Locking laminate flooring is a floating laminate flooring where the panels are joined together using a locking mechanism rather than an adhesive. Locking laminate flooring has a few advantages over other types of flooring, but it also has some pitfalls.
Compared to other flooring, locking laminate flooring is easy to install. The locking mechanism usually involves a tongue and a groove attached to the sides of the panel. To bind them, all one needs to do is push the tongue into the groove and the mechanism clicks into place. Like other floating floors, locking laminate floor is not physically attached to the sub-floor, so the extra installation costs are significantly reduced. The panels that are secured using the locking mechanism are easy to remove should they become damaged. Finally, the locking mechanism protects the floor and the sub-floor by keeping water from seeping in between panels.
The quality of the locking laminate flooring is, in many respects, related to the quality of the locking mechanisms. The advantages listed above are true only if the locking mechanisms connect tightly and securely. If the locking laminate flooring has an inferior locking mechanism, the locking mechanism can loosen over time and require the homeowner to buy new panels. Generally speaking, the thicker the locking mechanism is, the more likely it is to last.
However, even if the locking laminate flooring has perfect locks, it still needs a smooth, even surface to rest on. Bumps can put pressure on the panels and the locks. If the pressure is strong and persistent, it can cause the floor to break. If the flooring is replacing another floor or carpet, the sub-floor should be cleared of any and all remnants of the previous flooring. If the flooring is placed atop of an existing floor, homeowners must make sure that the floors are smooth.