Floating Laminate Floor is a laminate floor that is not directly attached to a plywood sub-floor. Rather, the floor’s components are held together using an adhesive. This characteristic allows the laminate floor to move independently of the sub-floor below while, at the same time, protecting the floor from moisture and other hazards. It also makes them more resistant to damage.
Layers of Protection
Floating laminate floors are made up of several layers. Except for the print film, which merely adds texture, all layers contribute to the floor’s durability. They include:
- Melamine Wearlayer – This is the top layer. It is a clear resin-filled membrane that protects the underlying layers from damage. It protects against stains, scratches and burns that would ordinarily leave permanent marks.
- Core – The central layer is made of high-density fiberboard, and is the hardest layer in the floor. Its primary purpose is to absorb impact. In some models, melamine plastic resins are incorporated into the core’s design, creating additional protection against moisture.
- Backing – This is the bottom layer. It is a made up of melamine plastic. Its primary purpose is to provide additional structural stability. It is also designed to absorb any damage that the above layers fail to stop.
Other Durability Features
In addition to the durable features built into the layers, floating laminate floors have other features that help to enhance its durability.
The interlocking adhesive system keeps the flooring materials together by keeping the moisture from bypassing the floor’s protective layers, seeping into the cracks and damaging the sub-floor structure underneath.
Because floating laminate floors do not have to be attached to anything, they can be positioned over older existing floors that provide additional protection to the sub-floor structures.
The fact that the laminate floors are not attached to anything minimizes the effects of heat – even if the materials warp, there is enough room for them to warp back into place.
Even if something does go irreparably wrong, sections of the floor can be easily replaced, especially if the warranty is still in force.
While floating laminate floors have a number of characteristics that make them durable, they are vulnerable to long-term wear.
Although they are more resistant to damage than other floors, the floating laminate floors are still susceptible to damage from heavy objects, particularly furniture.
Furthermore, some of the lower-quality models are vulnerable to stains and damage from heavy objects. This type of damage is virtually impossible to fix and requires wholesale replacement.