The Process of Manufacturing Laminate Flooring


The Process of Manufacturing Laminate Flooring

best laminate flooring

Laminate flooring i a home

As home décor experts may often say, a home consists of what is under your roof and what is under your feet. Floor coverings have a huge impact on the look of your home and home life. Notably, they influence interior beauty, design, comfort, livability and upkeep, thus floor coverings can make, or break, a home.

Being acquainted with laminate construction helps you understand and evaluate its performance – why certain laminate floors wear better and longer.

In the “Welcome to Laminate” section, we explained to you that a laminate is a manufactured product that is a true look-a-like of hardwood flooring, natural stone and many other types of flooring.

You may be wondering how laminate flooring resembles these other products so closely?

The precise answer lies in the process of how laminate is manufactured.

It is a combination of the accuracy of modern manufacturing techniques and the expertise of the men and women behind the materials, machines and methods that create laminate.

All work together to create and produce a beautiful, functional flooring that closely mimics other hard surface flooring such as hardwood or tile.

Understanding Laminate – Compare it with a Four-layer Cake

Today’s laminate floors are available in a multitude of designs, patterns, and textures. Even so, 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 or tiles 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 is 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.)

On the top of our “cake” is a durable wear layer, providing protection and stain resistance.

Today, many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin.   That creates exceptional durability, the kind that will stand up to the most active household.

All four layers are then combined in a high-pressure or direct pressure manufacturing process.

Laminate Manufacturing Process

Step 1: Stacking with PINPOINT Precision

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 core board. The final layer to be stacked on is the wear layer.

Step 2: Putting The Layers Under Pressure

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 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.

Step 3: Cooling Off the Layers

installing a laminate floor

Beautiful laminate flooring in an open floor plan

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.

Step 4: Cutting, Profiling and Scrutinizing

Once the boards are fully acclimated, they are milled, or cut into planks or tiles.

The freshly cut planks or tiles then move on to be profiled. Multiple profiling saws create the tongue and groove edges on the sides of the planks or tiles 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.

The finished planks or tiles then go through a quality inspection and are checked for color, texture, finish, size and correct interlocking capabilities.

Once approved, the planks or tiles are then stacked, packaged and loaded onto trucks for distribution. Your flooring could be on one of those trucks.

Please, take your time deciding. 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 country.

Those are the basics of laminate construction and manufacturing. We hope that the information we’ve featured here leads you to a better understanding of how this beautiful and versatile material is constructed and underlines the fact that a well-chosen laminate floor can beautify your home.

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