel just like the real thing.
- Durability that’s made to last – where cheap laminates can chip, flake and fade after just a few years, high-quality laminate flooring will last for decades with some products offering up to 20 years warranty.
Buy laminate flooring from New Zealand’s trusted flooring company
With the best range of products from brands such as Balterio, Vitality and Euro Deluxe, Woodland Lifestyle’s knowledgeable team can help you select laminate flooring that suits your budget, taste and lifestyle.