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European Producers of Laminate Flooring
EPLF Laminat von A-Z

Laminate A-Z

Castor compatibility

Special usage characteristic of floors. This is tested by rotating loaded soft castors on a test area. The floor is examined for damage after several thousand turns.

Cleaning and care

The sealed surface of a laminate floor allows the floor to be cleaned quickly. Just vacuum and occasionally wipe – job done! When wiping ensure that the rag is wrung out well. This is known as wiping when "slightly damp".

Core

The central layer in a laminate floor. It is made of MDF or HDF. The decorative layer + overlay (top) and stabilising layer (bottom) are pressed onto the core.

Decor

Describes the appearance of a laminate floor’s surface. Reproduction involving photographic techniques can produce any motif and print this on the so-called decorative paper, which, together with the overlay, forms the wear layer of the three-layer laminate flooring. Decors can also be printed on the core directly. The range of decors available spans authentic wood and stone reproductions to individual creative decors.

 

Digital printing

Digital printing is a process in which the decor image is available as a digital dataset, which is transferred directly from a computer to a printing machine and realized there using piezo or inkjet printing technology. Digital printing allows for a higher individualization and a quicker reaction to customer requests or to new trends,  thanks to the easy realization even in small lot sizes, allowing for more colour variants and a free choice of formats. Of course there is no change in the sensitive process steps from the choice of the printing artwork to the final dataset in the production format.

Direct printing

Direct printing describes a process in which the decor is printed directly on the core. The surface is then varnished.

Disposal

Leftovers from laying the laminate floor etc. can be disposed of along with normal household waste. It is best to take complete, discarded floors to a waste disposal site where they can be easily burnt as laminate flooring consists mainly of wood.

DPL

Abbreviation for Direct Pressure Laminate. This is a process in which the decorative layer and stabilising layer are pressed onto the core.

Drum sound / Walking sound (RWS) -vs.- Footfall sound / Impact sound (IS or ΔLW)

Walking sound (RWS)

Walking sound (footfall sound) refers to the sound that can be heard by walking on a floor in the room itself. For a long time there was no standardized measuring method for characterizing footfall sound, therefore different methods were used in practice. Meanwhile, there are standardized measurement methods. For laminate flooring with a separate underlay, this is described in EN 16354, and for laminate flooring with pre-attached underlayment in EN 16205. The EN 16205 specifies a procedure for measuring the noise emitted by a flooring system on a reference concrete subfloor, when stimulated by a standard hammer mechanism in the test bench. All EPLF documents of the series WD 021029 and the test methods described therein are therefore no longer applicable.

Impact sound (IS or ΔLW)

Impact sound refers to the sound that can be heard when walking over a laminate floor in the underlying or adjacent rooms. The measuring procedures are described in EN 16354 for laminate floors with separate underlays and in ISO 10140 / ISO 717 for laminate floors with pre-attached underlayment.

With special insulation underlays, both the footfall and the impact sound can be improved.

Eco-friendliness

Laminate flooring consists of wood mostly. Wood is one of our planet’s sustainable and renewable raw materials, making laminate flooring a product, which is light on resources and even recyclable. Like all wood-based products laminate flooring also contains the substance formaldehyde, but the possible emission levels are well below the legally permissible limit of 0.1 ppm (i.e. 0.12 mg/m³ of air), the so-called E1 value.

Edge spacing

Distance from wall which must be observed when laying a laminate floor. What is known as an expansion joint ensures that the floor can expand, e.g. if the climate changes. The floor should be at least 8 mm away from the wall. The same spacing should also be observed from heating pipes, door frames, pillars etc.

Emissions class

A term frequently used in product information. E1 means compliance with the formaldehyde limit prescribed by law, i.e. 0.1 ppm (= 0.12 mg/mair). The laid products of brand-name manufacturers are well below this limit.

Euro standard

The Euro standard for laminate flooring EN 13329 systematically lists all the criteria which apply to a high-quality floor and the corresponding test procedures. One important element of the standard is its definition of load classes. These allow consumers to recognise a quality product and to select the right product for their application.

Fire class

Building materials are classified according to their reaction to fire. The fire protection class of a product must be proven by the manufacturer. All national fire classifications in the countries of the European Union have been superseded by the harmonized EU classes according to the European Standard EN 13501-1. E.g. floor coverings are considered to be flame-retardant if they comply with classification Bfl-s1 or Cfl-s1. Abbreviations: Class B (inflammable materials), Class C (normal flammable materials)
fl: flooring, s: smoke emission level, s1: Very limited smoke development

 

 

HDF

Abbreviation for High Density Fibreboard. It is mostly used as the core in laminate floors. Given its high material density, HDF can withstand particularly high levels of use.

HPL

Abbreviation for High Pressure Laminate. This is a process in which the decorative paper and overlay are first pressed with special kraft papers. It is only in the second step that this so-called high pressure laminate is glued to the core.

Impact sound (IS) insulation

The perception of noises (physical: sound) in adjacent rooms when walking on a floor is referred to as Impact Sound (IS) (while perception and in the same room is referred to as RWS, Radiated Walking Sound). The impact sound is determined in accordance with DIN EN ISO 10104-3 in conjunction with DIN EN ISO 717-2. Laminate underlays with a high impact sound (IS) insulation value considerably reduce the footstep sound on “floating” laminate flooring. They can either be laid directly attached to the floor or loose underneath the floor. Retailers stock a wide range of products designed specially to reduce footstep sound. Minimum requirement: IS insulation value of 14 dB or better, higher requirement: are 18 dB or better. Note: A reduction of the noise level by 10 dB corresponds to a 50% reduction of the perceived loudness to the human ear. 

