Composite flooring mimics the look of traditional woods while offering easy installation and lasting durability. At first glance, it can be difficult to spot the difference between hardwoods and laminate flooring. What appears to be a natural wood grain pattern is really a thin layer of decor paper (a photographic image) under a tough-as-nails protective film that is glued and pressed to a high-density backing board. Composite flooring comes in an array of wood effects as well as stone and ceramic effects.
Composite floorings main advantages are that it is easy to install, is very hardwearing and relatively inexpensive compared to real hardwood flooring.
Composite flooring is a floating floor, which means it does not fasten directly to the sub-floor. Instead the planks are clicked together. This enables the floor to be fitted fast and with no real mess.Outdoor Deck Board
Most laminate floors today fit together with a click system with the most common being the UNICLIC system as used by Quick-Step. This is extremely easy and fast to fit. The ingenious UNICLIC-system has a special shape of tongue and groove. You simply place the tongue of one plank into the grove of another at an angle and press down. Their sophisticated and very accurate milled shape makes it possible to create a very tight connection during the installation. The floor can be walked on straight away.
If you are laying laminate flooring over a concrete sub-floor, then you will first need to lay down a damp proof membrane (DPM). This is basically a sheet of plastic usually around 5mm which helps protect the laminate from moisture. On top of this goes the foam underlay this acts as sound absorption and also helps even out minor irregularities in the sub-floor.
Most manufactories now offer a combined DPM and underlay along with several underlay’s that have better sound absorbing qualities most of the leading laminate floor manufactories now also have ranges of flooring that also include built-in underlay. This underlay is pre-fitted to the bottom of the flooring and is usually of sound absorbing quality. You do not need to install this type of floor a secondary, but if you are playing over a concrete sub-floor you still have to lay down a D.P.M. (Damp Proof Membrane) first.wood plastic composite deck
Composite flooring has been around in Europe for around 15 years and has seen massive growth in the past few years. In 2004 over 750 million square meters of laminate flooring was sold worldwide this was an increase of 13% on the previous year. The biggest growth market is in the US with an impressive growth rate of 25%.
What is laminate flooring Made From?
Composite flooring is usually made up of four layers:
1. Overlay (Wear Layer) the top wear layer is provided by the melamine resin, a highly wear resistant material that makes laminate flooring so hard wearing. This top layer is very similar to the top layer on counter or kitchen work tops but is usually around 40% stronger. This makes laminate flooring highly resistant to scratches, Burns, Dent’s, stains, etc.
2. DPL (Decorative Paper) or HPL (Decorative Paper + Add High Strength Paper) It is the decorative paper which gives the laminate flooring its individual appearance, ranging from highly authentic wood reproduction, ceramic or stone designs. An important thing to look out for when purchasing laminate flooring is to understand the difference between DPL and HPL. We will talk about this latter
3. Core layer This is made up of either high density fibreboard (H.D.F.). Or medium density fibreboard (M.D.F.) This is saturated with resins to make it extremely hard. Most manufacturers also add a moisture resistant resin to the core. This is important as it helps keep the flooring protected against moisture penetrating the boards. 4. Stabilizing layer to the bottom layer is the stabilizing layer; this is what gives the laminate floor its stability. It is made up of moisture resistant resins.WPC Decking Floor
This is where DPL & HPL are different.
In the direct-pressure laminate process, the decorative covering layer and stabilizing layer are pressed together into the core layer.
While the high-pressure laminate process, on the other hand, the decorative paper and overlay are pressed onto special high-strength paper first. Only at a second stage is this so-called high-pressure laminate glued to the core layer. This makes the flooring a lot more tougher and more resistant to dents etc.