Laminate

Abbreviation commonly used to describe laminate flooring (see Structure).

The European standards define laminate flooring as 'rigid floor covering, typically in a plank or tile format, with a multiple layer structure, e.g. backer, substrate, décor and worked edges that allow the product to be joined together to form a larger integral unit'.

Laying

Laminate flooring is usually laid to be “floating”, i.e. the floor is not glued to the substrate, unlike the process used for say carpeting. The tongue and groove system helps the boards to click together. When laying always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.    

Lightfastness

Indicates how the laminate floor is affected by light. "Class 6 on the blue scale" indicates that the floor retains most of its colour fastness even when exposed to intense sunlight.

Load class

Quality category according to the Euro standard EN 13329, which identifies where a laminate floor can be used. A distinction is made between "domestic" and "commercial" which are split into moderate, normal and heavy use. Symbols are used to state the classes on the product packaging.

MDF

Abbreviation for Medium Density Fibreboard. This is often used as the core for laminate floors and is lighter than High Density Fibreboard (HDF).

Overlay

Name for the topmost layer of a laminate floor (also known as top layer). The overlay consists mostly of melamine resin which gives the floor its good durability. It protects the underlying decorative layer. Laminate floors can however also be varnished, e.g. directly printed floors.

 

Rate of abrasion / abrasion class

The rate of abrasion is the figure used to state the abrasion resistance of a laminate floor. It is established in what is known as a Taber test and assigned to abrasion classes according to the Euro standard EN 13329. This is an important element of defining load classes, which identify where a laminate floor can be used. The abrasion resistance is one of many factors used to assess quality.

 

Repairs

Severely damaged flooring elements can be replaced by a specialist such that they look just like the rest of the floor. Repair kits are available for repairing small areas of damage.

Resistance to cigarette burns

Indicates how the laminate floor is affected by cigarette burns. Thanks to the pore-free surface and high temperature resistance of the melamine resin-coated overlay, lit or discarded cigarettes cannot result in any visible damage to laminate floors.

Resistance to impact

Indicates how a laminate floor responds to impact, for example if a heavy object is dropped on it. The resistance of a floor to impact is established in a test using a falling steel ball.

Resistance to scratches

Indicates how the laminate floor is affected by scratches. A floor with good resistance to scratches is considered to be one of high quality. The resistance is found by drawing a diamond point over the test area.

Skirting boards

Skirting boards are where the floor ends and joins the wall. A large number of different products can be bought to match the decors used. Interesting effects can be obtained by using skirting boards of a different colour or with LED light effects.

 

Stabilising layer

Name for the impregnated layer on the underside of the core. This layer secures the dimensional stability of the flooring.

Stain resistance

to substances used in everyday life, such as food and drink etc. Stains can be easily removed from the pore-free (= closed) surface at any time.

Structure

Laminate floors have a three-layered structure: 1. decorative paper + overlay, 2. core,3. stabilising layer. The decorative layer, overlay and stabilising layer are impregnated with special environmentally-friendly resins. High pressure is applied to press them onto the core.

 

 

Swelling behaviour

The joins in a laid laminate floor are sensitive to the effects of moisture. Spilt water should therefore always be mopped up immediately. The edges of the boards can however be treated with a special glue when the flooring is being laid, providing effective protection from dampness. Laminate floors with specially processed cores and edge protection can be used in bathrooms and saunas with no need for concern.

Taber test

Classic process for establishing the abrasion characteristics of a laminate floor. The process involves rotating a test object under two abrading wheels fitted with sandpaper. The speed of rotation, type and replacement of the sandpaper are specified. The number of turns up to a particular point, the IP (= initial point) determines the rate of abrasion. This is assigned to the abrasion classes.

Tongue and groove

Profiles milled into the side of individual boards which allow them to be slid into one another. The tongue and grove join ensures a sturdy floor construction and protects the floor, preventing dampness from penetrating. In the course of development the simple traditional joiner’s profiles have become complex locking systems (click systems), which not only make the installation easier and secure the stability of the laid floor, but also facilitate the quick removal of the floor boards and repair work.  

Underfloor heating

The manufacturer will state whether the laminate floor can be laid on substrates housing underfloor heating systems using hot water. The low forward resistance has a positive impact on heating operations.

Underlays

Even high-quality laminate flooring can only fully demonstrate its advantages if the laying basis works well as part of the whole system. Laminate flooring is usually laid floating. The underlay represents the interface between the laminate flooring and the subflooring. With the right underlay, you can optimize the entire laminate flooring system and thus extend its service life.

VOC

VOC is the abbreviation for volatile organic compounds. These include for example alkanes/alkenes, aromatic compounds, terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones and halogenated hydrocarbons.

In Europe, VOC emissions testing of construction products is defined in the Technical Specification CEN/TS 16516 (Harmonized testing method for evaluation of VOC emissions of construction products). But this regards only the way of testing, not the requirements and limit values. So far these are specified in a different manner by each relevant regulation, and by several voluntary low VOC labels and certifications.
Some technical differences on the national level continue to exist. A homogeneous European VOC standard for requirements and limit values is still pending. 
In the future national approvals will be superseded by the CE marking.

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